January 2009 Bulletin

Subscribe to the Democracy Digest Blog RSS feed here.




 Obama’s inaugural – nuanced support for democracy assistance?

“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history,” President Barack Obama declared in his inaugural speech, while offering to “extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

While some observers have highlighted the contrast with George W. Bush’s 2nd Inaugural speech, noting that Obama did not specifically outline a future role for democracy promotion, a more nuanced reading, alongside other recent comments, suggests a different interpretation (see also Obama’s foreign policy challenge to the EU?)

Engage Iran’s ‘grand alliance’ for reform

The prospect of the incoming Obama administration seeking to engage Tehran leaves Iranian democrats fearful of a “Libyan scenario”, whereby the regime commits to end its nuclear program in exchange for an end to sanctions, writes Abbas Milani , the Stanford-based Iranian analyst.

Other Iranian activists have called for a retooling of democracy promotion programming for Iran , and advocated…read the rest

Afghanistan: corruption and ‘legitimacy gap’ threaten democratic progress

The Obama administration faces no shortage of advice on how it should deal with emerging foreign policy challenges, not least in Afghanistan, where the administration faces what is “probably the longest campaign in the long war,” General David Petraeus told a Washington conference last week. “Afghanistan is not Iraq”, he stressed, but noted that counter-insurgency doctrine taught that sustainable progress centered on the ‘human terrain’ and demanded partnerships at every level.

Afghanistan’s initially promising progress towards democracy is now in jeopardy, writes analyst Grant Kippen. Investing in human capital, especially education, strengthening public institutions and developing mature political parties are the priorities, he argues in a contribution to a new book, The Future of Afghanistan…read the rest

‘Defensive’ Europe should promote robust democracy strategy

European states should “stop repeating the mantra that ‘democratic reform needs to be gradual’ as an excuse for inaction,” and be more assertive in funding grass roots civil society groups, including within Europe’s neighborhood , argues Richard Youngs , director of the democratisation programme at the Madrid-based think tank Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior . …read the rest

China: “workers’ state” fears labor unrest

The world’s largest annual human migration has disturbing political connotations this year, at least for China’s ruling Communist party . Millions of migrants from the country’s vast rural hinterland are being laid off and will likely remain jobless after the imminent “spring rush” of the Chinese lunar New Year. 

China’s ‘hypersensitive’ authorities are resisting reform and upgrading censorship as officials are concerned that unemployment among migrant workers could foment unrest and instability. The social contract underpinning the regime appears to be fraying…read the rest

Russia: painful transition ahead?

Political succession is a perennial dilemma for authoritarian regimes. How to transfer power, preferably within the ruling elite, and with at least a semblance of accountability and legitimacy, without risky elections?

Some analysts suggest that Putin is due to pay political costs of autocracyread the rest

Democracy ‘resilient’ in face of authoritarian backlash, Freedom House reports

Global freedom retreated in 2008 for the third year in succession, but the pace of regression slowed and democracy remains “the only system of government that demands global respect,” Freedom House reports.

“The decline in freedom has coincided with the onset of a forceful reaction against democratic reformers , international assistance to the reformers and the very idea of democracy,” writes Arch Puddington, the watchdog’s research director. In customizing the new administration’s approach to democracy assistance , policymakers should…read the rest

China: “workers’ state” fears labor unrest

The world’s largest annual human migration has disturbing political connotations this year, at least for China’s ruling Communist party . Millions of migrants from the country’s vast rural hinterland are being laid off and will likely remain jobless after the imminent “spring rush” of the Chinese lunar New Year. 

China’s ‘hypersensitive’ authorities are resisting reform and upgrading censorship as officials are concerned that unemployment among migrant workers could foment unrest and instability . The social contract underpinning the regime appears to be…read the rest

Ghana serves as democratic role model

Ghana’s second peaceful transition in a decade “will certainly help buttress democratic transition in this country and reinforce its young institutions,” said Chris Fomunyoh of the National Democratic Institute . The elections were the country’s fifth since multi-party democracy was restored in 1992.

So why did Ghana succeed where other African states failed?…read the rest

Egypt’s hybrid regime – stable, but challenged

Egypt’s political evolution will “ shape the timing, character, and success of democratization throughout the Arab world”, claims a new study. The country provides a particularly insightful case for understanding regional prospects for democracy, writes Bruce Rutherford , because of the rivalry between the “liberal, Islamic, and statist conceptions of political order that compete for preeminence in the Arab world.”

