Nora Sulots
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The Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law is pleased to share that Olga Karach, an alumna of our Leadership Academy for Development, has received the 2022 Weimar Human Rights Prize for her work with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and "Nash Dom (Our House)," an organization she founded that organizes public campaigns, supports activists when they become victims of state repression and violence, and exposes abuses in Belarusian politics.

The Weimar Prize is awarded annually on December 10, which has been recognized as International Human Rights Day by the United Nations. The city's official website notes that "The prize is awarded to people, groups or organizations that are particularly committed to protecting and enforcing fundamental rights. Likewise, the work for humanity and tolerance between people and peoples is taken into account in the award. Another important criterion for awarding the prize is commitment to projects abroad that promote democracy."

In a statement announcing Olga's honor, Nash Dom wrote:

Today, on December 10, 2022, Olga Karach, Belarusian human rights defender and leader of the International Centre for Civil Initiatives OUR HOUSE, will be awarded the Human Rights Award of the City of Weimar (Germany) at an official ceremony.

Another person to receive the award, will be Irina Shcherbakova, Russian human rights defender and a founder of Memorial, one of the oldest civil rights groups in Russia. Irina Shcherbakova has also been was co-awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with the Belarusian human rights defender, Ales Bialiatski, and Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties.

To remind, this is not the first human rights award received by Olga Karach.

In 2007, the Belarusian group of Amnesty International declared Olga Karach the Human Rights Defender of the Year for her achievements in human rights defending activity.

In 2010, Olga Karach was awarded the Radebeul Courage Prize in Germany.

In 2019, Olga Karach received an International Bremen Peace Award.

In 2021, Olga participated in a Leadership Academy for Development (LAD) course in Prague led by Francis Fukuyama and Erik Jensen, in partnership with the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom. LAD trains mid-career government officials and business leaders from developing countries to help the private sector be a constructive force for economic growth and development.

Please join us in congratulating Olga on this well-deserved honor. A recording of the Weimar Prize award ceremony can be viewed here (in German).

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A Nobel Peace Prize medal

Organizations Led by Former CDDRL Fellows Recognized with Nobel Peace Prize

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize to two human rights organizations, Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties, led by Oleksandra Matviichuk, and Memorial in Russia, which was led by Anna Dobrovolskaya and Tonya Lokshina.
Organizations Led by Former CDDRL Fellows Recognized with Nobel Peace Prize
LNC reunion

Good to Be Back Again: Reflections on the 2022 Leadership Network for Change Reunion

Over the weekend of August 13-15, 2022, CDDRL hosted a reunion for the LNC community on campus at Stanford. It was the first global meeting and an exciting opportunity to bring together all generations of our fellows to connect, engage, and envision ways of advancing democratic development. 2018 Draper Hills alum Evan Mawarire (Zimbabwe) reflects on the experience.
Good to Be Back Again: Reflections on the 2022 Leadership Network for Change Reunion
LAD Tunisia 2018

Local Democracy in Action: Stories from the Field

CDDRL's Leadership Network for Change and the Center for International Private Enterprise awarded collaboration grants to six teams of alumni to foster cooperation and strengthen democratic development on a regional and global scale.
Local Democracy in Action: Stories from the Field
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Karach was honored on December 10, 2022, for her work with "Nash Dom" (Our House), a network that organizes public campaigns, supports activists when they become victims of state repression and violence, and exposes abuses in Belarusian politics.

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In an announcement released on October 7, the Norwegian Nobel Committee named three parties as joint recipients of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize medal: human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organization Memorial, and the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties.

The recognition of the Center for Civil Liberties and Memorial is particularly meaningful for the community of fellows at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), who share a personal connection to the leadership of both organizations.

Oleksandra Matviichuk, a 2018 graduate of the Ukrainian Emerging Leaders program, is head of the Center for Civil Liberties in Ukraine. Anna Dobrovolskaya and Tonya Lokshina, who graduated from the Draper Hills Summer Fellow program in 2019 and 2005, led Russia-based Memorial before it was forced to close by the Russian government in December 2021.

The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, where CDDRL is based, has a long history of supporting democracy and civil society activists through its selective leadership development programs. Since 2005, CDDRL has trained and educated more than 225 Ukrainians through the Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program, which has transitioned to become the Strengthening Ukrainian Democracy and Development (SU-DD) Program; the Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program; and the Leadership Academy for Development (LAD). The Draper Hills Summer Fellows program trains global leaders working on the front lines of democratic change, including 25 from Russia.

"We are all so excited by this morning’s news that organizations headed by three alumnae of CDDRL’s practitioner-based training programs have received the Nobel Peace Prize,” shared Kathryn Stoner, Mosbacher Director of CDDRL. “This recognition is very well-deserved. Both the Center for Civil Liberties in Ukraine and Memorial in Russia are on the front lines of the battle to protect human rights and liberties, and their work and bravery should be acknowledged and rewarded. We are proud to have supported some of their work here at CDDRL."

The Center for Civil Liberties in Ukraine and Memorial in Russia are on the front lines of the battle to protect human rights and liberties. We are proud to have supported some of their work here at CDDRL.
Kathryn Stoner
Mosbacher Director at CDDRL

According to the Nobel Committee announcement, the recipients “represent civil society in their home countries. They have for many years promoted the right to criticize power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens. They have made an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human right abuses and the abuse of power. Together they demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy.”

