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  • The Unfinished Revolution

Participants from over 50 countries gathered in Washington, D.C. on April 15-16 for the National Endowment for Democracy's third international conference on democracy. The speakers, panelists, and guests included prominent intellectuals, government officials, journalists, academics, parliamentarians, trade union and student leaders, and human rights activists from around the world. The 1991 theme of this biennial event, "The Unfinished Revolution," was meant to reflect both the extraordinary worldwide democratic triumphs of the past few years and the enormous amount of work that remains to be done to consolidate and extend these gains.

The conference consisted of a series of seven panel discussions and a concluding luncheon featuring a speech by exiled Chinese physicist and human rights advocate Fang Lizhi. Also held in conjunction with the conference was a dinner ceremony on April 16 at which the Endowment's Democracy Award was presented to Presidents Václav Havel of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic and Violeta Chamorro of Nicaragua (see "News and Notes," p. 124).

The panel sessions focused on the following topics: "Central and Eastern Europe: Making the Transition"; "Latin America: Consolidating Democracy"; "Surviving Dictatorships" (with speakers representing China, Cuba, Sudan, and Vietnam); "Africa: Toward Multiparty Democracy"; "The Middle East: Toward a New Social Contract"; "South Africa: After Apartheid"; and "The Soviet Union: Democracy or Empire?"

The more than 30 brief statements and commentaries presented at these sessions contained a wealth of interesting insights. Taken together, they also provided a remarkable tour d'horizon of the problems and prospects facing democracy today. A volume containing the full conference proceedings will be published later this year by the National Endowment for Democracy. We feel fortunate to be able to present our readers in the pages that follow a selection of one presentation from each panel, along with the speech given by Fang Lizhi.

—The Editors [End Page 49]



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