Job opportunity: countering extremism

The Keston Family Junior Fellow is a position within the Washington Institute’s Project Fikra, a program of research, publication, and network-building designed to generate policy ideas for promoting positive change and countering the spread of extremism in the Middle East. It is a full-time, paid position with benefits. Full details here.

Indonesia’s April elections: opportunities and challenges for Asian democracy

Indonesia, one of the most robust democracies in the Muslim world, goes to the polls next month. The country’s “underappreciated” democratic transition is proving to be a source of relative stability in a volatile region, with Jakarta emerging as a possibly pivotal force in determining the political trajectory of the region.

The archipelago illustrates how “Islam, democracy and modernity cannot only coexist but thrive together,” US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said on her recent visit. Jakarta recently initiated an Institute for Peace and Democracy to improve governance in the Asia-Pacific region.

Paul Rowland, the National Democratic Institute’s Senior Resident Director in Indonesia will be addressing the implications of next month’s elections for democracy in the region:

Wednesday, April 1

4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

National Democratic Institute

2030 M Street NW, Fifth Floor

Washington, DC

Paul Rowland is NDI’s senior resident director in Indonesia. Since arriving in Jakarta in 2003, he has overseen an extensive portfolio of programs to strengthen legislature, develop political parties and broaden citizen participation. In 2004, he managed the Institute’s election processes program and witnessed Indonesia’s landmark elections, including the world’s largest-ever direct presidential poll.

RSVP to sdesilva@ndi.org asap as space is limited.

Afghanistan: ‘use military and civilian power to promote democracy’

President Barack Obama today launched a new strategy to “disrupt, defeat and dismantle” al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He described the situation in Afghanistan as “increasingly perilous” and the strategy stresses the priority accorded to security and stability while asserting the need for improved governance.

Obama noted that the Pakistani people have “struggled against long odds to sustain their democracy“, a struggle that the US and its allies will continue to support.

The President’s comments reaffirm the US commitment to nation-building in Afghanistan, says Richard Kraemer, Program Officer for the Middle East and North Africa at the National Endowment for Democracy.

“Obama’s conspicuous avoidance of the word ‘democracy’ shouldn’t be taken too seriously,” he believes. “In its place we find commitments to ‘opportunity’, ‘justice’, and accountability , as well as a reference to the importance of women and girls’ rights being protected,” notes Kraemer, who previously worked in Afghanistan for the Center for International Private Enterprise. “That these ends are achievable through an undemocratic government, I think, is not what the Administration believes possible.”

After a visit to Afghanistan, a skeptic of efforts to transform the country is now cautiously optimistic. It may be “one of the poorest, least-educated and most-corrupt nations on earth”, writes David Brooks, “an infinitely complex and fractured society” with “powerful enemies in Pakistan, Iran and the drug networks working hard to foment chaos.”

But reformers now run key ministries and competent governors control important provinces. He concludes:

After the trauma in Iraq, it would have been easy for the U.S. to withdraw into exhaustion and realism. Instead, President Obama is doubling down on the very principles that some dismiss as neocon fantasy: the idea that this nation has the capacity to use military and civilian power to promote democracy, nurture civil society and rebuild failed states.

Read the whole thing.

The European Union should also reorient its strategy for Afghanistan, says a new policy brief published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). “The EU urgently needs a comprehensive overhaul of its Afghanistan strategy, unambiguously backed by a strong political commitment. A coherent European civil-military strategy needs to be put into place right away,” says former EU Commissioner and human rights advocate Emma Bonino. “In Afghanistan there is no short cut to success. This is clearly not the time to give up or to get out”.

The emerging military surge should be accompanied by a corresponding “surge” in civilian experts, the ECFR report suggests, not least to safeguard the forthcoming presidential and provincial elections. In addition to contributing to security at the polls, the EU should send as many election observers as possible to prevent electoral fraud. To avoid compromising the election’s integrity, the report also insists that the EU should persuade President Hamid Karzai to stand aside, leaving the Chief Justice to act as President during the poll.

EU commissioner criticized for snubbing Cuba’s civil society

Photographer : Jean-Michel Clajot

The European Union’s development and humanitarian aid chief has come under fire after failing to meet with independent groups during his recent visit to Cuba. It is the policy of the European Council, the EU institution representing member states, that dialogue with Cuba should include the democratic opposition and civil society.

But Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, reportedly refused to meet with the dissidents’ relatives group Women in White (Damas de Blanco) and declined requests to raise the issue of political prisoners. The Women in White, recipients of the European Parliament’s Sakharov prize, were recently harassed by government supporters.

Another delegation member, Spanish socialist Miguel Martinez, a Vice- President of the European Parliament not only refused to meet the dissidents’ relatives but happily meet with families of Cuban agents imprisoned in the United States.

Slovakia’s Pontis Foundation, which actively supports Cuba’s civil society and political prisoners, initiated the protests against Michel’s snub. Ignacio Salafranca, a member of the European Parliament, raised the issue with the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso who has promised to pursue the matter.

Announcing an additional 7.5 million euros (US$10m) in hurricane response assistance to the communist state, Michel described the relationship between Cuban and the EU as “a fundamental one that will only improve“.

Michel met with Havana’s new Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez six years after the 27-nation EU partially suspended diplomatic relations in response to Cuba’s “black spring when the communist regime arrested 75 dissidents and independent journalists who subsequently received prison sentences ranging from six to 28 years.

