|Founded||November 18, 1983|
|Type|| 501(c)(3) non-profit |
|Origins||U.S. Congress resolution H.R. 2915|
|Carl Gershman (President)|
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a U.S. quasi-autonomous non-governmental and non-profit organization founded in 1983 with the stated goal of promoting democracy abroad.It is funded primarily through an annual allocation from the U.S. Congress in the form of a grant awarded through the United States Information Agency (USIA). It was created by The Democracy Program as a bipartisan, private, non-profit corporation, and in turn acts as a grant-making foundation. In addition to its grants program, NED also supports and houses the Journal of Democracy , the World Movement for Democracy, the International Forum for Democratic Studies, the Reagan–Fascell Fellowship Program, the Network of Democracy Research Institutes, and the Center for International Media Assistance.
A bill was introduced in April 1967 by Congressman Dante Fascell (D-FL) to create an institute of International Affairs. And although the bill did not pass it led to discussions on Capitol Hill to establish an institution in which democracy efforts abroad would benefit the U.S. as well as countries struggling for freedom and self- government.
In a 1982 speech at the Palace of Westminster, President Ronald Reagan proposed an initiative, before the British Parliament, "to foster the infrastructure of democracy—the system of a free press, unions, political parties, universities." The U.S. government, through USAID (United States Agency for International Development), contracted The American Political Foundation to study democracy promotion, which became known as "The Democracy Program." The Program recommended the creation of a bipartisan, private, non-profit corporation to be known as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). NED, though non-governmental, would be funded primarily through annual appropriations from the U.S. government and subject to congressional oversight.The State Department and United States Information Agency (USIA) proposed the Endowment to encourage and facilitate exchanges between democratic institutions through private sectors; promote nongovernmental participation in democratic training programs; strengthening democratic electoral processes abroad in cooperation with indigenous democratic forces; fostering cooperation between American private sector groups and those abroad "dedicated to the cultural values, institutions, and organizations of democratic pluralism.", and encouraging democratic development consistent with the interests of both the U.S and the other groups receiving assistance.
In 1983, the House Foreign Affairs Committee proposed legislation to provide initial funding of $31.3 million for NED as part of the State Department Authorization Act (H.R. 2915), because NED was in its beginning stages of development the appropriation was set at $18 million. Included in the legislation was $13.8 million for the Free Trade Union Institute, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, $2.5 million for an affiliate of the National Chamber Foundation, and $5 million each for two party institutes, which was later eliminated by a vote of 267–136. The conference report on H.R. 2915 was adopted by the House on November 17, 1983 and the Senate the following day. On November 18, 1983, articles of incorporation were filed in the District of Columbia to establish the National Endowment for Democracy as a nonprofit organization.
NED is a grant-making foundation, distributing funds to private non-governmental organizations for promoting democracy abroad. Half of NED's funding is allocated annually to four main U.S. organizations: the American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS), the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), and the International Republican Institute (IRI), formerly known as the National Republican Institute for International Affairs. The other half of NED's funding is awarded annually to hundreds of non-governmental organizations based abroad which apply for support.
The NED receives an annual appropriation from the U.S. budget (it is included in the chapter of the Department of State budget destined for the U.S. Agency for International Development-USAID) and is subject to congressional oversight even as a non-governmental organization. In the financial year to the end of September 2009 NED had an income of $135.5 million, nearly all of which came from U.S Government agencies.
From 1984 to 1990 the NED received $15–18 million of congressional funding annually, and $25–$30m from 1991 to 1993. At the time the funding came via the United States Information Agency. In 1993 the NED nearly lost its congressional funding, after the House of Representatives initially voted to abolish its funding. The funding (of $35 million, a rise from $30 million the year before) was only retained after a vigorous campaign by NED supporters.
The NED has received funding from foundations, such as the Smith Richardson Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, and others. The Bradley Foundation supported the Journal of Democracy with $1.5 million during 1990–2008.
NED's long-serving president (since April 30, 1984) is Carl Gershman, former Senior Counselor to the United States Representative to the United Nations and former Executive Director of Social Democrats USA.
NED does not directly fund any political party, as this is forbidden by law. According to NED, it funds election monitoring and also civic education about voting, such as student-led "get-out-the-vote" campaigns.
NED also funded political groups in the democracies of Western Europe in the 1980s. The French newspaper Libération published a report which claimed that the U.S. funded the National Inter-University Union.