Oleksandra Matviichuk, the head of Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties board, was a visiting scholar in the Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program from 2017-2018. The activities of the Center for Civil Liberties are aimed at protecting human rights and building democracy in Ukraine and the region encompassed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The work of the Center for Civil Liberties is currently focused on documenting alleged war crimes by the Russian military.

Anna Dobrovolskaya and Tonya Lokshina participated in the Draper Hills program in 2019 and 2005, respectively. Both had leadership roles at the Memorial Human Rights Center. The center was the largest human rights NGO in Russia before being disbanded, working to provide legal aid and consultation for refugees and asylum seekers, monitoring human rights violations in post-conflict zones, and advocating for a human-rights based approach in fighting terrorism.

The Draper Hills program is a three-week intensive academic training program that is hosted annually at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. The program brings together a group of 25 to 30 non-academic mid-career practitioners in law, politics, government, private enterprise, civil society, and international development from all regions of the world. Fellows participate in academic seminars led by Stanford faculty that expose them to the theory and practice of democracy, development, and the rule of law.

“I am thrilled for our former fellows!” said FSI Director Michael McFaul.  “We at FSI and CDDRL have admired their courageous work in the fight for truth and justice for a long time. It's nice to see that the rest of the world now knows about them too.”

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Some of the original Ukrainian alumni from the Draper Hills Summer Fellowship gather in Kyiv in 2013.

A History of Unity: A Look at FSI’s Special Relationship with Ukraine

Since 2005, the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies has cultivated rich academic ties and friendships with Ukrainian scholars and civic leaders as part of our mission to support democracy and development domestically and abroad.
A History of Unity: A Look at FSI’s Special Relationship with Ukraine
Larry Diamond, Kathryn Stoner, Erik Jensen and Francis Fukuyama at the opening session of the 2022 Draper Hills Fellows Program

Stanford summer fellowship crafts next generation of global leaders

The Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program reconvened in person for the first time, bringing budding leaders together with the world’s most influential democracy scholars.
Stanford summer fellowship crafts next generation of global leaders
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The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize to two human rights organizations, Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties, led by Oleksandra Matviichuk, and Memorial in Russia, which was led by Anna Dobrovolskaya and Tonya Lokshina.


On Friday, October 22, 2021 from 10:00-11:00 am PT, The World House Global Network is honored to have Andre Kamenshikov as our guest speaker. We will be discussing current challenges for civil society in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine.

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Andre Kamenshikov
Andre Kamenshikov is a civil society activist in the field of peacebuilding, with both a US and Russian background. He graduated Moscow State University majoring in sociology in 1991 as well as studied various subjects in Carroll College, Waukesha, Wisconsin and undertook courses in human rights and other relevant topics. He is the representative of a US-based NGO Nonviolence International and the regional coordinator of an international civil society network - the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) in the Eastern Europe region. He has over 28 years of experience as a civil peacebuilding activist in conflict areas of the ex-USSR. He was the founder of Nonviolence International–CIS, a civil society organization that was based in Moscow and operated in the post-soviet states for 22 years until it had to be closed due to the current political climate in Russia. Since 2015 he has been based in Kyiv, Ukraine, working primarily with the local civil society sector on enhancing its capacities to contribute to peace and democratic development of the country. He is an author of a number of publications about the role of civil society in post-soviet conflicts, including “International experience of civilian peacebuilding in the post-soviet space” (2016), the “Strategic framework for the development of civil peacebuilding activities in Ukraine” (2017).

Online via Zoom. Register Now

Andre Kamenshikov
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On August 9, 2020 citizens in the Republic of Belarus went to the polls to vote for their next president. The incumbent was Alexander Lukashenko, a 67-year-old military officer who has kept an iron grip on the presidency for the entire 26 years Bealrus has held elections. But the challenger was an unexpected, new face. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is a 38-year-old English teacher, mother and pro-democracy activist who stepped into a campaign following her husband's arrest and imprisonment in May 2020 for political dissension. In four short months, she galvanized the nation with a message of democracy, freedom and fair elections that reached across opposition factions and gained enough momentum to become a serious contender for the presidency.

On election day, projections estimated an initial win for Tsikhanouskaya at 60%. But when the country's Central Elections Commission announced the election results, Lukashenko carried 80% of the vote, and Tsikhanouskaya a mere 10%. Given the long history of election engineering in Belarus, the results were expected. But what happened next was not. Outraged by the fraud, Tsikhanouskaya's supporters poured into city centers in Brest and Minsk by the tens of thousands, instigating the largest public protests in the history of post-Soviet Belarus. Caught off-guard, the regime hit back with a ruthless wave of violence and political imprisonments, prompting the European Union, NATO and other countries to impose sanctions and condemn Lukashenko as an illegitimate leader.

While Tsikhanouskaya's presidential campaign ended last August, her role as a democratic leader in Eastern Europe has not. In the year since the election, she has traveled the globe to meet with lawmakers, policy experts and heads of state to speak out against the ongoing repression of Lukashenko's regime and advocate for support of Belarus by the international community. The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) was honored to host Tsikhanouskaya and her delegation at Stanford for a roundtable discussion on the challenges that lay ahead in preparing Belarus for a democratic transition. Director Michael McFaul hosted the discussion, which brought together scholars from across FSI, the Hoover Institute and the Belarusian expatriate community. The full recording is below.

