Does Democracy Matter?



Negative experiences from state-building projects in Iraq and Afghanistan, the mixed record of democratic change in the former Soviet Union and the aftermath of Arab Spring have led many to question the efficacy of democracy promotion. Some argue that Western democracy support is ineffective at its best and counterproductive at its worst.

Is there a case for continuing efforts to encourage transitions to democracy? The unresolved Ukraine crisis has heightened the importance of this question.

Taking stock of democracy promotion over the past 30 years, what are its strengths and weaknesses? If U.S. and European democracy promotion should be continued, how can it be better targeted and reformed to more effectively advance democratization in post-authoritarian societies? If such assistance programs deserve to be terminated, should there be alternative policies to support human rights and other aspects of pluralism?

The Project on Democratic Transitions at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Kennan Instituteand the Foreign Policy Research Institute are sponsoring an October 20 conference on Does Democracy Matter?

Topics and Speakers

Welcoming Remarks

Adrian A. Basora

Director · Project on Democratic Transitions

Revisiting the case for democracy assistance

Amb. Kenneth Yalowitz


Kennan Institute ·

Carl Gershman, National Endowment for Democracy ·

Nikolas Gvosdev, Naval War College ·

Barak Hoffman, World Bank ·

Joshua Muravchik, Johns Hopkins University ·

How effective are the core components of US democracy promotion? Are they adequate for today’s circumstances?

Christian Caryl, Moderator, Foreign Policy ·

Sarah Bush, Senior Fellow · Project on Democratic Transitions

Melinda Haring, Associate Scholar · Project on Democratic Transitions

Tsveta Petrova, Eurasia Group

Michal Koran, Prague Institute for International Relations ·

Luncheon and Keynote Speaker

Alan Luxenberg, Introduction, President · Foreign Policy Research Institute

Larry Diamond, Stanford University ·

Closing Remarks

Matthew Rojansky, Kennan Institute ·

For additional information or to register for this event, please contact Maia Otarashvili at (215) 732-3774 x 119 or

For registration and further information, visit conference web-site at

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