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Masipula Sithole

Masipula Sithole was one of Africa's most respected political scientists and a devoted advocate of democracy. The younger brother of the founder of the opposition Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) party, Sithole was since 1980 a professor of political science at the University of Zimbabwe and, more recently, founding director of the Mass Public Opinion Institute in Harare (a member of the Afrobarometer network). Widely admired inside Zimbabwe and among colleagues internationally for his wit, warmth, and courage, Sithole received his doctorate from the University of Cincinnati, taught at the University of Dayton, Ohio, and held a research fellowship at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He was also a member of the Research Council of the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Sithole was most recently a senior fellow in residence at the U.S. Institute for Peace. A longtime critic of the regime of President Robert Mugabe, Sithole and his son, Masipula Sithole, Jr., were working on a book-length manuscript entitled, "Mugabe's 23 Years of Risk Taking in Zimbabwe"—a historical case study that incorporated prospect theory to analyze the nature of political developments in postcolonial Zimbabwe. The Journal of Democracy extends its condolences to the Sithole family.

Human Rights Activist Acquitted

Egypt's supreme appeals court, the Court of Cassation, on March 18 acquitted Saad Eddin Ibrahim, the country's most prominent democracy advocate. Ibrahim was first arrested in June 2000 along with 27 colleagues from the Ibn Khaldun Center, an independent think tank established by Ibrahim in 1988. In May 2001, a security court sentenced him to seven years in prison for embezzlement, [End Page 188] tarnishing Egypt's image, and accepting foreign money without government approval. He appealed but was found guilty again in July 2002. The Court of Cassation was his last judicial option; its verdict is final, and the Egyptian government cannot appeal. After receiving medical attention in the United States, Ibrahim returned to Egypt and plans to teach the fall semester at the American University in Cairo. Committed to resuming his lifelong agenda of promoting human rights and democracy, he returned to work at the Ibn Khaldun Center, which was scheduled to reopen in late June.

Ibrahim is the author of numerous monographs, essays, and articles on democracy, human rights, and economic development, and is a member of the Journal of Democracy's International Advisory Committee. For more information on the case, please see his "A Reply to My Accusers" in the Journal's October 2000 issue.

Postponement of World Movement's Third Assembly

In light of the then-impending war in Iraq and the uncertain world situation, the steering committee of the World Movement for Democracy regretfully decided on March 18 to postpone the World Movement's Third Assembly, which had been set for April 23-27 in Durban, South Africa. The Third Assembly has been rescheduled for 1-4 February 2004, and its theme will remain "Building Democracy for Peace, Development, and Human Rights." It will bring together more than 500 democracy activists, practitioners, and scholars for over 40 workshops focused on regional challenges, areas of democracy work, and building functional networks across borders. For more information, see

Foundations Convene in Paris

On March 20-21, 36 organizations from 18 countries participated in the World Conference of Democracy-Support Foundations, which serves as a venue for these organizations to discuss and pursue common interests and projects. The conference, held in Paris, included roundtable discussions about the potential new role of democracy-promotion foundations in a united Europe, perspectives on democracy in Africa, the role of foundations in promoting democracy in the Muslim world, and the work of the foundations in South America. NED president Carl Gershman's speech to the conference, "Promoting Democracy in the Muslim World," is available at

Islam and Democracy

On May 16-17, the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) held its fourth annual conference in Washington, D.C. Panel discussions were held on religious versus secular governance, the role of women and gender in the governance of...


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