Caption: President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden (left) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (right), delivers his eighth and final State of the Union (SOTU) address. In addition to listing his policy goals and accomplishments, the President provided a counter-narrative to hyperbolic election-year rhetoric and a reminder of the strength and resiliency of America’s democratic political system.
As a politics nerd, there was no question that I would spend Tuesday night on my couch, listening to the State of the Union (SOTU) address. As someone who has made a career in democracy assistance, the speech held even greater significance: it was an example of democracy in progress.
This Wayback Machine screenshot shows NDI’s original website from February 22, 1997. We’ve come a long way! Click here to explore the evolution of NDI’s website.
NDI launched a project to redesign its website this week. The redesign presents an exciting opportunity to put a fresh face on NDI's work, while preserving the depth of content that makes NDI.org such a valuable resource. In keeping with NDI's values and in the interest of meeting your needs, we hope to make this process as open and inclusive as possible...but we need your help!
Thank you for coming along on NDI’s journey into blogging. Since the DemWorks blog launched in February 2015, we have published over 100 posts and reached 57,000 users in 177 countries around the world. More than 400 of you were gracious enough to let us into your email inboxes through the new subscription feature, which was launched in October. While NDI is not a media organization, we have the world’s deepest pool of democracy experts. We hope you have enjoyed hearing our insights and will join us again in 2016. Please subscribe! Without further ado, here’s my list of the top blog posts from 2015.
Citizens line up to vote in the 2015 Tanzania elections. Photo credit: Monika Emch/NDI
Each week NDI’s Citizen Participation team provides a resource to assist NDI staff in meeting the objectives of their programs. This past month’s resources analyzed the relationship between minority groups and extreme poverty, ways in which authoritarian governments control the media, steps to increase women’s political participation and real-life lessons on how democracies can take hold.
A Burmese anti-government protest in front of the Petronas Twin Towers. Photo credit: Off2riorob CC BY
In the four weeks between November 8 and December 6, 2015, the peoples of Myanmar (Burma), Burkina Faso and Venezuela delivered surprises: resounding defeats to military rule, strongman domination and populist authoritarianism. These bright spots are the consequence of perseverance by democratic activists in the face of repression. They also highlight the importance of elections as a peaceful means for people to bring about change.
Members of the GWLP delegation of women parliamentarians to the COP21 Summit in Paris, from left to right: Margaret Nantongo Zziwa, Uganda; Ake Camille Epse Akoun, Ivory Coast; Joséphine Drabo Kanyoulou, Burkina Faso; and Tayeba Zahidi, Afghanistan. Photo by Aretha Francis.
Under the Global Women's Ledership Program supported by USAID, NDI sent four women parliamentarians to the COP21 climate change summit in Paris.
Andrea Fernandez, NDI resident program officer in Colombia, recently interviewed Flavia Freidenberg, researcher and professor at the Institute of Legal Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Flavia answered a number of questions about strategies to increase women’s political participation in Latin America. Read highlights from their interview or watch a video of the full discussion.
The LGBTI communities in Guatemala uses art to increase tolerance, understanding and political participation.
In the captivating play “Transforming Thoughts: The Realities of the LGBTI Communities,” members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) communities showed the harsh realities of life as a transgender woman in Guatemala. Drawing on stories from their personal lives, and the broader LGBTI communities, the actors weave together scenes demonstrating lack of opportunity, abuse and survival. I
Members of the Women in Parliament coalition of Lebanon gather to discuss introducing a quota for women's representation into the election law.
Lebanese women have a long legacy of leadership in business, media, the arts and academics. Despite these contributions, and the fact that we make up half of the population, Lebanese women have been largely excluded from active participation in the country’s political life. NDI worked with the Women in Parliament coalition as it developed its strategy and messages to appeal to politicians, presenting evidence-based arguments for why women’s participation contributes to better governance. Now, the Women in Parliament coalition is convening MPs and civil society to discuss how to implement a gender quota in Lebanon's parliament.
NDI's Politicial Parties team released a new guide to help parties taking advantage of the opportunities provided by Information Communication Technologies (ICTs).
On November 13th, the National Democratic Institute hosted an online ‘Question and Answer’ session with Colin Delany, editor and founder of epolitics.com. Delany was a lead contributor to NDI’s new tech guide, which, among other things, aims to help parties deploy new information communication technology (ICT) tools to organize and reach out to contacts, increase two-way communication with citizens, and conduct more strategic outreach.