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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


The World Bank

Reporting from NDI's Gender, Women, and Democracy team on the importance of legal identification for women's access to the full range of civic and political rights was cited in a recent World Bank blog post entitled "Identification for Development: Its Potential for Empowering Women and Girls." The blog post promoted a longer background paper on the same topic, and was republished by the World Economic Forum

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The Hill

The United States was built on the idea of citizen-centered government, a concept enshrined by the founders in the Declaration of Independence. These visionary figures were resolute that for a citizen-centered democracy to flourish, it must have a strong, representative legislature. In fact, Article One of the Constitution, the very first issue addressed by the framers, did not focus on the presidency or the courts, but instead created the Congress.

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June 2016—Oksana Yurynets was one of only two women elected to Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, in by-district races in 2014. By gaining the skills to become a political leader, she challenged gender stereotypes and broke new ground, and Ukrainians elected a new Parliament that looked markedly different from previous legislatures.

In the wake of the Euromaidan Revolution, or Revolution of Dignity, in October 2014, Ukrainians elected respected journalists and reform leaders in addition to the ever-present political cronies and self-serving businessmen. Women’s representation increased to 11 percent (47 members) of Parliament, up from 8.6 percent before the election, due in part to the more prominent role that women played within the civic society groups that led to the revolution.

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With preschools and kindergartens often filled past capacity in Kosovo, it is especially difficult for single parents to arrange child care. But now some cities are offering free child care, to the benefit of children and parents alike. It all began with a discussion of social issues.

In 2012, Arta Tahiri, an elected councilwoman in Kosovo’s municipality of Ferizaj/Uroševac, attended the Week of Women organized by USAID through the National Democratic Institute. The annual event gathers hundreds of Kosovo’s women leaders to discuss social issues that women in the country face every day and to learn new skills that will help them in their chosen fields. 

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