News and Notes

Issue Date July 2018
Volume 29
Issue 3
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NED’s Democracy Award

On June 13, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) presented its annual Democracy Award to four civil society organizations committed to the promotion of human rights and democracy in North Korea: the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights, Now, Action & Unity for Human Rights, Transitional Justice Working Group, and Unification Media Group.

Nancy Pelosi, Democratic leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, delivered the keynote remarks at a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. Four members of Congress presented the awards: Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), Joaquín Castro (DTex.), Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), and Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.). NED Board Chairman Andrew H. Card, Jr., delivered opening remarks and moderated the event.

That morning, NED hosted a half-day conference entitled “Beyond Pyongyang: Connecting with the People of North Korea,” featuring the award recipients along with lawmakers and experts on U.S.-North Korean relations.

Opening remarks were delivered by Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.). The first panel, “Assessing the Current Situation in North Korea,” featured Mark Lippert, former U.S. ambassador to South Korea; Jung Pak of the Brookings Institution; and Michael J. Green of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Roberta Cohen, cochair emeritus of the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, moderated the discussion. During the second panel, “Information, Advocacy, and Defectors: The Role of Civil Society,” the award recipients participated in a discussion moderated by Josh Rogin of the Washington Post.

Assisting Scholars at Risk

On April 23–26, the Scholars at Risk (SAR) Network held its 2018 Global Congress at the Free University of Berlin on “The University [End Page 190] and the Future of Democracy.” The Network provides sanctuary and assistance to academics facing severe threats of violence in their home countries. Organized jointly with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Free University, the biannual Congress featured workshops on threats confronting the higher-education community and strategies for advocating on behalf of academic freedom.

Also during the Congress, the SAR Network presented its Courage to Think Award to Muzaffer Kaya and Tebessüm Yılmaz on behalf of Turkey’s Academics for Peace, a coalition whose members offer support to fellow scholars based within and outside Turkey.

For the full program and for more information, visit:

Report on Elections and Human Rights

In December 2017, the Carter Center and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a report entitled “Human Rights and Election Standards Plan of Action,” presenting recommendations for improving collaboration among the election-observer and human-rights communities. The report is the culmination of a series of meetings organized by the Carter Center and the OHCHR from 2015 to 2017, involving more than a hundred elections and human-rights practitioners. The workshops focused on the promotion and protection of human rights during the electoral process. For more information and to view the Plan of Action, visit:

Pierre Hassner (1933–2018)

Pierre Hassner, an eminent French scholar of political philosophy and international relations, passed away on May 26 at the age of 85. The Romanian-born Hassner was research director emeritus at the Center for International Studies and Research (CERI), where he began as a research fellow in 1959 and remained for more than half a century. Hassner also served for many years as a lecturer at Sciences Po in Paris and at the Johns Hopkins University European Center in Bologna.

Hassner’s writing includes numerous articles and six books, including most recently La revanche des passions (2015). A frequent contributor to the French quarterly Commentaire, Hassner also authored three articles for the Journal of Democracy: “Communism: A Coroner’s Inquest” (1990); “Russia’s Transition to Autocracy” (2008), which drew upon his November 2007 Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture on Democracy in the World; and “Politics in Crisis?” (2012).

For a compilation of memorial tributes to Hassner, along with a list of his selected works and appearances, visit: [End Page 191]

Confronting Disinformation

In June, the Atlantic Council launched “DisinfoPortal,” an online platform featuring analysis and information on the Russian government’s use of disinformation strategies abroad. Established with 23 participating organizations, including NED’s International Forum for Democratic Studies, the platform also supports a searchable database of experts to facilitate coordination on counter-disinformation efforts across Europe and the United States.

Featured on the site is an issue brief by Dean Jackson, assistant program officer at the Forum, entitled “How Disinformation Impacts Politics and Publics.” To view the piece, first published May 29 on the Forum website, visit: For more information about the platform, visit:

NED’s International Forum

On April 3, the Forum hosted an event on “Populism, Liberalism, and Democracy” celebrating the launch of two books: Anti-Pluralism: The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy by William A. Galston, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and The People vs. Democracy: Why Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It by Yascha Mounk, lecturer at Harvard University. Essays drawing from the two books appeared in the April issue of the Journal.

Galston and Mounk discussed the threats posed by the rise of populism and how democracies can respond to these challenges. Journal coeditor Marc F. Plattner moderated the discussion. For a video recording of the event, visit:

The Forum also hosted several events featuring Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows:

On April 17, Lilia Shevtsova (Russia), associate fellow at Chatham House, participated in a panel discussion on “Russia as a Global Challenge.” Christopher Walker and Miriam Lanskoy of NED offered comments. For a video recording of the event, visit:

On May 30, Bulgarian human-rights activist and political analyst Dimitrina Petrova delivered a presentation entitled “Central and Eastern Europe: Power, Fairness, and the Future of Democracy.” Comments were offered by Rodger Potocki of NED.

On June 7, Alberto Vergara (Peru), professor of political science at the Universidad del Pacífico, engaged in a dialogue with Fabiolo Cordova of NED on “The End of Peru’s Success Story?”

On June 19, Nadeem F. Paracha (Pakistan) delivered a presentation entitled “Has Freedom of Expression Become a Self-Parody? Examples from Pakistan’s Social Media.” Zerxes Spencer of NED served as moderator. [End Page 192]
Copyright © 2018 National Endowment for Democracy and Johns Hopkins University Press