NED Welcomes Fall 2006 Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is pleased to announce the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows for Fall 2006. In residence this fall are leading democratic activists, journalists, and scholars from Iran, Liberia, Moldova, Oman, Poland, Ukraine, the United States, Vietnam, and Yemen. Also with us on a nonresidential basis is visiting fellow Jared Genser (U.S.).

The Reagan-Fascell program seeks to deepen the knowledge, enrich the skills, broaden the perspectives, and strengthen the morale of some of the world’s most committed and courageous democratic practitioners, journalists, and scholars. Fellows are in residence at International Forum for Democratic Studies, NED’s research and publications arm, in Washington, D.C., which offers a collegial environment for fellows to conduct research and writing; to develop contacts and exchange ideas with counterparts in Washington’s policy, academic, media, and nongovernmental communities; and to build ties that contribute to the development of a global network of democracy advocates.

Through its outreach efforts, the Reagan-Fascell program seeks to connect its fellows with the media, policy, and academic communities in Washington, D.C. The program organizes an active calendar of public presentations by the fellows, and promotes contacts between fellows and experts in the U.S. Congress, the Department of State, and other government agencies, as well as at universities, think tanks, and media organizations.

The Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows program was established in 2001 by the U.S. Congress in honor of NED’s two principal founders, former president Ronald Reagan and the late congressman Dante Fascell, and is funded by an annual grant from the U.S. Department of State.

For media inquiries, please contact Jane Riley Jacobsen at or at (202) 378-9700.

Fall 2006 Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows

Mr. Ali Afshari (Iran)
“The Challenge of Democratization in Iran”
October 2006-February 2007

Mr. Ali Afshari is a leading Iranian political activist who has championed the cause of democracy for over a decade. Beginning with his involvement in 1995 with the Islamic Student Association at Amir Kabir University, of which he was the secretary for three years, Mr. Afshari has been a tireless advocate of freedom, human rights and democracy. He has published more than fifty essays, conducted numerous interviews, and delivered over 100 speeches on topics relating to democracy in Iran. Imprisoned for his activities in 2000 and 2003, he spent 400 days in solitary confinement. During his fellowship, Mr. Afshari is drawing upon his experience as an opposition activist to assess the major factors contributing to the lack of democracy in Iran.

Mr. Hafez Al-Bukari (Yemen)
“Monitoring Freedom of Expression in Yemen”
October 2006-February 2007

Mr. Hafez Al-Bukari is chairman of the Yemeni Polling Center, an NGO that fosters political and electoral awareness, and general secretary of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate. As a veteran journalist and proponent of human rights and press freedom, Mr. Al-Bukari has written numerous articles in Yemeni and U.S. newspapers, including the Yemen Times, Yemen Observer, the Washington Times, and the National Review. In addition, he is a member of the informal advisory board of the American Enterprise Institute’s Arab Reform program and coordinator of the International Federation of Journalists’ Project in Yemen. During his fellowship, Mr. Al-Bukari is developing a blueprint for a center that monitors freedom of expression in Yemen and the Gulf region.

Ms. Rafiah Al-Talei (Oman)
“Promoting Women’s Political Participation in Oman”
October 2006-January 2007

Ms. Rafiah Al-Talei is editor-in-chief of Al Mar’ah, Oman’s only Arabic and English-language women’s magazine, as well as a frequent contributor to the online magazine Gulf in the Media. An experienced journalist specializing in media and women’s rights, she has served as an editor and weekly columnist for Oman’s leading daily newspaper, Oman, and was the contributing editor for the Oman section of Freedom House’s 2005 report on “Women’s Rights in the Arab World.” As a candidate in 2003 for a seat on Oman’s Consultative Council, which she lost by 102 votes, she educated people in her local district regarding the democratic process. Drawing on her experiences as a journalist and political candidate, Ms. Al-Talei’s fellowship project examines the political challenges confronting Omani women today and identifies ways to increase their involvement in the political process.

Mr. Michael Boda (Canada/U.S.)
“Beyond Free and Fair: International Law as a Standard for Evaluating Elections”
October 2006-February 2007

Mr. Michael Boda is an international election consultant and has worked with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the OSCE, the Carter Center, and the U.S. National Association of Secretaries of State on election standards and administration. In 2003-2004, he was a visiting research fellow at the Brookings Institution, where he conducted research on electoral processes. Between 1995 and 2000, he served as senior editor and deputy director of information resources at IFES, where he established and managed three global web-based resources, the Administration and Cost of Elections Project, CNN-IFES Election Watch, and, which provide the public with up-to-date information on elections around the world. During his fellowship, Mr. Boda is developing a framework for assessing elections that integrates the theory and practice of election monitoring and administration. He plans to share his findings in the form of a scholarly article, an observation manual, and via roundtable discussions.

