Muslim Democrats meet in Istanbul
On April 12-14, the Congress of Democrats from the Islamic World met in Istanbul, Turkey. Created by leading democratic reformers from predominantly Muslim nations, the Congress was supported by the United Nations Development Programme, the Washington-based National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), and the Turkish Democracy Foundation.
Delegates included former and current high officials (such as former Turkish prime minister Mesut Yilmaz, Jordanian foreign minister Marwan Muasher, and Sierra Leonean president Ahmed Tejan Kabba), parliamentarians, and civic and political party leaders from countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
The meeting issued the “Platform for Democratic Governance in the Islamic World,” a statement emphasizing that the Islamic principles of “tolerance, justice, and participation” may provide the foundation for democratic governance and peace. For further information and a full list of all the participants, visit www.cdiw.org.
Islam and Democracy
A conference entitled “Beyond Radical Islam?” was held on April 15-18 at Michigan State University (MSU), organized by the university’s Symposium on Science, Reason, and Modern Democracy, and the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC). The conference addressed the distortion of traditional Muslim teachings by radical Islamists, and discussed various liberal currents within Islam.
Papers were presented by Abdou Filali-Ansary, director of the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations at Aga Khan University in London; Ahmed al-Rahim, founding member of the American Islamic Congress; Sohail Hashmi, associate professor of international relations at Mt. [End Page 188] Holyoke College; and Mohammed Ayoob, professor of international relations at MSU. Other participants included Husain Haqqani, visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Francis Fukuyama, professor of international political economy at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies; and Hillel Fradkin, former president of the EPPC. For a complete list of participants and topics, visit www.eppc.org.
Arab Reform Bulletin
The monthly online Arab Reform Bulletin, produced by the Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is now available in Arabic through a partnership with Dar Al-Watan, a Kuwaiti publishing house. Edited by Middle East specialist Amy Hawthorne, the Bulletin features analysis by Arab, American, and European experts on Middle East issues. To read past issues, or to sign up for a free e-mail subscription, visit www.ceip.org/arabreform. To access the Arabic version of the Bulletin, visit www.alwatan.com.kw/arb.
IDEA Meeting on Democracy in the Arab World
On March 25-26, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) organized a meeting at The Hague to discuss democratization in the Arab world. Bringing together government representatives, policy experts, and civil society activists, the meeting sought to increase the understanding of the possibilities for, and the challenges to, democracy-building in Arab countries. The papers and reports presented at the meeting are available at www.idea.int.
Tyranny: Ancient and Modern
On May 14-15, the University of Chicago’s John M. Olin Center for Inquiry into the Theory and Practice of Democracy sponsored a conference entitled “Tyranny: Ancient and Modern.” In various panels and roundtables, the speakers examined the history of the concept of tyranny and discussed its relationship to contemporary issues of human rights and foreign policy. For more information about the agenda and the participants, visit http://olincenter.uchicago.edu.
Civil Society and Political Parties
On March 15-17 Britain’s Wilton Park, in partnership with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, hosted a conference on “Achieving Sustainable Political Change in Emerging Democracies: The Political Party Challenge.” Participants discussed ways of strengthening political parties and the role of outside organizations in aiding party development. The conference featured presentations by Thomas Carothers, director of the Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment; Zainab Bangura, former coordinator of the [End Page 189] Campaign for Good Governance in Sierra Leone; and Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy. For more information, visit www.wiltonpark.org.uk.
Human Rights in North Korea
On February 29-March 2, representatives of governments, civil society, and human rights organizations convened in Warsaw for the Fifth International Conference on North Korean Human Rights and Refugees. Hosted by the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights and Poland’s Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the conference focused on the North Korean prison camps, the experience of NGOs in North Korea, and the role of the international community in helping to improve the country’s human rights problem. For more information, visit www.nkhumanrights.or.kr.
