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Democratic Resilience
Episode 1029th October 2021 • Democracy! The Podcast • CEPPS Advisor Adrienne Ross, Fmr Deputy Asst Secretary Strategic Communications, US Dept of State, Journalist
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“If you don't give people dignity, you don't create a system that leads to better health, education, peace, security outcomes. And it's not the world that free peoples want to live in. So, democracy matters. It's hard, but it, for all its faults, in all its deficiencies, it works in all its messiness.” The Honorable Derek Mitchell, Ambassador & President, The National Democratic Institute. 

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At the heart of democracy lies peace, security, and resilience, and for some countries, these qualities are the toughest to come by.  So, where does a nation start when trying to build a strong, resilient, and lasting democracy?  In this episode of Democracy! The Podcast, we head to the Republic of Sudan in northeast Africa to seek some answers.   

Then, Ambassador Derek Mitchell, the President of the National Democratic Institute, has seen democracy’s rise and fall from nearly every angle.  He talks to Adrienne about witnessing some of democracy’s most remarkable moments and shares a retrospective look at what it all means.   

Democracy! The Podcast is brought to you by the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS) with support from the United States Agency for International Development through the Global Elections and Political Transitions Award.  

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Follow CEPPS on Twitter

Democracy! The Podcast is hosted by CEPPS and Adrienne Ross. 

This podcast has been produced by the Consortium for Elections, and Political Process Strengthening through the Global Elections and Political Transitions award and is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development.

Opinions expressed here are those of the host and the guests and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the US Government.  This show is produced by Evo Terra and Simpler Media.

Transcripts

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Hi, and welcome to Democracy!

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The Podcast that shines light on some of the darkest challenges facing the

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fight for democracy around the globe.

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"Democracy will and must prevail."

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[President Biden]

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This podcast is brought to you by the Consortium for Elections and

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Political Process Strengthening direct from Washington, DC with support

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from our friends at the United States Agency for International Development

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through the Global Elections and Political Transitions Award.

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I'm your host, Adrienne Ross.

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Democratic resilience.

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Would you recognize it if you saw it?

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What does it take to build it?

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Today, we're joined by Ambassador Derek Mitchell, the President of the National

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Democratic Institute, who will share with us his profound story, witnessing

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the dramatic rise and fall of democracy in Asia, including his eyewitness

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account at Tiananmen Square, 1989.

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But first, let's head to the Republic of Sudan for the latest from two team

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members on the ground in Khartoum, as the country tries to navigate its earliest

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work building democratic resilience in the midst of an extremely fragile transition.

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More now from the Consortium's Ebie duPont.

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In 2018 and 2019, a popular uprising spread across Sudan, resulting in the

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ouster of President Omar al-Bashir's regime and ushering in hopes for a

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fresh transition to peace and democracy.

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The country's provisional constitutional charter establishes the democratic

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framework for the transition and stipulates that a major goal of the

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transition is to "strengthen the role of young people, of both sexes and

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expand their opportunities in all social, political, and economic fields."

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But as the transition heads into its third year, the stakes are more

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challenging than ever for Sudan.

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The country needs institutions that can accommodate its size and diversity,

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including an electoral and legal framework that encourages the revival of political

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parties, civil society organizations, and the media, and, most importantly,

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participation by all its citizens.

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Sudan's Resident Country Director for the National Democratic Institute,

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Samia Mahgoub, and Hayya Ahmed, the Deputy Country Director for

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the International Foundation for Electoral Systems joined me direct

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from Khartoum to talk more about the country's path to democratic resilience.

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Tensions, since we spoke, have now escalated to an all-time

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high, illustrating in real time democracy's fragility.

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In addition to this difficult political transition, Samia and Hayya have also

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had to navigate COVID-19 and day-to-day challenges like regular electrical

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outages and difficult internet access.

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But these two ladies are dedicated to walking with the Sudanese as

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they pursue a more democratic age.

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They spoke to me about their work just before the recent political crisis began.

