International Foundation for Electoral Systems
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|Chairman||Hon. J. Kenneth Blackwell|
|Address||2011 Crystal Drive, 10th Floor, Arlington, VA 22202|
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) is an international, non-profit organization founded in 1987. This Washington, D.C.-based development organization provides assistance and support for elections in new and emerging democracies. Since 1987, IFES has provided assistance in 145 countries and it currently has programs in over 20 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Africa, Eurasia, the Middle East and North Africa, and the Americas.
According to their website, IFES works to advance good governance and democratic rights by:
−Providing technical assistance to election officials;
−Empowering the under-represented to participate in the political process;
−Applying field-based research to improve the electoral cycle.
IFES is supervised by a Board of Directors made up of equal parts Democrats, Republicans and members of the international community. The president of IFES is Anthony Banbury. He replaced Bill Sweeney in 2018.
IFES was founded by F. Clifton White on September 19, 1987 as a direct response to Ronald Reagan's 1982 Westminster speech in which he stressed the importance of promoting democracy. IFES was established along with other organizations focusing on democracy promotion, including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), and the International Republican Institute (IRI), all established in 1983.
In 1991, IFES convened a conference which established the Association of Central and Eastern European Election Officials (ACEEEO), its first cooperative agreement with USAID, and opened a new Resource Center.
In 1995, IFES embarked on a joint venture with International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs to create the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS). This is a cooperative agreement supervised by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Democracy and Governance which is the principal contractor for the Office of Democracy and Government's elections and political processes program which provides technical assistance and support to USAID missions worldwide.
In 1995, IFES also accomplished its first surveys in Russia and Ukraine. The first IFES-created non-government organization, CENTRAS, also became private at this time as a continuation of the IFES's "Civic Voice" project in Romania.
In 1996, IFES received its first international appointment from Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE: Bosnia and Herzegovina) and, in 1997, worked with the Association of Caribbean Electoral Organizations (ACEO) to adopt the San Juan Declaration which is IFES' first disability effort.
In 1998, IFES partnered up with International IDEA and UNDESA, with funding from USAID, to release the Administration and Cost of Elections project. ACE became one of the most valued and best-known international depositories of knowledge on managing elections, focused on the administrative and cost implications of the choices available. In 2006 the name was changed to the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network (with the letters ACE no longer standing for Administration and Cost of Elections) and launched a new dynamic online knowledge repository that provides information and advice on improving elections and the elections process.
In 1998, IFES also opened its first field office in Asia located in the Philippines.
In 1999, as part of its youth and elections programs, IFES introduces a 10-day Summer Democracy Camp for middle and high school students. The Democracy Camps teach youngsters about democracy and how to participate in the political process. The first Democracy Camp program was in Uzbekistan during the summer of 1999.
In 2002, IFES worked on its first ever domestic projects which focused on the 2002 Florida Elections.
In 2002, voters with disabilities were able to use IFES' Tactile Ballot Guide in Sierra Leone's May 2002 presidential and parliamentary elections. This was the first time in Africa that the visually impaired were able to cast their ballots unassisted and in secret.
In 2003, IFES acquired The Center for Democracy, an organization founded in 1985 by Allen Weinstein.
In 2005, IFES established the Charles T. Manatt Democracy Awards to pay tribute to outstanding men and women who are committed to freedom and democracy, just like Ambassador Manatt. IFES awards three individuals each year: one Democrat, one Republican, and a member of the international community to highlight the fact that democracy work transcends political barriers and national borders.
As part of IFES' 20th anniversary, in 2007, it hosted the fourth Global Electoral Organization Conference (GEO Conference) in Washington. This conference brought together 200 election officials and democracy advocates from 67 countries to discuss the most pressing issues in the field of election administration.
