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News

How to engage young people in one of the world's youngest democracies? Bhutan, a nation of 650,000 people, elected a new government in 2008 to replace a century-old monarchy. It is now striving to develop a democratic culture underpinned by a public educated in democratic concepts. This requires an independent media, a public space for debate, and an understanding among citizens of their own role in a democracy. more >>
In the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí, UNDEF funds a project to build civic participation to promote democracy and human rights, with an emphasis on youth, women and civil society. more >>
Moroccan UNDEF grantee Elarbi Imad, President and Executive Director of the Moroccan Center for Civic Education, received an honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa in June 2012 for his work in creating knowledgeable, engaged global and community leaders through education. Founded by Mr. more >>
UNDEF Deputy Head Annika Savill visited a project in Kamchatka Territory, Russian Federation, in May 2012 to support democratic participation of indigenous peoples. The visit included a round table with representatives of local government and the private sector to promote best practices of cooperation between indigenous communities and business. more >>
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights recently underwent extensive reform, including new rules of procedure to improve victims’ access to legal representation. The new rules facilitate procedural equality between parties, increase transparency, and advance more consolidated participation by the alleged victims. Those without access to legal representation are represented by pro bono justice professionals rather than, as before, by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights or by civil society organizations with specific agendas. more >>
An UNDEF-funded project to strengthen the participation of marginalized women in the Russian Federation held a roundtable in May 2012 in the main project location of Togliatti, Samara region. The roundtable focused on ways to promote cooperation between civil society and local government so as to strengthen rights and opportunities for marginalized women. Among those addressing the roundtable were the Mayor of Togliatti, Sergey Andreyev, and Anatoliy Arsenikin, the Director of the project implementing agency, Foundation Social Investments. more >>
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Hardeep Singh Puri, presented the Secretary-General with a cheque for 4.71 million dollars for the UN Democracy Fund on 30 March 2012, bringing to nearly 30 million dollars India's total contribution since the Fund’s inception seven years ago. As the world’s largest democracy and one of the original founders of UNDEF, India thus remains UNDEF’s second largest donor. more >>
Deputy Executive Head Annika Savill met with Rodion Sulyandziga, First Vice-President of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North at UN headquarters on 22 March, in connection with an UNDEF-funded project to support democratic participation of northern indigenous peoples in the Russian Federation. With vast natural resources, Russia’s northern regions are of national and global importance. They are also home to vast numbers of indigenous peoples striving to maintain their livelihoods and traditional way of life. more >>
UNDEF is delighted that Jeffrey Wright has accepted the UN Secretary-General’s invitation to serve on the UNDEF Advisory Board for 2012-13. An award-winning film, television, and stage actor acclaimed for his versatility, with roles in productions ranging from James Bond movies and Angels in America to the recent electoral thriller Ides of March and the Academy Award-nominated Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Mr. Wright is also the co-founder and chair of Taia Peace Foundation, which works to empower rural communities in Africa, especially in Sierra Leone. Mr. more >>
Although recent Liberian elections have generally been pronounced free and fair by the international community, studies show that even more than a decade after the end of armed conflict, some voters vote out of fear and ignorance. This is particularly true of rural women and youth, many of whom are illiterate and have no access to civic or voter education. This, in turn, contributes to wider governance challenges and corruption. more >>

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