Category Archives: democratic reform overseas

Dubai, Uganda, and today’s global political economy

My family and I are just back from visiting our daughter, who works in Uganda, with a two-day stop in Dubai, where there’s a change of flights en route from Boston to Entebbe. In short, we chose these destinations for family … Continue reading

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why the global turn to authoritarian ethnonationalism?

It seems impossible to explain why Donald Trump won the 2016 election. For one thing, he lost the popular vote. Besides, a single election is an “n” of one with numerous contingent circumstances, in this case including the FBI’s last-minute intervention, Hillary Clinton’s gender, … Continue reading

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bottom-up struggles against corruption: a frontier of democracy

(En route to Storrs, CT) Corruption is no minor issue, nor is it mainly a concern for fastidious bourgeois reformers in rich countries. Consider, just for instance, that one quarter of India’s teachers are missing from school on any given … Continue reading

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when a university is committed to democracy

This is a page from the 2013-14 Rector’s Report of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, an institution that I visited this summer. (Click the image to open the PDF.) The page is headed “A Revolution of Dignity,” and it describes various … Continue reading

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why I stand with Ukraine

(This was written in Lviv, but posted in Cambridge, MA). We all receive moral and political inheritances. Although the stories of our ancestors are not equally attractive, we all have exactly the same responsibility: to recognize our whole birthright, to … Continue reading

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heading to Ukraine

I am on my way tomorrow to Lviv and Chernovitsi in Ukraine, to co-teach the Summer Institute of Civic Studies and Civic Education there. This will be an immeasurably small contribution to what I think is a great cause: the work of the … Continue reading

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how to respond to a leader’s call for civic renewal

During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-Senator Barack Obama spoke at length, consistently, and passionately about renewing citizenship in the US. I collected many of the key quotes here. There was a depth to these comments because Obama had worked for a faith-based organizing … Continue reading

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alienation from politics in Europe

I have been invited to speak in Spain on “youth alienation from politics” this June. I have no doubt that if you ask young people in any of the wealthy democracies what they think of politics, you will get negative responses. But … Continue reading

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the age of the strongman

China: Xi Jinping is “a president who has ruthlessly centralised power while embarking on an ambitious project to revitalise Communist rule and to secure the party’s future. … One of his major themes is a war on ‘western values’, including a … Continue reading

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Greece and Germany and getting to yes

The situation involving Greece and the European Union is a complex game, with numerous players and potentially many phases. Just as an example, voters in Spain are players who will have a chance to choose the new government in December; they may opt … Continue reading

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