A Call to Defend Democracy, As More than 500 political, civil leaders, Nobel Laureates and pro-democracy institutions  signed an open letter to defend democracy

The COVID-19 pandemic threatens more than the lives and the livelihoods of people throughout the world.  It is also a political crisis that threatens the future of liberal democracy.

Authoritarian regimes, not surprisingly, are using the crisis to silence critics and tighten their political grip.  But even some democratically elected governments are fighting the pandemic by amassing emergency powers that restrict human rights and enhance state surveillance without regard to legal constraints, parliamentary oversight, or timeframes for the restoration of constitutional order.  Parliaments are being sidelined, journalists are being arrested and harassed, minorities are being scapegoated, and the most vulnerable sectors of the population face alarming new dangers as the economic lockdowns ravage the very fabric of societies everywhere.

Repression will not help to control the pandemic.  Silencing free speech, jailing peaceful dissenters, suppressing legislative oversight, and indefinitely canceling elections all do nothing to protect public health.  On the contrary, these assaults on freedom, transparency, and democracy will make it more difficult for societies to respond quickly and effectively to the crisis through both government and civic action.

It is not a coincidence that the current pandemic began in a country where the free flow of information is stifled and where the government punished those warning about the dangers of the virus—warnings that were seen as spreading rumors harmful to the prestige of the state.  When voices of responsible citizens are suppressed, the results can be deadly, not for just one country but for the entire world.

Democracy is not just a cherished ideal.  It is the system of government best suited to addressing a crisis of the magnitude and complexity of COVID-19. In contrast to the self-serving claims of authoritarian propaganda, credible and free flows of information, fact-based debate about policy options, the voluntary self-organization of civil society, and open engagement between government and society are all vital assets in combating the pandemic.  And they are all key elements of liberal democracy.

It is only through democracy that societies can build the social trust that enables them to persevere in a crisis, maintain national resilience in the face of hardship, heal deep societal divisions through inclusive participation and dialogue, and retain confidence that sacrifice will be shared and the rights of all citizens respected.

It is only through democracy that independent civil society, including women and young people, can be empowered to partner with public institutions, to assist in the delivery of services, to help citizens stay informed and engaged, and to bolster social morale and a sense of common purpose.

It is only though democracy that free media can play their role of informing people so that they can make sound personal and family decisions, scrutinize government and public institutions, and counter disinformation that seeks to tear societies apart.

It is only through democracy that society can strike a sustainable balance between competing needs and priorities – between combatting the spread of the virus and protecting economic security; and between implementing an effective response to the crisis and protecting people’s civil and political rights in accordance with constitutional norms and guarantees.

It is only in democracies that the rule of law can protect individual liberties from state intrusion and constraint well beyond what is necessary to contain a pandemic.

It is only in democracies that systems of public accountability can monitor and circumscribe emergency government powers, and terminate them with they are no longer needed.

It is only in democracies that government data on the scope and health-impact of the pandemic can be believed.

Democracy does not guarantee competent leadership and effective governance.  While democracies predominate among the countries that have acted most effectively to contain the virus, other democracies have functioned poorly in responding to the pandemic and have paid a very high price in human life and economic security.  Democracies that perform poorly further weaken society and create openings for authoritarians.

But the greatest strength of democracy is its capacity for self-correction.  The COVID-19 crisis is an alarming wake-up call, an urgent warning that the freedoms we cherish are at risk and that we must not take them for granted.  Through democracy, citizens and their elected leaders can learn and grow.  Never has it been more important for them to do that.

The current pandemic represents a formidable global challenge to democracy.  Authoritarians around the world see the COVID-19 crisis as a new political battleground in their fight to stigmatize democracy as feeble and reverse its dramatic gains of the past few decades.  Democracy is under threat, and people who care about it must summon the will, the discipline, and the solidarity to defend it.  At stake are the freedom, health, and dignity of people everywhere.