Rather than holding a typical press conference, Tsikhanouskaya's visit at FSI gave members of the Belarusian delegation an opportunity to engage in back-and-forth dialogue with an interdisciplinary panel of experts on governance, history and policy. Tsikhanouskaya and her senior advisors shared their perspectives on the challenges they are facing to build and maintain pro-democracy efforts, while Stanford scholars offered insights from their extensive research and scholarship.

Presidents, Protests and Precedent in Belarus

As leader of the delegation, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya gave an overview of the brutality of Lukashenko's regime and the lawlessness that has enveloped the country. But she also reaffirmed the commitment of everyday Belarusians to defending their independence and continuing the work of building new systems to push back against the dictatorship, and encouraged the support of the international democratic community.

"Belarusians are doing their homework. But we also understand that we need the assistance and help of other democratic countries," said Tsikhanouskaya. "That support is vital, because our struggle relates not just to Belarusians, but to all countries who share these common values."

Speaking to the work that Belarusians have already undertaken, Franak Viačorka, a senior advisor to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, described how citizens are creating new means of protesting and organizing. Though they learned some tactics from recent protests in Hong Kong and classic theories by political scientists like Gene Sharp, organizers in Belarus quickly realized that they needed to innovate in order to keep ahead of Lukashenko's crack-downs. Today the opposition is a tech-driven movement that spreads awareness and support quickly through digital spaces and underground channels while avoiding large in-person gatherings that attract government brutality.

By Tanya Bayeva's assessment, these methods of organizing have been effective in capturing widespread support amongst people. A member of the Belarusian diaspora, Bayeva described the sense of empowerment she felt in coming together in a common cause with like-minded people.

"By coming out like this, people have started realizing that it is up to us, the people, and our individual willpower to make a difference," said Bayeva. "We are realizing that the king has no clothes, and that working together we can forward the process of democratization."

But there is still plenty of work ahead. In order to facilitate a more peaceful future transition to a democratic system, there will need to be frameworks in place to bridge the divide between old systems and new. Valery Kavaleuski, the representative on foreign affairs in Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's delegation, is focusing extensively on these issues, such as reconciliation processes and plans for future investments between Belarus and the European Union.

"These are political moves that reinforce hope among Belarusians and tells that that they are not alone and that when the change comes, they will have friends by their side to overcome the challenges of the transition period," said Kavaleuski.

Advice from Stanford Scholars: Focus on Processes and People

Responding to the Belarusian delegation's questions and comments, the faculty from FSI and the broader Stanford community offered insights and considerations from a variety of perspectives and disciplines on 'next steps' for the pro-democracy movement.

Francis Fukuyama, the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at FSI and Mosbacher Director at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), cautioned against the impulse to immediately take down the state and bureaucratic systems of the existing regime. While dismantling the mechanisms from the old state may feel emotionally satisfying, examples from history such as post-Nazi Germany and post-invasion Iraq illustrate the crippling effect on efficiency, functionality and the ability of the new order to govern in a vacuum of bureaucratic expertise.

FSI's Deputy Director, Kathryn Stoner, gave similar advice in regard to drafting and implementing a new constitution and conventions.

"People care to a great degree [about a new constitution], but not to months and months of debate and politicians yelling at one another. People can't eat constitutions," said Stoner. "You have to demonstrate that your system is going to be better than what was. When things have not gone well in transitioning countries, it's been because people don't see concrete change. So have a constitutional convention, but make it fast."

Amr Hamzawy, a senior research scholar for the Middle East Initiative at the Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, also pointed to the importance of engaging the public and building alliances within both the old and new political systems. Based on his observations of the failed Egyptian and Tunisian efforts at democratic transition, he cautioned against discussions of impunity, arguing that while politically and morally symbolic, this practice often backfires and alienates important factions of the state apparatus which are vital for the function and success of a new government.

Hamzawy similarly encouraged carefully blending nationalism and populism to keep divisions within the public sector in check. Imbuing such narratives with pro-democracy rhetoric, he believes, can create a powerful tool for unifying the population around the new government and emerging national identity.  

The advice from the Europe Center's director, Anna Grzymala-Busse, succinctly brought together many of the points made by the faculty panel: "No post-transitional government can achieve all the promises they've made right away," said Grzymala-Busse. "So make the transition about processes rather than specific outcomes, about ensuring the losers are heard along with the winners, and about making sure all people can participate."

Additional participants in the roundtable discussion not noted above include Hanna Liubakova, a journalist and non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council, Dmytro Kushneruk, the Consul General of Ukraine in San Francisco, and Stanford scholars Larry Diamond, David Holloway, Norman Naimark, Erik Jensen, Kiyoteru Tsutsui and John Dunlop.

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Protesters in Minsk, Belarus on 8/16/20

'In Being Together, We Had the Power' - A Belarusian Activist Describes Life on the Front Lines of Minsk Protests

On the World Class Podcast, Belarusian scholar and activist Aleś Łahviniec explains why people are protesting, and what it feels like to be out on the streets in Minsk.
'In Being Together, We Had the Power' - A Belarusian Activist Describes Life on the Front Lines of Minsk Protests
Tatiana Kouzina

CDDRL Statement Regarding the Arrest of Tatiana Kouzina by Belarusian Authorities

The faculty and staff of Stanford's Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, as well as the undersigned alumni of the Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program, wish to protest the completely unjustified arrest and pending trial of the researcher Tatiana Kouzina on June 28 by Belarusian authorities.
CDDRL Statement Regarding the Arrest of Tatiana Kouzina by Belarusian Authorities
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Democratic leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and her delegation joined an interdisciplinary panel of Stanford scholars and members of the Belarusian community to discuss the future of democracy in Belarus.

