9th Annual Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture: Democratization Theory and the Arab Spring

November 13, 2012
06:00 pm - 08:00 pm


Alfred C. Stepan
Wallace Sayre Professor of Government, Columbia University

About the Speaker

Alfred Stepan is the Wallace Sayre Professor of Government and the director of the Center for Democracy, Toleration and Religion at Columbia University. A specialist on democratization, civil-military relations, federalism, and religion in politics, he has traveled repeatedly to Egypt and Tunisia since the Arab Spring. Professor Stepan began his professional life as a special foreign correspondent for The Economist. He served as the Gladstone Professor of Government at All Souls College, Oxford, and was the first President and Rector of Central European University in Budapest.

His many books, which have been translated into over a dozen languages, include Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe (with Juan J. Linz) and Crafting State Nations; India and other Multinational Democracies (with Linz and Yogendra Yadav). He is currently working on a book tentatively entitled Democracy and the World’s Religions: Crafting The Twin Tolerations. Professor Stepan, who has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Democracy since its founding, is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the British Academy.


The Embassy of Canada
501 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C.


The National Endowment for Democracy would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous support:

  • The Albert Shanker Institute
  • The American Federation of Teachers
  • The Embassy of Canada


The Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture on Democracy in the World was inaugurated in 2004 by the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the Munk School of Global Affairs of the University of Toronto as an important new forum for discourse on democracy and its progress worldwide.

The lecture is named for one of the great democratic scholars and public intellectuals of the twentieth century. Seymour Martin Lipset’s scholarship on such themes as the conditions for democracy, political parties, voting behavior, extremist movements, ideologies, and public opinion constitutes one of the most prolific, insightful, and widely read bodies of work on democracy ever produced by a single author.

Lipset was also one of the most important comparative analysts of the two great democracies of North America, and a strong advocate for US-Canadian cooperation. The joint US-Canadian sponsorship of the Lipset Lecture provides an opportunity for influential audiences in both countries to hear and discuss a major intellectual statement on democracy each year. It serves as a catalyst for further cooperation between Canada and the United States in the promotion of democracy and democratic ideas around the world.

The Lipset Lecture is delivered in both the US and Canada. It is an intellectual platform for men and women who, like Lipset, have made important contributions to our thinking about key issues of democracy through their writings and other accomplishments.