He notes the role played by the democracy assistance and human rights community in supporting indigenous demands for democratic reformread the rest

Chavista revolution running out of gas?

Venezuela may be forced to cut government spending next year after oil prices fell by more than 70 percent, Finance Minister Ali Rodriguez has admitted. After recent electoral setbacks, the Chavista parliament approved a 2009 budget that includes a 22 percent spending increase, and the government will delay any cut until after the proposed referendum on President Hugo Chavez’s controversial constitutional amendment proposals.

The regime and its supporters realize that significant gains in state and local elections were a real political watershed for the opposition, …read the rest

Message for Misha: get Georgia’s reform back on track

Democracy cannot exist without the kind of scrutiny and accountability that independent investigative journalism provides, says Sozar Subari , Georgia’s ombudsman for human rights. President Mikheil Saakashvili’s government has come under fire for its opaque decision-making.

“The reality is that the Saakashvili government is the fourth one-party state that Georgia has had during the last 20 years, going back to the Soviet period,” said Lincoln A. Mitchell, formerly with the National Democratic Institute . “And nowhere has this been more apparent than in the restrictions on media freedom.”…read the rest

Screws tighten on Russia’s NGOs

Russian civil society faces the likelihood of tighter constraints on their finances. A decree from the authorities is dues later this month, says Daria Miloslavskaya, a Moscow-based program director at the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law. But some activists are more concerned with the political climate than financial strictures.

“Yes, there is less money now, and that means that some of our projects will not be realized,” said Arseny Roginsky, director of the Moscow-based Memorial human rights group. But the main issue is…read the rest

Enough says enough – time for regime change in Zimbabwe

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai recently returned to Zimbabwe for yet more talks with Robert Mugabe. But, with the prospects of the ZANU-PF leader ceding power remote, and democracy activists facing arrest and torture, the international community should start putting the wheels in motion to oust Mugabe, argues John Prendergast of Enough, a campaign addressing genocide and crimes against humanity…read the rest

Putin’s patronage takes a hit as economy nose-dives

With oil prices now hovering below $30 dollars per barrel, the potentially profound political ramifications are becoming apparent to Russia’s political elite, with finger-pointing between rival factions starting to test the durability of the Putin-Medvedev “tandemocracy”. New legislation curbing the right to dissent is being pushed through in anticipation of increased political and social unrest prompted by the financial crisis and the Kremlin’s economic mismanagementread the rest

Next step for Iraq’s fledgling democracy

Iraq’s provincial elections draw near, security risks don’t seem to be deterring the estimated 14,400 candidates from over 400 political entities (it’s a stretch to describe many of them as bona fide political parties) contesting 440 seats.

“In terms of parties and candidates, you’re not going to see a lot of phone calling and phone banking ,” said Erin Mathews, the National Democratic Institute’s Iraq programs director. NDI is running workshops for nearly 800 Iraqi candidates. “More of the parties are doing things like pamphlets, door hangers and door-to-door campaigning, which sounds tremendously impossible in Iraq, but it’s not,” she said…read the rest

Defend civil society, urges eminent persons group

“Democracy will not flourish unless citizens can freely engage in politics and social change,” an Eminent Persons Group of political leaders and activists said recently. Yet the civil society groups that are vital to building and defending democracy face unprecedented threats , they note, in a formal endorsement of the Defending Civil Society report, co-authored by the World Movement for Democracy and the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law .

The group comprises former Canadian premier Kim Campbell, former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the Dalai Lama, …read the rest

Ethiopia’s NGO law – disabling by design

As if on cue to confirm the validity and urgency of this intervention , Ethiopia’s parliament this week passed the Charities and Societies Proclamation in an effort to stifle civil society activities and restrict international partners’ ability to support Ethiopia’s non-governmental sector.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Council will be hit by the new law. The council has over the past 17 years issued dozens of reports detailing human rights abuses, including executions and disappearances. Foreign sources account for virtually all of group’s four million birr ($400,000) annual budget, …read the rest

Eurasian autocrats turn against free media

Azerbaijan is trying to push foreign broadcasters off national frequencies, effectively banning Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty , Voice of America and the BBC from its airwaves. Recently, RFE/RL rebuffed an attempt to seize equipment from its Baku office. “There is a trend against free media,” said Jeffrey Gedmin, RFE-RL’s Prague-based president. “They see us as a challenge to their authority.”…read the rest.

