In the crush of international reporting on terrorism, civil war, and revolution, it’s easy to lose sight of the more incremental progress in the world, writes Larry Diamond:
A few decades ago, few would have dreamed that a majority of states in the world would be democracies, or that democracy would be the only broadly legitimate form of government in the world. Neither would many have imagined that the United Nations General Assembly, which had made a habit of excusing if not celebrating tyrannies, would establish in 2007 an annual International Day of Democracy to intensify global resolve to promote and consolidate democracy.
A new documentary film, A Whisper to a Roar, highlights how and why ordinary people take great risks for democracy and freedom in countries like Ukraine, Egypt, Malaysia, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe, says Diamond, Director of Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) and Executive Producer of A Whisper to a Roar, released this week.
“Probably not all of these five countries will make it—or make it back—to democracy soon,” he suggests. ‘But their common struggles for political freedom, pluralism, and dignity underscore what the United Nations General Assembly sought to convey in its 2007 resolution: that democracy is a universal value.”
Read the rest of his article here, published in recognition of the International Day of Democracy, by the Center for International Private Enterprise. CIPE’s latest Democracy in Action, also features:
By Greg Simpson Two hundred and thirty-six years ago last month, a revolution was launched based on the “self-evident” truths “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” In celebrating the birth of democracy in the United States, we often focus on the then-revolutionary concept of self-governance, understanding democracy in the context of the ability of a people to select and reject its leadership. But this perhaps most-famous quote from the U.S. Declaration of Independence isn’t about self-government at all. Instead, it suggests that the cornerstone of democracy lies in the even more fundamental, universal truth of individual human dignity. Read the rest of this article on Real Clear World here.
By John Morrell In his speech at the July United States Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Business Forum in Siem Reap, Cambodia, Burma President U Thein Sein explained that Burma “has embarked on a democratic path” and is “moving toward a new democratic era.” He went on to outline the reform efforts his country is presently undertaking, efforts that give reason for optimism following April’s dramatic electoral victories of Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy. Read the rest of this article.
By Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao The “people power revolution” of 1986 represented a landmark in East Asian democratization and remains remarkably relevant to transitions occurring today. Dr. Jesus Estanislao – a government leader during the early stages of democratic transition and subsequently a leader in civil society – shares vital lessons in consolidating transition, launching economic reform, and building the institutions of democratic governance. This article is based on remarks by Dr. Estanislao delivered at a CIPE Middle East and North Africa workshop in March 2012. CIPE has worked with two institutes chaired by Dr. Estanislao: the Institute for Solidarity in Asia since 2004 and the Institute of Corporate Directors since 2007. Read the rest of this article.
By Jon Custer One of the most exciting trends of the last 20 years has been a growing global commitment to democracy – not only by the United States and other developed countries, but also by new democracies in Latin America, Africa, and elsewhere, which increasingly support democratic reform within their regions. While the world has undeniably become more democratic, defining exactly how to measure “democracy” remains a contentious issue. Read the rest of this article.
CIPE is a core institute of the National Endowment for Democracy, which provides funding for many of CIPE’s projects.