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The faculty and staff of Stanford's Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, as well as the undersigned alumni of the Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program, wish to protest the completely unjustified arrest and pending trial of the researcher Tatiana Kouzina on June 28, 2021 by Belarusian authorities. Ms. Kouzina now faces unspecified criminal charges that could lead to her extended detention.

Following a fraudulent presidential election in August 2020, there have been ongoing peaceful protests and demonstrations in opposition of the Belarusian government and President Alexander Lukashenko. During this time, the government has unjustly arrested thousands of activists and protesters. Waves of repression reached politicians, civil society organizations, media, the research community, and ordinary citizens. The arrest of Ms. Kouzina is another in a series of troubling steps that the Belarusian government has taken against its people. We call for the release of Ms. Kouzina and other political prisoners currently being held in Belarus.

Ms. Kouzina is a highly respected Belarusian expert who was the co-founder, teacher, and researcher at the School of Young Managers in Public Administration (SYMPA) and the Belarusian Institute for Public Administration Reform and Transformation (BIPART). In this capacity, she conducted substantial research in the field and contributed to numerous policy and research documents, including as part of SYMPA's participation in EU-STRAT, an international research project implemented by a consortium of the leading European universities (including the Free University of Berlin and Leiden University, Netherlands) and think tanks in 2016-2019. As a long-time recognized member of the Belarusian research community, Ms. Kouzina has contributed immensely to its development and sustainability. From 2010-2015, she was the Executive Director of the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS) and has cooperated with the Belarus Research Council (BRC), other Belarusian think tanks, and civil society organizations throughout her career.

Ms. Kouzina's arrest is a shocking example of the current Belarusian regime's repressive policies that have attacked other members of the Belarusian research and expert community. As researchers ourselves and members of the broader global democratic community, we strongly protest this arbitrary arrest and demand that Ms. Kouzina be released immediately.


Francis Fukuyama, Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, Stanford University, USA

Michael McFaul, Director, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, USA

Olga Stuzhinskaya, international affairs and development expert, founder and former director of the Office for a Democratic Belarus in Brussels, CDDRL alumni 2006

Victor Liakh, East Europe Foundation, Ukraine

Hoi Trịnh, Board Member, VOICE, USA

Anna Dobrovolskaya, Memorial Human Rights Center, Россия

Mahdi Al Hajat, free journalist, Iraq

Haykuhi Harutyunyan, Corruption prevention commission, Armenia

Ruby Tetteh, Deputy Director, MOTI, Ghana

Denis Volkov, CDDRL alumni, Russia

Dmytro Potekhin, CEO, Factology.Systems, Ukraine

Abbas Milani, Hamid and Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies, Stanford University, USA

Sasha Jason, Program Manager, Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, Stanford University, USA

Professor Donald Emmerson, Senior Fellow Emeritus, Stanford University, USA

Jamie O'Connell, Lecturer in Residence, Stanford Law School, and CDDRL affiliated faculty, USA

Belinda Byrne, Program Administrator, Stanford University, USA

Katherine Welsh, Administrative Associate at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, Stanford University, USA

Amr Hamzawy, Senior research scholar, Stanford University, USA

Erik Jensen, Professor of the Practice of Law, Director, Rule of Law Program, Stanford Law School, USA

Anna Grzymala-Busse, Michelle and Kevin Douglas Professor of International Studies, Stanford University, USA

Marcel Fafchamps, Senior Fellow, CDDRL, Stanford University, USA

Yusmadi Yusoff, People's Justice Party (KEADILAN), Malaysia

Olga Aivazovska, Head of Board, Civil Network OPORA, Ukraine

Befekadu Hailu, Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD), Ethiopia

Varvara Pakhomenko, Consultant, Russia

Olena Sotnyk, Human rights defender, Ukraine

Elsa Marie DSilva, Red Dot Foundation, India

Laila Kiki, The Syria Campaign, Syria

Alla Kos, Austria

Nino Evgenidze, EPRC, Georgia

James D. Fearon, Professor, Stanford University, USA

Nino Chichua, Georgia Healthcare Group, Georgia

Janaína Homerin, Draper Hills Summer Fellow, Brazil

David Smolansky, Mayor in Exile, Venezuela

Hadeel AlQaq, Jordan

Eka Kemularia, Director, Green Line, Georgia

Yuriy Bugay, Independent consultant, NGO activist, Ukraine

Lauren Weitzman, Program Manager CDDRL, Stanford University, USA

Steve Luby, Professor of Medicine, Stanford University, USA

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The faculty and staff of Stanford's Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, as well as the undersigned alumni of the Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program, wish to protest the completely unjustified arrest and pending trial of the researcher Tatiana Kouzina on June 28 by Belarusian authorities.

