As globalization deepens integration between democracies and autocracies, the compromising effects of sharp power—which impairs free expression, neutralizes independent institutions, and distorts the political environment—have grown apparent across crucial sectors of open societies. To examine these trends, the International Forum published the final report in its Sharp Power and Democratic Resilience series entitled “A Full-Spectrum Response to Sharp Power: The Vulnerabilities and Strengths of Open Societies.” The report, authored by Christopher Walker and Jessica Ludwig, focuses on the serious vulnerabilities that have emerged to pivotal institutions related to information and ideas, commerce, media, and technology, and offers recommendations for open societies to respond.
For the first time in its 38-year-history, the NED is pleased to welcome a new president and chief executive officer, Damon Wilson. With decades of experience bridging government, think tanks, and humanitarian work, Mr. Wilson began leading the Endowment in July 2021. Read about his background and vision here.
Damon Wilson succeeds Carl Gershman, who served as president of the NED for 38 years.
The International Forum interviewed leading experts Vladimir Rouvinski, Renee DiResta, and Will Moy about the challenges that disinformation poses to a democratic information space and strategies that state actors, civil society, and tech platforms may use to respond. These experts also provided analysis on how COVID-19 has affected the information space in “COVID-19 and the Information Space: Boosting the Democratic Response.”
In an opinion piece for Nikkei Asia, Kevin Sheives and Ryan Arick of the International Forum identified four patterns in authoritarian vaccine diplomacy around the world: they spread outright disinformation about Western vaccines, prioritize being first over being trustworthy, target political elite networks for early access, and secure unrelated political interests in exchange for vaccines.
“The independent civil society sector, which authoritarians view as a weak point, should be recognized as one of democracy’s great strengths and mobilized accordingly.”
The National Endowment for Democracy and the International Forum for Democratic Studies is pleased to welcome former Ugandan opposition leader and member of Parliament Winnie Kiiza as a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow.