Posted by Willy Franzen on December 12, 2009. Jobs updated daily.
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I have to say that democracy is a pretty darn good thing—even if it is the only government system that I’ve ever known. It certainly has its flaws, but I’m not sure that we’ve found a better way to ensure the freedom of a nation’s citizens yet. I don’t think that there is a lot of debate about whether spreading democracy is a good thing—most of the debate centers around what are appropriate ways to spread it. The National Endowment for Democracy is a Washington, DC based “private, non-profit, grant-making organization” that aims to “strengthen democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts.” They’re funded through “an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress through the Department of State;” however, they are not a government organization. They make grants to pro-Democracy groups across the world with the goal of helping democracy evolve naturally in a way that suits the nations culture and history.
I guess you could get into a pretty heated debate about how you define democracy, but I like the NED’s definition:
Democracy involves the right of the people freely to determine their own destiny.
The exercise of this right requires a system that guarantees freedom of expression, belief and association, free and competitive elections, respect for the inalienable rights of individuals and minorities, free communications media, and the rule of law.
The NED has been around since the early 1980s, and since then they’ve suffered criticism from both sides of the political spectrum (I guess that means they’re pretty balanced). They have an extremely detailed history on their website that goes into great depth about how they work and what they’ve done in the past. The long and short of it is that they spend their time finding the right groups to distribute money to in support of democracy. If you’re intrigued by the NED, you should check out their Jobs page. Current openings that might be suitable for new grads include Publications Coordinator and Program Assistant for Middle East and North Africa. Application instructions vary slightly, so pay close attention the job descriptions.
Links to Help You Begin Your Research
What do you think of the NED?
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