National Democratic Institute

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National Democratic Institute
National Democratic Institute.svg
MottoWorking for democracy, making democracy work
TypeNon-profit non-governmental organization
Headquarters455 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC, US
Derek Mitchell
Madeleine Albright

The National Democratic Institute (NDI), or National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that works with partners in developing countries to increase the effectiveness of democratic institutions.[1] The NDI's core program areas include citizen participation, elections, debates, democratic governance, democracy and technology, political inclusion of marginalized groups, and gender, women and democracy, peace and security, political parties, and youth political participation.[2] The organization's stated mission is to "support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government."[1]

The NDI was founded in 1983, shortly after the United States Congress created the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).[3] The NED's creation was followed by the establishment of three related institutes: the Center for International Private Enterprise, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and the National Republican Institute for International Affairs (later renamed the International Republican Institute). The Endowment serves as the umbrella organization through which these three institutes and an expanding number of private sector groups would receive funding to carry out programs abroad.[4]

The NDI is non-partisan and does not operate in the United States; it takes no position on US elections, however it has a loose affiliation with the Democratic Party,[5] and is a "cooperating organization" with the Liberal International.[6]


The National Democratic Institute has worked in 156 countries and territories around the world and supported the efforts of 16,000 civic organizations, 925 political parties and organizations, 10,000 legislators, and 1,300 women's organizations. Furthermore, NDI has organized over 200 international election observer delegations in over 67 countries. Through its local partners, NDI has helped train and deploy 4 million election observers in 350 elections and referenda in 85 countries and has trained 600,000 party poll-watchers in more than 50 countries. It has helped partner groups organize 400 candidate debates in over 35 countries.[7]


The NDI started its activities in Chile in 1985. Its programs promoted free elections, working together with opposition leaders. In 1988, it participated in the United States campaign for the No at the Chilean national plebiscite. The United States Congress budgeted this campaign with US$1 million that the National Endowment for Democracy distributed through the NDI, the National Republican Institute for International Affairs, Free Trade Union Institute, and the Center for International Private Enterprise. The NDI participated organizing seminaries, sending political consultants, and an election observation mission.[8][9][10]


In the 1980s, the NDI participated in the broader National Endowment for Democracy programs against the Nicaraguan Revolution.[11]

Northern Ireland[edit]

In the 1980s, the NDI provided support to the Social Democratic and Labour Party in Northern Ireland to strengthen its democratic principles.[12]

United States[edit]

They are partnered with Gov2U[13] an organization acquired by Scytl.[14]

Sources of funding[edit]

NDI receives financial support from the National Endowment for Democracy,[15] the US Agency for International Development,[16] the US Department of State,[17] and the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening.[18] Furthermore, NDI receives contributions from governments, foundations, multilateral institutions, corporations, organizations, and individuals. Some of these governments and multilateral institutions include the Government of Australia,[19] Government of Denmark,[20] and Government of Belgium.[21] They are also funded by the Open Society Foundation.[22]

Awards, events, and honors[edit]

  • Andi Parhamovich Fellowship: In 2007 NDI announced the establishment of the Andi Parhamovich Fellowship, named in honor of NDI staff member Andi Parhamovich, who was killed on January 17, 2007, when her convoy was attacked while returning from a political party training session in Baghdad. Each year, the fellowship brings to Washington, DC, a young woman selected from NDI local staff or partner organizations who is deeply involved in building and consolidating democracy in her own country by advancing the participation of women.[23]
  • W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award: Each year NDI hosts a dinner to recognize innovators and activists in the field of democracy. At the dinner, NDI presents the W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award, which honors individuals and organizations that have exhibited a sustained commitment to democracy and human rights, and have demonstrated leadership, integrity and courage in their dedication to democratic values and practices.[24]


The publication Monthly Review stated that the terms democracy assistance and democracy building are rhetorically employed to overpower nationalist and socialist resistance to US economic and cultural domination, particularly in Russia.[33]

The NDI was expelled from Cambodia in August 2017.[34][35]

In December 2020 China sanctioned three high-ranking individuals from the institute, as it "blatantly interferes in Hong Kong affairs and grossly interferes in China’s domestic affairs".[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b About NDI
  2. ^ NDI: What We Do
  3. ^ Idea to Reality: NED at 25
  4. ^ NED: History
  5. ^ FAQs Archived 2015-08-01 at the Wayback Machine at
  6. ^ "Cooperating Organisations". Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  7. ^ "NDI". Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  8. ^ Lowenthal, Abraham F. (October 13, 1988). "Chile and the No Vote--a Bravo for U.S. Role". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  9. ^ Gamarekian, Barbara (November 18, 1988). "Washington Talk: Foreign Affairs; How U.S. Political Pros Get Out the Vote in Chile". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  10. ^ National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (1989). "Capítulo 1: Actividades del NDI en Chile" [Chapter 1: NDI activities in Chile]. La transición chilena hacia la democracia. El Plebiscito Presidencial de 1988 [The chilean transition to democracy. The Presidential Plebiscite of 1988] (PDF) (in Spanish). pp. 5–12.
  11. ^ Pear, Robert (April 25, 1989). "U.S. Allots $2 Million to Aid Anti-Sandinistas". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  12. ^ Clarity, James F.; Weaver, Warren (October 14, 1985). "BRIEFING; Irish Are Looking In". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY". Retrieved 2016-12-16.
  16. ^ "U.S. Agency for International Development". Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  17. ^ "U.S. Department of State". Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  18. ^ "Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening | NDI". Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  19. ^ "". Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  20. ^ "Government and Politics-The official website of Denmark". Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  21. ^ "The federal government". 2014-11-24. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  22. ^
  23. ^ Andi Parhamovich Fellowship
  24. ^ Harriman Democracy Award
  25. ^ "NDI To Honor Archbishop Tutu, Women's League of Burma | NDI". Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  26. ^ "Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf | NDI". Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  27. ^ "Jimmy Carter | NDI". Archived from the original on 2016-03-14. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  28. ^ "Václav Havel | NDI". Archived from the original on 2015-08-01. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  29. ^ "Bill Clinton | NDI". Archived from the original on 2016-03-15. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  30. ^ "Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas | NDI". Archived from the original on 2016-03-15. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  31. ^ "Aung San Suu Kyi | NDI". Archived from the original on 2016-03-15. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  32. ^ "Madeleine K. Albright, Chairman | NDI". Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  33. ^ The Myths of 'Democracy Assistance': U.S. Political Intervention in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe, Gerald Sussman, Monthly Review, December 2006.
  34. ^ "Cambodia's government asks the courts to abolish the opposition". The Economist. 12 October 2017.
  35. ^ "Statement on Cambodian Government's Decision to Shut Down NDI's Office in Cambodia". National Democratic Institute. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  36. ^ "China sanctions four with U.S. democracy promotion ties over Hong Kong". Reuters. 2020-11-30. Retrieved 2021-02-09.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]