In recent weeks political developments in the Middle East and North Africa have dominated headlines and airwaves. NDI staff and board members have offered their analysis of the situation to both online and broadcast outlets from the PBS NewsHour to ForeignPolicy.com to CNN. Here are some highlights of the coverage.
In this story by the Associated Press, Les Campbell, regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, discusses NDI's assistance to Egyptian civil society partners since 2005, particular the effect of citizen election observers in the country.
"It had the effect of showing the emperor had no clothes," Campbell said. "Egyptians could make a difference. They could change things."
March 13, 2011 | Read»
NDI President Kenneth Wollack and Chairman Madeleine Albright discuss the difficulty of transitioning to democracy after a revolution in the International Herald Tribune.
"It’s impossible to have one model," said Wollack, referring to the difficulty of deciding how a new government will be structured. "Chile is different than the Philippines, which is different than Indonesia."
"There’s no such thing as instant democracy," said Albright, emphasizing that the process will take a long time.
Feb. 27, 2011 | Read»
As Egypt starts to draft constitutional amendments, NDI director for the Middle East and North Africa, Les Campbell, comments on potential assistance from the U.S. in the process.
"This really is not the constitutional-amendment phase at the moment. When they get to the point of actually revising election systems, that may be a different story and may require more outside help," Campbell said.
Feb. 17, 2011 | Read»
Jay Solomon discusses how the Obama administration, in an effort not to alienate Mubarak, chose to pursue its democracy promotion agenda in Egypt through private talks rather than tough public rhetoric, despite warnings from the Egypt Working Group that the country was headed toward transition.
While this approach gained the cooperation of Cairo in the Arab-Israeli peace talks, Solomon suggests the administration missed critical warning signs of impending unrest. In the article, NDI's director for Middle East and North Africa programs, Les Campbell, comments on the crackdown on election monitoring in the lead up to the 2009 elections.
Feb. 16, 2011 | Read»
In the Boston Globe, NDI director for the Middle East, Leslie Campbell, comments on the Bush administration's support for election monitors in Egypt.
Feb. 15, 2011 | Read»
In the Canadian newspaper Maclean's, NDI director for the Middle East and North Africa, Les Campbell, discusses Egyptian political parties, the pro-democracy movement, and lessons from other democratic transitions.
"The Egyptian people took this upon themselves," he said. "We were glued to our TVs and saw this inspirational turn of events. But for people who have been around for a long time, and seen other transitions, there are a number of lessons, whether it’s from Poland, Chile or Indonesia."
Feb. 15, 2011 | Read»
In the New York Times' Sunday "Week in Review" section Peter Baker writes about President George W. Bush's democracy promotion agenda and where the Obama administration has continued and departed from it. In the article, NDI President Kenneth Wollack commented on America's role in supporting democracy around the globe.
"The stirring events in Egypt and Tunisia should reinforce what has always been a bipartisan ambition because they are vivid reminders of universal democratic aspirations and America’s role in supporting those aspirations," Wollack said.
Feb. 14, 2011 | Read»
Commenting in Business Week on the Obama administration's response to the popular uprising in Egypt, NDI's director for the Middle East, Leslie Campbell, said, "The fact that the administration has gone from the idea of Egyptian authorities can do no wrong to advocating an immediate transition to democracy in a matter of days is incredible."
Feb. 14, 2011 | Read»
In an article discussing the domino effect of popular protests in the Middle East, Les Campbell, NDI's regional director for the Middle East and North Africa comments on the possibility of uprisings in the Gulf States.
"Maybe I'll be wrong, but I think in the Gulf states, the standard of living is so high that it's difficult to imagine an Egyptian-level of uprising there."
Feb. 10, 2011 | Read»
NDI's regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, Les Campbell, comments on the dim prospects for free and fair elections in Egypt under the leadership of Vice President Omar Suleiman.
"I don't think there is much intent by the authorities in Egypt to actually make that transition, from fully manipulated to fully fair elections," Campbell told The Washington Post. "I suspect what they may have in mind is to go from fully manipulated to carefully controlled."
Feb. 9, 2011 | Read»
“My own personal opinion is the Mubarak era is over," former Secretary of State Albright said. "And the question is how to have a process that really works properly, that allows these various voices to come together and not disagree on some of the tactical aspects.”
NDI Chairman Madeleine K. Albright appeared on CNN’s State of the Union on Feb. 6 to discuss the ongoing transition in Egypt, the role of the U.S. in that transition and Mubarak's future.
Feb. 6, 2011 | Watch»
Albright appeared on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show on Feb. 3 to discuss the developing situation in the Middle East and the role the United States and nongovernmental organizations can play in supporting the will of the people in Egypt and elsewhere in the region.
“[At NDI] we have been working within Egypt for a long time in terms of developing of various aspects of civil society and talking to various opposition groups who are prepared to participate in a fair and free election.”
“Frankly this is not a story that the United States can control,” Albright said. “This is definitely the Egyptian people and they are being remarkable, the way they protested for a number of days peacefully, really voicing their views.”
Feb. 3, 2011 | Watch»
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show where he addressed the current political situation in Egypt and the rest of the Middle East.
Daschle, NDI’s vice chair, talked about the importance of the work NDI and the International Republican Institute (IRI) are doing to support the foundations of democracy in the region. “[The United States is] not involved as a country, but we support NDI and IRI in a way that I think could really pay big dividends,” he said.
Feb. 3, 2011 | Watch»
Interviewed on NPR about the Jasmine Revolution taking place in Tunisia, Leslie Campbell, director of Middle East and North Africa programs for NDI, explains that now other regimes in the region recognize that threats to their power may always be bubbling under the surface. "Events in Tunisia have shown that it doesn't take years of building up civil opposition for a regime to crumble," he says.
Jan. 24, 2011 | Read»