Amidst the ongoing foreign policy challenges of extremism, weak or failing states, and regional instability, US efforts to encourage democratic reform abroad remain controversial, but little understood.
Is it possible to balance both our strategic interests in stability with our national values? Are reform and stability fundamentally incompatible or can they be complementary? What are the diplomatic tools, including work with the private sector and NGOs, we have at our disposal to balance reform and stability in the long term national interest?
The American Academy of Diplomacy, in partnership with the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) held a well-attended panel discussion on April 28 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs to discuss the valuable tool of diplomatic engagement with non-governmental organizations and civil society to promote effective democratic governance.
Featured speakers are: Ambassador Edwin Corr, former ambassador to Peru, Bolivia and El Salvador, Ambassador Barbara Bodine, former ambassador to Yemen, currently diplomat-in-residence and lecturer at Princeton University, Ken Wollack, president of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and Lorne Craner, president of the International Republican Institute (IRI). J. Brian Atwood, Dean of the Hubert Humphrey Institute, moderated the discussion - The American Academy of Diplomacy
J. Brian Atwood is the dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. Atwood served for six years as Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) during the Administration of President William Clinton.
Ambassador Barbara Bodine
Ambassador Barbara K. Bodine is lecturer and diplomat-in-residence at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs where she teaches courses on the Iraq War and on US diplomacy in the Middle East as it relates to the Persian Gulf region and southwest Asia, and also serves as a resource for students interested in careers in public service.
Bodine's over 30 years in the US Foreign Service were spent primarily on Arabian Peninsula and greater Persian Gulf issues, specifically US bilateral and regional policy, strategic security issues, counterterrorism, and governance and reform. Her tour as Ambassador to the Republic of Yemen 1997-2001, saw enhanced support for democratization and increased security and counterterrorism cooperation, the establishment of a coast guard, resumption of Fulbright scholarships for Yemeni students, initiation of a $40 million/year economic assistance and development program, and an indigenous landmine awareness and demining program.
Bodine also served in Baghdad as Deputy Principal Officer during the Iran-Iraq War, Kuwait as Deputy Chief of Mission during the Iraqi invasion and occupation of 1990-1991, and again, seconded to the Department of Defense, in Iraq in 2003 as the senior State Department official and the first coalition coordinator for reconstruction in Baghdad and the central governorates.
Ambassador (ret.) Edwin G. Corr was the U.S. Ambassador to Peru, Bolivia and El Salvador, the Charge d'Affaires in Ecuador, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics Control.
He was appointed by both Democratic and Republican presidents. As a career Foreign Service Officer he also served in Thailand and Mexico. He was a Peace Corps Director in Colombia.
Lorne W. Craner
Lorne Craner returned to the International Republican Institute (IRI) as President in August, 2004, following his unanimous selection by IRI's Board of Directors.
He has led the strengthening of IRI's programs in countries such as China, Colombia, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey.
Previously, Craner was Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor for Secretary of State Colin Powell. Upon his departure from the State Department, Secretary Powell presented Craner with the Distinguished Service Award, the department's highest honor.
From 1995 to 2001, Craner, as IRI's President, led the institute to new levels of programmatic achievement, fundraising, financial accountability and news coverage. He joined IRI as Vice President for programs in 1993. From 1992-93 he served at the National Security Council as Director of Asian Affairs, and from 1989-92 was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs. Craner was Senator John McCain's legislative assistant (LA) for foreign policy from 1986-89; he began his career as then-Congressman Jim Kolbe's foreign policy LA.
In June 2007, Craner was again confirmed by the U.S. Senate, to a seat on the Millennium Challenge Corporation's Board of Directors.
Craner chairs the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Democracy Promotion and sits on the Boards of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and the Internews Network. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, he has testified on numerous occasions before House and Senate Committees.
Craner received his master's degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University and his bachelor's degree from Reed College in Portland, Oregon.
Kenneth Wollack is president of NDI. He has been actively involved in foreign affairs, journalism and politics since 1972.
Mr. Wollack joined NDI in 1986 as executive vice president. The Institute's board of directors elected him president in March 1993.
Mr. Wollack has traveled extensively in Eastern and Central Europe, the former Soviet Union, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa on behalf of the Institute's political development programs.
Before joining NDI in 1986, Mr. Wollack co-edited the Middle East Policy Survey, a Washington-based newsletter. He also wrote regularly on foreign affairs for the Los Angeles Times. From 1973 to 1980, he served as legislative director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Mr. Wollack has been active in American politics, serving on the national staff of the McGovern presidential campaign in 1972. He is a graduate of Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, and has studied abroad at the University of London. Mr. Wollack currently is a member of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid and is the chairman of the board of directors for the U.S. Committee for the United Nations Development Programme.