In a world full of ethnocentrism, prejudice, and violent conflict, there is a vital need for core democratic values to resolve ethnic and religious conflicts and to prevent their escalation to violence. The absence of democratic mechanisms to sort out conflicts within a country often makes it easy for conflicts to spill over into violence. Although the history of each region has left a distinctive legacy of cultures, languages, and religions, fundamental democratic principles--applied in ways that fit indigenous circumstances--can be useful to all. In this highly informative essay, Larry Diamond makes a cogent case for the fostering of democracy, addressing the major problems in a constructive and thoughtful manner. The essay clearly shows the need for sustained efforts toward building democratic processes and institutions throughout the world.