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The alumni community of the Stanford Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program condemns the arrest of our 2015 fellow from Belarus, Aleś Łahviniec, who suffered a head injury and broken nose after two policemen broke into his home on March 23. He was one of more than a hundred activists arrested, a complete list can be found here. Łahviniec is a prominent civil society activist in Belarus. He attended the prestigious Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program at Stanford University in 2015 and has joined an alumni community of over 300 activists and leaders across 70 countries supported by the Omidyar Network. The program is taught by leading political scientists, including; Michael McFaul, Francis Fukuyama, Larry Diamond, and Kathryn Stoner, among others. As members of the Draper Hills’ alumni community, we call on members of the international community to condemn the attack and demand for his immediate release. We also call upon support by lawyers of conscience in Belarus to support Łahviniec and others wrongfully imprisoned.


-Francis Fukuyama, Stanford University, USA

-Michael McFaul, Stanford University, USA

-Sarina Beges, Stanford University, USA

-Sadaf Minapara, Stanford University, USA

-Djurdja Jovanovic Padejski, Stanford University, USA

-Judith February, Institute for Security Studies, South Africa

-Mauricio Alarcón-Salvador, Fundamedios - Fundación Ciudadanía y Desarrollo, Ecuador

-Nino Evgenidze, Economic Policy Research Center, Georgia

-Lilit Petrosyan, Etichs Commission of High-Ranking Officials, Armenia

-Givi Chanukvadze, Economic Policy Research Center, Georgia

-Dmytro Potekhin, European Strategy Group, Ukraine

-Myat Ko Ko, Yangon School of Political Science, Burma

-Ala'a Shehabi, Bahrain Watch; University of Lancasater's Work Foundation, Bahrain

-Eka Kemularia, Democracy and Development Center, Georgia

-Raja Manohar, Hexolabs Interactive Technologies (P) Limited, India

-Alina Belskaya, German Marshall Fund of the United States, Georgia

-Darko Brkan, Informational and Communication Technology, Bosnia and Herzegovina

-Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai, Human Rights Founder, Sierra Leon

-Olga Stuzhinskaya, Minsk, Belgium

-Oluseun David Onigbinde,  BudgIT, Nigeria

-Astghik Gevorgyan, The Central Bank (CB) of Armenia Diversity Office, Ontario Public Service (Canada), Armenia

-Roukaya Kasenally, Africian Media Initiative (AMI); Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy (EISA), Mauritius

-Anna Sevortian, EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, Russia

-Mohammed Nosseir, Global Marketing Consultancy, Egypt

-Denis Volkov, Levada Center, Russia

-Lisseth Boon,, Venezuela

-Olga Aivazovska, All-Ukrainain NGO :Civic Network "OPORA", Ukraine

-Dala Ghandour, Chamber of Commerce of Beirut and Mount-Lebanon, Beirut

-Shain Abbasov, Council of Europe, Azerbaijan

-Laura Gil, Minister of Interior, Colombia

-Chandralal Majuwana, Chulalongkorn University, Sri Lanka

-Yusmadi Yusoff, Lawyer & Chairman of RIGHTS Foundation, Malaysia

-David Tola Winjobi, CAFSO-WRAG for Development, Nigeria

-Huong Le, UNDP, Viet Nam

-Yuri Dzhibladze, President, Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, Russia

-Rafolisy Patrick, Executive Director, NGO Ivorary (Integrity 4 Development), President, MEDEM (Mouvement Ethique et Développement de Madagascar), Madagascar

-Laura Gil, Colombia                         

-Auni Sulaeman, Iraq

-Rabih El Chaer, NGO "Sakker El Dekkene", Lebanon

-Chito Gascon, Commission on Human Rights, Philippines

-Ester Hakobyan, Children of Armenia Fund, Armenia

-Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, Nonviolent Initiative for Democracy Inc (NID), Iran

-Thinley Choden, Social Entrepreneur, Bhutan 

-Oludotun Babayemi, Connected Development, Nigeria

-Natalia Yudina, SOVA center, Russia

-Svitlana Zalishchuk, Member of Parliament, Ukraine

-Gladwell Otieno, AfriCOG, Kenya

-Vera Tkachenko, Kazakhstan

-Nkiru Celine Okoro, Nigeria

-Iryna Vidanava, Belarus

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Sarina A. Beges
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As the political climate becomes increasingly more repressive in Russia, civil society organizations have come under threat by the government.

A new law requires advocacy oriented non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving foreign funding to register as foreign agents, jeopardizing their financial lifeline and reputation. In addition, nation-wide inspections have threatened to suspend activities of organizations advancing and defending democratic practices.

Sevortian has an esteemed career as a journalist and human rights defender. In 2010, Sevortian became the director of the Human Rights Watch office in Moscow. Previously, she was a visiting scholar at Cambridge University and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. At present, she is participating in a mid-career course at Harvard's Kennedy School.Anna Sevortian, a 2006 Draper Hills Summer Fellows alumna, comments on the unfolding situation in Russia - reminiscent of Soviet times - and the tough trade-offs Russian NGOs must make to secure their survival in this climate of intimidation. However, Sevortian remains hopeful that the fight for human rights will continue despite these adverse circumstances.


Can you describe the current political climate in Russia?

It is a sad thing to say, but the current political climate in Russia quickly grows more regressive and repressive. Human Rights Watch's 2013 annual report describes it as probably the worst crackdown on fundamental freedoms in the country’s post-Soviet history.