Below Those Who Signed 

Organization Signatory Country
General Director, Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies Davood Moradian Afghanistan
Former President of Albania Rexhep Meidani Albania
President, European Democracy Youth Network Juela Hamati Albania
United Nations Deputy Special Representative for Somalia; Co-founder, Justice Impact Lab; Member, the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability Fatiha Serour Algeria
President, Federation Against Enforced Disappearances (FEMED) Nassera Dutour Algeria
Founder, Maka Angola Rafael Marques de Morais Angola
Former President of Argentina Mauricio Macri Argentina
Journalist Beatriz Sarlo Argentina
Professor, the Institute of Legal Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Flavia Freidenberg Argentina
President, Fundacion Libertad Gerardo Bongiovanni Argentina
Former Member of Chamber of Deputies; Former Executive Director, Poder Ciudadano; Former Head of Argentine Anti-Corruption Office Laura Alonso Argentina
Professor, Centro para la Apertura y el Desarrollo Liliana De Riz Argentina
Former Minister of Security of Argentina Patricia Bullrich Argentina
Secretary of Human Rights for the Province of Buenos Aires; Former Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) Santiago Cantón Argentina
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina; Former Chef de Cabinet to the Executive Office at the United Nations Susana Malcorra Argentina
Founder and Chair, Democracy Today Gulnara Shahinian Armenia
Chairperson, Corruption Prevention Commission Haykuhi Harutyunyan Armenia
Former Prime Minister of Australia; Member, the Global Leadership Foundation Kevin Rudd Australia
Laureate Emeritus Professor, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne; Former Vice Chair of International IDEA Board of Advisors Cheryl Saunders Australia
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia and Leader of the Government in the Senate; President Emeritus, the International Crisis Group; Former Dean of Australian National University Gareth Evans Australia
Former Member of Parliament; Chair, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Michael Danby Australia
Director, Democratic Decay & Renewal (DEM-DEC) Tom Gerald Daly Australia
Former Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria Alfred Gusenbauer Austria
Chairman, the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center; Former Political Prisoner; Recipient of the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize of the Parliamentary Center of the Council of Europe Anar Mammadli Azerbaijan
Former Political Prisoner and Investigative Journalist Khadija Ismayilova Azerbaijan
President, Center for National and International Studies Leila Alieva Azerbaijan
Director, the Institute for Peace and Democracy Leyla Yunus Azerbaijan
Nobel Peace Laureate; Founder, Grameen Bank Muhammad Yunus Bangladesh
Photojournalist and social activist Shahidul Alam Bangladesh
Founder, The Human Rights Center “Viasna” Ales Bialiatski Belarus
Musician and Activist Lavon Volski Belarus
Nobel Laureate in Literature Svetlana Alexievich Belarus
Member of the European Parliament and European Parliament Brexit Coordinator; Former Prime Minister of Belgium Guy Verhofstadt Belgium
Speaker of the Parliament of the German-Speaking Community; Former President of the European Committee of the Regions; Former Minister-President of the German-Speaking Community of Belgium Karl-Heinz Lambertz Belgium
Member of the European Parliament; Former Minister-President of Flanders and Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium Kris Peeters Belgium
Member of the European Parliament Cindy Franssen Belgium
Writer and Editor in Chief, EUobserver Koert Debeuf Belgium
Member of the Senate of Belgium; Former Speaker of the Senate Sabine de Bethune Belgium
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Benin; Former President of the Constitutional Court Theodore Hole Benin
Former President of Bolivia Carlos Mesa Bolivia
Former President of Bolivia Jorge Quiroga Bolivia
Former Prime Minister of Bosnia & Herzegovina Zlatko Lagumdzija Bosnia & Herzegovina
President, CA Why Not Darko Brkan Bosnia & Herzegovina
Editor-in-Chief, Oslobodjenje Vildana Selimbegovic Bosnia & Herzegovina
Founder, Success Capital Organisation Dumiso Gatsha Botswana
Former President of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso Brazil
Director, Augurium Consultores and Advisor, the World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid Bolivar Lamounier Brazil
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil; Former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Brazil to the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Celso Lafer Brazil
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria Daniel Mitov Bulgaria
Chairman, the Centre for Liberal Strategies; Founder, the European Council on Foreign Relations Ivan Krastev Bulgaria
Executive Director, Women’s Peace Network; Rohingya Human Rights Activist Wai Wai Nu Burma
Chair, International Anti-Corruption Conference Council Akere Muna Cameroon
Chair, African Movement for Democracy Ateki Seta Caxton Cameroon
Former Prime Minister of Canada; Member, the Global Leadership Foundation Charles Joseph Clark Canada
Former Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper Canada
Member of Parliament Anita Vandenbeld Canada
Former Member of Parliament; Senior Fellow, Forum of Federations and Professor, University of Toronto Bob Rae Canada
Chair, Indigenous Well-Being, Community Engagement and Innovation Research Canada Chelsea Gabel Canada
Former Member of the Senate of Canada; Senior Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs; Master of Massey College at the University of Toronto Hugh Segal Canada
Former Chief Electoral Officer of Elections Canada Jean-Pierre Kingsley Canada
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs; Chair, World Refugee Council Lloyd Axworthy Canada
Former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations; Member, the Global Leadership Foundation Louise Fréchette Canada