With global attention on the 2016 U.S. presidential election, IFES gathered 550 participants from 90 countries for the 2016 U.S. Election Program and Seventh Global Elections Organization Conference (GEO-7) from November 6–10. The 2016 USEP and GEO-7 was the largest international gathering of election professionals of the year and the 13th hosted by IFES since 1992. This flagship event brings together election officials, parliamentarians and diplomats from around the world to observe and learn about the U.S. electoral system as well as discuss elections and voting from comparative international perspectives.
|Year||Baxter Award for Election Practitioners||Democracy Award|
|2018||Dong Nguyen Huu (Mexico)||Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia)|
|2017||Tamar Zhvania (Georgia)||His Excellency Luis Almagro Lemes (Uruguay)|
|2016||Chafik Sarsar (Tunisia)||Nay Lin Soe (Myanmar)|
|2015||Michael Maley (Australia)||Prof. Attahiru Jega (Nigeria)|
|2014||Christiana Thorpe (Sierra Leone)||Maria Corina Machado (Venezuela)|
|2013||Jørgen Elklit (Denmark)||Dr. Leonardo Valdes Zurita (Mexico)|
|2012||Christian Monsod (Philippines)||Maimuna Mwidau (Kenya)|
|2011||Delia Ferreira Rubio (Argentina)||Judge Johann Kriegler (South Africa)|
|2010||Kwadwo Afari-Gyan (Ghana)||Ziad Baroud (Lebanon)|
|2009||Rafael López-Pintor (Spain)|
- Anthony Banbury, President/CEO
- Astrid Vermeer, Chief Financial Officer
- Michael Svetlik, Vice President, Programs
- Laurette Bennhold-Samaan, Vice President, Human Resources
- Chad Vickery, Senior Director, Center for Applied Research and Learning
IFES receives funding from the following donors (among others) as listed on its website:
IFES is also proud of partner with international and domestic organizations around the world to advance good governance and democratic rights.
Activities by region
IFES has worked in over 20 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa over the past three decades.
Currently, IFES has programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.
IFES lent significant support to the development of the Association of African Election Authorities.
IFES has been developing and implementing programs in the Americas region since its foundation, in 1987.
Currently, IFES has programs in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Haiti.
Over the last three decades, IFES has engaged in programming and research across Asia-Pacific, partnering global expertise with local solutions through combining efforts with a variety of partner organizations.
Currently, IFES has programs in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste.
Europe and Eurasia
Across Europe and Eurasia, IFES applies its technical expertise in an effort to advance good governance and democratic rights. IFES has had a long-term presence in many countries in Europe, such as Ukraine – where IFES has regularly conducted public opinion surveys since 1994 – and continues to conduct programming in diverse environments in countries such as Georgia and Kyrgyzstan.
Currently, IFES has programs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia and Ukraine as well as a regional program across Europe.
Middle East and North Africa
Over the last three decades, IFES has worked in over a dozen countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Currently, IFES has programs in Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Tunisia.
- "IFES 101". IFES. Retrieved 27 July 2011.[permanent dead link]
- IFES President Receives Honorary Award for Strengthening the UK-US Business Relationship[permanent dead link]. retrieved June 26, 2009
- 2005-2006 Biennial Report Archived 2008-11-26 at the Wayback Machine. International Foundation for Electoral Systems. pp 4, 24-25. Accessed July 22, 2009.
- Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening
- "CENTRAS Website". CENTRAS. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- "ACE Project Homepage". ACE. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- "The ACE Electoral Knowledge Network launches new regional centers". United Nations. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
- "Republic of Uzbekistan, Final Project Report". IFES. Archived from the original on 14 November 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
- "Tactile Ballot Guide". Archived from the original on 15 November 2011. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- "Election Officials Find Common Ground at GEO Conference". IFES. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
- "Hundreds of foreign election monitors are in the D.C. area to observe voting". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
- Now Accepting Nominations for the 2016 Baxter Award for Election Practitioners, IFES, 20 May 2016
- IFES Announces International Recipient of 2016 Democracy Awards, IFES, 3 Jun 2016
- "IFES - Staff". Archived from the original on 2012-09-19.
- "IFES - Board". Archived from the original on 2011-07-09.
- Working with IFES Archived 2008-12-24 at the Wayback Machine. IFES, 2009. Accessed July 9, 2009
- Guy S. Goodwin-Gill (2006). Free and fair elections. Inter-parliamentary Union. ISBN 978-92-9142-277-7. Found at Google Books
- Kumar, Krishna (1998). Postconflict elections, democratization, and international assistance. Lynne Rienner Publishers. ISBN 978-1-55587-778-1. Found at Google books
- Lyons, Terrence (1998). Voting for peace: postconflict elections in Liberia. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8157-5353-7. Found at Google Books
- Marsden, Lee (2005). Lessons from Russia: Clinton and US democracy promotion. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7546-4610-5. Found at Google Books