The Community of Democracies strongly believes in the process of mutual learning and exchanging of knowledge and experience. Many of its initiatives are platforms of cooperation and mutual support to the achievement of democratic goals. Given the global reality in which advanced technologies change our understanding of communication and politics and foster major social and political movements around the world, it is crucial to develop a mechanism that will engage the new forces for the good of democratic development, facilitating real-time online exchange of information and knowledge between leaders striving for democratic consolidation.
It is exactly this crucial need that led former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet to announce in March 2012 a new groundbreaking effort to support leaders in emerging democracies- the LEND Network.
The LEND Network – Leaders Engaged in New Democracies – is a global forum for exchanging information and expertise on democratization, to support leaders as they work to build strong and accountable democratic institutions. It provides peer advice and support for leaders and policy makers in key emerging democracies around the world (Tunisia and Moldova are the leading projects at the moment). Supported by a strong cadre of experts from the exclusive Club de Madrid, and making use of the most advanced technologies developed by Open Text and Google, the Network brings together devoted key leaders from the world’s newest democracies with former heads of states, leaders and scholars experienced with democratic transition, overcoming financial and logistical barriers that have limited such efforts in the past and enabling true professional dialogue over the virtual platform.
Communities within the platform are based on different key aspects of democratic transitions, including: constitutional reform, civil society, accountability, education, human rights, justice sector reform, diplomacy, local governance, and more.
The LEND Network is one of the most active initiatives of the Community of Democracy. So far, apart from creating a secure platform for conversation and generating substantive participation from leaders and advisors, it has also convened a number of face-to-face meetings between the participants, to complement the online work. Face-to-face meetings were held already in Moldova, Sweden and Tunisia- including a special workshop on constitution building, held at the peak of the constitutional crisis in Tunisia and largely contributing to the democratic discourse and the continuation of the peaceful consolidation process in the country.
Read more about previous meetings of the Network in Tallinn, Madrid, Bratislava, Tunis and Brussels.
The LEND Network is housed under a working group within the Community of Democracies, with the participation of a variety of partners and sponsors: Club de Madrid, Google, Open Text, Dialcom-Spontania, Club de Tunis, USAID and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. Want to get involved and support democracy advocates around the world? The Network is constantly seeking participation from leaders, governments, IT firms, civil society activists and other partners to take part in its work. For further details, please contact the Network Project Coordinator at the Community of Democracies, Ms. Kristine Luoma-Overstreet, or visit the website of the LEND Network.