Director, the Centre for e-Democracy; Associate Professor, Brock University Nicole Goodman Canada
Director, Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto Ronald Deibert Canada
Former Member of Parliament; Senior Fellow, Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights Thomas Mulcair Canada
Rector, the University for Peace (UPEACE) Francisco Rojas-Aravena Chile
President, Fundacion Chile 21 Gloria de la Fuente Chile
Member of the Senate of the Republic of Chile; Former Secretary-General, the Organization of American States Jose Miguel Insulza Chile
Human Rights Lawyer José Miguel Vivanco Chile
Director, Centro de Estudios Públicos Leonidas Montes Chile
Director, Fundación Para el Progreso Rafael Rincón Chile
Secretary-General, Asociación Latinoamericana de Estudios de Asia y África; Researcher, Fundacion para El Progresso Sascha Hannig Nunez Chile
President, the Chilean Council for Strategy and Foresight Sergio Bitar Chile
Executive Director, China Labor Bulletin Han Dongfang China
Artist and Widow of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo Liu Xia China
Founder and Executive Director, Dialogue China Wang Dan China
Director, the Counter-Power Lab; Former Executive Director of Human Rights in China; Former Vice-chairman of the steering committee of the World Movement for Democracy Xiao Qiang China
Founder and President, Citizen Power Initiatives for China Yang Jianli China
Nobel Peace Laureate and Former President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos Colombia
Former President of Colombia Andres Pastrana Colombia
Former President of Colombia Cesar Gaviria Colombia
Dean, the Law School of the University of Los Andes, Bogotá; Former Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Inter American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) Catalina Botero Colombia
Former Vice President of Colombia Humberto de la Calle Colombia
Journalist and Director, Dialogos and Estrategias Laura Gil Colombia
Nobel Peace Laureate and Former President of Costa Rica Oscar Arias Sanchez Costa Rica
Former President of Costa Rica Laura Chinchilla Costa Rica
Former President of Costa Rica Luis Guillermo Solis Costa Rica
Former President of Costa Rica Miguel Angel Rodriguez Costa Rica
Journalist Eduardo Ulibarri Costa Rica
Secretary-General, FLACSO Josette Altmann Costa Rica
Former President of Croatia Ivo Josipovic Croatia
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Croatia Vesna Pusić Croatia
Writer and Journalist Carlos Alberto Montaner Cuba
Executive Director, the International Group for Corporate Social Responsibility in Cuba Joel Brito Cuba
President, the Latin American Youth Network for Democracy Rosa Maria Paya Cuba
Former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Jan Fischer Czech Republic
Member of the European Parliament; Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Alexander Vondra Czech Republic
Researcher and Former Director of the Center for Theoretical Studies Ivan M. Havel Czech Republic
Former Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic; Former Vice President, the European Investment Bank Ivan Pilip Czech Republic
Director, Vaclav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy, Florida International University Martin Palous Czech Republic
Executive Director, Vaclav Havel Library Michael Zantovsky Czech Republic
Director, People in Need Simon Panek Czech Republic
Mayor of Prague Zdeněk Hřib Czech Republic
Professor of Constitutional Law, the University of Copenhagen Antoni Abat Ninet Denmark
Former President of the Dominican Republic; President, the World Federation of United Nations Associations Leonel Fernández Dominican Republic
Professor, College of Liberal Arts, Department of Sociology, Temple University Rosario Espinal Dominican Republic
Former President of Ecuador Osvaldo Hurtado Ecuador
Former President of Ecuador Rosalía Arteaga Serrano Ecuador
Professor-researcher, FLACSO Ecuador Simón Pachano Ecuador
Former Member of the People’s Assembly of Egypt; Senior research scholar, the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University Amr Hamzawy Egypt
Founder, Belady foundation for Street Children Aya Hijazi Egypt
Director, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies; Human rights advocate Bahey Eddin Hassan Egypt
Writer and Academic Ezzedine Choukri Fishere Egypt
Political Commentator and Former Chairman, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights Hisham Kassem Egypt
Affiliate Scholar, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security Nagwan Soliman Egypt
Former Director, the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy Nancy Okail Egypt
Former Vice President of El Salvador Ana Vilma Albanez de Escobar El Salvador
Scholar Joaquín Villalobos El Salvador
Former President of Estonia Toomas Henrik Ilves Estonia
Member of the European Parliament; Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia Marina Kaljurand Estonia
Executive Director, Ethiopian Civil Society Organizations Forum Bilen Asrat Ejigu Ethiopia
Vice President of the European Parliament; Former Minister of International Development of Finland Heidi Hautala Finland
Deputy Director General, Rapporteurs Sans Frontier (RSF) Antoine Bernard France
Member, Jcall Advocacy Group Bernard Henri Lévy France
President, France-Amerique Guy Sorman France
Professor, Center for International Studies at SciencesPo in Paris Jacques Rupnik France
Former President, Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques Jean-Claude Casanova France
Former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno France
Former President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili Georgia
Former Speaker of Parliament of Georgia Davit Usupashvili Georgia
Executive Director, Transparency International Georgia Eka Gigauri Georgia
Chairman, Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy, and Development Ghia Nodia Georgia
Executive Director, Atlantic Council, Georgia Giorgi Muchaidze Georgia
Executive Director, Center for Development and Democracy Ketevan Chachava Georgia
Executive Director, Economic Policy Research Center Nino Evgenidze Georgia
