News and Notes

Issue Date July 1994
Volume 5
Issue 3
Page Numbers 138-40
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Sakharov Archives Established in Moscow

On May 21—the date that would have marked the 73rd birthday of the great Soviet dissident Andrei D. Sakharov—several dozen reporters and international guests gathered in Moscow for a press conference marking the official opening of a library dedicated to the memory and writings of the late author, scientist, and human rights activist. Organized by his widow Yelena Bonner, the archives are located in the newly remodeled three-bedroom apartment where Sakharov spent much of his life.

Featured in the exhibit are all of Sakharov’s published works—in both Russian and various other languages—as well as an extensive collection of letters, photographs, audio and video recordings, unpublished manuscripts, and materials from secondary sources. Also included in the collection are 62 KGB documents, personally donated by the head of Russia’s Federal Counterintelligence Service, the post-Soviet successor to the KGB, at a government-sponsored forum that followed the press conference. These records track Sakharov’s “anti-Soviet activities” between 1968 and 1989, as recorded by the secret police. President Boris Yeltsin, although not present at the government forum, also contributed a small folder of records pertaining to Sakharov from the presidential archives.

At the press conference, Dr. Bonner announced that plans were already underway to open an international human rights museum in Moscow in 1996 that will be named after her late husband.

Conference Looks at Future of American-Arab Relations

On May 26-28, the Foundation on Democratization and Political Change in the Middle East (FDPCME) held a conference in Washington, D.C., entitled “American-Arab Relations: A New Beginning?” The conference, funded by a grant from the National [End Page 138] Endowment for Democracy (NED), brought together Arab intellectuals from the West Bank, Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and Iraq, who articulated a broad range of ideological perspectives ranging from Islamic and secular liberalism to socialism.

The conference explored a host of economic, political, strategic, and cultural issues that must be addressed if cooperation between American and Arab NGOs on political and economic development is to proceed. The premise of the meeting was that such a dialogue was mandated by the end of the Cold War and the ensuing events in the region, including the Gulf War and the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. After two days of unusually open and constructive discussions, almost all participants agreed that the conference had offered a unique opportunity for Arabs and Americans to explore their differences as well as their common concerns. It was also agreed to hold a follow-up conference next year focusing on democratization in the Arab world.

The Arab participants included Fatima Mernissi, Laith Kubba, Mahmoud Abdel-Fadil, Sari Nusseibeh, Fawwaz Trabulsi, Raghid EI-Solh, Asma Khader, Jamil Mroue, Rami Khouri, Isam AI-Khafaji, Mohamad A1-Rumaihi, Hichem Djait, and Ahmed M. Abdal Halim. Among the American participants were William Maynes, James Zogby, Henri Barkey, Carl Gershman, Ellen Laipson, Joshua Muravchik, I. William Zartman, Khalil Jahshan, William Quandt, PauI Wolfowitz, and Marvin Zonis. Morton Halperin of the National Security Council was a featured speaker.

Conference proceedings will be published this summer. For more information, write to: FDPCME, 1301 33rd Street, N.W., Suite 6, Washington, DC 20007.

Open Society Institute to Fund New Research Facility

At a May 31 press conference in Washington, D.C., the Open Society Institute (OSI), a New York-based foundation established by international philanthropist George Soros, announced the founding of a new research institute in Prague that will serve as a resource center for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) broadcasters, journalists, government officials, historians, and other scholars seeking information on current and historical developments in Central and Eastern Europe, including the former Soviet Union. The new institute will in part carry on the work of the current RFE/RL Research Institute. It will also, in association with the Central European University (CEU), take over as curator for the historical archives of the RFE/RL Research Institute following the closing of that organization’s Munich offices in December 1994.

Members of the Board of Directors of the new center include George Soros, Karen Greenberg, Aryeh Neier, Daniel A. Mica, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, Sanford J. [End Page 139] Ungar, and Peter Reddaway. An audience and opinion research section for the institute will be located in Washington, D.C.

Left, Right, and Center

The shifting contours of politics in democratic and democratizing societies over the last half-decade provided the theme for a conference held April 22-24 at Michigan State University (MSU) entitled “Left, Right, and Center: Party and Ideology after the Cold War.” Sponsored by MSU’s Symposium on Science, Reason, and Modern Democracy, the event featured addresses and commentary by a distinguished group of scholars from Eastern and Western Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Asia. Observing that the end of the Cold War seems to have exposed the inadequacy of many familiar political distinctions (left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative, progressive vs. traditionalist, capitalist vs. socialist), and has also introduced many new or once-submerged topics (e.g., nationalism, immigration, religion, the globalization of economic life, the role of women, etc.), the conference organizers asked participants to reflect on how these post-Cold War circumstances are changing the face of political ideology and partisanship around the world.

Panels were divided by geographical region: Franqois Furet and John Dunn (Western Europe); Vladimir Tismaneanu, Martin Palous, and G.M. Tamfis (Eastern Europe); Charles H. Fairbanks, Linda Racioppi, and G.M. Tamfis (Russia); Kanan Makiya (Middle East) and Atul Kohli and Pratap Mehta (India); and Andrew Nathan (China) and T.J. Pempel (Japan).

The conference papers are currently being edited for publication in book form. The Journal of Democracy plans to publish a few of them in its January 1995 issue.

Conference Explores Issues of Democratization in Africa

On April 15-16, the African Studies Program of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University (SAIS), in collaboration with the U.S. Army War College, sponsored a conference on “Democratization: Phase II” that examined Africa’s most recent wave of democratic reform and restructuring.

Among the topics considered were the effects of structural adjustment on new African democracies; authoritarian hijackings of the democratization process; the impact of national conferences on democratization; and questions of democracy and the military. Presenters and participants included I. William Zartman, Ernest J. Wilson Ili, Célestin Monga, Carol Graham, Joel Barkan, and Stephen J. Stedman.

Similar conferences are planned and hosted annually by the African Studies Program at SAIS. For more information, call (202) 663-5676. [End Page 140]