Somali journalist, NED associate, killed

International media and human rights groups have condemned the murder of Somali journalist Hassan Mayow Hassan . “There is an urgent need to end violence against journalists in Somalia and all warring factions must refrain from targeting the media,” said Aidan White, General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists .

According to the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), thirty-six year-old Hassan, a journalist with Radio Shabelle, was shot in the head by a known militiaman as he was en route to report a violent conflict in the Shabelle region, south of Mogadishu. Other reports suggest that he was killed in crossfire between warring militias, while the Committee to Protect Journalists reports that…read the rest

Zimbabwe: jailed activists prompt concern, solidarity

A Zimbabwean judge has ruled that 16 democracy and human rights activists must remain in jail, charged with plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe, said Irene Petras, director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights , a grantee of the National Endowment for Democracy

The Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy issued a statement on Zimbabwe , expressing its solidarity …read the rest

Promoting democracy, not regime change

Elections do little to enhance democratic development if state institutions are ineffective or unresponsive, argues Rep. David Price (D-NC) in the latest issue of The Washington Quarterly. The new administration should sustain the U.S. commitment to democracy promotion , despite recent setbacks and mistakes.

The same issue includes calls for a principled, pragmatic approach to promoting democracy, analysis that echoes the views of Brent Scowcroft, a leading foreign policy ‘realist’, who…read the rest

Report highlights ’soft’ censorship use – by ‘democratators’ and democracies

Authoritarian regimes have traditionally managed news media through direct censorship, assuming control over media outlets or by intimidating and arresting journalists and outlet owners. But “a more insidious form of censorship has emerged, according to Soft Censorship: How Governments Around the Globe Use Money to Manipulate the Media, a new report from the Center for International Media Assistance.

Soft censorship entails …read the rest

Democracy’s competitive advantage?

Will the global economic crisis enhance the appeal of authoritarian alternatives to market-based liberal democracies? Do newly confident autocrats provide a coherent alternative to liberal democracy? Is ‘democratic illiberalism’ resurgent? Leading democracy analyst Marc F. Plattner doesn’t think so…read the rest

Democracy ‘normalizes’ Islamists?

The evolution of Islamist parties in Egypt, Turkey and Indonesia indicates the conditions under which political participation might normalize them, a comparative survey from Australia’s Lowy Institute suggests. Drawing on case studies of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood , Indonesia’s Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and Turkey’s ‘post-Islamist’ Justice and Development Party (AKP), the report argues that, as Islamist parties move from authoritarian to democratic contexts, several “fairly consistent shifts in Islamist ideology and activism” emerge…read the rest

Engage authoritarians to open closed societies

“Engaging closed societies is the best way to foster democratic change ,” argues Larry Diamond, co -director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies . Writing in Newsweek , he suggests that the incoming U.S. administration must fashion a “more subtle and sophisticated approach” to promoting democracy in the likes of Cuba, Burma, Iran and Syria.

While the immediate priority is helping fragile democracies adjust to the current economic crisis, the U.S. should continue to support pro-democracy diaspora groups , and expand international radio broadcasting that transmits independent news and promotes democratic ideas. The new administration should…read the rest

Samuel Huntington: Third Wave theorist, democratic advocate

During the chaos of Portugal’s democratic revolution in April 1974, Mário Soares, the provisional government’s foreign minister, visited Henry Kissinger. The U.S. Secretary of State was concerned that Portugal’s communist party would seize power and urged the democratic socialist Soares to take a tougher stance against the Stalinists.

“You are a Kerensky ,” Kissinger said, “I believe your sincerity, but you are naive.”

To which Soares replied: “I certainly don’t want to be a Kerensky.”

And Kissinger shot back: “Neither did Kerensky.”

The anecdote was noted by Samuel Huntington, the hugely influential political scientist who passed away Christmas Eve, in a 1997 Journal of Democracy article .  Huntington, a member of the International Forum for Democratic Studies‘ Research Council and the Journal of Democracy’s International Advisory Committee, went on to argue that read the rest

Promoting democracy – the Wilsonian way?

As analysts speculate on which elements, if any, of the Bush foreign policy legacy the new Obama administration should retain, and even ask whether liberals should promote liberal democracy,  a new book notes that American presidents from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Bill Clinton made democracy promotion a centerpiece of foreign policy.

“There is a good deal of support across the political spectrum for international assistance in support of struggling democracies,” one contributor contends…read the rest

Religious freedom: democracy’s canary in the coal mine?

