Guillermo O’Donnell Wins IPSA Award
The International Political Science Association (IPSA) has awarded its first Prize for Lifetime Achievement to renowned Argentine democracy scholar Guillermo O’Donnell, who holds the Helen Kellogg Chair in Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. O’Donnell, whose works on authoritarianism, democratization, and democratic theory are widely read and cited, received the prize in recognition of his contribution to the advancement of political science around the world. Funded by the Mattei Dogan Foundation, the award will be presented in July at the 20th IPSA World Congress in Fukuoka, Japan, where O’Donnell also will present a prize lecture.
Human Rights Violations in Iran
The Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation (ABF), a human rights organization based in Washington D.C., has launched a Web site as a memorial to the victims of human rights abuses committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Named Omid after the Persian word for “hope,” the database includes the names and stories of individuals whose human rights have been violated. The information is drawn from statements issued by the Iranian authorities; the mass media; reports by human rights, political, and civil society organizations; and victim testimonies. Through this project, ABF seeks to give voice to the thousands of forgotten victims while providing the basis for the eventual establishment of an official truth commission in Iran. The site is available in English and Persian at www.abfiran.org.
Liu Binyan (1925–2005)
Liu Binyan, one of China’s most distinguished and revered writers, passed away on December 5 from cancer. Liu’s long career was rooted [End Page 186] in a devotion to social ideals, an affection for China’s ordinary people, and an insistence on honest expression even at the cost of great personal sacrifice. He was expelled from the Communist Party in 1957 after publishing two fictional works exposing bureaucratic corruption and media censorship, and spent the next two decades in and out of labor camps. After being pardoned and rehabilitated in 1978, he continued criticizing the government in his writings, until in 1987 he was finally banned from publishing. A year later, he came to the United States, where he taught and wrote. After denouncing the Chinese government for the Tiananmen Square massacre, Liu was never again allowed to return to his home country. His article “China and the Lessons of Eastern Europe” appeared in the April 1991 issue of the Journal of Democracy.
Democracy in the Arab World
The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, in collaboration with Partners for Democratic Change, has created a Network of Democrats in the Arab World. Launched on December 16–17 at a conference in Casablanca, Morocco, the Network brings together moderate Islamists and secularists working to promote and strengthen democracy in Arab countries. The conference included more than 60 democratic leaders and activists from 13 Arab countries. See www.islam-democracy.org.
The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) has released Arabic versions of three country reports—on Jordan, Egypt, and Yemen—providing comparative analysis and information on women’s political participation, political-party development, and electoral-system reform. A synthesis report, “Democracy in the Arab World: An Overview of the International IDEA Project,” has also been published in English and Arabic. For more information, visit www.idea.int.
Youth Movement for Democracy
On December 13–15, the Youth Movement for Democracy (YMD) organized the “Global Youth Conference on Democracy and Political Participation” in S~ao Paulo, Brazil. Panel discussions were held on such topics as education for democracy, confronting corruption, and intergenerational dialogue. The YMD, a network within the World Movement for Democracy, was founded in 2004 by a group of young democracy and human rights activists from around the world. For more information, see www.ymd.youthlink.org.
New Journal of Democracy Site
The Journal of Democracy recently revamped its Web site, redesigning the interface and adding fresh content. New features include a site-wide “Search” function, a “Searchable Database” of past issues, and a “Receive Issue Alerts” service that allows readers to sign up to receive by e-mail the table of contents of each new issue. The Journal also [End Page 187] welcomes readers to submit letters online, some of which may be posted in the new “Letters from Readers” section of the site. Please visit www.journalofdemocracy.org.
Report on NED’s International Forum
On February 15–17, the International Forum for Democratic Studies and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies cosponsored a workshop, entitled “Democracy and Terrorism: What We Know and What To Do.” Experts in the fields of democracy promotion, foreign policy, and terrorism gathered from around the world to discuss whether democracy promotion can help to counter the threat of terrorism.
Participants included Zainah Anwar, Sisters in Islam (Malaysia); Paul Berman, New York University; Rola Dashti, Kuwait Economic Society; Paula Dobriansky, U.S. undersecretary of state for democracy and global affairs; Carl Gershman, NED; Pierre Hassner, Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (France); Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Ibn Khaldun Center (Egypt); Steven Krasner, director of policy planning at the U.S. Department of State; Ivan Krastev, Centre for Liberal Strategies (Bulgaria); William Kristol, The Weekly Standard; Kanan Makiya, Iraq Memory Foundation; Moisés Naím, Foreign Policy; Gideon Rose, Foreign Affairs; and Michael Young, Daily Star (Lebanon).
The Forum hosted several luncheon seminars featuring presentations by Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows: On January 19, Ann Bernstein, founding director of the Johannesburg-based Center for Development and Enterprise, spoke on “South Africa’s Second Democratic Decade: The Critical Challenges Ahead.” On January 26, Penda Mbow, associate professor of history at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar and Senegal’s former minister of culture, delivered a talk on “The Secular State and Citizenship in Muslim Countries: Bringing Africa into the Debate.” George Moose, former U.S. ambassador to Senegal and Benin, and Sulayman Nyang, professor of African studies at Howard University, offered comments.
On February 2, Nozima Kamalova, founder of the Legal Aid Society of Uzbekistan, gave a presentation entitled “Defending Human Rights in the ‘Age of Terror’: An Uzbek Lawyer Speaks Out.” On February 14, Andrei Piontkovsky, former director of the Center for Strategic Research in Moscow, delivered a lecture on the topic “From ‘Managed’ to ‘Sovereign’ Democracy in Russia.” Michael McFaul of Stanford University commented on the presentation. On February 23, Doğu Ergil, chair of the department of political behavior at Ankara University, spoke on “Turkey’s ‘Troubled’ Southeast: Democracy in the Eye of the Storm.” And on February 27, Siamak Namazi, managing director of Atieh Bahar Consulting in Iran, gave a presentation on “Iran: From Détente to Defiance.”
In March and April, a new cohort of fellows arrived from Argentina, Burma, India, Pakistan, Russia, Slovakia, Togo, and Uganda.