This environment has an immediate toll on the society’s collective thinking and ability to act. For example, the anti-Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LBST) legislation that bans so-called “LGBT propaganda” literally returns Russia back to the times when homosexuality was a criminal offence.


What is the new foreign agent law?

This bill introduced a requirement for NGOs that receive foreign funding and are involved in any sort of “political activity” (advocacy is the closest English word for the definition given in the law) to formally register as “foreign agents.” For a native speaker of Russian a “foreign agent” means a foreign spy.

The law was passed in July 2012 and this spring there has been a nation-wide campaign of inspections of NGOs, sometimes run in a clearly intimidating manner.

Currently over 60 groups received and are trying to appeal warnings or orders to register. Many of these groups are prominent voices of Russian civil society. According to the law, those who fail to register within six months may be suspended without a court order.

The introduction of the “foreign agent” law brings back the heavily loaded and hateful rhetoric of the 20th century. This is detrimental to the freedom of thought in Russia.


What is the impact of the “foreign agent” law on NGO activity in Russia?

Since Vladimir Putin’s third presidential term started in May 2012, the authorities acquired broad and often abusive powers to restrict freedom of assembly and association. The new NGO law is only one of the tools used for that purpose.

In addition, Russia’s treason definition was amended and now allows penalization for international human rights advocacy. NGOs are being marginalized and demonized as foreign spies. As we speak, advocacy groups in Russia need to make a tough choice - whether to comply with largely illegitimate laws to survive or, perhaps, see their own demise in the near future. This is possible both due to political or purely financial reasons.


Can you describe your experience leading the Human Rights Watch office in Russia?

Trained as a journalist, I worked for rights organizations for almost all of my life. However, Human Rights Watch was certainly something new - being part of a dynamic, global and highly professional team. As director of the Russia office, I spent a lot of time travelling and conducting advocacy on human rights issues in Russia and Belarus, talking to journalists and doing research. Ensuring the well-being of the Human Rights Watch office in Moscow became all the more significant as the new wave of crackdown on civil society started last summer.


What were some of the issue areas you worked on at Human Rights Watch?

Our priority themes are very much those “on the frontline” and include: Russian civil society, the situation in the North Caucasus, implementation of the European Court of Human Rights’ judgments, migrant workers and more recently – the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

During my time at Human Rights Watch we started research on palliative care and access to morphine for terminally ill cancer patients. Social and economic rights are typically less visible in the Human Rights Watch Russia portfolio and we were glad to take this one on board. In Russia approximately 300,000 cancer and HIV/AIDS patients die every year and only one-fifth of them receive access to adequate pain treatment.


How has Human Rights Watch been impacted by the foreign agent law, if at all?

Human Right Watch’s status in Russia is a representative office of an international NGO. The “foreign agent” law has primarily targeted Russian NGOs. However, for all NGOs - including representative offices - this law stipulates tougher reporting requirements and institutional as well as individual legal and criminal penalties for non-compliance.

Under this new legislation, Human Rights Watch as well as many NGOs were visited by governmental inspectors this spring. Most importantly, the law has affected many of our local counterparts – so the environment we all operate is a very different from one before 2012.


How can the international community intervene - if at all -to help support the efforts of civil society in Russia?

The international community should watch and be vocal about the human rights situation in Russia, especially in the light of the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympics. It is essential that issues around Russian civil society are raised at every bilateral and multilateral talk with the Russian Federation. Of course, international solidarity actions are crucial for moral support. These days all you need to show solidarity is to go online.


What does all of this mean for the future of human rights in Russia?

It has been a very challenging time for human rights in Russia, a difficult time. However, the human rights groups survived and actually even managed to develop in the Soviet era. Human rights is about strong principles so I believe this work will not discontinue at any given time. Indeed, the scale of it can be diminished. But change in Russia can also happen very quickly.


To learn more about the current situation in Russia, you can follow the Open Democracy Russia series on human rights, which features daily pieces by prominent Russian NGO activists - including former Draper Hills Summer Fellows alumni Yuri Dzhibladze (05) . The series is guest edited by Sevortian and Tanya Lokshina (05) of Human Rights Watch. Please visit: 

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36th Annual Stanford - Berkeley Conference on Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies


 From Prague Spring to Arab Spring:  Global and Comparative Perspectives on Protest and Revolution,


 Friday, March 2, 2012

9:30 am - 5:00 pm

McCaw Hall, Arrillaga Alumni Center, Stanford 

9:30 a.m.


9:45 a.m.

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Robert Crews (Director, Stanford CREEES)

 10:-00 – 11:45

Panel One – Who Makes Revolutions?

Chair:  Katherine Jolluck (Stanford) 

Jane Curry (Santa Clara Univ.), “Media - New and Old:  How It Has Made Protest and Revolutions” 

Joel Beinin (Stanford), “Working Classes and Regime Change in Egypt and Poland” 

Edith Sheffer (Stanford), “Global 1989?”  

1:00 – 3:00

Panel Two – How (Some) Revolutionaries Prevail and Others Fail

Chair: Gail Lapidus  (Stanford)

 Cihan Tuğal (UCB), “Islam and Neoliberalism in the Revolutionary Process”

 Sean Hanretta (Stanford), “The Arab Spring and West Africa: Influences and Consequences” 

Djordje Padejski (Stanford), “Serbian Fall:  Lessons from a Democratic Revolution”  

Natalya Koulinka (Stanford), “A Revolution that Persistently Fails:  The Case of Belarus” 



3:15 - 4:45

Panel Three – Interpreting Protest Movements

Chair: John Dunlop (Stanford)

Jason Wittenberg (UCB), “Political Protest and Democratic Consolidation in Hungary” 

Kathryn Stoner-Weiss (Stanford), “Arab Spring, Slavic Winter?” 

