News and Notes

Issue Date October 1999
Volume 10
Issue 4
Page Numbers 184-87
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Lane Kirkland (1922–99)

On August 14, Lane Kirkland, former president of the AFL-CIO and a founding board member of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), passed away at the age of 77. Under his leadership, the U.S. labor confederation aided free trade unions around the world; in particular, it provided indispensable assistance to Solidarity in Poland from its inception in 1980 through its underground period and its triumph in 1989. Together with Lech Wałęsa , Kirkland was recently honored by NED with its Democracy Service Medal.

Emerging Democracies Forum

On June 27–30 the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and the Republic of Yemen cosponsored an “Emerging Democracies Forum” in Sana’a to discuss common problems of democratic development in the world’s smaller emerging democracies. Funders of the conference included the United Nations Development Programme and the National Endowment for Democracy. Over 200 attendees represented governments, parliaments, political parties, independent associations, and academia in 16 countries: Benin, Bolivia, El Salvador, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Macedonia, Malawi, Mali, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, and Yemen.

Conference participants shared experiences and discussed common challenges in four areas: “Politics of Hard Choices: Political Transition and Economic Restructuring”; “Building Public Trust: Elections and Legislatures”; “Participation: Democratic Decision Making, the Vital Voices of Women, Civil Society and Pluralism”; and “Achieving Good Governance: Controlling Corruption, Improving Administration, [End Page 184] and Strengthening the Rule of Law.”

The conference was hosted by the president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh. Other participants included President Alpha Oumar Konare of Mali, Prime Minister Hage Geingob of Namibia, Prime Minister Abdul Karim Al-Eryani of Yemen, and the Majority Leader of Ghana’s Parliament, Kwabena Adjei. Former Bolivian president Gonzalo Sanchez de Losada and former Canadian prime minister Kim Campbell served as conference co-chairs.

The Emerging Democracies Forum is intended to be an arena for discussion of concrete problems of democratic institution-building and performance. Further information about the Forum, including full texts of speeches and of the conference declaration, may be obtained from the NDI website at

Democracy Forum for East Asia

On 13–14 July 1999, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the Sejong Institute (Korea) launched the Democracy Forum for East Asia with a major conference in Seoul on “Challenges to Asian Democracy in the Twenty-first Century.”

The Democracy Forum for East Asia, which will be based at the Sejong Institute in Seoul, had its origins in a meeting between President Bill Clinton and President Kim Dae Jung in Seoul in November 1998, at which they agreed that the United States and the Republic of Korea would join together in a nongovernmental collaborative effort to help develop and strengthen democracy in Korea and the East Asian region. NED (through its International Forum for Democratic Studies) and Korea’s Sejong Institute were designated as the non-governmental organizations to carry out the project, which will include in its first year a series of workshops for democratic practitioners in the region. The Asia Foundation, the Korea Council of Citizens’ Movement, and the JoonAng Ilbo newspaper cosponsored the inaugural conference.

The Democracy Forum is premised on the idea that open exchanges of ideas and experiences among practitioners of democracy in East Asia can contribute greatly to the improvement and stabilization of the region’s democracies. The Democracy Forum will seek to advance knowledge of both the general conditions for consolidating democracy and the specific challenges for East Asia in the face of globalization and economic volatility and to enhance the capacities of young and emerging leaders in many sectors who will play influential roles in the development of democracy in their countries.

The inaugural conference included four sessions: “Economic Crisis and the Future of Democracy,” “Role of Elections and Parliaments,” “Civil-Military Relations,” [End Page 185] and “Role of Civic Organizations.” In addition to Korea and the United States, participants came from the Philippines, Singapore, Australia, Mongolia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Cambodia. Over 50 participants in all presented their views on the major challenges facing the development and consolidation of democracy in the region and provided recommendations on the ways in which the Democracy Forum can help address them. A congratulatory message from President Kim Dae Jung was read to the conference by Sejong Institute president Kim Dalchoong. The conference keynote address was given by Harold Hongju Koh, U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor.

