Democracy Support in Hard Places: Can We Do Better?

3 December 2021  01:00 - 02:30

Virtual Event | Organised by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace | Held in in English
Contact details: [email protected]
Advancing respect for human rights
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By hosting the forthcoming Summit for Democracy, the Biden administration has underscored its commitment to reinforcing democracy, human rights, and governance around the world and at home. Yet the challenges to this lofty objective are steep, and recent events in Afghanistan, Sudan, and beyond have laid bare the difficulty of building up democratic societies in conflict-affected states in particular.

While the U.S. government often approaches democracy support as a separate initiative from efforts to mitigate and stabilize conflicts, these two goals often overlap on the ground. What have we learned from these experiences? How should the United States approach issues of democracy in its implementation of the Global Fragility Act?

Join us as we take stock of lessons learned on international democracy support in conflict-affected contexts and discuss how to formulate a new playbook to assist democracies in fragile settings.

This event is being held in collaboration with International Republican Institute.


  • Frances Z. Brown – Frances Z. Brown is a senior fellow and co-director of Carnegie’s Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program, who previously worked at the White House, USAID, and in nongovernmental organizations. She writes on conflict, governance, and U.S. foreign policy.
  • Rebecca Hamilton – Rebecca Hamilton is an associate professor of law at American University Washington College of Law and has spent her career working on atrocity prevention. Her scholarship draws on her experience in the prosecution of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, as well as her work in conflict zones as a foreign correspondent.
  • Aarya Nijat – Aarya Nijat is the program officer for the Center for International Private Enterprise’s programs in South Asia, with a thematic focus on democratic governance, anticorruption, enterprise ecosystems and business advocacy. A published policy analyst on governance and women’s leadership in Afghanistan, she previously ran a research firm in Kabul and supported an Afghan civil service reform project, focused on financial digitization, through the University of California San Diego.
  • Patrick Quirk – Patrick Quirk is the senior director for strategy, research, and the Center for Global Impact at the International Republican Institute (IRI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to advancing democracy and governance worldwide. Concurrent to serving at IRI, he is a nonresident fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.
  • Scott Worden – Scott Worden is the director of Afghanistan and Central Asia Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace. He has an extensive background in reconstruction, development, democracy and governance, and public policy; as well as extensive regional expertise on Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • Uzra Zeya – Uzra Zeya is the under secretary for civilian security, democracy, and human rights at the U.S. Department of State. From 2019 to 2021, she served as president and CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, a nonpartisan global network of more than 130 organizations working in more than 180 countries to end conflict by peaceful means.