EVENT: WCED Colloquium: “Challenges to Promoting Democracy from the Ground Up”

This Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies Colloquium features two prominent experts on democracy promotion, Craig Calhoun, President of the Social Science Research Council, and Lorne Craner, President of the International Republican Institute. They will discuss key questions scholars should raise if democracy’s extension is to become more central to academic inquiry and the mission of universities. What are the most pressing problems facing civil society and its organizations in the aftermath of democratic revolutions and other radical transformations? What do authorities in newly-democratic countries need to consider, and how might they learn from past experience? What transformations in American foreign policy might be undertaken in order to make democracies across the world more sustainable? What might universities do to clarify these questions and facilitate the efforts of democracy’s proponents to increase the sustainability of democracies and the efficacy of international efforts in that pursuit?

Craig Calhoun has been the President of the Social Science Research Council since 1999. He is also University Professor of the Social Sciences at New York University. Under his leadership, SSRC has launched new work on knowledge institutions and innovation; information technology; HIV/AIDS and social transformation; and media, democracy and the public sphere. The recipient of a doctorate in sociology and history from Oxford University, Calhoun taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for 19 years, where he also served as dean of the Graduate School and director of the University Center for International Studies. As a scholar, he has written on culture and communication, technology and social change, social theory and politics, and the social sciences. His recent books include Nations Matter: Culture, History, and the Cosmopolitan Dream (2007) and Cosmopolitanism and Belonging (forthcoming 2009).

Lorne W. Craner is President the International Republican Institute (IRI), a position he held from 1995 to 2001 and again since 2004. He led the strengthening of IRI’s programs in China, Colombia, Pakistan, Russia, and Turkey. In 1992-93, he served at the National Security Council as Director of Asian Affairs, and later, was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs. From 2001 to 2004, Craner was Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor under Secretary of State Colin Powell, where he contributed to the development of democratization and human rights policies. Upon his departure, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award, the department’s highest honor. In June 2007, he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a seat on the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Board of Directors. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, he has testified on numerous occasions before House and Senate Committees. Craner holds a B.A. from Reed College and an M.A. in National Security Studies from Georgetown University.

PLACE: Forum Hall, Palmer Commons, 100 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor

SPONSOR: Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies, an affiliate of the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia.