Rising leaders from some of the world’s most complex and challenging nations, including China, Russia, Ukraine, Iraq, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have just completed a three-week seminar at Stanford as Draper Hills Summer Fellows on Democracy and Development. This year’s extraordinary class of fellows included members of parliament, government advisors, civic activists, leading jurists, journalists, international development experts and founders of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Each year, several hundred applicants apply to FSI’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), the convener of the program, for the 26-28 slots available to study and help foster linkages among democracy, economic development, human rights, and the rule of law. Now in its fifth year, the program has received generous gifts from William Draper III, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, in honor of his father, Maj. Gen. William H. Draper, Jr., a chief advisor to Gen. George Marshall and chief diplomatic administrator of the Marshall Plan in Germany, and Ingrid von Mangoldt Hills, a former journalist, in honor of her husband, Reuben Hills, a leading San Francisco philanthropist and president and chairman of the board of Hills Bros. Coffee.
Draper Hills Summer Fellows are innovative, courageous, and committed leaders, who strive to improve governance, enhance civic participation, and invigorate development under very challenging circumstances," said CDDRL Director Larry Diamond. “This year’s fellows were absolutely extraordinary, learning from us we hope, but also teaching all of us about the progress they are making and the obstacles they confront in a diverse set of countries. We were not only sobered by the difficulties they must address on a daily basis but also uplifted by their accounts of programs that are working to deepen democracy, improve government accountability, strengthen the rule of law, energize civil society, and enhance the institutional environment for broadly shared economic growth.”
The three-week seminar is taught by an all star faculty, which in addition to Diamond, includes CDDRL Deputy Director Kathryn Stoner, Stanford president emeritus and constitutional law expert Gerhard Casper, FSI Deputy Director and political science professor Stephen D. Krasner, Erik Jensen and Allen S. Weiner from the Stanford law school, Avner Greif from the Department of Economics, Peter Henry from the Graduate School of Business, FSI Senior Fellow Helen Stacy, former FSI Director and current Program on Food Security and the Environment deputy director Walter P. Falcon, Mark C. Thurber, acting director of FSI’s Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, and Nicholas Hope, director of the Stanford Center on International Development.
Other leading experts and practitioners who engaged the fellows included democracy and governance expert Francis Fukuyama, who joins CDDRL as Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow in July 2010, National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, United States Court of Appeals Judge Pamela Rymer, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict founding chair Peter Ackerman, the center’s president, Jack DuVall, former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo, and former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Condoleezza Rice.
Faculty devoted the first week of the seminar to defining the fundamentals of democracy, good governance, economic development, and the rule of law, and in the second week turned to the issue of transitions and the feedback mechanisms between democracy, development, and a predictable rule of law. The third week examined the critical – and often controversial – role of international assistance to foster and support democracy, judicial reform, and economic development, including the proper role of foreign aid.
Against this backdrop, fellows emphasized domestic imperatives for fostering growth, social inclusion, and transformation, centering on the importance of political will and sound institutions. In session after session, they wrestled with the concrete and all too common impediments to progress—from corruption, cronyism, and authoritarian regimes, to the fragility of conflict-ridden, multi-ethnic polities. As an activist from strife-torn Iraq said, “Democracy is not just a way of governing. It is a way of living, a way of thinking about life.”“Democracy is not just a way of governing. It is a way of living, a way of thinking about life”
In spirited debates, in the formal seminar sessions and beyond the classroom to the Munger residence where the fellows stayed, the fellows stressed how they had all taught and learned from each other. A rising leader from South Africa aptly summarized, “We have dispelled each other’s myths.”
As the Draper Hills Fellows expressed their profound gratitude to their faculty and mentors, they reinforced the importance of staying in touch through a virtual online community – a “common space” as defined by a member of parliament from Ukraine, that would let them look forward and look back, perhaps a decade from now, at case studies of success and failure, and the all important roles that political will and leadership played in determining outcomes. “Stay tuned,” said Diamond and Stoner-Weiss. “Important lessons are still to come.”