The incoming U.S. administration must integrate issues of religious freedom into foreign policy in the areas of democracy promotion, counter terrorism, and public diplomacy, a new book argues.

“We have got to include religious freedom in the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, the USAID, and all of our democracy promotion efforts,” he writes. …read the rest

Regime change – out, helping failed states – in

Democracy assistance practitioners frequently bemoan the ill-informed conflation of their work with militarized forms of regime change. They may at least be comforted by the latest unconventional thinking from the Pentagon. “The United States is unlikely to repeat another Iraq or Afghanistan — that is, forced regime change followed by nation building under fire — anytime soon,” U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates writes in the January/February 2009 edition of Foreign Affairs .…read the rest

Escaping North Korea’s gulag

The Washington Post carries a must-read article , recounting the ordeal of former North Korean political prisoner Shin Dong-hyuk. The only known prisoner to escape from the Stalinist regime’s gulag, Shin was the victim of the most perverse form of guilt-by-association…read the rest

After you’ve read that, check out a new report from the US Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), entitled Legal Strategies for Protecting Human Rights in North Korea , a handbook for groups seeking to use the international legal system to advance human rights in North Korea

Charter 08 – a blueprint for fundamental change in China

If you haven’t yet read Charter 08 , a vitally significant initiative on the part of over 300 Chinese dissidents, intellectuals and officials, you should. Here it is . The release of the Charter spooked the authorities, prompting arrest of leading dissidents.

You really should read the whole thing.

Uncivil society a factor in Asia’s democracy backlash

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono opened the Bali Democracy Forum  recently, prompting debate amongst activists and analysts as to whether the new forum is a talking shop or catalyst for change?

Asia has also seen the unwelcome emergence of “uncivil society” movements in …read the rest

Maintaining momentum for Arab reform

There are competing visions on democracy’s place in foreign policy, and the incoming administration is not short of advice on how to rescue democracy promotion or how liberals should spread liberal democracy.

The U.S. should maintain financial and moral assistance to Arab reformers, despite concerns that such support provokes a backlash, a recent analysis concludes. The analysis echoes the demands of Arab activists who believe the new administration should nurture ‘home-grown’ Arab democracy , those analysts who insist that it should not throw out baby with the bathwater and tell Arab regimes that there’s no long-term security without reformread the rest

Ukraine ‘zig-zagging’ towards democracy Italian-style?

The byzantine politics of Ukraine’s dysfunctional elite may be undermining the country’s international reputation and playing into the hands of its Russian detractors. But it is still evolving in a democratic direction, albeit toward “Italian-style politics…with systemic snags and never-ending elite zigzags ,” argues Rutgers University’s Alexander J. Motyl…read the rest

Somalia-Somaliland – stark contrasts

We often read references to democracy and human rights activists operating in adverse or difficult circumstances. But, as a report from the Dr. Ismail Jumale Human Rights Organization indicates, few environments can be as challenging as that of Somalia.  

Armed conflict between the Transitional Federal Government forces and its Ethiopian allies, and Islamist and militia insurgents has led to over a million internally displaced people, DIJHRO reports.

By stark contrast, another report highlights Somaliland’s successful democratization, as follows…read the rest

Authoritarian Consolidation, Foreign Policy, and Democracy Assistance

Democracy & Society is seeking well-written, interesting submissions of 800-2000 words on the theme Authoritarian Consolidation, US Foreign Policy, and the Future of Democracy Assistance, including summaries and/or excerpts of recently completed research, new publications, and work in progress. Please email submissions (MS Word preferred) to cdats06@gmail.com. Endnotes preferred. Please include your name, department or organization, title, and contact information. For additional information, please visit the journal website or contact Cory Julie at cdats06@gmail.com. Submissions for the issue are due Friday, January 30, 2009.

International Center for Not-for-Profit Law – Research Fellowships

The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are pleased to announce the availability of four new Research Fellowships. The fellowships will provide the opportunity to spend 3-4 weeks in Washington, DC to conduct research on the legal framework for civil society. Fellows must be available for travel during May and/or June 2009. The fellowships are open to applicants from designated countries in Africa and Latin America.

This fellowship is supported by USAID and through a sub-award with Pact, Inc., as part of the Legal Enabling Environment Program (LEEP); LEEP is designed to help establish legal frameworks that protect and promote civil society through technical assistance, strengthening local capacity, and developing NGO legal research.

