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MESSAGE FROM NED’s PRESIDENT and Chief executive Officer

2022 was a year of unprecedented challenge to democracy throughout the world. As journalist and NED Board Member Anne Applebaum noted at the World Movement for Democracy’s Global Assembly in Taipei this past October, “Perhaps the autocracies are becoming less tolerant because they realize their opponents have better arguments, that people listen to them and that the desire for political freedom will never go away.”

The desire for human dignity is universal; the yearning for democracy an irrepressible force. And so the world witnessed something quite astonishing in 2022. Risking arrest, violence, and sometimes death, citizens of some of the most repressive regimes took to the streets in protest of their governments’ actions. Women led historic marches across Iran for “women, life, and freedom.” The “white paper protests” in China represented the most significant challenge to the Chinese Communist Party since 1989. Dissidents, democrats, and journalists pressed for greater rights in Burma, Russia, Cuba, Sudan, and Belarus despite the threat of harsh reprisals. And Ukrainians fiercely defended their freedom in the face of Russia’s brutal invasion and war crimes.

The courage demonstrated by such individuals in so many countries offers a potent reminder of the resilience of the human spirit—and is a source of continued inspiration for NED’s work supporting freedom around the world. Over the past year, thanks to Congress and the American people, NED invested a record-setting amount to assist those on the frontlines of democracy as they fought for human rights, fair elections, an independent judiciary, a free press, and freedom of speech.

The NED core institutes helped “foster the infrastructure of democracy” as President Reagan called for 40 years ago, by supporting unions, political parties, and business groups which allow people to determine their own future. With the newly created Gershman Fund for Democracy Advocates at Risk, named for our founding president, we provided emergency support to the growing number of democracy advocates who have been forced to flee their own countries to escape persecution, violence, arrest, and imprisonment.

Today, we find ourselves at a consequential moment for democracy, as authoritarian regimes take their fight against freedom to a new and dangerous level, sharpening repression at home while embarking on a sophisticated global effort to corrupt and destabilize democracies elsewhere, turbo-charged by technology. As we prepare to celebrate NED’s 40th anniversary in 2023, we are building on four decades of hard work nurturing a global infrastructure for democracy by adapting, modernizing, and sharpening our approach to ensure that our partners are able to innovate, learn, and work more effectively in common cause. Our work is just as critical today as it was at our founding, as democracy advocates battle ever-stronger headwinds in their ongoing quest for freedom.

Damon Wilson
President and CEO

2022 Year in Review

In 2022, the world witnessed Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, rising tensions in Asia, a power grab in Tunisia, conflict in Ethiopia, and increasing threats to freedom in many societies around the world.  However, the National Endowment for Democracy finds many reasons to be optimistic. Citizens demonstrated in the streets of Iran, Cuba, Afghanistan, China, and Russia this year to demand their human dignity be respected. NED’s courageous partners continue their work to advocate for equal human rights, fair elections, an independent judiciary, free speech, a free press, and vibrant civil society in the world’s most repressive regimes. 

Below are some highlights from the past year at NED:

Supported Ukrainian Civil Society

The 2022 NED Democracy Award recognized the resilience and courage of Ukrainian civil society groups that are carrying on their critical work during a harrowing time of war. A partner of Ukraine’s civil society and media outlets since 1989, NED underscored its commitment with $6 million in additional funding following Russia’s full-scale invasion.


Resettled Afghan Partners in US and Canada

After the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021, the country’s civil society leaders, women’s rights activists, journalists, artists, and policymakers faced a new level of danger. NED doubled down its support for partners inside the country and evacuated 1,024 people. In 2022, NED helped these evacuated partners resettle in the United States, Canada, and other countries.


Featured Journalist Anne Applebaum

In December, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and NED Board Member Anne Applebaum delivered the 19th Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture on Democracy in the World, sponsored by NED’s International Forum for Democratic Studies and the Embassy of Canada. Applebaum described how authoritarian powers cooperate and learn from one another and called upon democracies to defend democratic principles.


Gathered Democracy Leaders in Taiwan

In October, the 11th Global Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy convened 250 democracy activists, experts, policymakers, and donors from over 70 countries in Taipei at a consequential moment for Taiwan and democracy around the world—standing in solidarity with Taiwan and energizing activists with new ideas and guidance they face increasingly complex threats.


Stories from Our Partners


In 2022, NED worked with partners across Asia to strengthen democratic unity, promote human rights and civil liberties, and raise awareness about rising authoritarianism and transnational repression.



During Kenya's general election, NED partners the Constitution and Reform Education Consortium, Debunk Media, and Buni Media worked to combat misinformation and disinformation, contributing to a smooth election process.



The Center for Civil Liberties—one of Ukraine’s leading human rights organizations led by Noble Peace Prize laureate Oleksandra Matviychuk—monitors and documents war crimes and crimes against humanity, seeking justice for victims and helping the country move forward.



The Restart Foundation for Science and Education, a network of youth organizations across Armenia, advocates for education reforms and empowers students and young people to participate in democracy.


Middle East and North Africa

In the midst of Syria's ongoing conflict, Enab Baladi has grown from a local newspaper to one of the country's most trustworthy independent media outlets.


Latin America and the Caribbean

Ashanti Perú builds youth leadership capacity to defend their human rights, combat racism, and participate actively in policy and decision-making.



Scholars at Risk is an international network that protects scholars, journalists, lawyers, and artists who are facing threats because of their work.


More Stories

Read more stories from NED's partners around the world.


Supporting Democracy

In addition to our support for partners through grantmaking, NED’s programs support democracy research, convene key stakeholders, and host fellows from around the world. NED’s grants program is augmented by the International Forum for Democratic Studies, a research center that publishes the Journal of Democracy and administers the Reagan-Fascell Fellows Program; the World Movement for Democracy, a global hub for networking and solidarity; and the Center for International Media Assistance, which works to improve the efficacy of media development assistance.

Center for International Media Assistance

The Center for International Media Assistance published reports on media reform in Burma, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tunisia, and Ukraine; whether Big Tech should pay for news; and how media can fight lawsuits meant to silence journalists.


International Forum for Democratic Studies

The International Forum for Democratic Studies published analysis on threats to freedom around the world, including kleptocracy, disinformation, authoritarian influences, and emerging technology. The Forum also launched the Countering Kleptocracy newsletter and relaunched the Power 3.0 podcast.


Journal of Democracy

In 2022, the Journal of Democracy published four quarterly issues and debuted new online features about diverse topics including protests in China, Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, women in Iran, and Qatar's sportswashing, providing timely scholarship and engaging new audiences.


Fellowship Programs

The Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program for activists, journalists, civil society leaders, and scholars marked its 20th anniversary in 2022. The Hurford Youth Fellowship Program, which hosts young democracy activists at the World Movement for Democracy, celebrated its 10th year.


World Movement for Democracy

The World Movement for Democracy named Maria Ressa—co-founder and CEO of Rappler and 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner—as new chairperson of its Steering Committee, hosted its 11th Global Assembly in Taiwan, and led the "What's Next?" initiative to help young democrats articulate their vision for a democratic future.


Democracy Resource Center

The Democracy Resource Center at NED is a collection of print and digital works contains nearly 27,000 books, journals, reports, and DVDs on democracy and supporting disciplines of study. In 2022, the library published monthly booklists and curated online resource lists for democrats at risk.



Audited Financial Statements

Report of the Independent Auditors:

National Endowment for Democracy Annual FinANCIAL Audit Report (FISCAL YEAR ENDING SEPTEMBER 30, 2022)