Chairwoman, Georgian Farmers Association Nino Zambakhidze Georgia
Chairperson, Civic IDEA, former Minister of Defense Tinatin Khidasheli Georgia
Director, Democracy Research Institute (DRI) Ucha Nanuashvili Georgia
Executive Director, Democracy Without Borders Andreas Bummel Germany
Former Member of the European Parliament; Former Chairman, the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee Elmar Brok Germany
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Member of the Bundestag Markus Meckel Germany
Former Deputy Mayor and Senator for Urban Development and Environmental Protection; Founder, Zentrum Liberale Moderne Ralf Fücks Germany
Director, South Caucasus Office, Heinrich Boell Foundation Stefan Meister Germany
Professor of Political Science, Freie University, Berlin Tanja A. Börzel Germany
Executive Director, AfroBarometer E. Gyimah Boadi Ghana
Founder and Executive Director, Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCED) Esther Tawiah Ghana
Former Judge, Legal Specialist on Anti-corruption Policies Claudia Escobar Mejia Guatemala
Former Vice President of Guatemala and Minister of Foreign Affairs; Member, the Global Leadership Foundation Eduardo Stein Guatemala
Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Guatemala
Former Rector of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras Julieta Castellanos Honduras
Founding Member, Demosisto Arnold Chung Chin Kiu Hong-Kong
Founder, Demosisto Joshua Wong Hong-Kong
Former Member of the Legislative Council; Secretary-General, Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions Lee Cheuk Yan Hong-Kong
Founder, Democratic Party Martin Lee Hong-Kong
Former Minister of Education of Hungary Bálint Magyar Hungary
Deputy Mayor of Budapest Kata Tüttő Hungary
Member of the European Parliament; Co-founder, Momentum Movement Katka Cseh Hungary
Former Member of Parliament; Honorary President, Free Market Foundation of Hungary Kész Zoltán Hungary
Vice President of the European Parliament Klara Dobrev Hungary
Former OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media; Resident Fellow, Center for Media, Central European University Miklos Haraszti Hungary
Director, Political Capital Institute, Europe’s Futures Fellow, IWM/ERSTE Stiftung Peter Kreko Hungary
Director, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights; Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iceland Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir Iceland
Former Vice President of India; Member, the Global Leadership Foundation; Former Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations Mohammad Hamid Ansari India
Director, Gateway House Mumbai Neelam Deo India
Former Chief Election Commissioner of India S.Y. Quraishi India
CEO, Open Government Partnership (OGP) Sanjay Pradhan India
Sociologist Surendra Munshi India
Director, Common Cause Vipul Mudgal India
Former CEO and Editor in Chief, Tempo Magazine Bambang Harymurti Indonesia
Former Attorney General of Indonesia and Member of the House of Representatives; Member, the Global Leadership Foundation Marzuki Darusman Indonesia
Executive Director, Perludem Titi Anggraini Indonesia
Former Fellow, the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS); New York Times Best-Seller Author Azar Nafisi Iran
Co-founder, Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation for the Promotion of Human Rights and Democracy in Iran Ladan Boroumand Iran
Artist and Board Member, the Center for Human Rights in Iran Nazanin Boniadi Iran
Director, Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Peace, Jindal Global University Ramin Jahanbegloo Iran
Nobel Peace Laureate; Founder, Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran Shirin Ebadi Iran
Chairman, Al-Tahreer Association for Development Abdalaziz Younis Aljarba Iraq
Executive Director, the Iraqi al-Firdaws Society Fatima al-Bahadli Iraq
Member of Parliament Sarkawt Shamsulddin Iraq
Former Prime Minister of Ireland; Member, the Global Leadership Foundation; Former EU Ambassador to the United States John Bruton Ireland
Founder and Director, Global Justice Academy; Professor of Constitutional Law and Assistant Principal, University of Edinburgh Christine Bell Ireland
Former Deputy Prime Minister of Israel and Minister of Finance Dan Meridor Israel
Former Attorney General of Israel and Deputy President of the Supreme Court Elyakim Rubinstein Israel
Former Deputy Prime Minister of Israel and Minister of Housing and Construction Natan Sharansky Israel
Professor, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities Shlomo Avineri Israel
Professor of Law at theRadzyner School of Law, IDC Herzliya Yaniv Roznai Israel
Former Prime Minister of Italy; Dean of the Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po, Paris Enrico Letta Italy
President, Venice Commission for Democracy Gianni Buquicchio Italy
President, the International Center on Democracy and Democratisation (ICEDD) and Emeritus Professor of Political Science, LUISS University in Rome Leonardo Morlino Italy
Former Member of Parliament; President, International Campaign for Tibet Matteo Mecacci Italy
Former Prime Minister of Jamaica; Member, the Global Leadership Foundation; Former Chair of the United Nations Security Council PJ Patterson Jamaica
Associate Professor of International Relations, Hitotsubashi University Maiko Ichihara Japan
Chairman, Asia Pacific Initiative; Award Winning Journalist and Author Yoichi Funabashi Japan
Chairman, Japan Center for International Exchange; Former Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations Yukio Takasu Japan
Former Minister of Energy and Minister of Planning of Jordan Ibrahim Saif Jordan
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jordan Marwan Muasher Jordan
General Director, Al Quds Center for Political Studies Oraib Al Rantawi Jordan
Directorof the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law Yevgeniy Zhovtis Kazakhstan
Executive Director, Network of African National Human Rights Institutions Gilbert Sebihogo Kenya
Former President of Kosovo Atifete Jahjaga Kosovo
Program Director, Sbunker Aagon Maliqi Kosovo
Former President of Kyrgyzstan Roza Otumbayeva Kyrgyzstan