For more information, and to apply for the Research Fellowship, please go here or email Elaine Scudder at escudder@icnl.org . Applications must be received by January 31, 2009.

Legal Advisor – Middle East/North Africa, International Center for Not-For-Profit Law, Washington, DC

The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) works in more than 100 countries around the world to promote an enabling legal framework for civil society, the freedom of association, and philanthropy. ICNL is seeking a full-time Legal Advisor to join our Middle East/North Africa team. The position will be based in Washington, DC with extensive travel to select Middle Eastern countries.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Please apply online by submitting a cover letter and curriculum vitae in Word or PDF format. Be sure to reference “Legal Advisor – Middle East/North Africa” in the appropriate line. You may also send applications to: ICNL Legal Advisor Search Coordinator 1126 16th Street, NW, Suite 400 Washington, DC 20036 with proposal writing and fundraising activities.

Various Vacancies, National Democratic Institute.

Currently available international openings include: Guinea: Resident Senior Program Manager ; Iraq: Resident Civic Organizer and Advocacy Specialist ; Iraq: Resident Civil Society and Election Monitoring Expert ; Iraq: Resident Political Party Program Director ; Iraq: Resident Regional Senior Program Coordinator ; Iraq: Resident Senior Program Officer, Political Party Building Specialist ; Kenya: Resident Director ; Nigeria: Senior Legislative Advisors ; Sierra Leone: Resident Director ; Somalia: Resident Director ; Sudan: Resident Program Officers ; Sudan: Resident Senior Program Manager ; Uzbekistan: Resident Director Currently available Washington DC-based openings include: General Accounting Assistant Manager: Accounting ; IT Administrative Assistant: Technology ; Program Officer: Operations ; Systems Administrator: Technology Programs ; Senior Agreement Administrator: Program Coordination ; Program Manager: Asia ; Program Manager: Southern and East Africa ; Program Officer – Content Administrator: Middle East and North Africa ; Program Officer: Eurasia ; Senior Operations Manager. Full details here.

Various Vacancies, International Republican Institute.

Currently available international openings include: Resident Country Director, Russia; Resident Country Director, Angola; Resident Program Officer/ Political Parties and Research Iraq (Erbil); Resident Accountant, Iraq; Resident Program Officer, Afghanistan; Resident Program Officer/Civil Society, Iraq (Erbil); Resident Program Officer, Jordan; Resident Program Officer/Campaign Specialist, Sudan; Resident Program Officer, Sudan (Juba) Currently available Washington DC-based openings include: Program Officer-Governance, DC (Iraq); Network Administrator; Help Desk Level II; Junior Accountant Full details here.

Solidarity Center Headquarters: Bilingual Project Accountant — Chinese

The Project Accountant is responsible for all aspects of the accounting relating to project expenses of his/her assigned projects and/or region. To Apply: Please send cover letter and résumé to Lisa Humphries, Human Resources Officer, Solidarity Center, 888 16th Street, N.W., Suite 400, Washington, DC 20006; by e-mail to lhumphries@solidaritycenter.org; or by fax to 202-974-8266

Solidarity Center Field Positions: Country Program Director, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Country Program Director, Nigeria

The Country Program Director designs and implements field programs. S/he draws on her/his experience to write persuasive concept papers and proposals and seek funding for programs that address the needs of the partner trade unions, the AFL-CIO, and the U.S. strategy for the country or region. To Apply: Please send cover letter and résumé to Lisa Humphries, Human Resources Officer, Solidarity Center, 888 16th Street, N.W., Suite 400, Washington, DC 20006; by e-mail to lhumphries@solidaritycenter.org; or by fax to 202-974-8266.

Center for International Private Enterprise, Program Officer (Level I), Asia

The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), a non-profit, non-partisan affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is seeking candidates for the position of Program Officer, Asia.  As part of a team reporting to the Regional Director this position is responsible for providing management, programmatic, and communications support. 

Please send cover letter, resume or CV, and brief writing sample to jobs@cipe.org with ‘PO-Asia-LASTNAME’ in the subject line.  No phone calls. Full details here.

Center for International Private Enterprise, Research Assistant, Knowledge Management

This position is responsible for providing research, writing, and administrative support.  Please send cover letter, resume, academic transcript, and two writing samples (ten page limit) to jobs@cipe.org with ‘RA-KM-LASTNAME’ in the subject line.  Full details here.

