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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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.


Chairman of National (Germany) Regulatory Control Council 2006-2021; CEO of German Railways and afterward Community of European Railways, Brussels 1997-2010; State Secretary Federal Ministry of Economics (1995-1997); Economic and Financial Advisor to the German Federal Chancellor, also responsible for the economic reconstruction of East Germany after Reunification 1990; Dr.(PhD) 1975 (University of Hamburg); MS 1972 (Stanford University).

CDDRL Visiting Scholar, 2022
CDDRL Postdoctoral Scholar, 2021-22

I hold a PhD in Political Science from Stanford University. My research seeks to understand the causes and consequences of inequality in political representation across different political contexts. I am currently working on a book project that links inequality in representation and rising societal and political polarization to domestic migration. The book project focuses on contemporary Germany and combines household surveys with comprehensive data on domestic migration, voting in national and local elections, civil society organizations, political campaigning, and political recruitment. In a separate, co-authored book project, I research inequality in political participation among domestic migrants in sub-Saharan Africa. My other research asks how citizens can influence policy-making in non-democratic regimes, where political inequality is extreme by construction, and how unauthorized immigrants in the United States navigate life while being marginalized. My work has been published in the American Political Science Review, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the Journal of Politics, Democratization, the Journal of Economics, Race, and Policy, and the European Political Science Review, among others. Before coming to Stanford, I spent two years as Visiting Assistant in Research at Yale University and obtained BA and MA degrees in Political Science from Heidelberg University in Germany.

Encina Hall, C147 616 Jane Stanford Way Stanford, CA 94305-6055
CDDRL Predoctoral Fellow, 2018-20
Fellow, Program on Democracy and the Internet, 2018-20

​I am a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Starting in 2023, I will be an Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School's Business, Government and the International Economy (BGIE) unit.

My research examines political extremism, destigmatization, and radicalization, focusing on the role of popularity cues in online media. My related research examines a broad range of threats to democratic governance, including authoritarian encroachment, ethnic prejudice in public goods allocation, and misinformation. 

​My dissertation won APSA's Ernst B. Haas Award for the best dissertation on European Politics. I am currently working on my book project, Engineering Extremism, with generous funding from the William F. Milton Fund at Harvard.

My published work has appeared in the American Political Science Review,  Governance,  International Studies QuarterlyPublic Administration Review, and the Virginia Journal of International Law, along with an edited volume in Democratization (Oxford University Press). My research has been featured in KQED/NPRThe Washington Post, and VICE News.

I received my Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley in 2020. I was a Predoctoral Research Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University and the Stanford Program on Democracy and the Internet. I hold a B.A. (Magna Cum Laude; Phi Beta Kappa) from Cornell University and an M.A. (with Distinction) from the University of California, Berkeley.



Professor Schuck's new book first identifies the endemic  ineffectiveness of much federal domestic policy as a major cause of public disaffection with Washington.  This disaffection has grown along with the size and ambition of federal programs and  now threatens the very legitimacy of our polity.  Synthesizing a vast amount of social science evidence and analysis,  he argues that this widespread policy failure has little to do with which party dominates Congress and the White house but instead reflects the systemic, structural, institutional obstacles to effective policy.  These deep obstacles to coherent policymaking include our political culture, political actors' perverse incentives, voters' collective irrationality, policymakers' poor information, the government's inherent inflexibility and lack of credibility, the effect of dynamic markets on policy coherence, the inherent limits of law as a policy instrument, a deviant implementation process, and a deteriorating bureaucracy.  Those policies that have succeeded help to explain why most policies fail. Professor Schuck proposes a variety of remedies to reduce government's failure rate.

Speaker Bio:

Peter H. Schuck is the Simeon E. Baldwin Professor of Law Emeritus at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.  He has held the Baldwin professorship since 1984, and also served as Deputy Dean of the Law School. Prior to joining the Yale faculty in 1979, he was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (1977-79), Director of the Washington Office of Consumers Union (1972-77), and consultant to the Center for Study of Responsive Law (1971-72).  He also practiced law in New York City (1965-68) and holds degrees from Cornell (B.A. 1962), Harvard Law School (J.D. 1965), N.Y.U. Law School (Ll.M. in International Law 1966), and Harvard University (M.A. in Government 1969). 

