5th Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy
On April 6–9, the World Movement for Democracy (WMD) held its Fifth Assembly in Kyiv, Ukraine. The Assembly, whose theme was “Making Democracy Work: From Principles to Performance,” brought together more than 450 participants from over 100 countries in all global regions.
In 30 topical workshops, participants addressed such issues as fighting corruption, developing effective political parties, reducing poverty and inequality, creating strategies for free and fair elections, and freeing prisoners of conscience. In addition, regional workshops and meetings of WMD networks focused on democracy research, women’s political participation, youth engagement, and local governance. Participants also discussed cooperation on democracy assistance as well as other initiatives, such as the Global Forum for Media Development and the Nongovernmental Process of the Community of Democracies.
The Assembly opened with remarks by Kateryna Yushchenko, the First Lady of Ukraine (see pp. 158– 161 above). Other keynote speakers included former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo; Maina Kiai, chairman of the Kenyan National Human Rights Commission; and Myroslava Gongadze, founder of the Gongadze Foundation, named for her husband Georgiy Gongadze, an independent journalist who was murdered in Ukraine during the previous regime. On the following morning, President Viktor Yushchenko presented his views on democratization in Ukraine—both the successes achieved and the remaining hurdles.
In addition to discussing the practical work of building democracy, the Assembly also featured the presentation and discussion of the WMD’s recent report, “Defending Civil Society,” which addresses the attempt by various governments around the world to close the space for civil society work—especially efforts relating to democracy and human rights. The report shows that historically accepted [End Page 187] principles such as the rights to association and advocacy, which serve to protect civil society, are increasingly being violated.
The Assembly concluded with the John B. Hurford Memorial Dinner and the presentation of the World Movement’s Democracy Courage Tributes to the lawyers of Pakistan, the journalists of Somalia, and the monks of Burma. The dinner was sponsored by the Hurford Foundation, founded by the late John Hurford, a former NED board member and an early supporter of the World Movement for Democracy.
Transcripts and other information about the Assembly as well as the “Defending Civil Society” report (in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish) are available on the WMD’s website ( www.wmd.org ). A final report on the Assembly will be published later this year.
Joint Workshop of Pakistani and Afghan Legislators
On April 22–23 in Islamabad, the Pakistan Institute for Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT), with the support of the British High Commission in Islamabad, convened the First Joint Workshop of Pakistani and Afghan Parliamentarians and Parliamentary Staff. The goal was to “enhance mutual understanding on parliamentary oversight prevailing in the two neighboring countries,” as well as to share lessons and learn from one another’s experiences. More than 40 members of Pakistan’s National Assembly, along with senior members of the Parliamentary Secretariats of Pakistan, and a delegation of 13 MPs and one parliamentary staffer from Afghanistan participated in the workshop. The participants jointly put forward 26 recommendations for improving parliamentary oversight in the two countries. For more information, see http://pildat.org/eventsdel.asp?detid=248 .
European Democracy Foundation Launched
Fifteen European civil society organizations have founded the European Foundation for Democracy through Partnership (EFDP). The Brussels-based foundation seeks to serve as the European hub for democracy building and knowledge sharing and to raise democracy assistance on the EU’s foreign policy agenda. It also plans to give financial support to prodemocracy organizations that have been denied funding by other EU programs. The EFDP opened its offices on March 1, and held a formal launch in Brussels on April 15.
Speakers at the event were European Commission president José Manuel Barroso (for excerpts from his speech, see pp. 182–83 above); former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano; former Czech president Václav Havel; Edward Mc-Millan-Scott, vice-president of the European Parliament and Chairman of the European Parliament Democracy Caucus; and Roel von Meijenfeldt, director of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy and member of the Board of Directors of the EFDP. [End Page 188]
The other members of the Board of Directors are Martin Bútora (Slovakia), João Carlos Espada (Portugal), Jacek Kucharczyk (Poland), Markus Meckel (Germany), Šimon Pánek (Czech Republic), Jacques Rupnik (France), and Sari Varpama (Finland).
For more information, please see www.efdp.eu .
Max Kampelman Awarded Democracy Service Medal
On May 22, at a ceremony cohosted by Under Secretary Paula Dobriansky in the Benjamin Franklin Room of the U.S. Department of State, the National Endowment for Democracy presented its Democracy Service Medal to Ambassador Max Kampelman, former head of the U.S. delegation to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The Medal honors “individuals who have made significant contributions to the progress of democracy around the world.” Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte, Librarian of Congress James Billington, and Senator Joseph Lieberman gave remarks reflecting on Ambassador Kampelman’s accomplishments.