Edward Walker (UCB), “The Collapse of Soviet Socialism and the Arab Spring Compared” 


Closing Remarks

Yuri Slezkine (Director, UCB ISEEES) 


Co-sponsored by: the Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and the Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies at Stanford University, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Centers program


Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center

Robert Crews Speaker CREEES
Katherine Jolluck Speaker Stanford
Jane Curry Santa Clara University Speaker
Joel Beinin Speaker Stanford
Edith Sheffer Speaker Stanford
Gail W. Lapidus Speaker Stanford
Cihan Tugal Speaker UCB
Sean Hanretta Speaker Stanford
Djordje Padejski Speaker Stanford
Natalya Koulinka Speaker Stanford
Jason Wittenbrg Speaker UCB

Stanford University
Encina Hall C140
Stanford, CA 94305-6055

(650) 736-1820 (650) 724-2996
Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Kathryn Stoner is the Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), and a Senior Fellow at CDDRL and the Center on International Security and Cooperation at FSI. From 2017 to 2021, she served as FSI's Deputy Director. She is Professor of Political Science (by courtesy) at Stanford and she teaches in the Department of Political Science, and in the Program on International Relations, as well as in the Ford Dorsey Master's in International Policy Program. She is also a Senior Fellow (by courtesy) at the Hoover Institution.

Prior to coming to Stanford in 2004, she was on the faculty at Princeton University for nine years, jointly appointed to the Department of Politics and the Princeton School for International and Public Affairs (formerly the Woodrow Wilson School). At Princeton she received the Ralph O. Glendinning Preceptorship awarded to outstanding junior faculty. She also served as a Visiting Associate Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, and an Assistant Professor of Political Science at McGill University. She has held fellowships at Harvard University as well as the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC. 

In addition to many articles and book chapters on contemporary Russia, she is the author or co-editor of six books: "Transitions to Democracy: A Comparative Perspective," written and edited with Michael A. McFaul (Johns Hopkins 2013);  "Autocracy and Democracy in the Post-Communist World," co-edited with Valerie Bunce and Michael A. McFaul (Cambridge, 2010);  "Resisting the State: Reform and Retrenchment in Post-Soviet Russia" (Cambridge, 2006); "After the Collapse of Communism: Comparative Lessons of Transitions" (Cambridge, 2004), coedited with Michael McFaul; and "Local Heroes: The Political Economy of Russian Regional" Governance (Princeton, 1997); and "Russia Resurrected: Its Power and Purpose in a New Global Order" (Oxford University Press, 2021).

She received a BA (1988) and MA (1989) in Political Science from the University of Toronto, and a PhD in Government from Harvard University (1995). In 2016 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Iliad State University, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. 


Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law
Professor of Political Science (by courtesy) at Stanford
Senior Fellow (by courtesy), Hoover Institution
Kathryn Stoner-Weiss Speaker Stanford
Edward Walker Speaker UCB
Yuri Slezkine Speaker UCB ISEEES

Join Scholars at Risk at Stanford University on Wednesday, April 28 at 12:00 PM for a behind the scenes look at struggles for freedom of speech around the world and the courageous individuals who challenge attempts to control what people think. The goal of this event is to increase awareness and interest in institutionalizing a Scholars at Risk program at Stanford and to encourage faculty and administration to begin thinking about hosting at-risk scholars.This event is cosponsored by the Scholars at Risk Network, the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES), and the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies.

Robert Quinn is the founding Executive Director of the Scholars at Risk Network, a collaboration of more than 220 universities and colleges in 29 countries dedicated to protecting threatened intellectuals and promoting respect for freedom of inquiry, expression and university values. 

The Scholars at Risk Network seeks to bridge the gap between the human rights and higher education communities, building local, regional and global capacity to defend the intellectual space. The Network provides direct assistance to gravely threatened intellectuals, and conducts education and advocacy to target root causes of intellectual repression and to promote systemic change.

Mr. Quinn currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR), based in London, UK; the governing Council of the Magna Charta Observatory, based in Bologna, Italy; and is a fellow with the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows Program in Washington, DC.  He previously served as a member of the Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; a member of the Human Rights Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York; and an adjunct professor of law at Fordham Law School.  He received his A.B. cum laude from Princeton in 1988, and his J.D. cum laude from Fordham in 1994. 

Fatemeh Haghighatjoo is an expert on Iran's internal affairs and a prominent advocate of political reform, human rights and women's rights. She was a member of the Iranian Parliament from 2000-2004 and chaired the Student Movement Caucus. She was a deputy of the Mosharekat Caucus in the 6th Parliament as well as a member of the political bureau of the Mosharekat party in Iran.  Dr. Haghighatjoo was one of the most courageous in standing up publicly to the hard-line Iranian leadership. She resigned in 2004 after a crackdown on reformers, and left Iran in 2005. More recently, Dr. Haghighatjoo has held several academic posts in the United States: Assistant Professor In-Residence at the University of Connecticut, Fellow in the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and Visiting Scholar at the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Haghighatjoo earned her Ph.D. in Counseling from Tarbiat Moalem University, served as a Professor at the National University of Iran, and authored Search for Truth (2002). She has served as Vice President of the Psychology and Counseling Organization in Iran and has been honored as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Dr. Haghighatjoo has been extensively interviewed and quoted in the U.S. and international media on Iran's domestic politics.