His major fields of teaching and research are tort law; immigration, citizenship, and refugee law; groups, diversity, and law; and administrative law. He has published hundreds of articles on these and a broad range of other public policy topics in a wide variety of scholarly and popular journals.  His newest book is Why Government Fails So Often, and How It Can Do Better (April 2014).  Earlier books include Understanding America: The Anatomy of An Exceptional Nation (2008) (co-editor with James Q. Wilson; Targeting in Social Programs: Avoiding Bad Bets, Removing Bad Apples (2006)(with Richard J. Zeckhauser); Meditations of a Militant Moderate: Cool Views on Hot Topics (2006); Immigration Stories (co-editor with David A. Martin, 2005); Foundations of Administrative Law (editor, 2d ed., 2004)  Diversity in America: Keeping Government at a Safe Distance (Harvard/Belknap, 2003); The Limits of Law: Essays on Democratic Governance (2000); Citizens, Strangers, and In-Betweens: Essays on Immigration and Citizenship (1998); and Paths to Inclusion: The Integration of Migrants in the United States and Germany (co-editor with Rainer Munz, 1998); Tort Law and the Public Interest: Competition, Innovation, and Consumer Welfare (editor, 1991); Agent Orange on Trial: Mass Toxic Disasters in the Courts (1987); Citizenship Without Consent: Illegal Aliens in the American Policy (with Rogers M. Smith, 1985); Suing Government: Citizen Remedies for Official Wrongs (1983); and The Judiciary Committees (1974). He is a contributing editor of The American Lawyer.

Encina Ground Floor Conference Room

Peter Schuck Simeon E. Baldwin Professor of Law Emeritus Speaker Yale University
Adam Gorlick
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Here is Gerhard Casper, standing before 7,000 people gathered in Stanford’s Frost Amphitheater to hear him deliver his first speech as the university’s president.

It’s 1992, the second day of October. Stanford is embroiled in a federal lawsuit over indirect research costs. It is struggling with campus-wide budget cuts and saddled with $160 million in damages caused by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. University officials are wrestling with controversies over affirmative action, sex discrimination, free speech and diversity.

“What was I to say at my inauguration,” Casper asks in “The Winds of Freedom: Challenges to the University,” a newly published book of selected speeches and extended commentary about those addresses.

“What was I not to say? What were my tasks?”

Casper spent months wrestling with those questions, writing and rewriting his inaugural address. Rather than focus on the university’s troubles with a promise to make them disappear, he instead emphasized Stanford’s role as an institution devoted to teaching, learning and research. He grounded his remarks in Stanford’s motto – translated from his native German as “the wind of freedom blows” – and charted the freedoms most important to a university.

There are eight, he tells his audience.

Among them: an unrestrained pursuit of knowledge, an ability to challenge long-held beliefs and new ideas, and the “freedom to speak plainly, without concealment and to the point.”

“The research enterprise can easily be smothered by internal and external politics, pressures, and red tape,” he tells the crowd. “The wind of freedom has been a necessary, if not sufficient, condition for making our great universities the envy of the world. Without that freedom, that greatness is imperiled.”

Humor and heft

Academic freedom was a recurring theme during his eight years at the helm of Stanford. It was a time in which he navigated the university through turmoil and debates not only faced by Stanford and other American universities, but by the entire country.

With “The Winds of Freedom,” Casper presents seven speeches from his presidency, along with a commencement address he delivered at Yale in 2003. They delve into free expression, campus diversity and affirmative action. They cover the university’s role as a place of research and its relationship to the politics of the day.

A book launch celebration and discussion will be held Feb. 25 at Encina Hall.

The big, weighty ideas often come wrapped in a sense of humor – sometimes self-deprecating – that was the hallmark of a popular and seemingly very accessible president who surely never spoke to the same audience twice.

