Forum Focus: January 2024

Regular news from the National Endowment for Democracy‘s International Forum for Democratic Studies on global challenges facing democracy around the world.


Over the past year, the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy has focused its efforts on the defining challenges to democracy worldwide: global authoritarian influencetransnational kleptocracyinformation space integrity, and emerging technology. 2024 will be a big year for democracy, with over 80 national elections taking place around the globe and authoritarian influence operations unlikely to slow. In the coming year, the Forum will continue its work to expose and analyze these top-order issues for democracy.

In 2023, the Forum continued to highlight new avenues for authoritarian influence. These include:

In the coming year, we will address:

  • How democracies can compete in the battle of ideas against authoritarian regimes;
  • Authoritarian learning and the modernization of repressive tools;
  • The challenge elite capture poses to democracy;
  • The evolution of sharp power influence worldwide.

In light of the increased attention on kleptocracy due to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, in 2023 the Forum sounded the alarm on how kleptocratic networks are adapting and cooperating with each other to evade sanctions and other measures. Democracies must sustain the momentum in the battle against transnational kleptocracy. Highlights include:

In the coming year, we will examine:

  • How kleptocrats in Russia, China, and Africa deepen their cooperation with one another;
  • Geopolitical challenges and their relationship with kleptocracy;
  • New civil society adaptations to meet evolving kleptocracy threats.

This past year, the Forum focused on key threats to democratic values and responses to information manipulation around the world. Highlights include:

In 2024, the Forum will shine a spotlight on:

  • How changes in the information environment—such as new generative AI technologies—may create opportunities for authoritarians to undermine democracy;
  • Emerging strategies to accelerate the work of elections-focused civil society organizations as more than 80 national elections are due to take place in 2024.

In 2023, the Forum further explored the impact of emerging technology on democratic practice. Highlights include:

In 2024, we will further examine:

  • The rise of digital authoritarianism and ways that emerging technologies can be used to enhance civic engagement;
  • The establishment—and enforcement—of international digital norms;
  • International standards-setting for emerging technologies.

We look forward to hearing from you and working alongside you to address these defining challenges to democracy. To stay in touch, follow us on our new LinkedIn page and our Twitter and Facebook accounts. Also, join us online at our events highlighting our latest research, and subscribe to our newsletters on kleptocracy, information and technology issues, and other announcements.