National Endowment for Democracy
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (August 2010)|
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a U.S. non-profit soft power organization that was founded in 1983 to promote democracy. It is funded primarily through an annual allocation from the U.S. Congress, within the budget of USAID, the U.S. agency for development assistance, which is part of the U.S. State Department. Although administered as a private organization, its funding mostly comes from a governmental appropriation by Congress but was created by The Democracy Program as a bipartisan, private, non-profit corporation. In addition to its grants program, NED also supports and houses the Journal of Democracy, the World Movement for Democracy, the International Forum for Democratic Studies, the Reagan-Fascell Fellowship Program, the Network of Democracy Research Institutes, and the Center for International Media Assistance.
A bill was introduced in April 1967 by Congressman Dante Fascell (D,FL) to create an institute of International Affairs. And although the bill did not pass it led to discussions on Capitol Hill to establish an institution in which democracy efforts abroad would benefit the U.S. as well as countries struggling for freedom and self- government.
In a 1982 speech at the Palace of Westminster, President Ronald Reagan proposed an initiative, before the British Parliament, "to foster the infrastructure of democracy—the system of a free press, unions, political parties, universities." The U.S. government, through USAID (United States Agency for International Development), contracted The American Political Foundation to study democracy promotion, which became known as "The Democracy Program." The Program recommended the creation of a bipartisan, private, non-profit corporation to be known as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). NED, though non-governmental, would be funded primarily through annual appropriations from the U.S. government and subject to congressional oversight. The State Department and United States Information Agency (USIA) proposed the Endowment to encourage and facilitate exchanges between democratic institutions through private sectors; promote nongovernmental participation in democratic training programs; strengthening democratic electoral processes abroad in cooperation with indigenous democratic forces; fostering cooperation between American private sector groups and those abroad "dedicated to the cultural values, institutions, and organizations of democratic pluralism.", and encouraging democratic development consistent with the interests of both the U.S and the other groups receiving assistance.
In 1983, the House Foreign Affairs Committee proposed legislation to provide initial funding of $31.3 million for NED as part of the State Department Authorization Act (H.R. 2915), because NED was in its beginning stages of development the appropriation was set at $18 million. Included in the legislation was $13.8 million for the Free Trade Union Institute, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, $2.5 million for an affiliate of the National U.S. Chamber Foundation, and $5 million each for two party institutes, which was later eliminated by a vote of 267-136. The conference report on H.R. 2915 was adopted by the House on November 17, 1983 and the Senate the following day. On November 18, 1983, articles of incorporation were filed in the District of Columbia to establish the National Endowment for Democracy as a nonprofit organization.
Under the reauthorization of NED several factors were added to the organizations guidelines: the NED Act had to arrange the Board's prohibition on the use of funds for partisan political purposes, including funding for national party operations; mandate that NED consult with the State Department on any overseas programs it funds prior to the commencement of their activities; move the required date of reporting to Congress on all grants from December 31 to February 4, and lastly despite its non-governmental status, comply fully with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.
NED is structured to act as a grant-making foundation, distributing funds to private non-governmental organizations for the purpose of promoting democracy abroad. The Endowment serves as the umbrella organization in which half of NED's funding is allocated annually to four main U.S. organizations: the American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS), the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), and the International Republican Institute (IRI), formerly known as the National Republican Institute for International Affairs. The other half of NED's funding is awarded annually to hundreds of non-governmental organizations based abroad which apply for support.
The Endowment has come a long way from opposition between both political parties in its earlier stages to widespread bipartisan endorsement on the Hill. And even though the American government has implemented its own democracy promoting capabilities through USAID (United States Agency for International Development), NED's independence plays a key factor in its relevance. The organizations independence gives it an ability to work in situations that official bodies may have to avoid and its non-bureaucratic nature enables it to move quickly in rapidly changing situations. NED has become a universal model and has influenced other nations to create their own institutions for the promotion of democracy.
Funding of foreign political candidates 
NED does not directly fund any political party, as this is forbidden by law. According to NED, it funds election monitoring and also civic education about voting, such as student-led "get-out-the-vote" campaigns.
NED has also supported, provided training, and consulted with groups which approve of democracy, but criticize the United States, in countries such as Indonesia and Ukraine.[which?] The NED says that it focuses funding on democracy-minded organizations rather than opposition groups; however it does not support groups that openly advocate communism, fundamentalism, or dictatorships. Michael McFaul, in an article for the Washington Post, argues that the NED is not an instrument of U.S. foreign policy. As an example of this, he states that the NED was willing to fund pro-democratic organizations even when the U.S. government was supportive of non-democratic governments in the region.[which?]
The NED has supported programs in countries outside the United States.
Central America 
The International Republican Institute (IRI) received about $1.2 million from NED in 2009 in order to support think tanks and advocacy groups to "support initiatives to implement political positions during the campaigns in 2009".
Democracy and human rights advocacy 
Of the 28 Asian NGOs the NED funds, 18 are related to China. Most of these grants go to organizations promoting democracy, human rights, or in the case of Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet, local interests against and independence from China. Democracy organizations funded by the NED that target China as a whole are Human Rights in China, the China Strategic Institute, and the Laogai Research Foundation. The NED also promotes the Republic of China as a "model of democratization".
