I have worked with the International Republican Institute since 1995, as a volunteer trainer in countries around the world. The article below talks about democracy building organizations, such as IRI, and their imact on recent events in the Middle East. I have conducted training in Jordan for Egyptian political parties, in Dubai for Syrian civil society members, and in Tunisia for Moroccan, Tunisian and Algerian women. As the article mentions, the role of these groups is minimal, but I have found these training programs to be useful by allowing people, who would never meet under normal circumstances in these countries, to come together to discuss the political environment, strategies for action, and ways to affect change.
The New York Times published an article that revealed US-based democracy groups that work to train people in the Middle East contributed to recent Arab uprisings. While the US government formally supported many of the official ruling regimes, groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and Freedom House trained young leaders, in countries like Egypt and Yemen, on methods to promote democracy. These methods included the use of social media, which proved to be a popular way of disseminating information during the recent uprisings.
The International Republican Institute works around the world promoting democratic governance and the inclusion of women and marginalized groups in the political sphere. In addition, they study the effectiveness of various democratic methods. For more information, view their website: here.
The National Democratic Institute is a”nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.” For more information, see their website: here.
Freedom House is a bipartisan non-profit that works to promote civil liberties and democracy around the world. For more information, see their website: here.
Although the extent to which these US groups nurtured the uprisings is unknown, there appears to be enough evidence that they played a role, however minute.
View full article: here.
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