Information about the conference, including full-text versions of President Kim Dae Jung’s message and Assistant Secretary Koh’s keynote address, as well as information on future activities of the Democracy Forum, is available on NED’s Internet site, DemocracyNet, located at: For further information, contact Art Kaufman (

CIVITAS World Congress

On June 18–22, CIVITAS International hosted its World Congress in Palermo, Italy. The event was cosponsored by CIVITAS, the City of Palermo, and the Italian Ministry of Education. CIVITAS is a global organization dedicated to promoting the nonformal aspects of democracy through civic education. Palermo was chosen as the venue because of its recent success in combating corruption and organized crime through civic awareness.

The event had four major themes: “Advocating Civic Education—The Culture of Lawfulness and the Advancement of Democracy,” “Fighting Crime and Corruption—the Palermo Experience and Educating for Lawfulness,” “The Road to a Culture of Lawfulness,” and “Mounting the Campaign for Democracy Education.” Speakers included U.S. first lady Hillary Clinton, who spoke on “The Culture of Lawfulness and the Advancement of Democracy,” and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka of Nigeria, who spoke on “Democracy as a Universal Idea.” Other participants included Romano Prodi, the President of the European Commission; Luigi Berlinguer, Italian Minister of Education; and Leoluca Orlando, mayor of Palermo. The Congress also launched the CIVITAS Advocacy Campaign, a program of eight “action steps” for implementing civic education in schools. More information on CIVITAS and the Palermo Congress can be found online at:

Spanish Commission to Support Democracy Formed

A meeting in Ibiza on July 7–9 marked the launching of the [End Page 186] Spanish Commission to Support Democracy, formed by five Spanish foundations (three linked to the ruling Popular Party and two to the opposition Socialist Party). In addition to coordinating the ongoing work of these foundations in support of democracy abroad, the Commission plans to make grants to them from funds that it hopes to receive. The concluding session of the meeting was presided over by Spain’s foreign minister Abel Matutes. Attendees from outside Spain included John Brademas (chairman) and Carl Gershman (president) of NED and Alexandra Jones, executive director of Britain’s Westminster Foundation for Democracy.

World Movement for Democracy

The newly created website for the World Movement for Democracy (WMD) is located at A report on its February 14–17 inaugural conference, “Building the World Movement for Democracy,” has recently been published. This document, which can also be found on the website, is available upon request to

The World Movement’s first steering committee meeting was scheduled for October 10–11 in Lisbon, Portugal. The 15–20 leading democrats on the committee will lay the groundwork for next year’s meeting of the Movement and work on implementing the Movement’s objectives.

Report on NED’s International Forum

On June 24, Visiting Fellow Elizabeth Spiro Clark spoke at a luncheon seminar on “Rethinking Support for Transitional Elections.” Chaibong Hahm was scheduled to speak on September 28 on “Confucianism, Citizenship, and Democracy.” The Forum prepared to welcome in October a new Visiting Fellow, Dogu Ergil, professor of political science at the University of Ankara and president of the Foundation for the Research of Societal Problems (Turkey). He will work on a project tentatively entitled “In Search of Peace Among and Between Turks and Kurds.”

On November 11–13, the Forum will cosponsor a conference in Santiago, Chile on “State, Market, and Democracy in East Asia and Latin America.”

Two conference reports were recently published: “The 1999 Elections and the Future of Democracy in Nigeria,” based on a March 18 conference cosponsored with the African Studies Program of the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University; and “Twenty Years of Spanish Democracy: Managing Pluralism,” based on a conference held on 16 September 1998 and cosponsored with Spain’s Instituto Universitario Ortega y Gasset.

Finally, in September Johns Hopkins University Press published Democratization in Africa, its eighth Journal of Democracy book.


Copyright © 1999 National Endowment for Democracy and Johns Hopkins University Press