In their 2012 report, NED indicated that it spent US $3,381,824 on programs in the Ukraine, encompassing the areas NGO Strengthening, Political Processes, Human Rights, Accountability, Developing Market Economy, Freedom of Information, Democratic Ideas and Values, Promoting Freedom of Assembly, Strengthening Political Institutions, and Monitoring Electoral Processes.
NED's Board of Directors annually gives a Democracy Award to recognize "the courageous and creative work of individuals and organizations that have advanced the cause of human rights and democracy around the world." The trophy is a small-scale replica of the Goddess of Democracy that was constructed during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
Notable recipients include: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, former President of Mexico Vicente Fox, and journalist Veton Surroi.Past speakers at the award's ceremony have included U.S. Senator John McCain, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
|2020||Working to strengthen civil society in Sudan||Regional Centre for Development and Training||Group, trained hundreds of youth across of the country on democracy, activism, and local engagement|
|Nuba Women for Education and Development Association||Group, trained local women activists to engage in peace processes and activism on local issues and respect for women’s rights|
|Darfur Bar Association||Group, supported marginalized people to advocate for their rights and provided legal assistance to vulnerable activists before and during the protests|
|2019||Defenders of human and religious rights in China||World Uyghur Congress||Group, represented by Dolkun Isa, advocating for democracy, human rights, and freedom for the Uyghur people and the use of peaceful, nonviolent, and democratic means to help Uyghurs achieve self-determination|
|Tibet Action Institute||Group, represented by Lhadon Tethong, uses digital communication tools with strategic nonviolent action to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of the Tibet movement in a digital era|
|ChinaAid||Group, represented by Bob Fu, international non-profit Christian human rights organization committed to promoting religious freedom and the rule of law in China|
|2018||Movement for human rights and democracy in North Korea||Citizens' Alliance for North Korean Human Rights||Seoul-based group advocating for human rights in North Korea.|
|Now Action & Unity for Human Rights||Group, led by Ji Seong-ho, advocating for human rights in North Korea and Korean reunification.|
|Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG)||Seoul-based non-profit that documents evidence of crimes against humanity in North Korea.|
|Unification Media Group (UMG)||Seoul-based multimedia consortium that includes Daily NK , Radio Free Chosun, and Open North Korea Radio.|
|2017||Anti-corruption activists||Cynthia Gabriel||Human rights advocate and anti-corruption leader in Malaysia.|
|Khalil Parsa||Founder and executive director of Supporting Organization for Afghanistan Civil Society (SOACS); survivor of assassination attempt in 2016.|
|Claudia Escobar||Legal scholar, former magistrate of the Court of Appeals of Guatemala, and rule of law advocate; fled the country in 2015 after becoming a whistleblower in a corruption cases involving illegal political interference in the Guatemalan judiciary.|
|Rafael Marques de Morais||Angolan journalist and human rights activist focused on investigating government corruption, impunity, and abuses in the diamond industry.|
|Denys Bihus||Investigative journalist focused on corruption and anti-corruption.|
|2015||Political prisoners of Venezuela||Mitzy Capriles de Ledezma, Lilian Tintori and Tamara Sujú accepted the award on behalf of "imprisoned political leaders, human rights defenders, labor unionists, and student activists."|
|2014||Chinese dissidents||Liu Xiaobo||2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, human rights and political reform activist known for role in launching of Charter 08.|
|Xu Zhiyong||Legal scholar, co-founder of Open Constitution Initiative in China.|
|2013||Youth pro-democracy activists||Gulalai Ismail||Human rights activist that established Aware Girls at the age of 16.|
|Harold Cepero||One of the authors of Varela Project in Cuba. Award given posthumously.|
|Vera Kichanova||Reporter for the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta , civic activist, municipal deputy in Yuzhnoye Tushino District, Moscow.|
|Glanis Changachirere||Founder of Institute for Young Women's Development.|
|2012||Burmese democracy movement|
|Min Ko Naing||Founding member of the 88 Generation Students Group.|
|Hkun Htun Oo||Politician and chairman of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy.|
|Kyaw Thu||Actor and founder of the Free Funeral Service Society.|
|Aung Din||Former political prisoner and leader in the 1988 pro-democracy movement.|
|Cynthia Maung||Ethnic Karen physician and medical clinic worker.|
|2002||Women activists in the Muslim world||Mehrangiz Kar||Human rights lawyer and activist.|
|Muborak Tashpulatova||Civics education activist, Tashkent Public Education Center director.|
|Nadjet Bouda||Human rights activist focusing on the "disappeared" of the Algerian Civil War.|
|Mariam Hussein Mohamed||Mogadishu-based human rights activist, founder and director of the Dr. Ismail Jumale Human Rights Organization.|
Writing in Slate in 2004, Brendan I. Koerner wrote that, "Depending on whom you ask, the NED is either a nonprofit champion of liberty or an ideologically driven meddler in world affairs."