Center for International Private Enterprise, Regional Finance Officer, Middle East & Africa

This position is responsible for overseeing and conducting financial transactions and reporting in strict compliance with accepted financial management standards and CIPE financial operation procedures.  Full details here.

Other CIPE vacancies include: Program Assistant, Program Coordination Unit; Business Investment Specialist; Program Assistant, MENA. Full details here.

Global Rights, Country Director- Democratic Republic of Congo

The Country Director is the chief representative of Global Rights in the DRC, responsible for leading the organization’s work, developing its vision, and overseeing the pursuit of Global Rights’ mission. Full details here . To apply please send a cover letter and curriculum vitae by email, fax or mail to: DRC Country Director Search, Global Rights, 1200 18th Street, NW, Suite 602 Washington, DC 20036 USA Fax: +1 (202) 822 4606 Email: Jobs@globalrights.org

IFES Democracy at Large, Human Resource Specialist-Afghanistan (Kabul)

IFES is an international, nonprofit organization that supports the building of democratic societies. IFES provides targeted technical assistance to strengthen transitional democracies. The Human Resources Specialist will report to the Chief of Party and the project’s Capacity Building Manager. This position is contingent on funding. Full details and application here.

IFES Democracy at Large, Public Outreach Specialist- Iraq (Baghdad)

IFES is providing significant technical assistance to the Iraqi High Electoral Commission (IHEC) and the constitution drafting committee. Key Areas of Responsibility: Advise the Iraqi High Electoral Commission (IHEC) on planning, design and implementation of voter education/public information strategies and campaigns for upcoming electoral projects; Advise and assist the IHEC in coordination with other organizations involved in the public outreach campaigns, including media, CSO, international donor community and other electoral stakeholders. Contact Bruce Papendick at bpapendick@ifes.org for more information.

IFES Democracy at Large, Governorate Electoral Office Liaison

The Governorate Electoral Office Liaison Officer (GEO-LO) is responsible for assessing the needs of the Governorate Electoral Offices of Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC). The position provides the GEOs access to technical assistance and material resources, as well as mentoring and advice on best practices for electoral processes. Full description and application here .

The Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), Liaison Officer Afghanistan

The Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) is a democracy assistance organization of political parties in The Netherlands for political parties in young democracies. The NIMD Liaison Officer will closely liaise with the NIMD in The Hague and with the National Steering Committee, coordinate the functioning of the Steering Committee and function as a liaison between the Steering Committee and the NIMD in The Hague, and oversee the implementation and the general direction of the program. Full details here.

Club of Madrid, Project Assistant, Middle East and North Africa

The Project Assistant will support the implementation of projects and will report to the Program Officer and Program Director. Duties will include logistics, budget management, research and compiling project materials. The candidate must have strong interest in the areas of democracy & governance and related fields, in particular in the Middle East and North Africa. To apply, send cover letter and resume to clubmadrid@clubmadrid.org. Full details here.


Tuesday, January 27, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Freedom after the Freedom Agenda: Freedom in the World 2009. A discussion of the findings from Freedom in the World 2009, Freedom House’s annual survey of political rights and civil liberties worldwide. Discussion participants: Thomas Carothers, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, author of Confronting the Weakest Link: Aiding Political Parties in New Democracies; Larry Diamond, Stanford University, author of The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World; Josh Muravchik, American Enterprise Institute, author of the upcoming book, The Next Founders: Voices of Democracy in the Middle East. Moderator: Jackson Diehl, The Washington Post. Venue: Newseum,  Knight Studio, 555 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC. RSVP to Elena Postnikova at Postnikova@freedomhouse.org or 202-747-7038

Tuesday, January 27, 7pm. “Obama on the Middle East – From Rhetoric to Reality.” Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, King’s College, London; Amir Taheri, author; Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi, Transatlantic Institute Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, London W2. 020 7479 8950. Full details here.

Tuesday, January 27. 6pm. Committee Room 7, House of Commons, London SW1 “Towards Cosmopolitan Democracy?” Prof. Daniele Archibugi, Research Director, Italian National Research Council. Geopolitics in the 21st Century is increasing depolarised.  Power is being increasingly diffused throughout the world as a consequence of globalisation. But, suggests Daniele Archibugi, author of The Global Commonwealth of Citizens: Toward Cosmopolitan Democracy such trends will only makes us weaker and create instability in the globe.   By kind invitation of Dr. Nick Palmer MP, the Henry Jackson Society invites you to a discussion with Prof. Daniele Archibugi, Research Director at the Italian National Research Council (CNR) in Rome. Prof. Archibugi will explore the idea of a cosmopolitan democracy as a solution for the global problems of the 21st Century and examine issues such as whether democracy beyond nation-states is feasible, and whether it is possible to inform global governance with democratic norms and values.

