The United States has historically played an important role in promoting democracy to countries across the globe. But is the role of the U.S. as a leading advocate for democracy now diminished following the recent U.S. election and mob attack on the U.S. Capitol?
The panel for this event will feature democracy activists from around the world, all of whom are graduates of the Draper Hills Program at the Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL). In a discussion moderated by Professor Francis Fukuyama, they will offer their perspectives on the need for democracy promotion in their home countries at the current moment, particularly what role the new Biden administration could constructively play. Professor Michael McFaul’s recent series of articles [https://www.americanpurpose.com/articles/sell-it-again-uncle-sam/] in American Purpose, an online magazine recently launched by Professor Fukuyama, about the need for democracy promotion, will be the starting point for the discussion. Professor McFaul will offer introductory remarks.
Kondo Moussa, Class of 2018, Mali - Director Accountability Lab Mali . Kondo founded and runs the Mali chapter of the Accountability Lab, a U.S.-based nonprofit that promotes public accountability in six African and Asian countries. Rather than condemning corrupt leaders, it works to boost the influence of their honest counterparts, running grassroots “Integrity Idol” campaigns to celebrate their good work. Communities nominate local civil servants, and the Lab then profiles the top five on TV. The movement reaches a broader audience, as viewers across the country vote for their favorite candidates. It also runs in-country incubators to train and mentor “accountrapreneurs” who launch their own accountability projects. Kondo, a journalist, started Mali’s Lab after spending six months embedded with Liberia’s team during his 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship. While Accountability Lab is not new, Kondo has successfully adapted it to a new and challenging context.
Shaili Chopra, Class of 2019, India - An Indian journalist turned entrepreneur whose work is focused on championing real women and their stories across India. Chopra is the founder of SheThePeople.TV, which is India's only women's channel. SheThePeople.TV is a form of digital democracy where women get to choose, speak up, and set the agenda. Chopra uses the internet to spotlight issues of women's rights, their role in a democracy, and empower them in a digitally connected world. Chopra is the recipient of India's highest honor in journalism and counted among the top 50 most influential women in media in India and is a Vital Voices fellow. She holds a BA in Economics from Delhi University and a Masters diploma in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai.
Mohamad Najem, Class of 2019, Lebanon - Mohamad is the executive director of the Beirut–based digital rights organization Social Media Exchange (SMEX), the Middle East and North Africa’s leading digital rights research and policy advocacy organization. His work includes local and regional advocacy campaigns, research on privacy, data protection, and freedom of expression. Najem organized “Bread & Net”, the first unconference in the Middle East and North Africa region that tackled topics related to technology and human rights. Najem’s career began in the humanitarian aid arena. Najem was a 2014 New America Foundation Fellow and an alumnus of the Arts, Sciences, and Technology University in Lebanon where he completed his Masters in Business Administration.
Anna Dobrovolskaya Class of 2019, Russia – is a human rights activist based in Moscow, serving as the executive director of the Memorial Human Rights Center (MHRC). The Center is the biggest Russian human rights NGO, working to provide legal aid and consultation for refugees and asylum seekers, monitoring human rights violations in post-conflict zones and advocating for a human-rights based approach in fighting terrorism; as well as raising awareness about politically-motivated repression in Russia and maintains its own list of political prisoners. Dobrovolskaya’s areas of expertise include human rights education and awareness-raising activities and programs for young people and activists since 2008. She is a member of the Council of Europe pool of trainers. Her work currently lies in NGO management and providing consultancy to various human rights groups and initiatives. Anna was the author of the first Russian play about the life of human rights defenders, which is being performed in Teatr.doc since 2017.
This event is co-sponsored by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law.