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Journal of Democracy 11.4 (2000) 188-190
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News and Notes
World Democrats Meet in Warsaw
On June 25-27, two major gatherings were held in Warsaw. An unprecedented intergovernmental meeting at the foreign minister level brought together 107 nations to discuss enhanced international cooperation for strengthening democracy. In addition to Poland, the co-convening governments included Chile, the Czech Republic, India, Korea, Mali, and the United States. Excerpts from the final declaration appear above on pp 183-86. For the full text and further information, visit www.democracyconference.org.
A parallel nongovernmental meeting, cosponsored by Freedom House and Poland's Stefan Batory Foundation, brought together 50 major world leaders and thinkers along with an audience of 300 civil society leaders from more than 80 countries. Among the many prominent speakers who addressed the conference were Madeleine Albright, Peruvian opposition leader Alejandro Toledo, financier George Soros, and East Timor leader José Ramos-Horta. For more information on this "World Forum on Democracy" as well as the text of its final declaration, visit www.fordemocracy.net.
Liberal Democracy and Religion
On June 21-24, the Institute for Political Studies at the Portuguese Catholic University and the LeFrak Forum at Michigan State University cosponsored a conference in Lisbon on "Liberal Democracy and Religion." Participants included former Portuguese president Mário Soares; Guilherme de Oliveira Martins, Portugal's minister of education; Rev. Oliver O'Donovan, Oxford University; George Weigel, biographer of John Paul II; Ferdinand Mount, editor of the Times Literary Supplement; and Michael Novak and Hillel Fradkin of the American Enterprise Institute. [End Page 188]
Democracy and Poverty
On June 8-9, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) held its 2000 Democracy Forum in Stockholm. Entitled "Democracy and Poverty: A Missing Link?" the meeting examined the possible connections between economic development and political democracy. Keynote speakers included Muhammad Yunus, managing director of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, and Cassam Uteem, president of Mauritius. Among the topics addressed were "Accountable Governance and Poverty Alleviation," "The Role of Rights in Poverty Alleviation," and "Donor Efforts to Promote Democracy and Alleviate Poverty." The meeting also included several regional workshops. For more information, visit www.idea.int.
Surveying Value Change in East Asia
Social scientists from ten countries gathered in Taipei at the beginning of July to plan a "comparative survey of democratization and value change in East Asia." The survey will examine support for and satisfaction with democracy, evaluations of regime performance, assessments of corruption and economic conditions, feelings of citizen empowerment or alienation, social capital, political participation, and value orientations related to traditionalism and authority.
The project plans to ask a number of common questions of the mass publics in Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand, as well as Hong Kong, mainland China, and possibly Indonesia. (A version of the comparative survey may also be done in India and could be expanded into a comparative survey of South Asia.) Based at National Taiwan University, under the leadership of Hu Fu and Yunhan Chu, the East Asia project is supported by a grant from Taiwan's Ministry of Education.
This new effort builds upon similar research in emerging democracies elsewhere. Present at the Taipei workshop were the directors of three other major regional surveys: Richard Rose of the University of Strathclyde (U.K.), who administers comparative surveys in the postcommunist states; Marta Lagos, who directs the Latinobarómetro from Santiago, Chile; and Michael Bratton of Michigan State University, who leads a team that is developing a barometer of attitudes and values in more than a dozen emerging democracies in Africa.
The new Taiwan-based project seeks to facilitate comparisons not only within Asia but across regions of the world. Toward that end, the workshop intensively reviewed questionnaire items used in Latin America, Africa, and the postcommunist states, as well as in established democracies. Country teams hope to be able to develop and test by the end of this year a questionnaire that can be administered throughout Asia in 2001. For more information, visit http://eacsurvey.law. ntu.edu.tw or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. [End Page 189...