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As you know, in Sudan we are facing a power outage, daily power outage,

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and which is something that really impacts our world at the office.

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So this is the first thing that we have to think about, to guarantee we have

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enough power to allow our stuff to work.

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We cannot also forget that we are numb, our ankles, it's the rainy season.

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So three weeks ago, I cannot even imagine to conduct any activity in

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the field outside Khartoum itself.

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So for sure, Sudan faces the same impacts related to COVID.

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The vaccination is available, but, unfortunately, some

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people still resist that.

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I don't think that there is a lot of awareness to inform

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people to go for vaccination.

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We have more than ten centers here in Khartoum, less outside Khartoum,

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but still more awareness is needed to encourage people to get vaccinated.

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When we talk to Democratic Strengthening teams, we often talk

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to teams who have been on the ground a long, long time, but not always.

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And in the case of Sudan, you all have arrived in the

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country relatively recently.

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Can you give us a little status on how long you've been in the

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country and where your work stands?

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I started from April 2021.

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We can say that our program has already started to implement activity.

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But still in the beginning because also the capacity of the government for the

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transition period is still very low.

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So we cannot go much faster than that.

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But still, we can say we are in the beginning of the implementation of

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activity, unfortunately, because of the political situation sometimes

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we feel that we move forward, then the second day we find ourselves

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still stuck in the same level.

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We were here in January, and in February we started implementing our activities.

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That is because of first, our association with USAID and the trust

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that the government of Sudan had in

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USAID assistance.

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Secondly, it's also the reputation.

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NDI has been here for a while working on other projects, but IFES was here in 2009

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and '10, and there were so many people who had worked with IFES at that time.

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As soon as we say that we are from IFES, there were people who already

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some of them who recognized us and remembered the work that our

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mission group had done at that time.

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So, Hayya, you've talked to me offline about how you've had some really difficult

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challenges, or you've been able to accomplish some very difficult things.

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Can both of you talk a little bit about some of that, why it's been difficult

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and what you've been able to achieve?

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Yes, it has been very challenging.

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In the beginning it was difficult.

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As I just very quickly mentioned, in terms of setting up operations,

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we had to face a lot of challenges.

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Finding an office was a very difficult task, which in other countries could have

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been not as difficult as it was here.

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And all this because of the long period of isolation from the rest of the world.

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You see, for them to absorb incoming international assistance was difficult.

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So, even the property dealers, one day would tell you that something

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is for $3,000 a month, and the next day when you go back to see

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that place it would become $5,000.

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But when you come to Sudan and where they have had this dictatorship

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for like thirty years and

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isolation in that setting it becomes a little difficult.

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We have to pursue a lot.

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We have to explain a lot, and we have to try and do advocacy on simple things

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like let's have more consolidations.

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Let's talk to people about these things.

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But this is working.

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It's been challenging, but it is working.

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That's the best part.

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We are working in a transition period.

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So, unfortunately, according to the construction documents and The Juba

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Peace Agreement they should have at this period of time at least some

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institutional level or clear framework that allow the government and us as

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international partners to start to work and to provide technical assistance.

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So, CEPPS based on that.

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CEPPS base on that, for us, for objective one, for example, we need

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to work with the legislative assembly.

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Until now, there's no formulation for the legislative assembly.

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So you see, we cannot work on this component or this part.

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So we try to be as creative as we can, working with the ministries

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that we have in front of us.

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For myself as NDI, I work with a ministry of local governments because of the

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decentralization in the country, in Sudan.

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Even if you don't have a legislative body, at least we can work

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with the ministries that exist.

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Can you both talk a little bit about the personal, one-on-one conversations

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that you have with the Sudanese, or what skills you have to bring

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to the table to do this job well?

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You're already in a really challenging situation, and now you've got people

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who are really learning about democracy, maybe don't understand how it works.

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Where do you start with that?

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And what do you say to these people?

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This is exactly what we are working on these days.

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So when it started, we had to create our networks and talk to

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people to understand the situation on the ground and everything.