Mohsen Sazegara is an Iranian dissident, writer and political activist. His PhD thesis at the University of London, Royal Holloway focused on religious intellectuals in Iran. He has been a visiting professor at several universities in Iran, and has held visiting scholar positions at Yale University and Harvard University. A founding member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, he served as political deputy in the prime minister's office and held several other political offices. He became disillusioned with the revolutionary government and left it in 1989. He later served as publisher of several reformist newspapers closed by regime hardliners and was also managing director of Iran's press cooperative company. Dr. Sazegara was recently appointed as the second Visiting Fellow in Human Freedom at the George W. Bush Institute at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He is the president of Research Institute on Contemporary Iran (RICI).

Natalia Koulinka joins CREEES as a Visiting Scholar from January - December 2010. She is the recipient of a Scholar Rescue Fund fellowship grant from the Institute of International Education, and supported by more than a dozen Centers, Departments, and Programs in the School of Humanities and Sciences and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford.

Koulinka was born and raised in Oshmiany in the Republic of Belarus. She graduated from the Belarusian State University in Minsk with both undergraduate and graduate degrees. From 1992-1996, she helped create and run the "Women's Newspaper," the only independent women's paper in Belarus which soon became popular in Russia too. As the paper's editor-in-chief, she focused on women in business and politics. Since 2006, she has been the news editor for the radio station Unistar in Minsk. In addition to her work as a journalist, Koulinka was an associate professor at Belarusian State University 2001-08. She is also the co-editor of the book, Krasnim po Belomy ("Red on White"), which is a collection of texts by murdered Belarus journalist, Veronika Cherkasova. In 2008-09, Koulinka was the Lyle and Corinne Nelson International Fellow, John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists at Stanford University. During her fellowship year at CREEES she will work on the research project topic "A Social History of the Soviet School of Journalism."

Oksenberg Conference Room

Fatemeh Haghighatjoo Speaker
Mohsen Sazegara Speaker
Natalia Koulinka Speaker
Robert Quinn Moderator

Stanford University
Encina Hall, C148
616 Jane Stanford Way
Stanford, CA 94305-6055

(650) 724-6448 (650) 723-1928
Mosbacher Senior Fellow in Global Democracy at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
William L. Clayton Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution
Professor, by courtesy, of Political Science and Sociology

Larry Diamond is the William L. Clayton Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, the Mosbacher Senior Fellow in Global Democracy at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), and a Bass University Fellow in Undergraduate Education at Stanford University. He is also professor by courtesy of Political Science and Sociology at Stanford. He leads the Hoover Institution’s programs on China’s Global Sharp Power and on Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific Region.  At FSI, he leads the Program on Arab Reform and Democracy, based at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, which he directed for more than six years.  He also co-leads with (Eileen Donahoe) the Global Digital Policy Incubator, based at FSI’s Cyber Policy Center. He is the founding coeditor of the Journal of Democracy and also serves as senior consultant at the International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy. His research focuses on democratic trends and conditions around the world and on policies and reforms to defend and advance democracy. His latest edited book (with Orville Schell), China's Influence and American Interests (Hoover Press, 2019), urges a posture of constructive vigilance toward China’s global projection of “sharp power,” which it sees as a rising threat to democratic norms and institutions. He offers a massive open online course (MOOC) on Comparative Democratic Development through the edX platform and is now writing a textbook to accompany it. 

Diamond’s book, Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency, analyzes the challenges confronting liberal democracy in the United States and around the world at this potential “hinge in history,” and offers an agenda for strengthening and defending democracy at home and abroad. A paperback edition with a new preface was released by Penguin in April 2020. His other books include: In Search of Democracy (2016)The Spirit of Democracy (2008), Developing Democracy: Toward Consolidation (1999),  Promoting Democracy in the 1990s (1995), and Class, Ethnicity, and Democracy in Nigeria(1989). He has also edited or coedited more than forty books on democratic development around the world, most recently, Dynamics of Democracy in Taiwan: The Ma Ying-jeou Years.

During 2002–03, Diamond served as a consultant to the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and was a contributing author of its report, Foreign Aid in the National Interest. He has also advised and lectured to universities and think tanks around the world, and to the World Bank, the United Nations, the State Department, and other governmental and nongovernmental agencies dealing with governance and development. During the first three months of 2004, Diamond served as a senior adviser on governance to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad. His 2005 book, Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq, was one of the first books to critically analyze America's postwar engagement in Iraq.

Among Diamond’s other edited books are Democracy in Decline?; Democratization and Authoritarianism in the Arab WorldWill China Democratize?; and Liberation Technology: Social Media and the Struggle for Democracy, all edited with Marc F. Plattner; and Politics and Culture in Contemporary Iran, with Abbas Milani. With Juan J. Linz and Seymour Martin Lipset, he edited the series, Democracy in Developing Countries, which helped to shape a new generation of comparative study of democratic development.

Former Director of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law
Larry Diamond Director Moderator CDDRL
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