Activists and Scholars from Afghanistan, Russia, Colombia, Ethiopia Among New Class of NED Fellows

Oct 14, 2011, 12:32 ET from National Endowment for Democracy

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is pleased to announce its Fall 2011 cohort of Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows and Visiting Fellows.  In residence are leading practitioners, journalists, and scholars from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Ethiopia, Iran, Russia, and Tanzania.

The Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program seeks to deepen the knowledge, enrich the skills, broaden the perspectives, and boost the morale of some of the world's most creative and courageous democratic activists and scholars.  The program is housed at the International Forum for Democratic Studies, NED's research and publications arm, in Washington, D.C.  Established in 2001 and named in honor of NED's two principal founders, former president Ronald Reagan and the late congressman Dante Fascell, the program has enabled over 170 activists, practitioners, scholars, and journalists from more than 70 countries to deepen their understanding of democracy and enhance their ability to promote democratic change.

Fall 2011 Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows

Mr. Hikmet Hadjy-zadeh (Azerbaijan) is co-founder and president of the Far Centre for Economic and .Political Research, a Baku-based think tank.  He is examining the phenomenon of quasi-democratic regimes, using Azerbaijan as his primary case study.

Dr. Tamirlan Kurbanov (Russia) most recently served as a program officer at the Moscow office of NDI, promoting citizen participation in public life.  During his fellowship, he is exploring effective methods of promoting civic engagement among youth.

Prof. Ibrahim Haruna Lipumba (Tanzania) has served since 1999 as national chairman of the Civic United Front, a liberal political party in Tanzania with strong support in Zanzibar. He is examining the structure of governance institutions in developing countries with functioning democracies and rapid economic growth, in order to draw lessons for building accountable institutions that will foster sustainable and equitable development in Tanzania.

Ms. Birtukan Midekssa (Ethiopia) is a former federal judge and leader of the pro-democracy opposition movement in Ethiopia.  She is studying the factors that have contributed to the weakening of Ethiopia's democratic opposition and is exploring ways of strengthening it.

Mr. Hollman Morris (Colombia) is an accomplished investigative journalist who has spent most of his career covering Colombia's internal armed conflict, with a particular focus on human rights issues. He is working on a report and video documenting instances of abuse and intimidation in Colombia.

Mr. Azizullah Royesh (Afghanistan) is founding director of the Kabul-based Marefat High School, where he teaches courses on civic education, humanism, Quranic interpretation, Dari, and English.  He plans to write a book about his struggles to incorporate modern education and democracy into Afghan life.

2011–2012 Visiting Fellows

Ms. Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh (Iran) is a women's rights activist, journalist, and filmmaker from Iran. A founding member of the Stop Stoning Forever campaign and the Iranian Women's Charter Movement, she is currently a coordinator of Zanan TV, an online television channel that promotes gender equality in Iran.  She is studying how new developments in information and communication technologies apply to cross-border democracy development.

Mr. Danail Danov (Bulgaria) is executive director of the Communications and Human Resources Development Centre, a media and communications organization based in Sofia, Bulgaria. He is examining how American democracy has coped with the challenges posed by digitization of media, including the impact of Internet content regulations on freedom of speech and civil society development.

A complete list of the 2011–2012 Fellows and their bios can be found online at

SOURCE National Endowment for Democracy