Former Member of Parliament Cholpon Idinovna Djakupova Kyrgyzstan
Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Res Publica; Recipient of the Courage in Journalism Award of the International Women’s Media Foundation Zamira Sysykova Kyrgyzstan
Former President of Latvia; Founding Member, Club de Madrid Vaira Vike-Freiberga Latvia
Former Prime Minister of Latvia Valdis Birkavs Latvia
Executive Director, Naymote Partners for Democratic Development Eddie D. Jarwolo Liberia
Nobel Peace Laureate; President, The Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa Leymah R. Gbowee Liberia
Member of the European Parliament and Former Prime Minister of Lithuania Andrius Kubilius Lithuania
Former President of Lithuania Vytautas Landsbergis Lithuania
Chairman, Subcommittee on Transatlantic Relations and Democracy Development, Parliament of Lithuania Emanuelis Zingeris Lithuania
Member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania Mantas Adomenas Lithuania
Chair, The Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis Sarunas Liekis Lithuania
Deputy Chair, European Affairs Committee of the Parliament Zygimantas Pavilionis Lithuania
Founder and Director, the Islamic Renaissance Front (IFR) Ahmad Farouk Malaysia
Former Prime Minister of Malta; Member, the Global Leadership Foundation Lawrence Gonzi Malta
Former President of Mauritius; Vice President, the World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid; Member, the Global Leadership Foundation Cassam Uteem Mauritius
Former President of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo Mexico
Former Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico Claudia Ruiz Massieu Mexico
Historian and Editor, Letras Libres Enrique Krauze Mexico
Former Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico Jorge Castaneda Mexico
Professor, Colegio de Mexico, Visiting Scientist, Harvard University Sergio Aguayo Mexico
Former Prime Minister of Moldova Maia Sandu Moldova
Former President of Mongolia Elbegdorj Tsakhia Mongolia
Special Advisor, the Zorig Foundation; Former Ambassador of Mongolia to India Sanjaasuren Bayaraa Mongolia
President, Center for Democratic Transision Milica Kovacevic Montenegro
Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro Srdjan Darmanovic Montenegro
Director, Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis Mohammed Masbah Morocco
Professor of Islamic Studies, Hassan II University Mokhtar Benabdallaoui Morocco
Former President of the Republic of Mozambique; Chairperson, the Joaquim Chissano Foundation Joaquim Alberto Chissano Mozambique
Former Chief Election Commissioner of Nepal Bhoj Raj Pokharel Nepal
Development professional and women’s rights activist Pragya Lamsal Nepal
Former Prime Minister of the Netherlands Jan Peter Balkenende Netherlands
Former Member of the European Parliament Emine Bozkurt Netherlands
President, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Hans van Baalen Netherlands
Former Minister of Finance of the Netherlands; Former President, Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem Netherlands
Member of the European Parliament Kati Piri Netherlands
Former Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands Laurens Jan Brinkhorst Netherlands
Member of Parliament; Former Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands Lilianne Ploumen Netherlands
Former Prime Minister of New Zealand; Member, the Global Leadership Foundation; Former Deputy Prime Minister; Former Administrator of the UNDP Helen Clark New Zealand
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand Don McKinnon New Zealand
Former President of Nicaragua Enrique José Bolaños Geye Nicaragua
Editor, Confidencial Carlos Fernando Chamorro Nicaragua
Founder, the Violeta Chamorro Foundation Cristiana Chamorro Nicaragua
Former Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidate of Nicaragua Edmundo Jarquín Nicaragua
Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Chair, the West Africa Commission on Drugs Olusegun Obasanjo Nigeria
Legal Practitioner and Former Chairperson, Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy Ayo Obe Nigeria
Founding Chairman, the Transition Monitoring Group Clement Nwankwo Nigeria
Founder, the Center for Law Enforcement Education Innocent Chukwuma Nigeria
Senior Fellow, Center for Democracy and Development Abuja Jibrin Ibrahim Nigeria
Executive Director, Center for Advocacy in Gender and Social Inclusion CAGSI Maryam Garba Usman Nigeria
Advocate for gender equity and youth inclusion in politics; Member of the Board of Directors of Young Women in Politics Forum Rinsola Abiola Nigeria
Executive Director, YIAGA and Initiator of the Not Too Young to Run campaign Samson Itodo Nigeria
Nobel Laureate in Literature Wole Soyinka Nigeria
Former Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev North Macedonia
President of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia Oliver Spasovski North Macedonia
Former Prime Minister of Norway; Founder and Executive Chair, the Oslo Center Kjell Magne Bondevik Norway
Secretary-General, Norwegian Helsinki Committee Bjørn Engesland Norway
President, the Oslo Freedom Forum Thor Halvorssen Norway
Former Secretary-General, International IDEA Vidar Helgesen Norway
Founder and Chairperson, Aware Girl Gulalai Ismail Pakistan
Director, South and Central Asia, The Hudson Institute; Former Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani Pakistan
CEO, Civic Concerns Zafarullah Khan Pakistan
Former Member of Parliament Azmi Shuabi Palestine
Palestinian Intellectual Walid Salem Palestine
CEO, the Digicel PNG Foundation Serena Sumanop Papua New Guinea
Former President of Paraguay Federico Franco Gómez Paraguay
Former Senator and Minister of Justice and Labor of Paraguay Diego Abente Brun Paraguay
Founder, Centro de Documentación y Estudios (CDE-Paraguay); Former Member, the United Nations Committee for the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Line Bareiro Paraguay
Member of the Academia Paraguaya de la Historia Milda Rivarola Paraguay
The President of the Council of Ministers of Peru and National Ombudswoman Beatriz Merino Peru
