Defending Liberal Democracy in Emerging Markets: The Role of Free Markets and Rule of Law

1.30.2017, 2:00PM to 4:00PM

On Monday, January 30th, from 2:00 to 4:00pm, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) co-hosted a panel discussion on defending liberal democracy in emerging markets, and the role of free markets and rule of law.

In recent years, populist and authoritarian leaders around the world have openly sought to discredit liberal principles and undermine democratic values such as the rule of law and checks on authority. This encroachment on liberal democracy has been accompanied in many cases by attacks on market liberalism and the suppression of independent business voices.

Specifically, this event explored whether liberal economic reforms and accountability in economic policy can help bolster the consolidation of democracy and, if so, under what conditions.

  • What are the common challenges facing liberal democracy and market economies?
  • What are the economic arguments in support of liberal democracy?
  • How can a free-market system respond to demands for economic and political inclusion?
  • What types of reforms would promote a level playing field and accountability in government?

Listen to full discussion here:


  • Aurelio Concheso, President of the Advisory Board, Centro de Divulgación del Conocimiento (CEDICE), Venezuela
  • Güray Karacar, Former Secretary General, Corporate Governance Association of Turkey (TKYD)
  • Selima Ahmad, Founder and President, Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI)
  • Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, member of CIPE Board of Directors (discussion moderator)

Opening Speakers:

  • Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy (NED)
  • Greg Lebedev, Chair, Board of Directors, Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)

About the Panelists:

Selima Ahmad is the Founder and President of the Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI). She has worked in the area of private sector development for last 28 years. She has helped to promote the development of more than 7,000 women entrepreneurs by planning, designing, and facilitating a range of programs that include training, business counseling, credit linkages, acting as guarantor, and lobbying government and policymakers on behalf of women entrepreneurs across Bangladesh. Ahmad was awarded the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) prize in 2012 for Women’s Contribution to Development in recognition of her outstanding leadership and ability to utilize financial networks to promote the development of women entrepreneurs. She received the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick 2013 Award from the International Republican Institute. In 2014, she was awarded the prestigious Oslo Business for Peace Award. She is a member of CIPE’s Free Enterprise and Democracy Network (FEDN). Ahmad holds a Master’s in Business Management from Dhaka University and is a fellow of Stanford University.

Aurelio F. Concheso is an MIT‐trained engineer and businessman, who has served as chair of Venezuela’s National Commercial Services Council (Consecomercio), as vice‐chairman of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Venezuela (Fedecámaras), and president of the National Hardware Chamber. Concheso also served as president of the Venezuelan economic think tank CEDICE (ranked as one of the top think tanks in Latin America). Currently, he serves as President of Aspen Consulting S.A., Chairman of Fedecámaras’ Labor and Social Security Committee, Director‐Treasurer of Transparency Venezuela, and member of CIPE’s Free Enterprise and Democracy Network (FEDN). He is also the talk show host of the weekly economic radio program “La otravía otra forma de ver la economía” (“Another way of seeing the economy”).

Güray Karacar has led a number of national programs and EU projects in Turkey. He served as the Secretary-General of the Corporate Governance Association of Turkey (TKYD) from 2003 – 2016, and during this period he coordinated and oversaw the execution of a range of corporate governance initiatives throughout Turkey. Both organizing and presenting at governance workshops and related events, Karacar has developed a firmly grounded knowledge of the principles of corporate governance and the unique needs of Turkey’s private sector in seeking to uphold them. He served as National Program Coordinator for United Nations Development Program from 2005 – 2007, and as Project Coordinator and Steering Committee Member to the Center for International Private Enterprise since 2005. He is a member of the Turkish Businessmen and Industrialists Association (TUSIAD) and the Corporate Governance Committee and International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN). Karacar was also appointed as the External Relations Director of Türk Otomobil Fabrikası AŞ (TOFAŞ) in June 2016. He is a member of CIPE’s member of CIPE’s Free Enterprise and Democracy Network (FEDN). He graduated from Marmara University with a degree in Communication Sciences.

Karen Kerrigan (discussion moderator) is President & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council and is the group’s chief advocate for its members. She is a former Vice Chair of the CIPE Board of Directors. Kerrigan regularly testifies before the U.S. Congress on the key issues impacting entrepreneurs and the economy, and has been appointed to numerous federal advisory boards including the National Women’s Business Council, the U.S.-Iraq Business Dialog, the U.S. Treasury’s Taxpayer Advisory Panel, and the National Advisory Committee for Labor Provisions of U.S. Free Trade Agreements. Kerrigan is a founding member of the World Entrepreneurship Forum and regularly provides counsel to governments and business associations across the globe regarding entrepreneurial development, capacity building and policy formation and implementation. In 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 she was named a Top 100 Champion Small Business Influencer by Small Business Trends, and CEO World Magazine named Kerrigan a “Top Power Woman in Crowdfunding” in November 2013. Kerrigan graduated from SUNY Cortland with a B.A. in Political Science.


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