Activities of the Council for a Community of Democracies
The Mark Palmer Prize
The adherence of 106 democratic countries to the Warsaw Declaration created a new standard for diplomacy. The Palmer Prize seeks to honor those diplomats who are actively engaged in the realization of those standards. The award is intended for diplomats who display valor under difficult circumstances and take risks or are especially inventive in their sustained efforts to assist civil society to advance democracy in their countries of assignment. Our models for the award are drawn from the experiences highlighted in A Diplomat’s Handbook for Democracy Development Support, a work inspired by Ambassador Mark Palmer and by his exceptional service to the cause of democracy as United States Ambassador to Hungary during that country’s transition to democracy.
The Role of the Armed Forces in Democratic Transition
Under the leadership of Admiral Dennis Blair, former Director of National Intelligence and Commander-in-Chief of the Navy's Pacific Command, and with a team of five regional co-authors, the Council for a Community of Democracies (CCD) is developing a Handbook on the role of the armed forces in democratic transition that will serve as a knowledge base for military and defense officials. This project was conceived by Ambassador Mark Palmer, former Ambassador of the United States to Hungary and Vice President of the CCD Board of Directors. This Handbook will be a guide for governments to make democratic development a policy objective of military relations as well as a set of practical suggestions for embassies of democratic countries involved in the supervision and conduct of military-military relations. The project will focus on examples of transition and the role of the militaries of established democracies in transitional situations where the citizens of authoritarian countries are calling for democratic change.
CD Ministerial Conferences
Ministerial conferences are held biennially and hosted by the CD Chair’s home country. They are an opportunity for representatives of Foreign Ministries from all around the world to meet and discuss the ways in which they can cooperate to support the development and consolidation of democracy worldwide. Civil society leaders from across the globe are also invited to participate in the conferences, reflecting the critical role of the non-governmental process in the CD’s operations. The last Ministerial was held in Vilnius, Lithuania at the culmination of its CD chairmanship in July, 2011. The current chair of the CD is Mongolia, who will hold the next ministerial conference in its capital, Ulaanbaatar, in 2013. The CD's 10th Anniversary High Level Meeting, hosted by the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland with the Permanent Secretariat of the Community of Democracies, was held July 2-4, 2010 and played an integral role in revitalizing the CD.
A Diplomat’s Handbook
Whereas once the conduct of diplomatic relations was strictly on a state-to-state basis, today, ambassadors and diplomats are much more likely to engage the public of the host countries, rather than government officials. Embassies and Consulates are ready vehicles and brokers promoting contact and communications between the peoples and nongovernmental organizations and groups of the sending and host countries. Democracy development and human rights are among the most active topics of such communications. The diplomat’s handbook serves as a tool to guide diplomats with case-based recommendations on how to assist civil society with democracy and human rights promotion.
A Diplomat’s Handbook for Democracy Development Support is meant to present a wide variety of case studies documenting and explaining specific country experiences. It also identifies creative, human, and material resources available to Missions, the ways in which Missions and diplomats have supported requests in the past, and describes how such support has been applied. A review of these experiences bears out the validity of our belief in our inter-dependence. It will hopefully also provide practitioners with encouragement, counsel, and a greater capacity to support democrats everywhere.
CCD’s efforts to promote democracy education have culminated in a series of conferences held at the Pocantico Conference Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. These conferences brought together the nongovernmental International Steering Committee of the Community of Democracies (ISC/CD) with representatives of national ministries of education, multilateral organizations, and education policy experts from around the world. Participants developed national, regional, and international implementation plans to be presented to governments within the Community of Democracies, including plans for partnership between governments and civil society in strengthening democracy education.
Open Letter to the United States President on Democracy Policy
CCD has released an open letter to the candidates for US President encouraging greater support for democracy as an aspect of foreign policy. Please click below to read the letters.
2012 - Read about the CCD-hosted discussion
International Steering Committee
Comprised of 27 civil society leaders from all regions of the world, the nongovernmental International Steering Committee of the Community of Democracies (ISC/CD) is an active, independent component of the Community of Democracies that makes the CD unique among international organizations. Civil society, through the ISC/CD, plays a key role in the function of the CD, consulting with the CD Chair, the Convening Group, and the Permanent Secretariat to propose initiatives, identify threats to democracy, and develop strategies for promoting democracy more effectively. The ISC/CD places an emphasis on including activists from established democracies as well as countries facing challenges to their democratic institutions and those suffering under authoritarian systems, ensuring that the wide array of civil society needs is considered.
Past CCD Activities
To learn more about CCD’s past activities, including its participation in the Community of Democracies’ seminar on the implications of the global economic and financial crisis on democratic governance and the Asia Roundtable of the Community of Democracies non-governmental process, click here.