Journalist and Director, IDL-Reporter Gustavo Gorriti Peru
Professor, University of Santiago of Chile Lucia Dammert Peru
Nobel Laureate for Literature Mario Vargas Llosa Peru
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights Chito Gascon Philippines
CEO and Executive Editor, Rappler Maria Ressa Philippines
Corporate Secretary, iLEAD Maxine Tanya Hamada Philippines
Chairperson, INCITEGov Teresita Quintos-Deles Philippines
Member of the European Parliament and Former Prime Minister of Poland Jerzy Buzek Poland
Nobel Peace Laureate and Former President of Poland Lech Wałęsa Poland
Former President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski Poland
Commissioner for Human Rights of Poland Adam Bodnar Poland
Film Director Agnieszka Holland Poland
President, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights Danuta Przywara Poland
Former Deputy Prime Minister of Poland and Minister of Finance Leszek Balcerowicz Poland
Member of the European Parliament; Former Foreign Minister and Minister of Defence of Poland; Chairman, the EU-USA Delegation Radosław Sikorski Poland
Former Mayor of Wroclaw Rafal Dutkiewicz Poland
Director, Krytyka Polityczna Sławomir Sierakowski Poland
Former Member of the European Parliament Ana Gomes Portugal
Director, the Institute of Political Studies, Catholic University of Lisbon Joao Carlos Espada Portugal
Director, Anti-Kleptocracy Strategy of Sassoufit Collective Andrea Ngombet Republic of Congo
President, LOTUS Group Dismas Kitenge Republic of Congo
Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea Hong-koo Lee Republic of Korea
Member of National Assembly of the Republic of Korea Ha Taekyung Republic of Korea
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs; Chairman, Asan Institute for Policy Studies Han SungJoo Republic of Korea
Member of National Assembly of the Republic of Korea and North Korean defector Ji Seong ho Republic of Korea
Former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea; Fellow, Institute for Corean-American Studies; Former Ambassador; Former Deputy Permanent Representative at the Korean Mission to the United Nations Kak Soo Shin Republic of Korea
Ranking Member of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee of the National Assembly Keum Tae Sup Republic of Korea
Member of National Assembly of the Republic of Korea Kim Se Yeon Republic of Korea
Former South Korean Ambassador to the United Nations Oh Joon Republic of Korea
Member of National Assembly of the Republic of Korea Seung-hee  Hwangbo Republic of Korea
President, East Asia Institute Sook Jong Lee Republic of Korea
Member of National Assembly of the Republic of Korea Thae Youngho Republic of Korea
Former Prime Minister of Romania Petre Roman Romania
Human Rights Educator, Greenpeace Romania Alina Aflecailor Romania
Democracy Chair, Hertie School of Governance Alina Mungiu-Pippidi Romania
Professor, the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations; Advisor, the World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid; Former President, Green Cross International Alexander Likhotal Russia
Writer and Visiting Fellow, the Hudson Institute Andrei Piontkovsky Russia
Chairman, Renew Democracy Initiative (RDI); Chairman, the Human Rights Foundation; Former World Chess Champion, Writer, and Political Activist Garry Kasparov Russia
President, Union of Right Forces (SPS) Leonid Gozman Russia
Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow, Robert Bosch Academy Lilia Shevtsova Russia
Former Political Prisoner and Opposition Leader Mikhail Khodorkovsky Russia
Director, Public Verdict Foundation Natalia Taubina Russia
Chairman, Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom Vladimir Kara-Murza Russia
Co-founder, Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom; Journalist and Social Activist Zhanna Nemtsova Russia
Founder, ALQST Yahya Assiri Saudi Arabia
Former Member and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Senegal; Former UN Under-Secretary General Abdoulaye Bathily Senegal
Co-founder of Y’en a Marre Cheikh Oumar Cyrille Touré (aka Thiat) Senegal
Historian and President, Mouvement Citoyen Penda Mbow Senegal
Founder, Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR) Andrej Nosov Serbia
Coordinator, the World Youth Movement for Democracy Ivan Đurić Serbia
Founder, Humanitarian Law Center Natasa Kandić Serbia
Chair, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights Sonja Biserko Serbia
Director, Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability Vukosava Crnjanski Serbia
Former President of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma Sierra Leone
Former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations; Advisor, the World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid ; Former United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Timor-Leste Noeleen Heyzer Singapore
Former Prime Minister of Slovakia Iveta Radicova Slovakia
Honorary Chairman, Institute for Public Affairs Martin Butora Slovakia
Member of the European Parliament Martin Hojsik Slovakia
Member of the European Parliament Peter Pollak Slovakia
Chairperson, Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network Hassan Shire Somalia
Nobel Peace Laureate and Former President of South Africa; Founder, the Global Leadership Foundation FW de Klerk South Africa
Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg Adam Habib South Africa
Founder, Graca Machel Trust; Executive Chair, Mandele Institute for Development Studies in Johannesburg Graca Machel South Africa
Former Public Protector of South Africa; Founder, Thuma Foundation for Democracy Leadership and Literacy Thuli Madonsela South Africa
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain Ana Palacio Spain
Director, esGlobal Cristina Manzano Spain
Former Under Secretary General and the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy Sri Lanka
Co-founder and Executive Director, AFRIEL Youth Network Ravindra De Silva Sri Lanka
Former Prime Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt Sweden
Former Secretary-General, International IDEA Bengt Säve-Söderbergh Sweden
