News and Notes

Issue Date January 2002
Volume 13
Issue 1
Page Numbers 189-91
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Aung San Suu Kyi Honored

As part of the Nobel Institute’s centennial celebration, past peace-prize winners, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Jose Ramos Horta, gathered in Oslo on December 8 to salute Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi, who received the award in 1991 but remains under virtual house arrest. The event was linked by video with similar gatherings around the world. The Washington ceremony was sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy and its four associated institutes, the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, the Center for International Private Enterprise, the International Republican Institute, and the National Democratic Institute.

Designing Electoral Systems

Professors Joel Barkan (University of Iowa), Paul J. Densham (University College London), and Gerard Rushton (University of Iowa) are pleased to announce the creation of a new computational program designed to enable political leaders, democratic practitioners, and scholars to deepen their understanding of alternative electoral systems and how these affect governance in emerging democracies. Recognizing the fact that political leaders rarely examine the possible impact of electoral systems other than their country’s current one, the project aims to give new democracies a means to select “the best acceptable” electoral setup.

The new program uses geographic information systems (GIS) for the display and management of geographic information and a math-ematical model from operations research to compute the boundaries of electoral districts according to specified criteria. These two modeling methodologies are combined to create a spatial decision support system (SDSS). With these tools at their disposal, policy makers can easily evaluate the strengths and [End Page 189] limitations of a wide variety of electoral systems. More information on the new program may be found online at

Conference on Orthodoxy and Democracy

On October 26-27, Columbia University’s Harriman Institute, the Union Theological Seminary of New York, and the Center for Church-State Relations at Baylor University organized a conference entitled “Orthodoxy and Democracy: Challenges After the Cold War.” The conference featured panels on “Orthodox Theological and Historical Perspectives on Democracy” and “Orthodox Churches in the Post-Cold War Political Transformation: National Perspectives.” Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia delivered the keynote address. For more information on the Harriman Institute’s Seminar Series on Orthodox Christianity, see

Two African Journalists Receive Awards

On October 13, the Northcote Parkinson Fund awarded its Civil Courage Prize to Paul Kamara of Sierra Leone. As editor of the independent newspaper For Di People and chairman of the National League for Human Rights, Kamara has sought to promote freedom and democracy in his country through years of violence and threats against his life.

In a ceremony in New York on November 20, the Committee to Protect Journalists presented one of its 2001 International Press Freedom Awards to Geoff Nyarota, editor of the only newspaper in Zimbabwe not controlled by Robert Mugabe’s government. The other recipients were imprisoned Chinese journalist Jiang Weiping; Argentinean reporter Horacio Verbitsky; and Palestinian cameraman Mazen Dana.

Report on NED’s International Forum

The Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program welcomed its first cohort of visiting fellows in the fall of 2001. The fellows, who will be in residence at the International Forum from three to ten months each, include Ramin Jahanbegloo, Myro-slava Gongadze, and Chaihark Hahm.

Ramin Jahanbegloo is an adjunct professor of political science at the University of Toronto. Born in Iran and educated in France, where he received his doctorate in philosophy from the Sorbonne, Jahanbegloo has written 15 books in English, French, and Persian. These include Thinking Nonviolence (2001) and Conversations with Isaiah Berlin (2000). Jahanbegloo’s research will focus on the role of Iranian intellectuals in the democratization of their country.

Chaihark Hahm is a legal scholar whose interests span American constitutional law, Confucian political philosophy, and Christian theology. A native of Korea, Hahm studied law at Seoul National University. After completing his doctorate at Harvard [End Page 190] Law School in 2000, he spent a year as a research fellow at Harvard’s East Asian Legal Studies Program. He will research and write a book on constitutional review and democracy in South Korea.

Myroslava Gongadze has been a longtime champion of press freedom in her native Ukraine. The recipient of a law degree from Ivan Franko National University, she has served as a media and campaign consultant to members of the New Wave center-right political alliance. In 1995, she directed the award-winning documentary Dream Defenders, and in 1998, she headed the public affairs office of the all-Ukrainian daily Day. She will prepare a case study of the events surrounding the widely publicized murder of her husband, journalist Heorhii Gongadze.

In conjunction with the October 2001 Journal of Democracy feature on “Ten Years After the Soviet Breakup,” the International Forum hosted a panel discussion on the same topic on October 24. The discussion considered not only the past decade’s trends in the region but also what has changed since the events of September 11. The speakers were Anders Åslund, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Nadia Diuk, senior program officer for Central and Eastern Europe and the new independent states at the National Endowment for Democracy; and Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr., director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and professor of international relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.

On October 18, the Forum hosted a luncheon talk on Slovenia by Anton Bebler, professor of political science and defense sciences at the University of Ljubljana and author of “Slovenia’s Smooth Transition” (pp. 127-40 in this issue).

On November 11-14, the Forum and the Institute for Political Studies of the Portuguese Catholic University cosponsored a conference entitled “Civic Life in Market Societies” in Cascais, Portugal.

On November 29, Hani Hourani, founder and executive director of the Al-Urdun Al-Jadid Research Center in Amman, gave a presentation on “After September 11: Jordanian Politics and the Prospects for Democratic Reform.” The event was hosted and cosponsored by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

In November, the Forum launched Democracy Research News, the newsletter of the Network of Democracy Research Institutes. (The Network is a membership association of organizations that conduct research on democracy, democratization, and the institutional challenges of democratic development. For additional information, please visit the Network’s website at Each issue of the newsletter will feature brief announcements of new publications by Network members, recent and upcoming events sponsored by member institutes, news and announcements about the Network and its members, notices and listings of new research on democracy, and proposals for collaborative projects on democracy.


Copyright © 2002 National Endowment for Democracy and Johns Hopkins University Press