News and Notes

Issue Date October 2015
Volume 26
Issue 4
Page Numbers 187-89
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Virtuous Circles of Governance

On July 8–12, the European Research Centre for Anti-Corruption and State-Building at Berlin’s Hertie School of Governance sponsored a conference entitled “Understanding Governance Virtuous Circles: Who Succeeded and Why.” The event was organized as part of a five-year research project on anticorruption policies funded by the European Commission. The conference included panels on the causes of and responses to corruption across a variety of political contexts. The sessions examined case studies on anticorruption campaigns from Latin America, Europe, and Asia, seeking to draw lessons from the countries that have been the most successful in achieving control of corruption.

The conference opened with a video of an interview with former Estonian prime minister Mart Laar, followed by a public roundtable featuring Robert Klitgaard (Claremont Graduate University), Larry Diamond (Stanford University), Philip Keefer (World Bank), and Michael Johnston (Colgate University). Conference organizer Alina Mungiu-Pippidi (Hertie School) chaired the discussion.

A set of essays based on the conference papers will appear in the January issue of the Journal of Democracy.

Francis Fukuyama Honored with Skytte Award

On August 5, Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University, was awarded the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science by the Skytte Foundation. The prize recognized Fukuyama for his valuable contributions to political science, in particular his comprehensive two-volume work entitled The Origins of Political Order (2011) and Political Order and Political Decay (2014). The prize committee praised Fukuyama for having, with “breath-taking learnedness, clarity and courage, thrown new light [End Page 187] over the growth of modern political order.”

Johan Skytte, the award’s namesake, was a Swedish politician whose generous donation to Uppsala University in 1622 led to the creation of a chair in political science and eloquence. In 1994, the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science was established to recognize prominent academics who have had a significant impact on the field of political science.

Supporting Young African Leaders

On August 2–5, the U.S. State Department, in partnership with several nongovernmental organizations, hosted a Presidential Summit as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. The summit brought together 500 young leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa to meet with key U.S. civil society representatives, government officials, and entrepreneurs representing more than 100 participating organizations. The event featured a forum with members of Congress and breakout sessions on human rights, accountability and transparency in governance, and entrepreneurship.

Prior to the summit, the Mandela Fellows engaged in six weeks of academic study and professional development at various host institutions. The fellowship is a flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) launched last year by U.S. president Barack Obama to enhance leadership skills among the next generation of African citizens.

European Democracy Forums

On June 22–24, the Institute for Political Studies of the Catholic University of Portugal hosted its twenty-third annual political forum in Estoril, Portugal. The event, which brought together distinguished political experts from across Europe and the United States, was organized around the theme “800 Years after the Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, and Power.” The conference featured discussions on the legacy of the Magna Carta, as well as panels on the prospects for democracy in Africa, Asia, and Brazil, and on the future of the EU. Speakers included José Manuel Durão Barroso, former president of the European Commission.

On September 13–16, the nineteenth Forum 2000 conference took place in Prague and other central European cities. In commemoration of the legacy of Václav Havel, this annual conference provides a platform for leading academics and democracy practitioners to debate critical issues related to democracy and human rights. The 2015 event focused on the relationship between democracy and education, with discussions centered on the potential for education to deepen democracy.

On September 14–15, Freedom House, the Hudson Institute, and the National Endowment for Democracy, in partnership with three prominent European democracy institutes, hosted a democracy forum in Vilnius, Lithuania. The first “Vilnius Democracy Forum” included three working sessions examining the [End Page 188] threat posed by nondemocratic regimes and the need for democracies to restore their commitment to liberal values. The event featured welcoming remarks from Lithuanian president H.E. Dalia Grybauskaitė and a keynote address by Karen Dawisha of Miami University.

International Forum

On July 15, the Forum hosted a panel on “The Global Campaign Against Democratic Norms,” based on articles that appeared in the July 2015 Journal of Democracy. The discussion featured remarks by Alexander Cooley, Columbia University; Steven Heydemann, Smith College; Ronald Deibert, University of Toronto; and Christopher Sabatini, Columbia University. NED’s Marc F. Plattner moderated the event. The panelists examined the emergence of new antidemocratic norms and their implications for liberal democracy.

On September 18, the Forum organized a discussion entitled “Democracy Promotion and the Democracy Recession” in celebration of the publication of In Search of Democracy, a new collection of essays by Larry Diamond. In addition to Diamond, the panelists included Thomas Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Louisa Greve of NED, and Peter Lewis of Johns Hopkins–SAIS.

The Forum also hosted several events featuring Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows. On June 16, Professor Rut Diamint (Argentina) delivered a talk entitled “How the Military Is Eroding Democratic Institutions in Latin America,” which was followed by comments by Harold Trinkunas of the Brookings Institution. On June 23, journalist Simegnish Mengesha (Ethiopia) gave a talk entitled “Too Scared to Post: Freedom of Expression Under Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Legislation.” Yohanan Assefa of NED offered comments on the presentation. On June 25, Farahnaz Ispahani, a women’s rights advocate and former member of Pakistan’s National Assembly, delivered a presentation entitled “The Threat of Religious Extremism to Women’s Participation in the Muslim World.” Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute offered comments.

On June 30, Lily Gomes, senior program officer with the Solidarity Center in Bangladesh, gave a talk entitled “Strengthening Democracy in Bangladesh through Women’s Empowerment in Trade Unions,” which was followed by comments by the Solidarity Center’s Tim Ryan. On July 13, visiting fellow and journalist Yoshihiro Makino (Japan) delivered a presentation on “Why Human Rights Matter in Policy Toward North Korea.” Bruce Klingner of the Heritage Foundation offered remarks.

In October, the Forum welcomed a new group of Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows: Nodira Abdulloeva (Tajikistan), Shad Begum (Pakistan), Gabor Demszky (Hungary), Lamii Kpargoi (Liberia), Manoj Mitta (India), and Tilak Pathak (Nepal). This group will be in residence through February 2016. [End Page 189]


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