Former Member of the European Commission; Visiting Professor, the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg Cecilia Malmström Sweden
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden Margot Wallström Sweden
President and CEO, the The Ratio Institute Nils Karlson Sweden
Member, Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy; Former Executive Director, Civil Rights Defenders Robert Hardh Sweden
Former President of the Swiss Confederation; Founding Member, the Global Leadership Foundation; Chairman, the UBS Foundation of Economics in Society Kaspar Villiger Switzerland
Former President of the Swiss Confederation; Member, the Global Leadership Foundation; Former President of the Council of Europe Micheline Calmy-Rey Switzerland
Former President of the Swiss Confederation; Member, the Global Leadership Foundation; Former President of the Ministerial Assembly of the World Trade Organisation Pascal Couchepin Switzerland
Former Executive Director, the Arab Reform Initiative Bassma Kodmani Syria
Member of the Executive Yuan Council of Taiwan as Digital Minister Audrey Tang Taiwan
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China Joseph Wu Taiwan
Former Member of the Senate of Thailand Jon Ungphakorn Thailand
Historian and Recipient of the Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prize Nidhi Eoseewong Thailand
President, Central Tibet Administration Lobsang Sangay Tibet
Nobel Peace Laureate and Former President of East Timor Jose Ramos-Horta Timor Leste
Director, Al Kawakibi Democracy Transition Center Amine Ghali Tunisia
Executive Director, the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy; Civil society activist Radwan A. Masmoudi Tunisia
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey; Member, the Global Leadership Foundation; Former NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan Hikmet Çetin Turkey
Former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Yakin Ertürk Turkey
Director, Federation Development, ActionAid International Arthur Larok Uganda
Executive Director, the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative; UN Independent Expert on Promoting a Democratic and Equitable International Order Livingstone Sewanyana Uganda
Excutive Director, Chapter Four Nicholas Opiyo Uganda
President, the Ukrainian Catholic University Borys Gudziak Ukraine
Director, Institute for EuroAtlantic Cooperation Borys Tarasyuk Ukraine
Former Member of Parliament Mustafa Nayyem Ukraine
Honorary President, Ukrainian PEN Center Mykola Riabchuk Ukraine
Vice-rector, the Ukrainian Catholic University Myroslav Marynovych Ukraine
Former Member of Parliament and Former Advisor to Prime Minister Svitlana Zalishchuk Ukraine
Founder, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group Yevgeniy Zakharov Ukraine
Former Secretary-General, NATO; Member, the Global Leadership Foundation Lord George Robertson United Kingdom
Former Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Founding Member, the Global Leadership Foundation; Founder and President, Africa Matters Limited Lynda Chalker United Kingdom
Founder Governor, Westminster Foundation for Democracy Michael Pinto-Duschinsky United Kingdom
Paul F. McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University Pippa Norris United Kingdom
Former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Sir Malcolm Rifkind United Kingdom
Professor of European Studies, Oxford University and Senior Fellow, the Hoover Institution, Stanford University Timothy Garton Ash United Kingdom
Professor, the Political Science Institute, Universidad de la República in Montevideo Adolfo Garcé Uruguay
Secretary-General, Organization of American States Luis Almagro Uruguay
Chairman, the National Endowment for Democracy Andrew Card USA
Director, Scowcroft Institute of international affairs, Bush School of Government, Texas A&M University Andrew Natsios USA
Former Editor, Survey of Freedom in the World, Freedom House Arch Puddington USA
Former United States Senator Barbara Mikulski USA
President, National Security Action; Former Deputy National Security Advisor Benjamin Rhodes USA
Former Governor of New Mexico; Former Ambassador to the United Nnations Bill Richardson USA
Former USAID Administrator Brian Atwood USA
Former Executive Director, UNICEF Carol Bellamy USA
Director, the Agora Research Center, CY Cergy Paris University Catherine Marshall USA
Co-founder, The American Interest Charles Davidson USA
Former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; Member, the Global Leadership Foundation Chester A. Crocker USA
Assistant Chairman, International Democratic Union Chris Fussner USA
Chair, Board of Trustees of the McCain Institute for International Leadership Cindy McCain USA
Coordinator, Biennial Conference on the State of Democracy, Loyola University Chicago Claudio Lodici USA
President, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Cliff May USA
Former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Constance Newman USA
Member of the United States House of Representatives for North Carolina David E. Price USA
Former United States Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; Senior Fellow, Vaclav Havel Program on Human Rights and Diplomacy, Florida International University David J. Kramer USA
Former Congressman; ViceChair, the National Endowment for Democracy David Skaggs USA
Admiral; Former United States Director of National Intelligence Dennis Cutler Blair USA
Former Under Secretary of Defense Dov S. Zakheim USA
Executive Director, Stanford Global Digital Policy Incubator Eileen Donahoe USA
Former United States Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman USA
Professor, Stanford University Francis Fukuyama USA
Founding Member, the International Republican Institute; Co-chair, the Commission on the Presidential Debates Frank J. Fahrenkopf USA
Vice President, United Steelworkers Union Fred Redmond USA
Former Ambassador and Former Permanent Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture Gaddi Vasquez USA
Former United States Senator Gary Hart USA