Casper has done more than merely dust off and repackage his favorite or most important speeches into a book. These are addresses tied together by those notions of academic freedom. And in detailed commentary following the text of each speech, Casper explains what was on his mind when he was writing them.

“I put a lot of effort into my speeches,” Casper says during a conversation in his office at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, where he is a senior fellow and served as director from 2012 to 2013. “But if you take the speeches in isolation, you often end up with an abstract notion of what was happening at time. I wanted to use these speeches as an example of the complexity of issues and questions that I had to deal with as president.”

Diversity, identity and valid arguments

So here is Casper welcoming an incoming class in 1993, one year after delivering his inaugural address. It includes white and black and American Indian students. Some are the American children and grandchildren of Mexican and Asian immigrants. Only 5 percent are foreign students, but they hail from 37 countries.

The president is talking about diversity. He shares his own story about coming to America, telling the students about growing up in Germany in the wake of the Nazi regime and moving to California as a 26-year-old in 1964. He pokes fun at the accent he never lost, but reminds the students that “I have acquired an American `cultural identity.’”

He tells them they will all develop their own sense of cultural identity, adding that diversity makes the university a richer place.

“If we at the university were not committed to interactive pluralism, education would become impossible,” he tells the newcomers.


“No university can thrive unless each member is accepted as an individual and can speak and will be listened to without regard to labels and stereotypes,” he says.

Read out of context today, passages of the speech tuck into the timeless tropes of America as both a mosaic  and a melting pot. It’s OK to assimilate, he tells us. We can still maintain our own identities.

But In Casper’s rearview mirror, the speech becomes a history lesson, a reminder of the American landscape 20 years ago.

“The early 1990s was probably the decade during which multiculturalism and identity politics were most prominent in the United States in general and on American campuses in particular,” he writes in his new book. “When I came to Stanford in 1992, I was ill equipped to deal with some of these issues.”

He goes on to trace the steps Stanford took to address diversity and he shares his thoughts – some scholarly, some personal – on the issues of social and cultural identity. He parses the differences between multiculturalism and diversity.

He discusses the adoption of a new policy on sexual harassment, moves made to increase the number of women on the faculty, and the tensions arising from the university’s struggle to support on-campus ethnic community centers. He revisits the political and ethnically charged student protests that unfolded in the early 1990s.

While he was dealing with the daily fallout of those matters in the president’s office, he was also searching for opportunities to convey his positions and address the issues in his public speeches.

Welcoming the Class of 1997 gave him one of those chances.

“In a university nobody has the right to deny another person’s right to speak his or her mind, to speak plainly, without concealment and to the point,” he tells the incoming students.  “In a university discussion your first question in response to an argument must never be `Does she belong to the right group?’ Instead, the only criterion is `Does she have a valid argument?’”

The lines echo those he used in his inaugural address, and they do so intentionally.

“If you have something you believe in strongly, you must repeat it and repeat it and repeat it,” he says now. “I do that. I plagiarize myself – not because I ran out of things to say, but because it was important to re-emphasize points over and over again.”

Defining academic freedom

So here is Casper in 1998, speaking at Peking University during the school’s centennial celebration. The Chinese government used the occasion to bolster PKU’s standing as a key institution that would lead the country into the 21st Century, and Casper focused his remarks on the role of research-intensive universities and the integrity they must maintain.

“Academic freedom is the sine qua non of the university,” he tells the audience. “Academic freedom means, above all, freedom from politics.” It also means “freedom from pressures to conform within the university,” he says.

Reflecting on that speech in “The Winds of Freedom,” Casper shares an unsettling irony: as he delivered his remarks, he was unaware that a Stanford research associate from China was being held in a Beijing prison under dubious charges of betraying state secrets.

He learned about the matter several months after the event, and writes now about the university’s unsuccessful appeals for the researcher’s release to then-President Jiang Zemin and his subsequent decision not to pursue a plan for Stanford to open a program at PKU at that time.

