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IRI and NDI Participate in Panel Discussion on Democracy Promotion in the New Administration

February 11, 2009

Washington, DC – Lorne W. Craner, President of IRI; Kenneth Wollack, President of the National Democratic Institute (NDI); IRI board member Representative David Dreier (R-CA); and Representative David Price (D-NC) discussed the future of democracy promotion under the Administration of President Barack Obama and the 111th Congress.  The panel, hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and moderated by Alexander Lennon, Editor in Chief of The Washington Quarterly and a Senior Fellow with CSIS, discussed the future of democracy building programs in different regions around the world and the importance of continued funding and diplomacy.

The panel was asked questions on issues ranging from specific recent developments in Russia and Latin America to the future of democratic assistance worldwide under the Obama Administration and the new Congress.  Rep. Dreier urged support for trade agreements in Latin America and Rep. Price stated that this hemisphere specifically should be made a priority in the new administration.  During the discussion Rep. Price addressed the potential for the tightening of democracy promotion from the new Congress but was confident the important work would continue.  Rep. Dreier emphasized that democracy building has been and will continue to be an important element of national security.

The discussion highlighted the need to continue democracy assistance programs in countries to create sustainability even after elections are held.  The panelists reflected on how democracy promotion has changed over the past eight years and highlighted that their work is increasingly more accepted internationally.  All were optimistic about the future of democracy promotion during the new administration.

Representative Price and Representative Dreier are the Chairman and the Ranking Member of the House Democracy Assistance Commission (HDAC) respectively.  IRI and NDI have worked closely with HDAC as it has partnered with countries around the world to support the development of democratic governments.