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In our meetings with different people from different walks of life, politicians,

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members of the sovereignty council, civil society organizations, academics,

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and so on, the one thing that was very fascinating was that most of them,

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including members of the sovereignty council, felt as if making of the election

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commission was synonymous with elections.

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This is something which was fascinating because they it feels like, you know,

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people don't understand how much work and how much effort goes into building

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a strong institution, the institution of election management, which is then

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capable enough to administer elections.

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And elections are the largest activity in any country.

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For them to be transparent and free and credible, the institution has to be strong

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and professional and skilled enough to administer that kind of an election.

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Yes, I think it's understandable that after thirty years of isolation that the

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country really needs a lot of assistance when it comes to what is democracy, what

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is the first step, how we can start.

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We need to start from scratch.

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Also, at an institutional level, we sometimes we are in contact

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with very high-level people at the ministry level, and you can see

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clearly that they don't understand.

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The best thing is to start from the beginning with them.

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It could be in a formal way or an informal way.

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And according to my understanding for the Sudan society, I found that

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informal way sometimes works better.

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I found also that sometimes it's very important to give them a lot of examples

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from abroad, from outside because it's hard at times in the Sudanese context.

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So this is one of our ways to push them to have the kind of comparative analysis.

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Then, they see there are different options and then they can select

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the best option for Sudan.

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So much hinges on that personal relationship and understanding.

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What do you think people should look for from Sudan in the next

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year, two years, five years?

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There are some positive developments during this period, which is like the

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tussle between the military faction of the transition and the civilian government.

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So let's see what comes out of that.

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However, when you talk about a longer, medium to longer term,

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being here for now almost a year, we've been here for ten months.

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There is a lot of potential for Sudan to position itself within the international

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community and also, for democracy, as well as for economic growth.

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The biggest asset that Sudan has in addition to the national

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resources is the people.

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The people here are very aware.

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And this consciousness and awareness has helped them bring

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a revolution in this country.

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This was not a revolution which was led by a certain leader, which was

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led by a single ideology as we see in other countries in the world.

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This was a revolution led by young people, youngsters who still are

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working in different areas as small resistance communities.

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And they are still here.

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The key important thing is to see how the transition period

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could advance peace processes.

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Hayya, Samia in Sudan, thank you.

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I am truly delighted to welcome the President of the National

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Democratic Institute to the Democracy pod, Ambassador Derek Mitchell.

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In his extraordinary career, Ambassador Mitchell has worked in nearly every

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aspect of democracy, starting at NDI's field programs in the former Soviet

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Union in Asia, to a leading international think tank in Washington, DC.

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He has also served in senior leadership posts at the U.S.

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Department of Defense and the State Department.

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And, of course, Ambassador Mitchell was the first U.S.

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Ambassador to return to Burma in 2012 after a twenty-two-year diplomatic absence

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after the 1988 military coup there.

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We couldn't ask for a wiser, more

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worldly guest to talk about

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democratic resilience.

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Can you explain a little bit about the national security implications for

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a country that cares about democracy in the face of the challenges we see

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today like rising authoritarianism?

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It's a pleasure to be here, first of all.

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Thank you for asking me to join.

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I think anybody who cares about international security

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should care about democracy.

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If I told you that one factor was the essential component for better economic

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development for health education, peace outcomes, you'd say we need that.

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And study after study, after study, democracy is shown to have a correlation

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to all those better outcomes.

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With those outcomes come more stable societies and better

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international security.

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There's just a logic to it.

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It's not an ideology.

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It's absolute logic.

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And how people organize themselves internally in a country, or governments

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do, will have something to do with how they engage internationally.

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So if you don't have transparent, accountable, inclusive, responsive

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governance under law at home, you're not going to be promoting that abroad.

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And if you don't have that abroad, you're not going to have

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security in international affairs.

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The fact is the autocrats are on the offensive, and they have a sense

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that democracy is fragile and the smaller the democrats around the world

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feel that they're on the defensive.

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They're playing a weak hand, but they're playing it with confidence,

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and they're trying to gain advantage.