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (August 2011)|
To advance the human rights of Uyghur women and children. The Foundation will maintain an English- and Uyghur-language website on the human rights situation of Uyghur women and children; conduct a civic education seminar for Uyghur women; and conduct advocacy on behalf of the human rights of Uyghurs in China.
To promote freedom of expression for writers working in the Uyghur langauge. The International Uyghur PEN Club will maintain a website that features banned writings and the works of persecuted poets, historians, journalists, and others, and will conduct international advocacy campaigns on behalf of imprisoned writers.
To raise awareness of Uyghur human rights issues and advance religious freedom and human rights. The UAA’s Uyghur Human Rights Project will research, document and bring to international attention, independent and accurate information about human rights violations affecting the Turkic populations of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
To enhance the ability of Uyghur prodemocracy groups and leaders to implement effective human rights and democracy campaigns. The World Uyghur Congress will organize a conference and training workshop for pro-democracy Uyghur youth, as well as young and mid-career professionals, on the use of new media and social networking technology for advocacy and outreach, Internet security, and innovative tactics in promoting and defending human rights.
According to the NED's online Democracy Projects Database it has given funding the following groups for programs relating to Iran (1990–2006):
- American Center for International Labor Solidarity (2005)
- Civic Education and Human Rights (2006)
- International Republican Institute (2005)
- Institute of World Affairs (2005)
- Iran Teachers Association (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2001, 2002, 2003)
- Foundation for Democracy in Iran (1995, 1996)
- National Iranian American Council (2002, 2005, 2006)
- Women’s Learning Partnership (2003)
- Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006)
- Center for the International Private Enterprise (2004, 2006)
- Vital Voices Global Partnership (2004)
Iranians who have served as fellows at NED include:
Latin America and the Caribbean 
NED supports a wide range of programs in Ecuador including the Asociación de Mujeres Municipalistas del Ecuador (AMUME) which “advocates on behalf of women elected officials during legislative reform efforts by facilitating debate, analysis and women’s participation,” and Asylum Access which provides legal support for refugee communities.
In 2004, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez publicized documents which purported to show that the NED funded civil associations in the country, including a tripling of funding from about $250,000 to nearly $900,000 between 2000 and 2001. As of July, 2010, the NED is accused of funding several journalists in Venezuela who work for opposition media outlets.
Western Europe 
NED also funded political groups in the democracies of Western Europe in the 1980s. The French newspaper Libération published a report which claimed that the U.S. funded the National Inter-University Union. The alleged funding was criticized by the Cato Institute, which stated that:
"French democracy in the 1980s did not appear to be so fragile that it required financial assistance from American taxpayers to sustain itself. The government of François Mitterrand was duly elected within a democratic system nearly as old as America's. The AFL-CIO, however, determined that France's socialist government was permitting a dangerous rise of communist influence. According to the late Irving Brown, Paris-based director of international relations for the AFL-CIO at the time of the incident: "France . . . is threatened by the Communist apparatus. . . . It is a clear and present danger if the present is thought of as 10 years from now." That mentality has resulted in AFL-CIO support for highly controversial causes. One of the French groups that received funding, the National Inter-University Union, was widely viewed as a cauldron of rightist extremism and xenophobia and rumored also to have ties to terrorists. Surely, the U.S. government did not intend to fund authoritarian groups that work to undermine the government of a stable democratic nation.
Eastern Europe 
During the 1980s and 1990s, NED invested millions of dollars in Eastern Europe.
Ukraine, Georgia, Serbia, Slovakia 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2010)|
The NED played a significant role in the 2004 presidential election in Ukraine. In an article in the Washington Post, NED director Nadia Diuk acknowledged that there was a controversy surrounding the involvement of the NED: "Some have sought to portray the events in Ukraine as orchestrated in the West, a model executed with the support of Western pro-democracy foundations.' Comparing this to similar recent interventions in Slovakia, Serbia and Montenegro and Georgia, she writes, "Some commentators believe that the similarity of their actions proves they are part of a U.S.-sponsored plot, an effort to extend American influence throughout the world." Diuk states that critics are overlooking a genuinely "home-grown" aspect to the "election revolts" in these Eastern European regimes. She also stated that, "...there was a massive effort by nongovernmental organizations to monitor the vote, whether through parallel vote tabulations, exit polls or reports from domestic observers. These strategies were supported by the reports of Western election observers," and that "all these breakthrough elections have been accomplished with the vigorous participation of civic groups that support free and fair elections by monitoring the media, carrying out voter education, publicizing the platforms of candidates in the absence of a free press, training election observers, conducting polls and so on."
- Funds the website of Prague Watchdog, a political and humanitarian new source in Chechnya, Ingushetia and other North Caucasus republics. Funding totalled $49,830.
- Funds Free North Korea Radio, a radio station broadcasting from Seoul to North Koreans.
Source of funding 
The NED receives an annual appropriation from the U.S. budget (it is included in the chapter of the Department of State budget destined for the U.S. Agency for International Development-USAID) and is subject to congressional oversight even as a non-governmental organization. In the financial year to the end of September 2009 NED had an income of $135.5 million, nearly all of which came from U.S Government agencies.
