NED Hosts Fifth World Conference on Democracy
Democratic activists from more than 60 countries gathered in Washington, D.C., on May 1–2 for the National Endowment for Democracy’s Fifth World Conference on Democracy, a biennial event. Panels focused on the challenges facing democracy in six different regions of the world: the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, Africa, Eastern and Central Europe, and the former Soviet Union.
A concluding luncheon featured speeches by Korean democratic activist and former presidential candidate Kim Dae-jung, Nigerian writer and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, and Congressman David M. McIntosh.
A banquet was held on the evening of May 2 to honor recipients of NED’s 1995 Democracy Award. A joint award was presented to Elena Bonner and Sergei Kovalev, both lifelong human rights activists in Russia and leading opponents of the war in Chechnya. Awards were also given to Sergio Aguayo, president of the Mexican Academy of Human Rights and cofounder of the Civic Alliance (which carried out a comprehensive observation of the 21 August 1994 presidential election), and to Monique Mujawamariya, a courageous fighter for human rights in Rwanda. The award presentations were made by Senator John McCain, Congressman Lee Hamilton, and Senator Nancy Kassebaum, respectively.
The conference was followed on May 3 by a series of workshops on the activities and resources of NED’s International Forum for Democratic Studies (including its new Internet site) and the networking needs of democratic activists.
New Bibliography on Democracy Available
The Centre for Development Research in Copenhagen has published a bibliography entitled Third World Democratization? A Partly Annotated Bibliography of Recent Literature. Organized by region, it lists materials—most published between [End Page 186] 1990 and 1993—on sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin and Central America. A separate section is devoted to general and theoretical literature. The bibliography includes publications in the Scandinavian languages, English, German, and French. An electronic version, updated through 1994, will soon be available.
For more information, contact Svend Erik Lindberg-Hansen, Centre for Development Research, Gammel Kongevej 5, DK-1610 Copenhagen V, Denmark; phone, 33-25-12-00; fax, 33-25-81-10.
Civic Educators Brought Together in Prague
On June 2–6, 420 participants from 52 countries gathered in Prague at the headquarters of Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty to attend CIVITAS, a meeting devoted to strengthening citizenship and civic education, East and West. The conference was coordinated by the U.S. Information Agency in cooperation with a number of nongovernmental organizations, including the California-based Center for Civic Education and the Education Foundation of the American Federation of Teachers. The program included plenary sessions featuring distinguished speakers from both the West and the postcommunist countries, as well as numerous workshops and small discussion groups. The participants were primarily professional educators and representatives of nongovernmental organizations, along with a sprinkling of officials from governments and international organizations.
The conference was aimed at establishing a network that would facilitate the exchange of information and ideas among civic educators across the old East-West divide and eventually around the world. Toward that end, the organizers introduced Civnet, an Internet site dedicated to the exchange of information and resources related to civic education (it may be accessed at http://ericir.syr.edu/civnet). The participants reached agreement on a concluding declaration that called for increased attention, especially by international organizations, to the importance of civic education for the strengthening of democracy.
Democratic Governance in the Americas Explored
The North-South Center of the University of Miami hosted a conference entitled “Fault Lines of Democratic Governance in the Americas” on May 4–6. The meeting addressed problems of democracy in Latin American nations burdened by weak social, political, and economic legacies. Specific topics addressed in panel discussions included the impact of globalization on the state and civil society and the effects of questions of ethnicity and gender on the democratization process.
Revised versions of papers presented at the meeting will be included in a North-South Center book edited by conference organizer [End Page 187] Felipe Agüero and participant Jeffrey Stark.
Conference Focuses on Post-communist Transitions
Poland’s International Centre for Development of Democracy (MCRD) Foundation convened a meeting in Cracow on June 4–6 on the topic “From Communism to Democracy: Threats and Chances.” All the countries of Central and Eastern Europe were represented at the conference, in many cases by government officials and parliamentarians as well as intellectuals and academics. Among the politically most prominent participants were Jacek Kuroń, Leszek Balcerowicz, and Bronisław Geremek (Poland); Ján Čarnogurský (Slovakia); Stanislau Shushkevich (Belarus); Mykhailo Horyn (Ukraine); and Lev Ponomarev and Sergei Kovalev (Russia). The various conference sessions focused on key issues confronting the postcommunist countries, including state decentralization, the building of civil society, nationalism and ethnic conflict, and economic transformation.
Civil-Military Relations in Latin America Examined
On May 4-6, American University’s Democracy Projects group brought together in Washington, D.C., scholars, politicians, military personnel, and other experts from 22 different countries to discuss “Lessons Learned: Civil-Military Relations in Latin America.” In addition to one day of panel discussions and one day of small group sessions, the conference featured a dinner address by Ambassador Sally Shelton of the U.S. Agency for International Development and a luncheon address by Hernán Patiño Mayer, Argentine ambassador to the Organization of American States. The meeting ended with a discussion of the applicability of Latin America’s experience to the rest of the world and ideas for future research and policy efforts.
Meeting of African Women in Politics
The first-ever Africa-wide Consultation for Women in Politics took place in Gaborone, Botswana, on May 6–9. The meeting was sponsored by Emang Basadi (a nonpartisan women’s nongovernmental organization in Botswana), the African-American Institute, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), and Women in Law and Development in Africa. Funding was provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development and UNIFEM.
Seventy women from 27 African countries, the United States, and Norway participated in the event. They developed strategies to increase the number of women in elected office and create an Africa-wide network of women in politics. Their work is expected to influence the strategies of the delegations to the Fourth World Conference on Women, scheduled for September [End Page 188] 1995 in Beijing. A final report on the findings of the conference will be published by the sponsors.
International Electoral and Democracy Group Founded
The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) was established in Stockholm on February 27. International IDEA is an intergovernmental organization that will work closely with other international organizations and nongovernmental organizations to strengthen the institutional capacity of the international community to support democracy and civil society. Initially, the Institute will focus on four areas of activity: the creation of a database and provision of information services; research; the establishment and promotion of guidelines; and the provision of advisory and capacity-building services.
Report on NED’s International Forum
On March 13–14, in cooperation with the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, the Forum hosted an international conference on “Civil-Military Relations and the Consolidation of Democracy” in Washington, D.C. The meeting, which brought together scholars and practitioners from around the world, featured a session on the mission of a democratic military in the post-Cold War era, as well as sessions focusing on civil-military relations in developing countries and in the postcommunist world. The conference opened with a keynote address by Samuel P. Huntington, and concluded with a luncheon address by Joseph Nye, Jr., assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. A conference report containing summaries of the Huntington and Nye addresses and the panel presentations and comments has recently been issued by the Forum.
In April the Forum published the edited proceedings of “Democracy’s Future,” a panel discussion convened on January 19 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Journal of Democracy. Forum reports are available from the International Forum for Democratic Studies, 1101 15th St., NW, Suite 802, Washington, DC 20005; phone, 202-293-0300; fax, 202-293-0258.
The Forum’s Democracy Resource Center (DRC) has established DemocracyNet, a World Wide Web site on the Internet (located at http://www.ned.org). By logging onto the DemocracyNet “home page,” users may obtain information about NED and the Forum, full-text versions of Forum conference reports, selected material from the Journal of Democracy, information about the Forum’s Visiting Fellows Program, and access to other Internet resources on democracy. In the near future, the electronic catalog of the DRC’s library holdings and a database on democracy-promotion grants will also be accessible on DemocracyNet.
Copyright © 1995 National Endowment for Democracy and the Johns Hopkins University Press