World Movement for Democracy
The Second Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy met in São Paulo on November 12-15 for four days of intensive discussions about how to advance freedom and democracy around the world. More than 400 leading democrats from more than 80 countries shared their experiences in fighting for political change and offered solidarity, support, and advice to others who are facing similar struggles elsewhere in the world. The theme of the Assembly was “Confronting the Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century.”
The main work of the Assembly was undertaken in more than 25 topical workshops that engaged participants across different geographic regions and areas of expertise. Other workshops were conducted on a regional or functional basis. Participants included activists, thinkers, and practitioners from political parties, trade unions, business associations, nongovernmental organizations, research institutes, civic-education organizations, anticorruption groups, and democracy-support foundations, as well as parliamentarians and government officials with a special interest in democracy.
The meeting opened with a key-note address by Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso (see the text on pp. 5-14 above). On the evening of November 14, participants paid tribute to five groups (selected by the World Movement steering committee) carrying out some of the most challenging work being pursued in the cause of democracy today. These five “Democracy Courage Tributes” sought to draw attention to the struggles of groups working in particularly difficult circumstances and often without much global recognition. The recipients were the democratic mayors of Colombia, the Tiananmen Mothers’ Network, the LAM Center for Research and Popularization of Che-chen Culture, Iran’s prodemocracy [End Page 189] student movement, and the civil-society movement of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A full report on the Second Assembly, including the recommendations of the participants based on the topical, regional, and functional workshops, will be posted on the World Movement website (www.wmd.org) within the next several months. In the meantime, for additional information about the World Movement for Democracy or the Sao Paulo Assembly, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or send a fax to (202) 862-6456.
Awards Recognize Journalists
On November 1, the Committee to Protect Journalists held its tenth annual awards ceremony in New York, with NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw as host. Recipients of this year’s International Press Freedom Award included Zeljiko Kopanja, cofounder and editor of Nezavisne Novine, the largest independent Serb daily in Bosnia-Herzogovina; Steven Gan, editor of Malaysiakini, an online publication based in Malaysia; Mashallah Shamsol-vaezin, editor of several reformist newspapers in Iran that are currently banned by Iran’s Islamic government; and Modeste Mutinga, publisher of Le Potentiel, the sole independent daily in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The recipients were selected for “their courage and independence in reporting the news.” For additional information, visit www.cpj.org.
On September 28, the World Press Review put a spotlight on Sierra Leone at its 25th annual “International Editor of the Year” awards ceremony in New York, dubbing the country “the most dangerous . . . for journalists.” The three Sierra Leonean editors honored at the function were David Tam-Baryoh of Punch, Philip Neville of the Standard Times, and Paul Kam-ara of For di People, each of whom has been arrested and detained by the government on numerous occasions. Presenting the award on behalf of the World Press Review was Olara A. Otunnu, UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. For more information, please visit www.worldpressreview.com.
New Coalition of Asian Democrats
Following a meeting of democrats and reformers from across Asia, the Alliance for Reform and Democracy in Asia (ARDA) was formally established in Bangkok on October 8. It is dedicated to the advancement of democracy, human rights, good governance, and the rule of law across Asia and throughout the world. One of ARDA’s first actions was to send a letter to foreign ministers of the ASEAN countries calling on them to resolve the political crisis in Burma and expressing support for Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. ARDA was born out of an Asian regional conference on good governance held in Phnom Penh on August 5-7, [End Page 190] where participants from 11 Asian countries signed a Declaration of Unity. (See our October 2000 issue, p.187.)
Serbian Wins Civil Courage Prize
On September 26, in a ceremony held at the Institute for Strategic Studies in London, Serbian democratic activist Natasa Kandiç was named the first recipient of the new Civil Courage Prize, which includes a monetary award of $50,000 from New York’s Northcote Parkinson Fund. Kandiç is the founder and director of the Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade, which has earned a reputation for accurate and unflinching reporting of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. Kandiç had earlier received the 2000 Democracy Award presented by the National Endowment for Democracy.
