News and Notes

Issue Date April 1995
Volume 6
Issue 2
Page Numbers 187-90
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Conference on Democracy Held in Zagreb

On February 11–12, the Erasmus Guild (Croatia) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (U.S.) convened a conference in Zagreb on “Strengthening Democracy.” The conference brought together 20 representatives of Western organizations working in the former Yugoslavia and 50 civic activists (including journalists, trade unionists, human rights activists, and independent researchers) from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia (including Kosovo and Vojvodina), Slovenia, Albania, and Hungary. Among the topics discussed were a free press, the role of civic organizations, and cultural and publishing activities.

The two-day conference met three important goals. First, it facilitated communication among representatives of civic organizations from the region, enabling them to better understand their common problems and to exchange information on their numerous initiatives. Second, it allowed indigenous groups and Western organizations to exchange ideas about how to build civil society and strengthen the independent sector in the region. Third, it fostered interaction among Western organizations working in the region, generating ideas for joint assistance programs and reducing the likelihood of programmatic and funding overlap.

It was generally agreed that the NGO community in the former Yugoslavia, with assistance from Western organizations, should redouble its efforts to promote democratic values, freedom of speech, and respect for human rights.

Post-Soviet State and Regional Leaders Meet

On January 13–15, central-government officials from several former Soviet republics, leaders of breakaway regions, and negotiation experts from around the world met at the Peace Palace in The Hague to [End Page 187] discuss effective, nonviolent conflict resolution in the former USSR. The Hague Roundtable was funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and sponsored by the Conflict Management Group (CMG) of Cambridge, Mass., and the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) of Washington, D.C.

The meeting focused on ways to avoid situations like that in evidence in Chechnya. Particular attention was given to the case of Tatarstan as a model of regional conflict resolution. Participants identified three elements as key to the Tatarstan Treaty’s success: the early agreement on the part of the central government to some devolution of power, the decision to focus on practical questions in preliminary treaty negotiations, and the negotiators’ appreciation of the need for stability and time to reach a final settlement.

Meeting participants reached a preliminary agreement to found an Association for Regional Peace in the Post-Soviet States that will serve as a consultative body for the region. A meeting of negotiation- team members is scheduled for early summer, and a second meeting of top leaders is planned for the fall.

Participants included President Mintimer Shaimiev of the Republic of Tatarstan; President Vladislav Ardzinba of the Republic of Abkhazia; President Igor Smirnov of the self-proclaimed Trans-Dneister Republic; President Stepan Topal of the Gagauz Autonomous Republic of Moldova; Sergei Tsekov, speaker of the Crimean Parliament; Vyacheslav Mikhailov, the Russian Federation’s deputy minister for nationalities and head of the negotiation team in Chechnya; Emil Payin, President Yeltsin’s nationalities advisor; and officials from the central governments of Georgia and Ukraine. Among the negotiation experts present were Dr. Bruce Allyn of CMG, Dr. Daniel Matuszewski of IREX, Professors Hurst Hannum, Philip Hanson, and Donald Horowitz, and two CSCE negotiators.

Additional information on the meeting can be obtained from the Conflict Management Group, 20 University Road, Cambridge, MA 02138; phone, 617–354–5444; fax, 617–354–8467.

Political Parties in Modern Democracies Examined

On 15–17 December 1994, the Instituto Juan March de Estudios e Investigaciones hosted a symposium on “Political Parties: Changing Roles in Contemporary Democracies” at the Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Ciencias Sociales in Madrid. At the meeting, 41 scholars from 11 countries examined three aspects of political parties in modern democracies: the internal characteristics and dynamics of parties, the nature of party elites, and citizens’ perceptions of parties. The conference was organized by Juan Linz and José Ramón Montero. Participants presenting papers [End Page 188] included Stefano Bartolini, Klaus von Beyme, Jean Blondel, Patricia Craig, Richard Gunther, Piero Ignazi, Richard Katz, Kay Lawson, Peter Mair, José Ramón Montero, Leonardo Morlino, Hermann Schmitt, Serenella Sferza, Mariano Torcal, Jacques Thomassen, and Steven Wolinetz. A selection of papers presented will form the basis of a forthcoming volume.