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While I think that the democratic world is playing its strong hand quite weakly.

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We need to get in the game.

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We need to act accordingly.

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I've always talked about the "Fourth D."

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We talk about diplomacy, defense, and development as the

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three D's of foreign policy.

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I would add democracy because without these values, both at home and in the

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international system, we are not going to have the secure, stable, developed,

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prosperous world that we all seek.

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One or two things off the top of your head that you think is

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really vital that's not happening?

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Well, I think going out and putting it at the center of

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our foreign policy of promoting these values, we talk about them.

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But when it comes down to it, we end up sidelining them in favor of what

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we consider more hard, realist values.

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But it's not realist in my view to sideline values and encourage

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even our partners to be better at home and being more transparent,

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having more accountable systems.

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It's not realist to let that slip to the sidelines, and then allow

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for corrupt regimes to flow, for people's dignity to be offended, and

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therefore, these countries to always be on the precipice of instability.

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For a short time, it could seem like there's stability in these

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countries and they can be good partners because of the stability, but

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ultimately it lives on a knife's edge.

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In the absence of our ability to integrate them into our foreign policy

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engagement with other countries, to put more emphasis on it in our bilateral

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and multilateral engagements, and to ensure in the international system we

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are pushing these ideas along with our allies, we will not have a secure world.

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You tell a story from a period of time when you lived in Taiwan, and you and your

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brother decided to take a trip to China.

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I hope I have this story right.

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And it ultimately changed your life.

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What was it like to witness Tiananmen Square demonstrations in person?

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And how has that experience in Taiwan really shaped these

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views you have of democracy?

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It was my brother who came over to China.

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I was living in Taiwan.

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First time I'd ever lived overseas in my life.

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I was twenty-four, I guess, almost twenty-five-years-old at the time.

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And we found ourselves in Tiananmen Square during the demonstrations in mid-May.

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It was the first time in my life I'd been a witness to history in real time.

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That was heady on the one hand, sitting in the square, then that first night

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of the hunger strike and having all the students come and asking me,

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as an American, how are we doing?

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How does this look?

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Are we doing it right?

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And even then I knew this wasn't my fight.

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It wasn't about America.

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It was about them.

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And I said, look, I don't have an opinion on what you're asking for,

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but your ability to speak, that, as an American, we support, your ability

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to have a say in your own futures.

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So I remember sitting with them.

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But I also know that it taught me a lesson that you can study fifty, a hundred books

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on something, but there's no substitute for firsthand experience, for being there.

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Did you know what you were walking into?

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Or was this sort of just something you stumbled into?

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I actually went to see the Gorbachev Summit.

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I was more of a Sovietologist then.

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I mean, as much as you can be just coming out of college, but

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I studied the Soviet Uinion.

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And I thought, well, the first Sino-Soviet Summit in thirty years, that'd be

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fascinating to be there for, but there's no way they're going to allow those

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demonstrations that go on during that.

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So my brother and I went and the first day that we were there, the first night we

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heard the bicycles going by to the square.

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The Chinese students thought because Gorbachev is here, because of the

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international media are going to be here, we should take advantage of

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this to get access to international media for our desires, for our goals.

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So we actually hit both.

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We did not expect to see the demonstrations.

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We did not expect to interact with students, but again, we found ourselves

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in the middle of a revolution of a kind that was remarkable to be part of.

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We would spend our time out in the outskirts of Beijing, watching the

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various demonstrations, talking to some students, trying to get food where

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we could cause restaurants would be closed, and just trying to experience

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China for the first time in our lives.

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But you know, [chuckling] the students got in the way of that

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normal experience of China.

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Yeah, I bet you think of them from time to time.

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I thought about them a lot after the

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shooting and

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the massacre on the fourth and what may have happened to many of the people

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that I'd spoken with and experienced.

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It made me come away from that experience wanting to study

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China much more deeply, and Asia.

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I should also note in those days that was when I was living in

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Taiwan, but Taiwan was engaged in a democratic transition at that time.