“I did not think that it was appropriate for me to enter into an agreement with one of China’s most prominent institutions – continue, as it were, as if nothing had happened – while a Stanford researcher was being held in prison without any explanation,” he writes. “I certainly did not take the step to suspend our discussions lightly, since throughout my life, throughout the many years of the Cold War, I had always favored engagement rather than iron curtains.”

“Germans don’t give funny speeches”

Casper gave his first public address at Stanford when he was 53. But he had already spent a lifetime as a speechmaker.

“I had been viewed in high school to have the ability to talk well and address a large audience,” he says. “And clearly, I liked to do it.”

He was elected president of the student council. His principal and history teacher, Erna Stahl, would call him the school’s festredner, or keynote speaker. He was tapped as valedictorian of the Class of 1957.

He discusses his valedictory address – focused on the dearth of German role models – in the preface to “The Winds of Freedom.” He writes about his relationship with Stahl, how he was impressed by her stories of  confronting the Gestapo, and the impact that growing up in post-Nazi Germany had on him.

“We hadn’t done any intensive study of the Third Reich by eleventh grade,” Casper says. “That was due to the fact that the Erna Stahl believed very strongly that going into the politics of the moment – the aftermath of the Nazi period – would not be the best method to teach us the values she wanted us to have. It would have become too quickly biographical and personal and she was very insistent that there needed to be positive values instilled in us to balance against what the Nazis had perpetrated.”

The preface is as close as the book comes to reading like a memoir, and Casper condenses his childhood, education, academic career and personal acknowledgments into 15 pages.


Photo Credit: L.A. Cicero

While there are only a few lines devoted to his 26 years at the University of Chicago as a law professor, dean and provost, it was in that city where Casper’s innate ability to connect with an audience meshed with his public persona.

“Germans don’t give funny speeches,” he says. “In Germany, jokes undercut your credibility. My speaking style – the self-deprecation, the humor – that was really honed in Chicago. My friends and colleagues had these characteristics, and those elements were brought into my life.”

He learned that a joke does more than solicit a laugh. It can disarm a critic, humanize a speaker and lighten up an otherwise serious speech.

“After all, you want the audience to keep paying attention if you really do have something important to tell them,” he says.

An era begins

So here again is Casper, new to Stanford on that second day of October in 1992 and about to take on the promises and problems of the university.

He opens with a light touch, addressing “fellow members of the first-year class and fellow transfer students.” He suggests with deadpan delivery that he was hired as Stanford’s president because he could properly pronounce the university’s motto as it appears in German on the president’s seal: Die Luft der Freiheit weht.

“Alas, I have bad news for the board of trustees,” he says, turning to look at the board members seated on the stage behind him. The phrase, he says, was originally written in Latin. Not German.

“If, under these circumstances, the trustees would feel it appropriate to renounce their contract with me, I would understand perfectly,” he says, cracking a wide smile for the first time.

“All I ask for is the opportunity to finish this speech.”

And with his first formal words as Stanford’s ninth president, Casper casts himself as a newcomer – an outsider here to lead, learn and speak his mind.

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In less than three decades, Taiwan has transformed from a repressive, authoritarian state into a vibrant democracy. Changes to the legal system, and particularly the criminal justice system, have played a central role in this story. Reform-minded politicians, lawyers, judges, prosecutors, and scholars have been crucial advocates for strengthening human rights protections, as has Taiwan’s Constitutional Court. Since the end of martial law, the Court has vigorously given heft to rights enshrined in the Republic of China’s constitution. Now that Taiwan has adopted the contents of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as domestic law, it is an opportune moment to reflect on Taiwan’s journey towards embracing international human rights norms and to confront remaining challenges. The situation across the strait is markedly different. Today, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court has no counterpart on the Mainland and analogues to Taiwan’s former police-controlled punishments remain in full effect. As calls for reform on the Mainland become increasingly vocal, how might Taiwan’s experience inform efforts to increase human rights protections in the People’s Republic of China? 

