The World Movement for Democracy at NED held its 10th Global Assembly virtually, bringing together over 500 democracy advocates, policymakers, journalists, and scholars from around the world. Nine regional and national discussions during previous months informed the agenda for the capstone of the assembly, a two-day Global Exchange held on July 7 – 8, 2021.
The theme of the 10th Global Assembly, “Toward Democratic Transitions: New Opportunities and Emerging Challenges,” was introduced by José Ramos-Horta, the chairperson of World Movement for Democracy’s Steering Committee, former president of Timor-Leste, and 1996 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. “Transitions have challenges like economic stagnations, deeply rooted corruption, security and political instability, disinformation campaigns, efforts to discredit democracy,” he said. “And of course, now we have Covid, which has been used sometimes by those who do not adhere to our democratic values to prevent people from organizing themselves.” He encouraged attendees to discuss how to keep democratic transitions on track, how to restart transitions that have been stalled or derailed, and how to build solidarity for democratic movements around the world.
The first day of the Global Exchange focused on democratic transitions and included panels on The Role of Youth in Democratic Transition, Protecting Democracy from Backsliding, 10 Years After the Arab Spring: Tunisia’s Transition to Democracy, and Bringing Democratic Transitions Back on Track. In addition, NED’s founding president Carl Gershman interviewed Jose Ramos-Horta and NED grantee Accountability Lab Mali presented a project to build accountable and trusted public institutions by raising the profiles of elected officials with integrity.
Discussions on the second day focused on building cross-border solidarity and featured panels on Identifying Opportunities for Building International Solidarity in the Changing Global Political Context and a conversation with Ugandan human rights activist Nicholas Opiyo and U.S. Congressmember and vice chair of NED’s Board of Directors Karen Bass. “[Nothing] can succeed without civil society, without democracy being protected, and without rights.”
The Global Exchange also presented Democracy Courage Tributes to recognize the efforts of groups and organizations working to advance democracy in the most difficult circumstances, including advocates in the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America, and Asia. [Read about past recipients here.]
“The World Movement is more important now than ever,” said NED’s former president Carl Gershman, who established NED and later the World Movement. “Here we are at a moment when there is a kind of fundamental tension between authoritarian repression and democratic resilience. And we as a World Movement for Democracy can support that resilience.”
Watch all the panels from the Tenth Assembly on the World Movement for Democracy here.
About World Movement for Democracy
Established in 1999 in New Delhi, the World Movement for Democracy is a global network of civil society activists, scholars, parliamentarians, thought leaders, journalists, and donors who are committed to advancing democracy. The network connects for discussions and workshops to empower activism, to engage in cross-regional solidarity, and to share knowledge, support, and strategies to strengthen civil society around the world. Connect with World Movement for Democracy on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.