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They were starting to open up, and I was working at a newspaper during

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the time of more media freedom.

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So Taiwan became a beacon of democracy, the leading democracy of Asia,

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according to Freedom House today.

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How did living there and that early experience that you had help

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your understanding of China and the rising role that government

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is playing in the world today?

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Well, I've lived in China twice.

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Once was in 1990.

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I wasn't living there, as I said, in 1989, but I did spend the

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summer of '90 studying Chinese.

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And then again in 2007, I believe.

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But I studied China from then on.

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So it was really twenty years, twenty-five years straight of

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studying what was happening there.

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That was in grad school, that was at CSIS, it was at the Pentagon - twice,

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including the early Obama years.

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I had a lot of interactions, a lot of conversations with Chinese think tankers

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and academics, and they would always sort of reassure us that the rise was peaceful,

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that the rise would not come at the U.S.

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or others' expense, and that it never saw hegemony or promoted this

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political system internationally.

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And, of course, they always play the victim.

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They always blame the U.S., Japan, and others for trying to keep them

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down and contain their growth.

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So, it was important in those days for us to talk to them and try to bridge

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those differences, try to find common ground because no one wanted conflict.

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But China's line never changed.

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They used that victimization narrative over and over no matter what we tried

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to do and what we did in those days, and these days, to welcome them into

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the system, to bring their students over, to invest in their country.

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But that victimization narrative held and they use it to foment nationalism at home,

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to gain sympathy abroad, to put the U.S.

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and allies on the defensive, and as an excuse for aggressive

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international and domestic activity.

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That became over time quite frustrating.

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So when they ultimately lifted their mask and became much more

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assertive publicly, I thought it was surprising cause I didn't expect

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them to do that so brazenly so soon.

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But it wasn't entirely surprising.

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When people think of China, what's the number one thing that they

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should understand that they don't understand about the country?

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I think it goes back to Tiananmen Square, the fact that the Chinese

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people want what we want, ultimately.

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They want rights and they want a voice and it may not seem like that now.

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The communist party has done a great job of diverting attention,

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distracting people towards nationalism, which is common for dictatorships.

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Prey on victimization.

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Use nationalism to distract and divert.

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There is a very vibrant community online and at grass roots that are angry

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about environmental degradation, angry about corruption, and when they had the

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opportunity, they wanted to speak out.

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So that still remains in China, and they have hundreds of billions of dollars

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they have to put into suppressing that through internal security.

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So I think as people look at China and they think, well, they're different,

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or they simply love communism or repression, they want, whenever

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they get a chance, they want the same voice as the rest of us do.

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There was an app called Clubhouse, which some of your listeners may know

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about, which promotes conversation.

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They opened Clubhouse in China for just two or three days.

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It led to all kinds of conversations, just maybe six months ago, about Hong

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Kong, about Taiwan, about the Uyghurs.

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That had never happened before, a vibrant conversation, honest conversation.

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And then, of course, the communists shut that down.

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Democracy is universal.

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It is not a Western concept that desire for rights and dignity and

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a voice is something that every human being seeks for themselves.

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There are different cultures and contexts, but this demand for dignity is

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universal.

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It's Chinese.

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It's American.

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People are reading about the Uyghurs.

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We're understanding that the situation is incredibly dire.

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Tibet, Uyghurs, you name it.

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There's repression everywhere, but it is systematic in a way in Xingjiang,

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in the West, that you don't see.

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We just haven't seen and certainly should never tolerate anywhere in the world.

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And there's still a lot of question marks about what's going on there, the extent

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of it, but enough information has come out to offend the conscience of the world.

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I'd like to talk to about your extraordinary ambassadorship to Burma.

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You were the first ambassador to return to the country after a

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twenty-two-year diplomatic absence.

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Can you talk a little bit about what living in Burma taught you about

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democracy and democratic resilience?

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It's just a special, special place, and more complex than anyone can imagine.

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It is a highly diverse country, highly fractious country, the longest running

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civil war going on in the world.