In a 2004 article for the Washington Post Michael McFaul argues that the NED is not an instrument of U.S. foreign policy; as an example of this, he states that the NED was willing to fund pro-democratic organizations even when the U.S. government was supportive of non-democratic governments in the region.
Throughout the course of a 2010 investigation by ProPublica, Paul Steiger, the then editor in chief of the publication said that "those who spearheaded creation of NED have long acknowledged it was part of an effort to move from covert to overt efforts to foster democracy" and cited as evidence a 1991 interview of then-NED president Allen Weinstein by David Ignatius, in which Weinstein said that "A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA."
Within Congress, early opposition to NED focused on four issues: the organization's structure, its independence, its mission, and purported redundancy to other U.S. activities.The NED itself has responded to the various criticisms that have been leveled against it:
Russian government officials and state media have frequently vilified NED.The Russian state news agency RIA Novosti claimed in 2015 that NED grants were to blame for the Euromaidan mass protests that forced Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych from power. In July 2015, the Russian government declared NED to be an "undesirable" NGO, making the endowment the first organization banned under the Russian undesirable organizations law signed two months earlier by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In 2019, the government of the People's Republic of China sanctioned the NED in response to the passage by the U.S. Congress of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.The Chinese government asserted, without evidence, that the NED and CIA worked in tandem to covertly foment the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests, and that NED acted as a U.S. intelligence front. NED was one of several U.S.-based NGOs sanctioned by the Chinese government; others included the Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, the National Democratic Institute, and the International Republican Institute. China also already tightly restricted the activities of foreign NGOs in China, particularly since 2016, and the NGOs sanctioned by China typically do not have offices on the mainland; as a result, the sanctions were regarded as mostly symbolic. NED grant recipients in Hong Kong included labor advocacy and human rights groups such as the Solidarity Center and Justice Centre Hong Kong. The Chinese government claimed that the sanctioned organizations were "anti-China" forces that "incite separatist activities for Hong Kong independence; a U.S. State Department official said that "false accusations of foreign interference" against U.S.-based NGOs were "intended to distract from the legitimate concerns of Hongkongers." Michael Pillsbury, a Hudson Institute foreign policy analyst and former Reagan administration official, stated that the Chinese accusation was "not totally false."
Other governments that have objected to NED activity include Venezuela and Egypt.
In 2006, CIMA was founded as an initiative of the National Endowment for Democracy with encouragement from Congress and a grant from the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
CIMA works to improve the development of independent media worldwide while working to strengthen the support for such development.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent agency of the United States federal government that is primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid and development assistance. With a budget of over $27 billion, USAID is one of the largest official aid agencies in the world, and accounts for more than half of all U.S. foreign assistance—the highest in the world in absolute dollar terms.
Human Rights in China is a New York-based international, Chinese, non-governmental organization with intentions to promote international human rights and facilitate the institutional protection of these rights in the People's Republic of China. HRIC is a member organization of the International Federation for Human Rights. According to Fang Lizhi, HRIC is committed to an independent, non-political, and intelligent approach
The Mexico City policy, sometimes referred to as the global gag rule, is a United States government policy that blocks U.S. federal funding for non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counseling or referrals, advocate to decriminalize abortion, or expand abortion services. The Mexico City Policy is a U.S. government policy that – when in effect – has required foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to certify that they will not "perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning" with non-U.S. funds as a condition for receiving U.S. global family planning assistance and, as of January 23, 2017, any other U.S. global health assistance, including U.S. global HIV and maternal and child health (MCH) assistance.
The International Republican Institute (IRI) is a Washington, DC nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to advancing freedom and democracy worldwide by helping political parties to become more issue-based and responsive, assisting citizens to participate in government planning, and working to increase the role of marginalized groups in the political process – including women and youth.
The Solidarity Center is a non-profit organization aligned with the AFL-CIO labor federation. It is one of the core grantees of the National Endowment for Democracy.
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) is an international, non-profit organization founded in 1987. Based in Arlington, VA - this organization helps develop and provides assistance and support for elections in new and emerging democracies. Since 1987, IFES has provided assistance in 145 countries and currently has programs in more than 20 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Africa, Eurasia, Middle East and North Africa, and Americas.
