CDDRL 2019 In Review

CDDRL 2019 In Review

The year featured the publication of Larry Diamond's "Ill Winds: Saving democracy from Russian rage, Chinese ambition, and American complacency." Diamond's book analyzed the multiple threats to democracy around the world and provided a roadmap for how democrats around the world could push back. The weekly CDDRL Research Seminar provided the Stanford community with an important forum for discussing ongoing research on political development issues, including presentations by our pre- and postdoctoral fellows. CDDRL’s research programs, including The Poverty, Violence, and Governance Lab, American Democracy in Comparative Perspective, Arab Reform and Democracy, and the Governance Project all held workshops and published papers, which are available on our website. Our exceptional case study library now includes almost 40 case studies, and the teaching methods developed at CDDRL are being incorporated into the curriculum at FSI’s Masters in International Policy. Finally, our leadership programs--the Draper Hills Summer Fellow Program, the Leadership Academy for Development, and the Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program--have been training change makers who have taken on leadership positions in Tunisia, Armenia, Argentina, Malaysia, Ukraine, and many other countries. We are proud of their accomplishments and look forward to welcoming new cohorts.


CDDRL, New America, and the Scholar Strategy Network came together to form the Electoral Research Reform Group (ERRG). The purpose of the ERRG is to fund and publish research on electoral reform in the United States, beginning with studies of ranked-choice voting. For more see HERE.


January 2019

Conference on Political Institutions and Challenges to Democracy, co-organized with the SSRC Anxieties of Democracy Program

November 2019

Conference on Political Reform and American Democracy

More American Democracy related work

 Larry Diamond, FSI (CDDRL) and Hoover Senior Fellow, and James Fishkin, Director of the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University worked on the project America in one Room, a historic gathering of 500 American voters who participated in a nonpartisan discussion about the major issues of the 2020 presidential election. The participants are carefully selected to form an accurate, representative sample of the entire American electorate in all its political, cultural, and demographic diversity. Over the course of the event, the delegates learn about the issues; deliberate amongst themselves in a thoughtful, civil, and substantive fashion; and have town-hall discussions directly with presidential candidates. Their views on the issues and the relative merits of the candidates are documented and shared with the public, candidates, and policymakers, giving a clearer, more balanced, and more informed idea of the political landscape heading into the election.



CDDRL’s Program on Arab Reform and Democracy (ARD) held its annual conference at Stanford University on October 11 and 12, titled “The Struggle for Political Change in the Arab World.” The conference is an outgrowth of ARD’s efforts to support new research on the dynamics of political change in the countries of the Arab world. Scholars from across different disciplines sought to understand how social, economic, and political dynamics at the national level, as well as international and regional conflict and power rivalries, impact struggles for political and social change in the region. 


In 2019, ARD's seminar series provided the Stanford community with an important forum for discussing cutting-edge research addressing timely issues and problems in the countries of the Arab world. In the wake of the 2019 Algerian Uprising, which resulted in the resignation of longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, ARD hosted Algeria experts Muriam Haleh Davis and Thomas Serres, who analyzed the origins and outcome of the protests. ARD also invited Georgetown Scholar Daniel Brumberg to discuss the outcome of Tunisia’s 2019 legislative and presidential elections, and their implications for democratic consolidation in the country.


This past year, the Governance Project assisted in the implementation of a successful survey of civil servants in Ukraine. A fourth survey in Mexico is currently in the planning phase as well. The Governance Project is also currently partnering with the World Bank and University College London on a means to conduct further surveys and publish the data resulting from these surveys.



The Poverty, Violence and Governance Lab’s (Povgov)  partnerships with government agencies, police departments, and non-state organizations to study the causes of violence in Latin America. In 2019, the Povgov team made relevant academic and policy contributions on what works and doesn’t to control violence; how to improve the function and accountability of public safety institutions; and how to restrain human rights abuses, among others.

Povgov published three peer-reviewed articles, multiple reports, policy memos and submitted one article to APSR. In parallel to the academic publications, 2019 was an important year in partnership-building, training, data collection, and policy diffusion in Mexico.

Derived from a collaboration with the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM), the US Embassy-Mexico, and Stanford’s Center for Latin American Studies, every year we bring dozens of indigenous students from multiple rural sites in Mexico. This program offers scholarships to study an intensive summer program at Stanford University on the challenges of poverty, violence and governance across Mexico and indigenous townships.

Read vf._end_of_year_review_povgov_2019.docxto learn more about each publication and project. 


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The Leadership Network for Change is a network comprised of up and coming leaders and change-makers from all corners of the globe, alums from our three leadership programs: Draper Hills Summer Fellows, Leadership Academy for Development, and Ukrainian Emerging Leaders program. We are working to equip our alumni with an updated set of tools to tackle the world’s rapidly evolving policy dilemmas. These include a series of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), in-person and online events featuring lectures from our CDDRL faculty, and more.

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Draper Hills Summer Fellowship Program

2019 Marked the 15th year of the Draper Hills Program and we commemorated this event with the most selective class to date. We count 383 alumni from 83 countries in the past 15 years! We are currently reviewing applications for the 2020 cohort and are looking forward to a successful year ahead. Learn more about the 2019 cohort at the link below.
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Leadership Academy for Development

LAD conducted a total of 7 programs in 2019, expanding our reach to new regions and forming new program partnerships with the Centre for Federal Studies at Addis Ababa University and the Asian Development Bank Institute. LAD continues to grow its alumni network, which is now comprised of 1494 members. In the coming year, we hope to launch the first of a series of three Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), with the first course covering use of Mosbacher Director Fukuyama’s public policy solving framework.

Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program

Now in its third year, the Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program has seen the success of many of its alumni. They have been elected to parliament, held positions as deputy ministers, conducted public administration reform, and played an instrumental role in campaigning for political prisoners in Russia. Their contributions to Ukraine’s democratic development have been impressive in the few short years since the program launched. In addition to their post-fellowship work, the 2018-19 cohort found the annual Stanford Ukraine conference. This year's conference will take place on April 16, 2020.
Fisher Family CDDRL Honors Program
  • Fisher Family CDDRL Honors Program

Fisher Family CDDRL Honors Program

Sophia Pink's thesis, "Think like a Scientist: Interventions to Reduce Politically Motivated Reasoning" received the CDDRL Award for Outstanding Thesis 2019

Alex Trivella's Thesis,"Thwarting Electoral Revolution: The Communal State and Authoritarian Consolidation in Venezuela" received a Firestone Medal, given to the top 10% of all honors theses.