- News and Notes
NED Hosts Fifth World Conference on Democracy
Democratic activists from more than 60 countries gathered in Washington, D.C., on May 1–2 for the National Endowment for Democracy’s Fifth World Conference on Democracy, a biennial event. Panels focused on the challenges facing democracy in six different regions of the world: the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, Africa, Eastern and Central Europe, and the former Soviet Union.
A concluding luncheon featured speeches by Korean democratic activist and former presidential candidate Kim Dae-jung, Nigerian writer and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, and Congressman David M. McIntosh.
A banquet was held on the evening of May 2 to honor recipients of NED’s 1995 Democracy Award. A joint award was presented to Elena Bonner and Sergei Kovalev, both lifelong human rights activists in Russia and leading opponents of the war in Chechnya. Awards were also given to Sergio Aguayo, president of the Mexican Academy of Human Rights and cofounder of the Civic Alliance (which carried out a comprehensive observation of the 21 August 1994 presidential election), and to Monique Mujawamariya, a courageous fighter for human rights in Rwanda. The award presentations were made by Senator John McCain, Congressman Lee Hamilton, and Senator Nancy Kassebaum, respectively.
The conference was followed on May 3 by a series of workshops on the activities and resources of NED’s International Forum for Democratic Studies (including its new Internet site) and the networking needs of democratic activists.
New Bibliography on Democracy Available
The Centre for Development Research in Copenhagen has published a bibliography entitled Third World Democratization? A Partly Annotated Bibliography of Recent Literature. Organized by region, it lists materials—most published between [End Page 186] 1990 and 1993—on sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin and Central America. A separate section is devoted to general and theoretical literature. The bibliography includes publications in the Scandinavian languages, English, German, and French. An electronic version, updated through 1994, will soon be available.
For more information, contact Svend Erik Lindberg-Hansen, Centre for Development Research, Gammel Kongevej 5, DK-1610 Copenhagen V, Denmark; phone, 33-25-12-00; fax, 33-25-81-10.
Civic Educators Brought Together in Prague
On June 2–6, 420 participants from 52 countries gathered in Prague at the headquarters of Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty to attend CIVITAS, a meeting devoted to strengthening citizenship and civic education, East and West. The conference was coordinated by the U.S. Information Agency in cooperation with a number of nongovernmental organizations, including the California-based Center for Civic Education and the Education Foundation of the American Federation of Teachers. The program included plenary sessions featuring distinguished speakers from both the West and the postcommunist countries, as well as numerous workshops and small discussion groups. The participants were primarily professional educators and representatives of nongovernmental organizations, along with a sprinkling of officials from governments and international organizations.
The conference was aimed at establishing a network that would facilitate the exchange of information and ideas among civic educators across the old East-West divide and eventually around the world. Toward that end, the organizers introduced Civnet, an Internet site dedicated to the exchange of information and resources related to civic education (it may be accessed at http://ericir.syr.edu/civnet). The participants reached agreement on a concluding declaration that called for increased attention, especially by international organizations, to the importance of civic education for the strengthening of democracy.
Democratic Governance in the Americas Explored
The North-South Center of the University of Miami hosted a conference entitled “Fault Lines of Democratic Governance in the Americas” on May 4–6. The meeting addressed problems of democracy in Latin American nations burdened by weak social, political, and economic legacies. Specific topics addressed in panel discussions included the impact of globalization on the state and civil society and the effects of questions of ethnicity and gender on the democratization process.
Revised versions of papers presented at the meeting will be included in a North-South Center book edited by conference organizer [End Page 187] Felipe Agüero and participant Jeffrey Stark.
Conference Focuses on Post-communist Transitions