Green Testifies on Importance of Democracy Assistance at Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee

February 16, 2017

Washington, D.C.—International Republican Institute (IRI) President Ambassador Mark Green encouraged the Trump administration to “maintain America’s support for democracy and liberty” in testimony delivered to a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee today. Appearing at a session chaired by Senator Marco Rubio, Ambassador Green made a forceful case for the strategic value of democracy assistance as a component of U.S. foreign policy.

“Citizen-centered, citizen-responsive governments are more adaptable to change and are therefore more stable,” Green argued. “They tend to be more prosperous, which makes them better trading partners and markets for U.S. goods…They are less likely to produce terrorists, proliferate weapons of mass destruction, or engage in armed aggression. That makes them better neighbors and makes their regions more secure.”

Drawing upon IRI’s work in two formerly authoritarian countries, Burma and Tunisia, Green explained how democracy assistance organizations facilitate the development of the institutions and skills vital to self-government. “In both cases, it seemed for many years as though democracy would never come,” he said. “But thanks to the courageous advocacy of everyday citizens and, yes, the support of IRI, NDI [the National Democratic Institute] and others, tremendous strides have been made.”

Green concluded his remarks by encouraging the new Administration to ensure that the United States remains committed to supporting democracy around the world. “Our core national values – democracy and human liberty – and our willingness to foster and encourage them in others, are a critical tool in shaping an often turbulent world,” he said. “We need to ensure that this tool is as sharp as ever during the challenging times we all see.”