Democracy in Action: International Day of Democracy

In recognition of International Day of Democracy on September 15, this issue of Democracy in Action focuses on CIPE’s efforts around the world to support and expand democratic governance. Democratic governance consists of the decision-making processes that translate citizens’ preferences into policy actions in order for democracies to deliver for their citizens. Between free and fair elections, citizens need avenues to participate in decision making, stay informed, and hold government accountable for its performance. Around the world, democracies are facing pressures to deliver, to meet citizens’ needs for social services and economic opportunity.

Making Progress on Democracy

By Larry Diamond
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. 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. Even the date (just four days after September 11) is a not-so-subtle rebuke to those who see violence and extremism as the path to a more just world. Read the rest of this article here.

Democracy's Dignity Dividend

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.

How to Sustain Burma's Path Towards Democracy: The Need for Institutional Reform

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.

The Philippine Experience in Transition

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.

Measuring Democracy

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.

 

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