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.
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
Resettled Afghan Partners in US and Canada
Featured Journalist Anne Applebaum
Gathered Democracy Leaders in Taiwan
Stories from Our Partners
Middle East and North Africa
Latin America and the Caribbean
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
International Forum for Democratic Studies
Journal of Democracy
World Movement for Democracy
Democracy Resource Center