I grew up in the capital of what is now Slovakia, right on the river that borders Austria. I remember being near this very river, peering over to see what was on the other side. A barbed-wire fence sat between the two countries, a literal and figurative separation between democracy and the “Iron Curtain” that laid itself across Central and Eastern Europe at the time. The presence of the fence is something that I have since held in my mind; it was and continues to be a part of my daily reality - something continuously propelling me toward democracy.
Zuzana Papazoski is the resident director for NDI in Poland. Ms. Papazoski manages NDI's Western Balkan Legislative Strengthening program, a multi-year effort to increase collaboration between the parliaments of Western and Central Europe and the Western Balkans through cross-border and regional exchanges from the Institute's office in Bratislava, Slovakia.