The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) will donate papers from its founding and early years of operation (1982-1994) to the Library of Congress on Thursday, June 7, the eve of the 25th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s historic Westminster Address to the British Parliament, which led to the founding of NED. A panel discussion, signing ceremony and reception will take place in the Madison Building of the Library, from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
The Legacy of Westminster: Democracy Assistance Since the Founding of NED and the Challenges Ahead is the topic that will be discussed by panelists, Zainab Bangura, Chief Civil Affairs Officer to the U.N. Mission in Liberia; Thomas Carothers, vice president for studies- international politics and governance at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Larry Diamond, co-director of NED’s International Forum for Democractic Studies and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution; Jean Bethke Elshtain, Laura Spelman Rockefeller professor of social and political ethics at the University of Chicago; and Anwar Ibrahim, former deputy prime minister of Malaysia.
A signing ceremony and reception, with remarks from members of Congress and other distinguished guests will follow the panel. Among expected speakers are Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, U.S. Representatives Howard Berman, David Dreier, Mark Kirk, Gregory Meeks, and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Associate Librarian for Library Services Deana Marcum and NED President Carl Gershman will also speak.
The event will be held in Madison Hall of the Library’s Madison Building located at 101 Independence Avenue, SE, Washington, DC. The panel discussion will begins at 4:00; reception at 5:30. The event is open to invited guests and to the press.
The National Endowment for Democracy
The National Endowment for Democracy is a private, nonprofit organization created in 1983 to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts. It is governed by an independent, bipartisan board of directors. With its annual congressional appropriation, it makes nearly 1,000 grants each year to support pro-democracy groups in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and the former Soviet Union.
On June 8, 1982, President Ronald Reagan delivered one of his major foreign policy addresses, in which he proposed an initiative “to foster the infrastructure of democracy.” Delivered to a packed Parliamentary chamber in Britain’s Westminster Palace, the Reagan speech would prove to be one of the central contributions to the establishment of a democracy foundation in the United States. The 25th anniversary of this event will be marked with the donation of the organization’s founding papers to the Library of Congress.
The Founding Papers (1982-1994)
The NED papers constitute a rich historical record chronicling the bipartisan effort to create the flagship institution of America’s democracy assistance work, with a focus on its early years of supporting grassroots democratic initiatives abroad. The materials comprise thousands of documents, speeches, correspondence and photos from the first decade of NED’s operations, as well as from the American Political Foundation, whose study “The Democracy Program” led to the establishment of the NED. Access to the papers will require permission from NED for 20 years (until 2027).
The Library of Congress
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, with more than 134 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. As the world’s largest repository of knowledge and creativity, the Library is a symbol of democracy and the principles on which this nation was founded.
Today, the Library serves Congress and the nation in its 21 reading rooms on Capitol Hill as well as through its award-winning Web site (www.loc.gov).
The NED papers will join the more than 11,000 collections–comprising 60 million items–that are housed in the Library’s Manuscript Division. These include the records and papers of several private organizations and individuals engaged in promoting democracy, such as the Atlantic Union Committee, Federal Union, Inc., the personal papers of author, editor and journalist Clarence Streit (1896-1986) and the personal papers of political consultant George Agree (1921-2001). The Manuscript Division houses the papers of American diplomats and foreign policy makers whose collections document all aspects of American foreign policy and engagement with the world.
Zainab Hawa Bangura, a human rights activist in her native Sierra Leone, serves as chief civil affairs officer to the U.N. Mission in Liberia. In 1995, she founded the Women Organized for a Morally Enlightened Nation (W.O.M.E.N), Sierra Leone’s first nonpartisan women’s political rights organization. In 1996, she co-founded the Campaign for Good Governance, and in 2001 she founded the National Accountability Group. In 2002, she co-founded the Movement for Progress, a political party promoting good governance and the empowerment of women, youth and the disabled in Sierra Leone. Nominated as the party’s chairperson, Bangura ran as the only female candidate in Sierra Leone’s May 2002 presidential elections. A former Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at NED, Bangura serves as a member of the Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy.
Thomas Carothers is the vice president for studies-international politics and governance at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In this capacity, he oversees the Democracy and Rule of Law Project, which he founded, and the Middle East Program. A leading authority on democratization worldwide as well as an expert on U.S. foreign policy, Carothers is the author or editor of eight critically acclaimed books and many articles in prominent journals and newspapers. He is an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and serves on the board of various organizations devoted to democracy promotion. Prior to joining the Endowment, Carothers practiced international and financial law at Arnold & Porter and served as an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State.
Larry Diamond is co-director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies, founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He has written extensively on democracy in the developing world, especially in Africa and Asia. From 2001 to 2003, he served as a consultant to the U.S. Agency for International Development, helping to devise a new strategy for U.S. foreign assistance by giving more emphasis to democracy and good governance. In 2004, he was a senior advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad. Diamond is the author of “Developing Democracy: Toward Consolidation” (1999) and “Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq” (2005).
Jean Bethke Elshtain, Laura Spelman Rockefeller professor of social and political ethics at the University of Chicago, is a political philosopher who focuses on the connections between political and ethical convictions. She serves as co-chair of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and chair of the Council on Families in America. She is also a member of the Scholars’ Council of the John W. Kluge Center, a body of distinguished international scholars convened by the Librarian of Congress to advise on matters related to the Kluge Center and the Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Study of Humanity. Elshtain has written extensively on the themes of the survival of democracies; marriage, families and feminism; and state sovereignty in international relations.
Anwar Ibrahim, former deputy prime minister of Malaysia and vice president of the United Malays National Organization, is currently a visiting professor at Georgetown University. In 1971, he started the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia, the country’s first nongovernmental organization dedicated to raising social and political awareness and emphasizing social justice and human rights. In 1981, he co-founded the International Institute of Islamic Thought and later set up the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences in Ashburn, Va. His criticism of corruption and abuse of power within the Malaysian government and his vocal demand for reform resulted in his arrest and imprisonment in September 1998. Ibrahim, who led a new democratic movement in Malaysia from his prison cell, was released in September 2004.