Dr. Krzysztof Jasiewicz (Poland/U.S.)
“Civil Society, Religion, and Democracy in Postcommunist Poland”
October 2006-February 2007

Dr. Krzysztof Jasiewicz is professor of sociology at Washington and Lee University in Virginia and a research fellow at the Warsaw-based Institute of Political Studies. A leading expert on voting behavior and political change in Poland, Dr. Jasiewicz has taught courses on sociology, East European politics and societies, and comparative politics at U.S. and Polish universities for the last thirty-five years. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of over ten books in Polish and English, including Founding Elections in Poland, 1991-1993 (with R. Markowski, 2006) and Sustainable Democracy in Post-Communist Europe (with J. Pakulski and J. Higley, 1999) and has published articles on Polish politics and culture in a wide range of academic journals, including the European Journal of Political Research, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, and the Journal of Democracy. During his fellowship, Dr. Jasiewicz is writing a book-length manuscript on the role of religion as both a facilitator of and a potential obstacle to the development of civil society and pluralist democracy in Poland.


Mr. John Oliver Kollie (Liberia)
“The Role of the Media in Fostering Peace and Good Governance in Liberia”
October 2006-February 2007

Mr. John Kollie is a senior producer with the Search for Common Ground in Liberia and Liberian correspondent for the English-language service of Radio France. The producer of two radio shows, “One Step Beyond” and “Policy Issues,” Mr. Kollie works to create space for Liberians of diverse backgrounds to discuss critical issues relating to the future of their country. He won the Press Union of Liberia’s “Investigative Reporter of the Year Award” in 2000 and its “Producer of the Year Award” in 2005. An activist for reconciliatory democracy, Mr. Kollie reported extensively on the misrule of Charles Taylor, an act that cost him his job at a Liberian television station. During his fellowship, he is researching the role of the media in promoting peace and good governance in post-conflict settings and writing a paper documenting his findings.


Mr. Ilko Kucheriv (Ukraine)
“The Next Step for a Democratic Ukraine: Embracing Euro-Atlantic Values”
October 2006-February 2007

Mr. Ilko Kucheriv is founder and director of the Kiev-based Democratic Initiatives Foundation, a leading think tank that focuses on deepening democracy in Ukraine. Since its founding in 1992, Mr. Kucheriv and his institution have engaged in research and debates concerning public attitudes to political, social and economic issues. They have commissioned exit polls for major Ukrainian elections, including the 2004 presidential elections, in which massive electoral fraud led to the Orange Revolution. Widely recognized as one of Ukraine’s most prominent nongovernmental activists, Mr. Kucheriv has been active in Ukrainian civil society for over twenty-five years. During his fellowship, he is developing a communications campaign aimed at introducing Ukrainian citizens to the Euro-Atlantic movement and at helping them better understand and embrace Euro-Atlantic values.


Ms. Olga Nicolenco (Moldova)
“Promoting Women’s Involvement in Moldova’s Local Public Administration”
October 2006-February 2007

Ms. Olga Nicolenco is head of the Chisinau chapter and permanent bureau member of the center-right Social-Liberal Party (SLP), one of Moldova’s most forward-thinking, democratically minded political parties. A staunch proponent of democratic freedoms and social equality, particularly vis-à-vis women’s participation in politics, she has been instrumental in the establishment of the SLP’s women’s caucus and in an educational campaign to deliver children’s books to schools and kindergartens in the breakaway Transnistria region of Moldova. As a leading party trainer and party activist, she has participated in several television and radio shows and has published numerous newspaper articles on democracy and human rights. In November 2005, she became her party’s candidate to run for mayor of Chisinau, the only woman on the ballot. During her fellowship, Ms. Nicolenco is developing strategies to increase women’s involvement in local public administration in Moldova.

Mr. Le Quoc Quan (Vietnam)
“Promoting Democracy in Vietnam: The Role of Civil Society”
October 2006-February 2007

A lawyer by training, Mr. Le Quoc Quan has worked for the past seven years as a local governance consultant to the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, UNDP, and the Swedish International Development Agency. An active participant in Vietnam’s struggle for democracy, he has been vocal in his defense of religious freedom and political pluralism, both as a law student and legal advocate, and in his writings for the BBC and several Vietnamese newspapers. He is founder of Vietnam Solutions, a firm that provides consulting services on local governance, poverty reduction, and grassroots democracy for development projects in Vietnam. During his fellowship, Mr. Quan is examining the role of civil society in countries that have made a successful democratic transition. He plans to write an article on how civil society can contribute to democracy in Vietnam.

Mr. Jared Genser (U.S.)
“The Fifth Freedom: Inspiring Stories of Human Rights Defenders”
Visiting Fellow (nonresidential), October 2006-July 2007

Mr. Jared Genser is an internationally recognized human rights lawyer currently working as an associate with the law firm DLA Piper LLP. He is the founding president of Freedom Now, an NGO whose mission is to improve respect for human rights by securing the release of prisoners of conscience through focused legal, political, and public-relations advocacy efforts. During his fellowship, Jared plans to work on a book entitled The Fifth Freedom: Inspiring Stories of Human Rights Defenders, a narrative nonfiction account of the real-life stories of people who have sacrificed their freedom to promote democracy and human rights around the world. He has served as pro bono counsel for the individuals to be featured in his book, having assisted in securing their releases from prison.