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And now it's only gotten bigger since the coup.

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They've never had a single, unifying identity, and the failure to reconcile

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the country amidst its vast diversity has been one of the most important

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things holding the country back.

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At the same time, the desire for democracy is very deep, abiding.

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It cannot be extinguished despite the military attempting

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to extinguish it over decades.

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Most recently, in the February 1st coup.

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When I was there as Ambassador, it was considered this sort of

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golden age, this moment where there was a moment of possbility.

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And young and old just reacted to that moment of opportunity and

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openness with energy, with hope, with a palpable sense of optimism

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and promise with this great spirit.

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So it just teaches me that you cannot squash democracy in the hearts of people.

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Even now they're facing this military violence.

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The people are saying, no, not this generation.

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We're not going backwards.

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Whatever it takes, we're going to protect our voice.

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We're gonna defend ourselves and we're going to fight.

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Even if the world is not going to do what we would like them to do in our

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defense, we will do it for ourselves.

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It teaches you that even then democratic mindsets take longer than processes.

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So even when the democratic opening was happening, there were still,

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as you know, the Rohingya issue.

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There is intolerance.

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There is injustice.

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There is not a spirit, necessarily, of compromise and of communication.

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The instincts are still listen to me, listen to what I have to say,

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rather than I will listen to others.

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This stuff is hard.

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Democracy is not easy, but that spirit, that desire which is so deep,

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and it remains in my heart every day.

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Those are people I think about every single day of my life now.

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Is their enthusiasm for democracy retained, or have they lost

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some of that, do you think?

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That's precisely what they're fighting.

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When people say, young people don't care about democracy, or look what's

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happening, democracy is in decline.

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In fact, there was a poll on the eve of the elections last year, the

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democratic elections that the Burmese had, that Myanmar had last November.

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The polls suggested lesser support for democracy among young

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people among the population.

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There's a little bit more frustration with it.

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Okay, fine.

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You can poll them at that moment when there's frustration, but the

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moment the coup happened - poll people now about democracy.

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There.

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The desire for democracy is deep, even today around the world.

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It's just frustration at whether democracy is delivering according

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to their expectations, and whether democracy is strong.

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Democracy is not easy.

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It is hard.

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In some ways, it's not natural handing over power peacefully.

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It's not natural to any leader or any party or any group.

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And compromise is not easy.

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That mindset takes time and it's not simply about a process or an election.

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It's a culture that has to be developed.

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And it's a culture that has to be re-energized by the

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citizens, every generation.

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And we see that all the time.

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That's why we see these extraordinary breakthroughs in democracy, and why

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they really take our breath away and give us goosebumps all at the same time.

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That's sort of the sexy part when you see people pushing back against the

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authoritarians and they take over.

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That's the exciting moment, but then that's a moment.

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And even you can have an election.

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That's a moment.

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But democracy is in the day-to-day mundane interactions among people,

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and in the ways people engage with one another on a daily basis, and the

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way they engage their government, and the way the government engages them.

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When you explain to somebody who does not work in this field,

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why is democracy so important?

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What are the words that you say?

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I say, if you don't give people dignity, you don't create a system that leads

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to better health, education, peace, security outcomes, you will have an

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unstable world, you'll have injustice, and just a more unsafe world to live in.

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And it's not the world that free peoples want to live in.

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So democracy matters.

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It's hard, but it for all its faults and all its deficiencies,

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it works in all its messiness.

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This is the challenge of our time, and we are not where we

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were, say, thirty years ago.

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There are authoritarian opportunists who want to prey on those who are

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frustrated or concerned about the course of democracy, and they're

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willing to get out there and use our moments of weakness to gain advantage.

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We can't let that happen.

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And I think we all need to, as frustrated as we are by our own

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democracy, and maybe by what's happening in the world, we can't retreat.

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We cannot retreat.

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What is the one thing people can do to help this process of

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democracy all over the world?

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If we're talking about Americans first, I think, let's try and

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work on our own democracy.