The NED has received funding from foundations, such as the Smith Richardson Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, and others. The Bradley Foundation supported the Journal of Democracy with $1.5 million during 1990–2008.
Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) 
The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) “works to strengthen the support, raise the visibility, and improve the effectiveness of independent media development throughout the world. The Center provides information, builds networks, conducts research, and highlights the indispensable role independent media play in the creation and development of sustainable democracies.” "CIMA convenes working groups, commissions research reports, and holds events. The Center distributes a comprehensive list of digital media information and maintains a bibliographic database of international media assistance resources."  More information can be found at CIMA’s website http://cima.ned.org/
The Endowment's board includes a wide range of people who have previously held positions in Congress such as former Congressman Richard Gephardt and Martin Frost; Senator Norm Coleman, and U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks. As well as Professors of Political Science and International Affairs, Andrew Nathan of Columbia University and Francis Fukuyama and Azir Nafisi of Johns Hopkins SAIS. Business tycoons Marilyn Nelson of Carlson and Ken Duberstein of the Duberstien Group also are members of the board.
According to Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, The National Endowment for Democracy and its sole funder, USAID, have been criticized for their funding of "political advocacy NGOs that demonize Israel and promote BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns targeting Israel. This activity is entirely inconsistent with US policy." Steinberg also said that "Obviously, USAID and NED do not endorse such views."
See also 
- American Enterprise Institute
- Research Triangle Institute
- National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
- International Republican Institute
- American Center for International Labor Solidarity
- United Nations Democracy Fund
- Westminster Foundation for Democracy, a similar organization based in the United Kingdom
- "NED: History". Retrieved August 9, 2010.
- Lowe, David. "Idea to Reality: NED at 25".
- "History". National Endowment for Democracy. Archived from the original on April 26, 2008. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
- "Grants". National Endowment for Democracy. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
- "Meet Our President". National Endowment for Democracy. July 9, 2008. Archived from the original on April 26, 2008. Retrieved November 2, 2008.
- "Grants Program – 2004". National Endowment for Democracy. Archived from the original on May 14, 2008. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
- McFaul, Michael. "'Meddling' In Ukraine: Democracy is not an American plot". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
- Washington behind the Honduras coup: Here is the evidence on "Global Research.ca"
- Dominguez, Francisco (2009). "US Support is Propping Up Honduran Military Coup". London Progressive Journal (79).
- Raman, Bahukutumbi (April 13, 2000). "THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY OF US". South Asia Analysis Group. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
- "Fellowship Programs – Past Fellows". National Endowment for Democracy. Archived from the original on April 15, 2008. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
- "Publications". National Endowment for Democracy. Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
- "Hugo Chavez Accuses U.S. of Spending Over $1 Million To Help Oust Him". Democracy Now!. April 3, 2004. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
- "Buying Venezuela’s Press With U.S. Tax Dollars". NACLA. July 15, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
- Loose Cannon: The National Endowment for Democracy, CATO Institute
- Barahona, Diana (May 17, 2005) Reporters Without Borders Unmasked, CounterPunch.
- Diuk, Nadia (December 3, 2004). "In Ukraine, Homegrown Freedom". Washington Post. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
- "National Endowment for Democracy: Russia". National Endowment for Democracy. Retrieved August 9, 2010.
- Radio Gives Hope to North Koreans, CNN, February 27, 2008.
- "2008 Independent Auditors’ Report". National Endowment for Democracy. 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2010.
- "Recipient Grants: National Endowment for Democracy". Media Transparency. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
- "About CIMA".
- Report: Anti-Israel NGOs receive US funding
- NGO watchdog flags ‘inconsistencies’ to Congress
Further reading 
- Bollen, Kenneth; Paxton, Pamela; Morishima, Rumi (June 2005). "Assessing international evaluations: An example from USAID’s Democracy and Governance Programs" (pdf). American Journal of Evaluation 26 (2): 189–203. doi:10.1177/1098214005275640. Evaluation performed on behalf of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), at the request of and with funding from the Strategic and Operational Research Agenda (SORA) of USAID (Office of Democracy and Governance in the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance), according to the National Research Council (2008, p. 28).
- National Research Council, Committee on Evaluation of USAID Democracy Assistance Programs (2008). Goldstone, Jack A, ed. Improving democracy assistance: Building knowledge through evaluations and research. pp. xvi+336. ISBN 0-309-11736-4, ISBN 978-0-309-11736-4 Check
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- Robinson, William I. (1996). Promoting polyarchy: Globalization, US intervention, and hegemony. Cambridge University Press.
- The New York Times Reports On The National Endowment For Democracy An article about organizations supported by NED.
- Official site
- NED : The networks of "democratic" interference, Voltaire Network, Jan. 22, 2004.
- "The Ned at 10" article by Thomas Carothers
- International Endowment for Democracy Activist organization critical of the NED
- Catalyst for Iranian Resistance: US “democracy promoters” and regime change in Iran, Znet article by Michael Barker, December 18, 2006.