Monument Honors Russian Democrat
A monument honoring the late Duma deputy Galina Starovoitova (1946-98) was unveiled on October 21 at her gravesite in St. Petersburg. One of the most distinguished democratic politicians in Russia and a strong critic of the war in Chechnya, Starovoitova was shot to death by unknown gunmen on 20 November 1998 in what is widely believed to have been a political assassination. The granite monument was designed by local artist Anatoly Belkin and included the image of the Russian flag. Former aide to President Boris Yeltsin, Sergei Stankevich, who attended the ceremony, hailed Starovoitova as “the conscience of Russian democracy.” Starovoitova, a contributor to the Journal of Democracy, was memorialized in our January 1999 issue.
New Resources on Comparative Democracy
At its annual meeting in August in Washington, D.C., the American Political Science Association (APSA) approved formation of a new Organized Section on Comparative Democratization. The chair of the new section is John W. Harbeson of the City University of New York; the vice-chair is Cynthia McClintock of the George Washington University. The section seeks to encourage rigorous analysis of the origins, processes, and outcomes of democratization and to promote an understanding of democracy that relies on insights from all regions of the world. It has launched a moderated Internet discussion list devoted to issues of democratization, the APSA-DEMCOM listserv, to which all APSA members are eligible to subscribe. For more information, or to subscribe to the listserv, please send a message to email@example.com or contact the current moderator, Daniel V. Friedheim, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Comparative Democratization Project at Stanford University’s Institute for International Studies recently launched a new website on [End Page 191] the comparative study of democracy. Located at http://democracy.stanford.edu, the site hosts a large collection of course syllabi on democracy, democratization, and related issues in both global and regional perspectives. It also includes materials presented at Stanford’s Democratization Seminar, as well as a comprehensive directory of Internet resources organized by topic and by region. Professors wishing to list their course syllabi on the website may contact Catalin Cosovanu at email@example.com.
Report on NED’s International Forum
The Forum is pleased to welcome Zora Bútorová, a sociologist and democracy activist from the Slovak Republic, as a Visiting Fellow from October 2000 to June 2001. Dr. Bútorová, a resident scholar with the Institute for Public Affairs in Bratislava, will conduct public-opinion research on Slovakia’s democratic transition and will edit a book of interviews in which women leaders discuss political and social change since the Velvet Revolution.
On October 16-19, the International Forum cosponsored a conference entitled “Left and Right: Ideological Divides in the Twenty-First Century” with the Institute of Political Studies of the Portuguese Catholic University and the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon. The meeting in Sintra, Portugal, examined the future of ideological conflict in light of the collapse of communism and the growth of the global market. Participants included Seymour Martin Lipset, William Galston, and Myron Magnet (U.S.); Carlos Henrique Cardim (Brazil); Aleksander Smolar (Poland); Raymond Plant (U.K.); and Hahm Chaibong (Korea).
Almost two dozen civil-society activists and organizers from ten East Asian countries, plus a smaller number of democracy experts from Central Europe, Latin America, Australia, and the United States, met on October 27-28 in Bangkok to discuss the role of civil society in promoting democracy in Asia. The meeting was the third in a series of working conferences sponsored by the Democracy Forum for East Asia, a joint project of the International Forum and the Sejong Institute of Korea. Additional cosponsors of this conference were the Asia Foundation and King Prajadhipok’s Institute of Thailand, which served as the local host.
The International Forum and the São Paulo Institute of Economic, Social, and Political Studies (IDESP) organized a workshop for democracy scholars as part of the Second Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy, which met on November 12-15 in São Paulo. Participants discussed ways to strengthen and expand the Forum-sponsored Network of Democracy Research Institutes, including publication exchanges, cooperative research projects, and enhanced visibility on the World Wide Web (see www.wmd.org/ndri/ndri.html).
Copyright © 2001 National Endowment for Democracy and Johns Hopkins University Press