William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies, the Ethics and Public Policy Center George Weigel USA
Writer and Columnist George Will USA
Director for Europe, Civil Rights Defenders Goran Miletic USA
Chairman, the Center for International Private Enterprise Greg Lebedev USA
Former United States National Security Advisor; Senior Fellow, the Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Member of Board of Directors, the Atlantic Council Herbert Raymond McMaster USA
Former Governor of Vermont; Chair, DNC Howard Dean USA
Former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush USA
Former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman USA
Editor-in-Chief and CEO, The American Interest Jeffrey Gedmin USA
Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, ACXIOM; Advisor, the World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid Jerry Jones USA
Former Congressman; Senior Transatlantic Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States Jim Kolbe USA
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; President Emeritus, the Central European University John Shattuck USA
Former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson USA
Author and Adjunct Professor, The Institute of World Politics Josh Muravchik USA
Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations Joshua Kurlantzick USA
Former United States Senator Kelly Ayotte USA
Former President, the National Democratic Institute; Former Legislative Director, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Kenneth Wollack USA
Former Assistant Secretary of State Kristen Silverberg USA
Former United States Ambassador to NATO and Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker USA
Senior Fellow, Stanford University Hoover Institution & Freeman Spogli Institute Larry Diamond USA
Former Ambassador to Poland Lee Feinstein USA
Editor, Liberties Leon Wieseltier USA
Former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas Greenfield USA
President and CEO, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Liz Schrayer USA
Secretary-Treasurer, the AFL-CIO Liz Shuler USA
Former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright USA
Coeditor Emeritus, Journal of Democracy Marc Plattner USA
Senior United States Senator for Florida Marco Rubio USA
Former Editor, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal Marcus Brauchli USA
Executive Director, McCain Institute for International Leadership Mark Green USA
Former United States Senator Mel Martinez USA
Former United States Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer USA
Chairman, Freedom House; Former Second United States Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff USA
Director, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Michael McFaul USA
President, the Inter-American Dialogue; Adjunct Professor of Latin American Studies, Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service Michael Shifter USA
Director, Middle East Program, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Michele Dunne USA
Former Senior Director, National Security Council Mike Green USA
Senior Fellow, the Carnegie Endowment for Peace Moises Naim USA
Historian and Milbank Family Senior Fellow, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University Niall Ferguson USA
Senior Fellow, the Brookings Institution Norman Eisen USA
President, Halifax International Security Forum Peter Van Praagh USA
Founder, the Heroic Imagination Project Philip Zimbardo USA
Policy Director, Ronald Reagan Institute Rachel Hoff USA
Vice Chairman, Board of Directors, the International Republican Institute Randy Scheunemann USA
CEO, Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Richard Fontaine USA
Former House Majority Leader; Former Chairman, NED Richard Gephardt USA
Founder, the Gere Foundation; Chairman, The International Campaign for Tibet Richard Gere USA
Journalist Rick Atkinson USA
Senior Vice President for Policy, Human Rights First Rob Berschinski USA
President, the Hurford Foundation Robert C. Miller USA
Director, Ronald Reagan Institute; Former Commissioner, the Commission on the National Defense Strategy of the United States; Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Roger Zakheim USA
Former Congressman Sam Gejdenson USA
President and CEO, Anera and Advisor, the World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid Sean Carroll USA
Professor of History, Harvard University Serhii Plokhii USA
Executive Director, Transatlantic Democracy Working Group, German Marshall Fund Susan Corke USA
Chief Engagement Officer, World Justice Project Ted Piccone USA
Senior Fellow, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Thomas Carothers USA
Former United States Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle USA
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor; Washington Director, PEN America Thomas Melia USA
Professor of History, Yale University; Permanent Fellow, the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna Timothy Snyder USA
Senior Fellow, the Hudson Institute Tod Lindberg USA
Chair, the Human Freedom Advisory Council of the George W. Bush Presidential Center Tom Bernstein USA
Member of the United States House of Representatives for Florida Vern Buchanan USA
Former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland USA
Former Vice President of the United States Walter Mondale USA
Senior Fellow, the Brookings Institution William A. Galston USA
Director, the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia William Antholis USA
Former United States Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns USA
Director, Defending Democracy Together William Kristol USA
Youth Coordinator, Voluntad Popular Hasler Iglesias Venezuela
Member of National Assembly of Venezuela Tamara Adrian Venezuela
Chairman, the Civil Society Forum Nguyen Quang A Vietnam
Nobel Peace Laureate; Founder, Women Journalists Without Chains Tawakkol Karman Yemen
Founding Director, Institute for Young Women Development Glanis Changachirere Zimbabwe


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About Cholo Brooks 17134 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.