Archibugi argues that democracy can be extended to the global political arena by strengthening and reforming existing international organizations and creating new ones, and he calls for dramatic changes in the foreign policies of nations to make them compatible with global public interests. Archibugi advocates giving voice to new global players such as social movements, cultural communities, and minorities. He proposes building institutional channels across borders to address common problems, and encourages democratic governance at the local, national, regional, and global levels, in order to build a world order based on the rule of law and democracy. To attend, please RSVP to marcel.thach@henryjacksonsociety.org  

Thursday, January 29, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. The SAIS International Development Program and The Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) . A panel discussion on “Foreign Assistance in a Time of Crisis: Priorities for a New Administration”. Speakers will explore questions about the current predicament and future prospects of foreign assistance. Panelists for this event will include James Kolbe, Member of the United States House of Representatives, 1985-2007, and Navtej Dillhon, Director, Middle East Youth Initiative, Brookings Institution. Please contact developmentroundtable@jhu.edu to RSVP.

Thursday, January 29, 2009. Strategic Persistence: How the United States Can Help Improve Human Rights in China. Distinguished Speakers:Harry Harding, Professor, Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University; Louisa Coan Greve, Program Director for East Asia at the National Endowment for Democracy. Presenting the Report and Moderating the Panel: William F. Schulz, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress and author of “Strategic Persistence: How the United States Can Help Improve Human Rights in China”

The relationship between the United States and China may well be the most important bilateral relationship in the world. In recognition of that fact, the Center for American Progress is releasing a new report entitled, “Strategic Persistence: How the United States Can Help Improve Human Rights in China.” The report provides both fundamental principles that should guide U.S. policymakers in their efforts to effect positive change in China’s human rights practices and concrete recommendations to advance those efforts.

U.S. approaches to human rights in China have ranged from confrontation to passivity and have rarely reflected a coordinated strategy across government entities. The key to U.S. efforts to promote human rights in China is to take a coherent, pragmatic, non-ideological approach that goes beyond easy rhetoric, takes advantage of strategic openings, and recognizes the value of persistence. Ultimately, China must be persuaded that greater democracy and human rights are in its own best interests and are integral to its becoming the highly respected global leader it aspires to be.

Program: 12:00pm to 1:30pm. Admission is free. Center for American Progress, 1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20005. Click here to RSVP for this Event. For more information, please call 202-682-1611.

Thursday January 29, 9:00am – 12:00pm (EST). On-line forum on democracy promotion. Join the U.S. State Department for an open on-line forum on democracy promotion , followed by a live discussion with the presidents of two partner organizations, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI). The presidents have co-authored New Directions for Democracy Promotion , which looks at how the U.S. should remain engaged in democracy promotion. Kenneth Wollack has, since 1993, been president of NDI, a nonpartisan organization that works to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide by promoting citizen participation, openness and accountability in government. Lorne Craner returned to IRI as president in August 2004 after serving as Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor for Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Friday, January 30, 9:00am – 3:30pm. The Imam Returned: 30 Years of Revolution In Iran. Thirty years after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s return, the politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran remain as thorny as ever. More than half of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s cabinet has resigned, or been impeached, since he took office in 2005. And as the June 2009 presidential elections draw near, Iran’s many political factions clash with increasing vitriol. Declining oil prices, accelerating inflation, rising unemployment, and a liquidity crisis have also triggered increased debate over the Islamic Republic’s economic stability. While president-elect Barack Obama has pledged to change U.S. policy toward Iran and renew diplomacy, he will not start with a blank slate. Nearly thirty years ago, the Carter administration’s moves to normalize relations with the Islamic Republic sparked the U.S. Embassy seizure. What is the legacy of that hostage crisis? Can engagement with the Iranian regime succeed in this political vortex? Should Obama abandon the Bush administration’s emphasis on democratization, or refine its methods? To answer these and other questions, five panels of leading experts on Iran will assess the last three decades of revolution, the troubled history of U.S.-Iranian relations, and the future. Jeffrey Gedmin, president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, will deliver the keynote address. Venue: AEI, Wohlstetter Conference Center, 12FL, 1150 17th Street, N.W. (map)

Friday, January 30, Can Cuba Change? A discussion featuring the authors of articles appearing in the January 2009 Journal of Democracy. Eusebio Mujal-León on “Tensions in the Regime”; Carl Gershman & Orlando Gutierrez on “Ferment in Civil Society“. Moderated by Marc F. Plattner.