Conference on Academic Freedom in the Arab World
The United Nations University in Amman, Jordan, hosted the Second International Conference on Academic Freedom in Arab Universities on March 30–31. The event, organized by the Amman Center for Human Rights Studies in collaboration with the Network for Education and Academic Rights and the Scholars at Risk Network, aimed to encourage democratic culture and practices in Arab universities. Participants agreed on 15 recommendations to raise awareness and support for these developments. For the full list of recommendations, see www.achrs.org/english/NewsView.asp?NewsID=567 .
Tanzanian legislator Zitto Kabwe has called to our attention that—contrary to the impression given in Joel Barkan’s April 2008 article, “Progress and Retreat in Africa: Legislatures on the Rise?”—the Tanzanian National Assembly has not yet approved a constituency-development fund (CDF). Mr. Kabwe adds, however, that a majority of MPs favor the legislation and it may soon be passed into law.
NED’s International Forum
“Pakistan: Advancing Democracy and Security,” a day-long meeting cosponsored by the Forum and NED’s South and Southeast Asia Program, was held on May 5. U.S. deputy secretary of state John D. Negroponte gave the luncheon address. Other speakers included National Assembly member Khurram Dastgir (Pakistan Muslim League– Nawaz); Senator Rukhsana Zuberi (Pakistan Peoples Party); Samina Ahmed (International Crisis Group, [End Page 189] Islamabad); Larry Goodson (U.S. Army War College); Jami Chandio (Center for Peace and Civil Society, Hyderabad); Syed Akbar Zaidi (Reagan-Fascell Fellow at NED); Sumit Ganguly (Indiana University); and Zafarullah Khan (Centre for Civic Education Pakistan, Islamabad).
Former Reagan-Fascell fellow Baogong He, professor in the School of Politics and International Studies at Deakin University in Australia and currently a visiting professor at Stanford University, gave a presentation on “Participatory Budgeting in China” on March 12. Anna Brettell, NED program officer for East Asia, commented.
Former Reagan-Fascell fellow Anahit Bayandour, cochair of the Armenian National Committee of the Helsinki Citizens Assembly, gave a presentation entitled “Protest and Repression in Armenia: The 2008 Presidential Elections and Their Aftermath” on May 13. Miriam Lanskoy, NED senior program officer for Central Asia and the Caucasus, offered comments.
Diego Abente, deputy director of the International Forum, and Miguel Carter, professor at American University’s School of International Service, discussed “The End of Colorado Rule: Will Paraguay Crumble or Flourish?” on May 22. Frank Mora, professor of national security strategy at the National War College, commented.
The Forum also hosted a series of luncheon meetings featuring Reagan-Fascell Fellows this spring.
On May 15, Kate Zhou, associate professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, spoke on “Liberalization and Authoritarianism in Contemporary China: From the Growth of Grassroots Liberty to Nationalist Furor over Tibet.” Louisa Coan Greve, director of NED’s East Asia program, offered comments.
Visiting Fellow Susan Alberts, a former U.S. Foreign Service officer, gave a presentation on May 29 entitled “Why Play by the Rules? Constitutionalism and Democracy in Ecuador and Uruguay.” Diego Abente commented.
On June 4, Gia Areshidze, director and senior fellow at the Tbilisibased NGO Partnership for Social Initiatives (PSI) and director of the Orbeliani Center for Advanced Strategic and National Security Policy, gave a presentation on “State-Building versus Democracy in Georgia: Origins and Outcomes of the Rose Revolution.” Miriam Lanskoy commented.
On June 5, Tom Gallagher, chair in ethnic conflict and peace studies at the University of Bradford (U.K.) spoke on “The Missing British Dream? A Fractured Democracy Faces Muslim Discontent.” Robert S. Leiken, director of the Nixon Center’s Immigration and National Security Program, offered comments.
On June 18, Okechukwu Nwanguma, project head for campaign operations and periodic reports at the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) in Lagos, was scheduled to give a presentation entitled, “Towards Police Reform in Nigeria: The Role of Civil Society,” with comments by Oge Okoye, assistant program officer for Africa at NED. [End Page 190]