New African Journal on Democracy

Benin’s Centre International de Recherche sur la Démocratie et le Développement (CIRD) has launched a quarterly journal on democracy in Africa, Afrique Démocratie, under the direction of Sadikou Ayo Alao (head of CIRD’s parent organization, Gerddes-Afrique).

The inaugural issue, which appeared in March 1994, featured an introduction by the president of Benin, Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo, lauding the journal as an important aid to African democrats seeking to create viable democratic structures in the diverse countries of Africa. The journal intends to cover all aspects of democratic growth and development, and will pay particular attention to human rights. Articles appearing in the inaugural issue dealt with elections throughout Africa, the compatibility of democratic and local traditions, and myths surrounding democracy’s growth in Africa. Also included was the text of the Constitution of Burkina Faso (adopted in 1991).

Information regarding submissions and subscriptions can be obtained by contacting Gerddes-Afrique-CIRD, B.P. 1258, Cotonou, Benin; fax, 33–44–99 or 33–43–32.

Conference Focuses on Ethnic Conflict in Russia

Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Arms Control hosted a conference on “Nationalism, Ethnic Identity, and Conflict Management in Russia Today” on January 24–26. The four main topics addressed were problems of federalism and power-sharing between Moscow and the Russian republics; the results from a study of the attitudes of Russians and non-Russians in several republics toward political and economic reforms; the use of force to resolve disputes within the Russian Federation and the Commonwealth of Independent States; and the causes and consequences of the Chechnya crisis. The papers presented at the conference are currently being prepared for publication as a special report.

Forecasting the Future of Brazil and Mexico

On January 27, the Inter-American Dialogue convened a one-day conference entitled “The New Governments of Brazil and Mexico: What Lies Ahead?” in Washington, D.C. Participants included government officials, [End Page 189] international banking and finance professionals, academics, and consultants.

As the two largest nations in Latin America, Brazil and Mexico are central to hemispheric stability. The complex economic, political, social, and foreign policy problems facing both countries’ new administrations were the focus of four panel discussions.

The opening discussion, “Macroeconomic Dilemmas: The Crisis and Outlook,” colored all subsequent sessions. Panelists agreed that the ability of each country to meet the diverse challenges it faces will depend in large measure on its government’s ability to chart a sound economic course.

USAID Newsletters Focus on Democracy

USAID’s Center for Democracy has started a newsletter, Democracy Dialogue. The publication includes reports on conferences relevant to democratic development; information on programs, policy, and personnel; summaries of missions in the field; a listing of employment opportunities; and a calendar of upcoming events. Articles and correspondence should be sent to USAID Center for Democracy, Room 5258 NS, Washington, DC 20523–0090.

USAID also publishes African Voices, a newsletter on democratic development in Africa. Submissions and correspondence should be directed to The Editor, African Voices, Africa Bureau Information Center, USAID, SA-18, Room 206, Washington, DC 20523–1820; phone, 703–312–7191; fax, 703–312–7199; e-mail,

Report on NED’s International Forum

In connection with the fifth anniversary of the Journal of Democracy, the Forum convened a panel discussion on “Democracy’s Future.” Speakers at the January 19 event included Larry Diamond, coeditor of the Journal and codirector of the Forum; Denise Dresser of the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico; Philippe Schmitter of Stanford University; and Lilia Shevtsova of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The edited proceedings will be published by the Forum this spring as a special report.

On March 13–14, the Forum, in cooperation with the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, held an international conference on civil-military relations in Washington, D.C. A fuller description of this conference will appear in our next issue.

The Forum’s report on its 7 December 1994 conference on Nigeria was released this February. Forum reports are available from the International Forum for Democratic Studies, 1101 15th St., NW, Suite 802, Washington, DC 20005; phone, 202–293–0300; fax, 202–293–0258; e-mail,


Copyright © 1995 National Endowment for Democracy and the Johns Hopkins University Press