Since Fidel Castro’s relinquishment of power to his younger brother Raúl, scholars and activists have been waiting to see if Cuba would experience any significant political, economic, and social change. Although there has not been any dramatic transformation so far, cracks in the repressive system appear to be growing. In the January 2009 Journal of Democracy, Eusebio Mujal-León describes the steps taken by Raúl Castro to prepare for the impending generational transfer of leadership while maintaining unity and discipline, and analyzes the potential fault lines within the ruling elite. Carl Gershman and Orlando Gutierrez examine the growth of opposition movements and civil society, including bloggers, university students and other youths, Afro-Cubans, and labor groups. In the context of widespread discussion of possible changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba, this discussion can help us to understand what is really happening on the island itself.

Carl Gershman is president of the National Endowment for Democracy. Orlando Gutierrez is visiting professor of political theory at Florida International University and cofounder and national secretary of the Cuban Democratic Directorate (Directorio), which seeks to marshal international support for the civic democratic movement in Cuba. Eusebio Mujal-León is associate professor of government at Georgetown University and director of the Cuba XXI Project. He is working on a book about regime change in Cuba. Marc F. Plattner (moderator) is coeditor of the Journal of Democracy, codirector of the International Forum for Democratic Studies, and vice-president at the National Endowment for Democracy. 12 noon-2 pm (lunch served from 12-12:30 pm). The International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy, 1025 F. Street, N.W., Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 202.378.9675. RSVP (acceptances only) with name and affiliation by Wednesday, January 28 to forum@ned.org.

February 12, 7pm. From fatwa and book-burning to jihad and hate laws: twenty years of free-speech wars. Kenan Malik, writer and broadcaster; Tariq Modood, Bristol University Amol Rajan, The Independent Stephen Law, Centre for Inquiry Jo Glenville, Index on Censorship. Bishopsgate Institute, Bishopsgate, London, EC2. 020 7932 9220. Full details here.

April 19. Geneva Summit for Democracy, Tolerance and Human Rights: Combating Racism and Repression: Toward a Culture of Human Rights. Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the Genocide Convention. Registration details here.  

Sessions and speakers include:

  • “Racism, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity: Assessing the Genocide Convention After 60 Years”: Irwin Cotler, Counsel for genocide victims and dissidents, Canadian MP; Gregory Stanton, President of Genocide Watch and International Association of Genocide Scholars; Ester Murawajo, Tutsi survivor, founder of AVEGA; Dominique Sopo, President of SOS Racisme.
  • “Resisting Authoritarianism: Human Rights, Democracy, and the Dissident Movement”: Bo Kyi, Burmese dissident and winner of the Human Rights Prize from Human Rights Watch; Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Egyptian dissident; José Gabriel Ramón Castillo, Cuban dissident and prisoner of conscience; Esra’a Al Shafei, dissident blogger, Mideast Youth – Thinking Ahead.
  • Torture and Cruel and Inhuman Treatment: Nazanin Afshin-Jam, president of Stop Child Execution: Parvez Sharma, Producer of the documentary Jihad for Love; Ahmad Batebi, Iranian dissident.
  • Freedom of Expression and “Defamation of Religion”: Mohamed Sifaoui, Journalist, Algeria; Floyd Abrams, U.S. advocate for First Amendment press freedom; Patrick Gaubert, President of LICRA and Member of the European Parliament.

Organizing Coalition: Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma); AVEGA – Association of Widows of Genocide (Rwanda); Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America; The Cuban Democratic Directorate (Directorio); Darfur Peace and Development Center; Fondation Généreuse Développement (FGD); Freedom House; Freedom Now; GAERG (Groupe des Anciens Etudiants Réscapés du Genocide); Global Zimbabwe Forum; Human Rights Without Frontiers; Ibuka (Remember – Rwandese survivors’ association); IFLRY – International Federation of Liberal Youth; IGLYO –  the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Youth and Student Organization; Ingenieurs du Monde; Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme; SOS Racisme; Stop Child Executions; the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty; the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project; UN Watch. Additional Supporters: Urgence Darfour; Genocide Watch; the International Campaign to End Genocide; the International Association of Genocide Scholars; Inter-African Committee; Council for a Democratic Iran (CDI).