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The National Democratic Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.

Democracy Dialogue

NDI President Kenneth Wollack (center), with Lorne Craner (left), the president of the International Republican Institute, and Ambassador Robert Neumann at a panel discussion.

Support for democracy has been a priority of U.S. foreign policy since the earliest days of the republic, and its advantages over other forms of government have come to be accepted globally. But there are many manifestations of democratic governance – how it is achieved and how it delivers for its citizens – that are the subject of continuing debate. To help illuminate this debate, NDI has collected commentary from its own experts and others along with some of the key documents upon which democracy programs are based.

Our Perspectives

Commentary from NDI Board members and staff on democracy promotion generally and on specific NDI programs. | Read more »

News and Views

Commentary from experts on the directions and challenges of democracy promotion programs. | Read more »

Key Documents

A library of the basic documents upon which democracy programs are based. | Read more »

New Additions


Kyiv Post

Former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle, who serves as vice chair of NDI’s board of directors, spoke with Brian Bonner, the chief editor of the Kyiv Post, about Daschle's visit to Ukraine earlier this summer and an op-ed in Politico Magazine that he wrote following his three-day visit.

In the interview, Daschle renewed his call for President Obama to support the democratic transition underway in Ukraine. "I think it would be a wonderful opportunity for the United States and this administration to demonstrate strong support for efforts under way in Ukraine," he said.

Daschle called on Obama to make Ukraine a priority for his final term and to visit the country while he is still in office. "He’s got a lot to think about and very little time to do it," Daschle said. "I happen to believe that one of those places (Obama should visit) is Ukraine."

Beyond a presidential visit, Daschle called for increased military and nonmilitary aid, and an increase in the size of NDI’s program in Ukraine. "The more we can convince our supporters to provide the resources, the more visible we can be," Daschle said. "We have a fantastic team. They’ve done extraordinary work and have a great relationship with the Ukrainian leadership."

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Voice of America News

On the 50th anniversary of the passage of the U.S. Voting Rights Act, NDI Director of Electoral Programs Pat Merloe highlights the global trend to make voting more available.

"Across the world, there’s a general trend to make the vote ever more available – to minority populations, indigenous peoples, peoples with disabilities, those who have been convicted of crimes," said Merloe.

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Foreign Affairs

The recent op-ed by Harvard Professor Kristen Weld credits NDI with helping push for new electoral reforms that would support a number of democratic policies in Guatemala.

A shift in citizens’ demands of their elected officials is evident following the recent resignation and arrest of the president and vice president of Guatemala.

With support from NDI, the Guatemalan Working Group on the Reform of the Law on Elections and Political Parties introduced a package of 85 reforms to the Guatemalan Congress this past July. This diverse group consists of universities, the private and public sectors, the Catholic Church and election monitors. The reforms introduce new term limits, party finance reform, candidate quotas for women and minorities and greater oversight ability for the Supreme Electoral Tribunal in country’s elections. While, Professor Weld opines that the reforms are a step in the right direction, she believes the reforms do not go far enough.

The electoral reforms are part of a broader movement led by Guatemalan civil society. In a recent blog, Sara Barker, NDI’s resident program manager in Guatemala, said that diverse groups “came together around common causes that impact the entire country -- an end to corruption and impunity, reforms to the political and electoral system, and the resignation of the president.”

Barker believes that the citizens of Guatemala are ready for change and that their recent victory and new hope will allow them to work towards creating change. 

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The Hill

Tunisia remains an important example of what can be achieved when our democracy community stands with local citizens seeking to build a democratic future. Authoritarian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's ousting in 2011 set the country on a fragile course that has been challenged by acts of terrorism and economic malaise.

But even as neighboring countries have slipped into chaos, a willingness by Tunisia's political and civic leaders to reach consensus through peaceful dialogue has produced key milestones, including the Arab world's most progressive constitution and credible democratic elections for parliament and president in 2014.


Green and Sweeney are the presidents of the International Republican Institute and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, respectively. Campbell is a senior associate and regional director for Middle East and North Africa programs at the National Democratic Institute. Their organizations are the core partners of the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening.

Read the full op-ed:

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