The National Democratic Institute (NDI), or National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that works with partners in developing countries to increase the effectiveness of democratic institutions. The NDI's core program areas include citizen participation, elections, debates, democratic governance, democracy and technology, political inclusion of marginalized groups, and gender, women and democracy, peace and security, political parties, and youth political participation. The organization's stated mission is to "support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government."
A government-organized non-governmental organization (GONGO) is a non-governmental organization that was set up or sponsored by a government in order to further its political interests and mimic the civic groups and civil society at home, or promote its international or geopolitical interests abroad.
The Asian Cultural Council (ACC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing international cultural exchange between Asia and the U.S. and between the countries of Asia through the arts. Founded by John D. Rockefeller 3rd in 1963, ACC has invested over $100 million in grants to artists and arts professionals representing 16 fields and 26 countries through over 6,000 exchanges. ACC supports $1.4 million in grants annually for individuals and organizations.
The International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development , was created to be a non-partisan, independent Canadian institution. It was established by an act of the Canadian parliament in 1988 to "encourage and support the universal values of human rights and the promotion of democratic institutions and practices around the world." R&D received around C$11m per year in funding from the Canadian government.
The U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) is a United States State Department program that fosters meaningful and effective partnerships between citizens, civil society, the private sector, and governments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to resolve local challenges and promote shared interests in the areas of participatory governance and economic opportunity and reform.
Media development involves capacity building for institutions or individuals related to freedom of expression, pluralism and diversity of media, as well as transparency of media ownership. Media development plays a role in democracy and effective democratic discourse through supporting free and independent media.
American democracy promotion aims to encourage governmental and non-governmental actors to pursue political reforms that will lead ultimately to democratic governance.
Carl Gershman is an American civil servant who has served as the President of the National Endowment for Democracy since its founding in 1984. Gershman previously served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council during the first term of the Reagan Administration.
Chan Kin-man is an associate professor of Sociology the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is one of the founders of Occupy Central with Love and Peace Campaign that strove for universal suffrage for Hong Kong Chief Executive Election in 2017.
The U.S. Russia Foundation (USRF) is an American non-profit organization founded in 2008 that aims to strengthen relations between the United States and Russia and to promote the development of the private sector in the Russian Federation. Since its founding, the USRF has supported programs that build Russian innovation, entrepreneurship, education and scientific expertise. The USRF primarily supports and funds projects that strengthen partnerships and build understanding in one or more of these key areas: Rule of Law and Governance, Economic Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Development, Civil Society, and Russian and American Studies. Rule of Law and Governance serves as a way fort the USRF to focus on laws, institutions, and practices that enable good governance at the local, regional, and national levels.. Economic Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Development focuses on practices that build the capacity for private entrepreneurship.. Civil Society seeks to find solutions which improve the well-being of communities and citizens.. The newly added Russian and American Studies pillar seeks to improve Russian-American mutual expertise and understanding.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 (HKHRDA) is a United States federal law that requires the U.S. government to impose sanctions against Mainland China and Hong Kong officials considered responsible for human rights abuses in Hong Kong, and requires the United States Department of State and other agencies to conduct an annual review to determine whether changes in Hong Kong's political status justify changing the unique, favorable trade relations between the U.S. and Hong Kong. The passage of the bill was supported by pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, and in 2019 received near-unanimous support in Congress.
The Association for Democracy Assistance and Human Rights (DEMAS) is a Czech organization founded in 2008 which is an amalgamation of 11 NGOs and 5 observer status organizations. DEMAS, and the organizations within focus on supporting democracy and upholding human and civil rights within the Czech republic and internationally. They state their mission as being "Ready to serve the cause of democracy, human rights and civil society whenever and wherever the need arises." Funding for DEMAS initially came mostly from the Czech Republic government, and through programs meant to offer funding for NGOs, such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). NED funding is given out by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. DEMAS is also funded by the European Union, European Commission, private donors, and other governmental grants and funds.
Eric Bjornlund is an American expert in democratization assistance and election observation and co-founder and president of Democracy International and the author of Beyond Free and Fair: Monitoring Elections and Building Democracy. Mr. Bjornlund is a lawyer and adjunct professor at Georgetown University.
13: On NED and other QUANGO programs...
NED was founded at the initiative of a small group of Washington insiders, who believed that the United States needed a "quango" (quasi-autonomous non-governmental organization) to promote democracy and counter communist influence abroad...
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