Lorne Craner’s democratic commitment ‘built into his DNA’


Democracy advocates yesterday paid tribute to Lorne W. Craner, a tireless champion of democracy and human rights. The longest-serving President of the International Republican Institute – 1995-2001 and 2004-2014 – passed away July 2. 

“Lorne’s commitment to democracy was built into his DNA,” said National Endowment for Democracy (NED) president Carl Gershman.

“Barbara Haig reminded me the other day that during those early years, when the conflict in Central America divided the country and many people thought that NED was, in her words, a little ‘fringy and  nutty,’ that Lorne became part of a small circle of small-d democrats—some of whom like Penn Kemble, Bruce Cameron, Bob Leiken, and Jim Denton are also no longer with us—who believed that aiding democracy was an alternative to the conflict,” he told a virtual memorial service.

“This idea—that democracy is a nonviolent way to resolve conflict, a process that respects the dignity of the individual and represents the values of our country—is what drove Lorne.  It’s what he devoted his life to affirm and advance,” Gershman added:

At a global forum we held this week on the battle of narratives between democracy and authoritarianism—the occasion was International Democracy Day—the Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos-Horta, who spoke to us earlier this morning, remembered Lorne in his welcoming remarks.  He called Lorne his “favorite Republican” and said that he was “self-effacing, approachable, and compassionate.”

For decades, Lorne toiled in the vineyards of democracy, human rights, and good governance, helping to design and implement meaningful policies that promoted democracy and prosperity on nearly every continent, adds CSIS analyst Daniel Runde.

Contribute to The Lorne Craner Memorial Fund online or by donating to: Lorne Craner Memorial Fund, c/o International Republican Institute, 1225 I Street NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20005.

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