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I think we need to be recognizing that the strength of American democracy

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goes a long way to the ability of democracy to resonate abroad.

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It's not simply about ourselves, but if we can focus on ourselves and

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get ourselves right, and regain and recapture that sense of solidarity

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at home, of compromise, of communal thinking, then that will go a long way.

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The other is watch the news and just be inspired by what happens

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abroad and support people abroad where you can through universities

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or through your daily engagement.

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Just be aware of what others are doing and support American

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policies that support them.

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Well, President and Ambassador, Derek Mitchell, thank you so

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much for joining us today.

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This concludes the first season of Democracy!

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The Podcast.

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If you've made it this far, I must first thank you for listening to our inaugural

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season, but also maybe congratulate you.

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During these first ten episodes, we have just barely scratched the surface

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of some of the biggest issues facing democracy today, and you've at least

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been able to meet a few of its champions.

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But as autocracies continue to blatantly assault open societies around the

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world from Afghanistan to Venezuela, to Cuba and China, those fighting

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for democracy are playing the long game, and we will continue to stand

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with people around the world who fearlessly fight against abuse of power.

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I must thank all of our friends at the United States Agency for International

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Development for helping to get this project off the ground, and, of course,

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for always being the world's beacon and delivering aid and assistance on

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behalf of the generous American people.

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We are particularly grateful for the support and collaboration from USAID's

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Democracy, Rights, and Governance Center, and the Director, Rosarie Tucci.

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Plus, the Consortium's exceptional partners at the International

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Foundation for Electoral Systems, the International Republican Institute,

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and the National Democratic Institute.

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We really couldn't do any of this work without the fearless leadership of IFES

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President Tony Banbury, IRI President Dr.

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Dan Twining, and NDI President Ambassador Derek Mitchell, along with their

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extraordinary Vice Presidents, Michael Svetlik, Scott Mastic, and Nicole Rowsell.

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And, of course, their incredibly creative Communications teams led by Jerry Hartz,

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Clayton McCleskey, Ryan Mahoney, Angela Canterbury, as well as the DC leadership

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team of Jerry Lavery, Kira Ribar, Alix Lawson, Amy Radlinski, and Ebie duPont.

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Plus, those who keep the trains running, Peter Tjein, David

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Sands, and Sophia Toumbalakis.

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And, of course, I cannot overlook our dynamic production company of Simpler

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Media and its audio magician, Evo Terra.

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Most importantly, I think I can safely speak for democracy lovers

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everywhere when I say we are endlessly grateful to the partners on the ground

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for their tireless work supporting resilient, inclusive governments.

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I would be remiss not to thank the Honorable Mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko,

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Internews President Jeanne Bourgoult, the Task Force for Global Health CEO, Dr.

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David Ross, Ambassador Roger Noriega, EDYN President Malik Sakić, Guatemalan

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Congresswoman Nineth Montenegro.

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And, of course, the stars of the pod, the Consortium's Country Teams

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from Armenia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kosovo, Libya,

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Ukraine, Tunisia, and Sudan for their thoughtful conversations the season.

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Plus, I cannot overlook the exceptional contribution from Secretary Madeleine

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Albright who graciously made time for democracy in episode five.

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While this does mark the end of season one, please promise me that

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you'll continue to subscribe to the feed as we lay the groundwork for an

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exceptional second season of Democracy!

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The Podcast, which will include a remarkable deep-dive into the righteous

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indignation of empowered autocrats everywhere as we continue to shine light

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on some of the darkest challenges facing the fight for democracy around the globe.

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Until then, I am your host, Adrienne Ross.

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This podcast has been produced by the Consortium for Elections and Political

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Process Strengthening through the Global Elections and Political Transitions

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Award, and is made possible by the generous support of the American

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people through the United States Agency for International Development.

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Opinions expressed here are those of the hosts and the guests,

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and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the U.S.

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Government and is produced by Evo Terra and Simpler Media.

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For more information on Democracy!

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The Podcast, and to access the complete archives, please

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