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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


BizTech Magazine

NDI’s Chief Technology Officer Chris Spence offers his input on how NGOs can make use of big data for social good.

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Foreign Policy

In an article for Foreign Policy, Thomas Carothers, president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment, gathers opinions from experts on political change to offer insight into why advances in civic technology and communication have not led to larger democratic gains. Martine Tisné, Larry Diamond, Senem Aydin Düzgit, Rakesh Rajani, Diane de Gramont, Golnaz Esfandiari and Carothers suggest seven hypotheses.

“Technology does not solve some basic challenges of democracy building, above all, stirring citizens to engage in collective action and the establishment of effective representative institutions,” Carothers said.

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Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies (City University of New York) blog

Sheila Fruman, former NDI country director in Pakistan, discusses a recent resolution passed by the Pakistan parliament regarding the crisis in Yemen.

According to Fruman, the resolution represented a significant moment of “debate and decision making on vital matters of state.” Fruman added, “The open debate marks a turning point that respects the right of citizens to hold their representatives accountable and strengthens the institution of parliament within the democratic framework.”

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NDI recently partnered with USAID on a civic and voter education initiative in Malawi to provide citizens with the opportunity to hold their elected officials accountable to promises they made on the campaign trail during the May 2014 local and national elections. 

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