Here at the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED) we are delighted to begin a new chapter in our 15-year history. Effective July 1st, we will be funded entirely by our enduring partners at the University of Michigan in the Office of the Provost; the College of Literature, Science & the Arts; and the International Institute. The name of our center will also be changing in due course, in consultation with WCED’s Steering Committee.
This funding change comes in response to world events. In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the family of Ronald and Eileen Weiser, whose gift helped establish WCED and its sister institution the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia (WCEE) in 2008, have decided to reallocate their gift to increase funding for WCEE to support Ukraine’s efforts to build and sustain a democratic, autonomous government – a move that closely aligns with their long-term support for Eastern Europe.
We will always remain grateful to the Weiser family for 15 years of generous support that have helped build our center to what it is today: one of the world’s leading centers for research, publishing, programming, and raising public awareness on democracy and autocracy.
Thanks to increased support from our many partners at the University of Michigan, the work of WCED (and the new center that follows it) will continue as it has. There will be no impact to staffing levels under this funding change. Our current commitments to graduate-student funding and to our four Postdoctoral Fellowships will continue uninterrupted as well, as will our vibrant public programming, our Freedoms Under Fire fellowship, our new research initiative for Michigan graduate students with Freedom House, our ever-expanding book series at the University of Michigan Press, and our editorship of the flagship newsletter Democracy & Autocracy.
Above all, we remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting the emergence of democracy around the world by better understanding democracy, autocracy, and the forces that drive transitions between them. We are excited to continue building on the great strides forward we have made in recent years and to explore even more new directions in the years to come. The global crisis of democracy shows that our work has never been more vital, and we will not miss a beat.