Every two years, the National Democratic Institute’s Board of Directors holds one of its meetings in a country where NDI has particularly vibrant democracy strengthening programs. In previous years the international board meetings have been held in Kenya, Jordan and Colombia. This year, NDI Chairman Madeleine Albright led a delegation of NDI Board members to Georgia and Ukraine—countries where NDI has built deep and lasting partnerships that have led to fruitful collaboration.
Both Georgia and Ukraine are examples of the resilience of democratic aspirations. Georgia’s democracy began to flourish in 2003 and has continued to evolve through major domestic political upheavals, as well as a 2008 war with Russia and occupation of sizable portions of its territory. Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity in 2014 motivated a wave of young activists to enter politics, with the aim of building a system in which the leaders serve the people, and not the other way around.
During their five-day stay in Georgia, the delegation visited Tbilisi, Kakheti and Gori, meeting with government officials, civil society leaders, journalists, analysts and diplomats. Board members learned about Georgia’s achievements, goals and challenges, and observed NDI’s programmatic work first-hand. Since 2009, for example, NDI has focused on improving the quality of women’s political participation in Georgia. Board members were able to attend the first graduation ceremony for NDI’s Future Women Leaders Program, which gave local elected women the skills to increase their influence in decision-making processes.
Graduates of NDI-Georgia’s Future Women Leaders Program Proudly Display their Diplomas with NDI Chairman Madeleine Albright
Board members concluded their trip in Kyiv, Ukraine, where they spent two days meeting with government officials, political party and civil society leaders, and representatives of the diplomatic community. The delegation learned about NDI’s support for gender equity and responsiveness in politics. Other highlights included a reception with civil society partners, a discussion with the signatories of a new anti-corruption declaration, and a conversation with faction leaders on building cross-party cooperation in the building and cross-party cooperation in the parliament.
NDI board members meet with local Ukrainian partners to learn about progress towards greater gender equality in parliament
Georgian and Ukrainian citizens recognize the importance of democracy as a guarantor of stability, prosperity and sovereignty and continue to demand democratic governance in their respective countries. The Board member’s trip reflected NDI’s support for these goals while giving the delegation an in-depth understanding of the democracy challenges and NDI’s responses in each country.