Rodriguez said the regime was willing to discuss human rights with the EU but quickly backtracked when Michel referred specifically to Cuba’s prisons.

Democracy jobs

Various Vacancies, National Democratic Institute

Currently available international openings include: Guinea: Resident Senior Program Manager;
Pakistan: Resident Finance and Administrative Manager, Islamabad; Resident Director: Tbilisi, Georgia. Currently available Washington DC-based openings include Senior Operations Manager ; Senior Program Assistant: Latin America and the Caribbean; Senior Program Officer: Political Parties. Full details here.

Various Vacancies, International Republican Institute

Currently available international openings include: Resident Country Director, Russia; Resident Country Director, Sudan; Resident Program Officer/Civil Society, Iraq (Erbil); Resident Program Officer, Jordan; Resident Program Officer/Campaign Specialist, Sudan; Resident Program Officer, Sudan (Juba) Currently available Washington DC-based openings include: Program Officer-Governance, DC (Iraq); Help Desk Level II; Junior Accountant; Publications Coordinator. Full details here.

Solidarity Center; Country Program Director, Nigeria.

The Country Program Director designs and implements field programs. S/he draws on her/his experience to write persuasive concept papers and proposals and seek funding for programs that address the needs of the partner trade unions, the AFL-CIO, and the U.S. strategy for the country or region. S/he monitors programs for progress toward expected programmatic results as well as compliance with budget targets. To Apply: Please send cover letter and résumé to Lisa Humphries, Human Resources Officer, Solidarity Center, 888 16th Street, N.W., Suite 400, Washington, DC 20006; by e-mail to lhumphries@solidaritycenter.org; or by fax to 202-974-8266

Center for International Private Enterprise

CIPE has the following vacancies: Policy Studies Officer; Development Associate;

Program Assistant, Middle East & North Africa. Full details here.

European Foundation for Democracy – Associate Director

The European Foundation for Democracy is planning to expand and strengthen its Brussels team with an Associate Director. This is a senior management position reporting directly to the Executive Director. We offer the opportunity to work in a challenging and rewarding environment in which ideas can be transformed into projects. Full details here.

Director of Dialogue Programs

The Project on Middle East Democracy is hiring a Director of Dialogue Programs to begin in May 2009. This is a full-time position based in Washington with a competitive salary. It provides a unique opportunity to conceptualize, plan and execute a wide range of activities in both the U.S. and the Middle East, in cooperation with POMED partner organizations. The Director of Dialogue Programs reports to POMED’s Executive Director and will manage a team including an Associate Director of Dialogue Programs, a Dialogue Fellow, and POMED’s campus coordinators.

The Director of Dialogue Programs will: Lead POMED’s ongoing dialogue programs in the Middle East, including planning POMED’s upcoming four conferences in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Yemen in cooperation with our partner organizations in each country, selecting topics and speakers to be featured in those conferences, representing POMED at those conferences, recruiting participants, and organizing the conference representatives’ advocacy visit to Washington, DC.

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and short writing sample to Andrew Albertson at andrew.albertson@pomed.org. The deadline to apply is March 31, but applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

Dialogue Fellow

The Project on Middle East Democracy is also hiring a Dialogue Fellow for the summer of 2009.  The position provides a unique opportunity to impact debates over the future of U.S. policy towards the Middle East, as well as to build skills and knowledge and to interface with leading thinkers.  POMED’s Dialogue Fellowship is an unpaid part-time position. To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and short writing sample to David DeBartolo at debartolo@pomed.org.  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Development Intern

POMED is hiring a Development Intern for Summer 2009 to work closely with the Executive Director on a variety of tasks related to organizational development. Such tasks include but are not limited to: assisting with organizational and management tasks, upgrading our accounting systems, researching potential project ideas and funding sources, and drafting and editing project proposals.  This is a challenging but rewarding position ideally suited to a highly capable graduate student with a demonstrated ability to handle substantive responsibilities. To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and short writing sample to Andrew Albertson at andrew.albertson@pomed.org no later than March 31, 2009.  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Director of Operations (International IDEA: Stockholm, Sweden)
The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance – International IDEA is an intergovernmental organization that supports sustainable democracy worldwide. International IDEA’s notable areas of expertise are: electoral processes, political parties, constitution-building processes, democracy and gender and democracy assessments. International IDEA works worldwide. It is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and has offices in Brussels, New York, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

IDEA seeks a Director of Operations to lead and develop a team of diverse, dedicated and highly skilled professionals by developing and implementing clear and effective work and communication processes; and to lead the development and implementation of International IDEA’s democracy-building programmes globally in keeping with the mandate and mission of the organization. Full details from vacancies@idea.int

Senior Program Officer, International Religious Freedom (Washington DC)

Freedom House seeks a Senior Program Officer (SPO) to manage the start-up and implementation

of its new International Religious Freedom Consortium.  Further details Lorena Castro 202.747.7019 castro@freedomhouse.org Full details of this and other jobs here.

Democracy Coalition Project (Washington, DC)
The Democracy Coalition Project seeks a Program Associate. The DCP is an independent, nonprofit organization that conducts research and advocacy relating to the advancement of democracy and human rights internationally, particularly through the United Nations and other multilateral organs. Further details from 212-548-0600 or email humanresources@sorosny.org