Speaker Bio:

margaret lewis1
Maggie Lewis joined Seton Hall Law School as an Associate Professor in 2009. She is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Public Intellectuals Program Fellow with the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and an Affiliated Scholar of NYU School of Law’s U.S.-Asia Law Institute. Her recent publications have appeared in the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, NYU Journal of International Law and Politics, Columbia Journal of Asian Law, and Virginia Journal of International Law. She is also the co-author of the book Challenge to China: How Taiwan Abolished Its Version of Re-Education Through Labor with Jerome A. Cohen. 

Most recently before joining Seton Hall, Professor Lewis served as a Senior Research Fellow at NYU School of Law’s U.S.-Asia Law Institute where she worked on criminal justice reforms in China. Following graduation from law school, she worked as an associate at the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in New York City. She then served as a law clerk for the Honorable M. Margaret McKeown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Diego. After clerking, she returned to NYU School of Law and was awarded a Furman Fellowship.

Professor Lewis received her J.D., magna cum laude, from NYU School of Law, where she was inducted into the Order of the Coif and was a member of Law Review. She received her B.A., summa cum laude, from Columbia University. In addition, she has studied at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China, and Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany. 

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Margaret Lewis Associate Professor Speaker Seton Hall Law School

Speaker bio:

Jonathan Rodden is a professor in the political science department at Stanford who works on the comparative political economy of institutions. He has written several articles and a pair of books on federalism and fiscal decentralization. His most recent book, Hamilton’s Paradox: The Promise and Peril of Fiscal Federalism, was the recipient of the Gregory Luebbert Prize for the best book in comparative politics in 2007. He frequently works with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on issues related to fiscal decentralization.

He has also written papers on the geographic distribution of political preferences within countries, legislative bargaining, the distribution of budgetary transfers across regions, and the historical origins of political institutions. He is currently writing a series of articles and a book on political geography and the drawing of electoral districts around the world.

Rodden received his PhD from Yale University and his BA from the University of Michigan, and was a Fulbright student at the University of Leipzig, Germany. Before joining the Stanford faculty in 2007, he was the Ford Associate Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Encina Ground Floor Conference Room

Jonathan Rodden Professor of Political Science Speaker Stanford University
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Why is there so much alleged electoral fraud in new democracies? Most scholarship focuses on the proximate cause of electoral competition. This article proposes a different answer by constructing and analyzing an original dataset drawn from the German parliament’s own voluminous record of election disputes for every parliamentary election in the life of Imperial Germany (1871-1912) after its adoption of universal male suffrage in 1871. The article analyzes the election of over 5,000 parliamentary seats to identify where and why elections were disputed as a result of “election misconduct.” The empirical analysis demonstrates that electoral fraud’s incidence is significantly related to a society’s level of inequality in landholding, a major source of wealth, power, and prestige in this period. After weighing the importance of two different causal mechanisms, the article concludes that socio-economic inequality, by making new democratic institutions endogenous to preexisting social power, can be a major and underappreciated barrier to democratization even after the adoption of formally democratic rules.

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Without a Fight is a feature length documentary film that explores how soccer can facilitate social change in Kibera, one of Africa’s largest slums.

When: Thursday, April 11th at 6pm

Where: Branner Lounge, Stanford University

RSVP: Join the event on Facebook

Dinner Provided from DARBAR Indian Restaurant

· Introduction by Sarina Beges, CDDRL Program Manager

· Post-screening Q&A with CFK-Kenya Executive Director Hillary Omala and Producer Beth-Ann Kutchma

About the Film

Footage of violent clashes fueled by polarizing national presidential elections is intertwined with profiles of youth from different religious and ethnic backgrounds as they navigate daily life and prepare for the final championship soccer game of the season. The film provides a glimpse often a very positive one into an Africa few have seen. It attempts to break stereotypes associated with people who live in extreme poverty while depicting sports as a tool that could be used to prevent violence among at-risk youth. The film made its World Premiere at the 11 MM Festival in Berlin, Germany in March 2012 and its North American Premiere at the Full Frame Documentary Festival in Durham, NC in April 2012. The soccer league is run by the international development organization,Carolina for Kibera. Watch the Film’s Trailer.

Branner Lounge, Stanford University

Sarina Beges CDDRL Program Manager Speaker
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