Report on NED’s International Forum
On April 2-3, the International Forum cosponsored with the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) an international conference in Mexico City entitled “Democratization by Elections? The Dynamics of Electoral Authoritarianism.” Participants from Australia, Mexico, Sweden, and the United States discussed such themes as the dynamics of electoral authoritarianism, the classification of political regimes, the means of electoral manipulation, and assessing the popularity of rulers and opposition. They also considered the ways in which rules shape elections, the conditions under which ruling parties split, and why opposition groups coalesce and compete in some settings but boycott elections in others. Andreas Schedler, the CIDE research scholar who organized the meeting, is editing a book of essays based on conference presentations.
On June 1-3, the International Forum and the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) convened in Jerusalem an International Workshop on Auditing Democracies. Represented among the participants were organizations from Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and the United States belonging to the Network of Democracy Research Institutes (NDRI). The workshop commenced with an event called “The President’s Conference” at the residence of Moshe Katzav, president of the state of Israel, at which IDI scholars presented the main findings of their 2004 Israeli Democracy Index.
President Katzav and senior officials from the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the Israeli government then participated in a discussion of the state of democracy before members of the Knesset, political and business leaders, scholars, the media, and international guests. The workshop continued with presentations by other NDRI members who conduct democracy audits or other quantitative assessments of the quality of democracy in their respective countries. It concluded with a session devoted to exploring how democracy activists can use the findings of such audits to strengthen and improve democracy. [End Page 190]
Two meetings were held in connection with articles published in the April 2004 issue of the Journal of Democracy. On March 8, the Forum hosted a luncheon seminar entitled “Is Anti-Americanism a Threat to Democracy?” featuring Ivan Krastev, chairman of the board of Bulgaria’s Center for Liberal Strategies. And on May 25, the Forum hosted a speech by Francis Fukuyama, professor of international political economy at the Johns Hopkins University, on “The Imperative of State-Building.” The event marked the publication of his new book, State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century.
In April and May, the International Forum welcomed four new Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows: Mohamed Al-Yahyai (Oman), Oleksandr Fisun (Ukraine), Maria Lisitsyna (Kyrgyz Republic), and Fidaa Shehada (Palestinian Territories). A number of Reagan-Fascell fellows gave presentations this spring:
On March 23, a roundtable discussion “From NAFTA to CAFTA: Prospects for Strengthening Free Trade and Democracy in Central America” featured Francisco Villagrán de León, former Guatemalan ambassador to the OAS and the UN.
A March 25 seminar entitled “The New Face of Power in Azerbaijan: Assessing Ilham Aliyev’s First Hundred Days in Office” featured Shahin Abbasov, deputy editor-in-chief of the Baku independent daily Echo.
On April 8, a luncheon seminar entitled “Armenia in Regional Context: Prospects for Democracy and Integration” featured human rights activist Anahit Bayandur, a former member of the Armenian parliament.
An April 14 luncheon entitled “Singapore: Myth or Model?” featured Chee Soon Juan, secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party and director of the Open Singapore Centre.
On April 21, Vladimir Tismaneanu, professor of government at the University of Maryland-College Park, gave a presentation entitled “Democracy Romanian Style: Assessing Fifteen Years of Postcommunist Transition.”
A May 18 luncheon event entitled “Is Mongolian Democracy in Danger of Backsliding?” featured a presentation by Mongolian democratic activist Enkhtuya Oidov.
On May 26, Lyudmila Georgieva, founding chair of the Sofia-based Foundation Common Cause, spoke on “Policy Advocacy in Bulgaria.”
A June 1 luncheon presentation entitled “Pakistan: Democratization, Authoritarianism, and the Consolidation of Military Rule,” featured Pakistani political analyst and columnist Aqil Shah.
In the article “Does Diversity Hurt Democracy?” by M. Steven Fish and Robin S. Brooks in the January 2004 issue, there was an error in Table 1—Regressions of Freedom House Ratings on Hypothesized Determinants. The contents of the two rows labeled Adj. R2 and N should be reversed, and every three columns in the table should appear consolidated in the N row. The corrected table is available on the Journal website at www.journalofdemocracy.org/Articles/FishandBrooksTable-15-1.pdf.
Copyright © 2004 National Endowment for Democracy and Johns Hopkins University Press