News and Notes

Issue Date January 2018
Volume 29
Issue 1
Page Numbers 185-87
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Fourteenth Annual Lipset Lecture

On November 29, William A. Galston delivered the fourteenth annual Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture on Democracy in the World at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Galston, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and College Park Professor at the University of Maryland, spoke on “The Populist Challenge to Liberal Democracy.” An article based on Galston’s lecture will appear in the April 2018 issue of the Journal.

Established in 2004, the Lipset Lecture is a joint initiative of the National Endowment for Democracy’s (NED) International Forum for Democratic Studies and the Munk School for Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. Galston is scheduled to deliver the lecture at the Munk School on January 18.

For a video recording of the Washington lecture, visit:

Conferences on Democracy

On September 12–13, Britain’s Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) brought together 200 delegates from around the world for its twenty-fifth anniversary conference in London. Panels addressed such topics as the United Kingdom’s role in democracy assistance, the future of democracy support, and democracy’s impact on state stability. Founded in 1992, the WFD is a democracy-strengthening organization funded principally by the British government. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson delivered the opening remarks by video.

Also at the conference, the WFD launched its five-year “Strategic Framework” to expand the Foundation’s focus on political parties and parliamentary capacity to include deeper partnerships with civil society and electoral institutions. For more information, visit: [End Page 185]

On October 20, Korea’s National Academy of Sciences devoted its annual international conference to “Democracy in Crisis: Challenges and Opportunities.” Kyong Dong Kim of Seoul National University delivered the keynote address entitled “Is Perfect Democracy Possible?” Panels addressed topics such as democracy in Asia, democracy from a global perspective, and the impact of institutional design on democratic consolidation. Foreign participants included David Held of the University of Durham, Hiroshi Watanabe of the University of Tokyo, and Marc Plattner of the Journal of Democracy.

Zagreb Youth Summit

On November 6–9, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR) organized its fourth youth summit in Zagreb, Croatia, convening more than 250 activists, politicians, academics, and practitioners to discuss the challenges confronting democracies worldwide. Panels addressed topics including the “Rise of Liberal Autocracies and Illiberal Democracies” and “Can Millennials Lead Democratic Renewal?” The Summit also featured a lecture by NED president Carl Gershman on “Autocratic Superpowers’ Methodology of Influence,” chaired by Andrej Nosov of the Heartefact Fund.

The 2017 summit follows three prior summits convened by the YIHR in Sarajevo (2015), Priština, (2012), and Belgrade (2009). For more information, visit:

IDEA Report on Democracy

On November 29, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) hosted an event at UN headquarters in New York profiling its new report, “The Global State of Democracy: Exploring Democracy’s Resilience.”

Opening remarks were delivered by Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, Peruvian ambassador to the UN, and Massimo Tommasoli, permanent observer of International IDEA at the UN. Former UN deputy secretary-general Jan Eliasson delivered the keynote address. To access the report, visit:

Venezuelan Opposition Honored

On November 16, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights presented its thirty-fourth annual human-rights award to Alfredo Romero, executive director of the Venezuelan human-rights organization Foro Penal Venezolano (FPV). Remarks were offered by Luis Almagro, secretary-general of the Organization of American States, and Maria Hinojosa, executive producer of NPR’s LatinoUSA. Established in 2005, FPV offers pro bono legal aid to victims of human-rights violations in Venezuela. It has assisted more than 4,000 individuals since its founding.

At a ceremony in Strasbourg on [End Page 186] December 13, the European Parliament presented its 2017 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to the “democratic opposition in Venezuela.” Honorees included the Venezuelan National Assembly and the several hundred political prisoners identified by the latest Foro Penal Venezolano report on repression in Venezuela.

NDI Democracy Dinner

On November 2, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) held its annual democracy-award dinner in Washington, D.C. on the theme, “Disinformation vs. Democracy: Fighting for Facts.”

NDI honored three organizations for their efforts to confront disinformation and false news: the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford, which is concerned with the social science of the internet;, a Ukrainian fact-checking website; and Rappler, a Philippine-based news site that has investigated disinformation in the Philippines. Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) offered remarks.

NED’s International Forum

On December 5, the Forum hosted a presentation by Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow Aurel Croissant (Heidelberg University) entitled “The ‘Dictator’s Endgame’: Explaining Military Behavior in Non-violent Revolutions.” Shanthi Kalathil of NED moderated.

On December 6, the Forum organized a half-day conference to introduce a new Forum report entitled “‘Sharp Power’: Rising Authoritarian Influence.” The report examines Chinese and Russian influence in four young democracies in Latin America and Central Europe and suggests a new conceptual vocabulary to describe the activities of authoritarian actors.

The conference consisted of two panel discussions. The first, “Authoritarian Influence in Central Europe and Latin America,” featured report authors Juan Pablo Cardenal of the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America, Grigorij Mesežnikov of Slovakia’s Institute for Public Affairs, and Jessica Ludwig of NED. Carl Gershman of NED offered opening remarks, and Shanthi Kalathil moderated the discussion.

The second panel, moderated by Christopher Walker of NED, was entitled “From ‘Soft Power’ to ‘Sharp Power’: Revisiting the Conceptual Vocabulary.” It featured Sarah Cook of Freedom House, Alina Polyakova of the Brookings Institution, and report author Jacek Kucharczyk of the Warsaw-based Institute of Public Affairs.

In November, the Forum launched a new blog entitled “Power 3.0: Understanding Modern Authoritarian Influence.” The blog aims to examine how authoritarian regimes exert global influence over such areas as culture, media, and institutions, and to assess how democracies are responding to these new strategies. For more information and to access the site, visit: [End Page 187]

Copyright © 2018 National Endowment for Democracy and Johns Hopkins University Press