Democracy! The Podcast

Democracy! The Podcast

Democracy! The Podcast offers listeners a close-up look at some of the most perplexing challenges facing the vitality of democracy around the world. Move beyond armchair activist, or news junkie, and gain a real understanding for the fight to defend democracy around the world. Hear how teams, from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, International Republican Institute, and the National Democratic Institute, that make up the consortium called "CEPPS," tackle debilitating threats like corruption, disinformation, rising authoritarianism, dictatorships, economic disasters, and failed governments, and learn how you, too, can join the fight for democracy. This work is conducted through the Global Elections and Political Transitions award, in partnership and funding from USAID. Join the most experienced experts in the field as they explain how they help citizens tackle real-life problems and move their countries toward a more democratic process for all, while standing up for those who suffer discrimination, punishment, persecution, or are simply excluded from their own nation's political processes. These are their first-hand stories from the front lines. This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: Chartable -


February 24, 2023 46 mins

One year into Russia’s war on Ukraine, we take a look at how Ukrainians are preparing for life after war, their relentless optimism and their deep dedication to keeping the wheels of justice rolling, in this fourth and final episode of the limited series, “Defending Democracy: Ukraine”.

Last February, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems Head of Political and Legal Affairs Alisa Shushkovska fled Kyiv with her child, wh...

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On the morning of February 24, 2022, Russian troops blasted Kyiv with heavy artillery and missile strikes focusing their assault on several main targets including Boryspil International Airport.  While apparently intending to overtake the capital city quickly, Russian troops, instead, retreated after weeks of difficult fighting.  Today, home to 3.6 million people, Kyiv remains a hotly unwon part of Russia’s wide-scale military camp...

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February 10, 2023 34 mins

By definition, “democracy” thrives or dies according to the will of the people, and in Ukraine, it’s the people who have made all the difference.  In the second episode of this four-part miniseries, “Defending Democracy: The People of Ukraine,” we look at what Ukrainians have endured to maintain a modern, democratic society in the midst of Russia’s attacks.     

First, Adrienne talks to three co-chairs of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukrai...

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February 3, 2023 43 mins

In February 2022, Russian military forces launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine, escalating the conflict in the Eastern part of the country which began in 2014, and sparking the largest refugee crisis on the European continent since the end of World War II.

In the first episode of this in-depth capsule series, “Defending Democracy: Ukraine Under Fire,” Dr. Hanna Hopko, head of the National Interest Advocacy Network and former mem...

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Welcome back to Democracy! The Podcast, brought to you by the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening, direct from Washington, D.C., with funding and support from the United States Agency for International Development.

Very soon, season two of Democracy! The Podcast will launch. It’s been almost a whole year since the end of season one, and in that time, democracy has taken a tumultuous turn in many nations.  


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October 28, 2021 35 mins

“If you don't give people dignity, you don't create a system that leads to better health, education, peace, security outcomes. And it's not the world that free peoples want to live in. So, democracy matters. It's hard, but it, for all its faults, in all its deficiencies, it works in all its messiness.” The Honorable Derek Mitchell, Ambassador & President, The National Democratic Institute. 

Key Links

  • More from Am...
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    October 21, 2021 31 mins

    “I believe that corruption affects the whole country in every way. And when state money is not used in sustained public policy to combat poverty, inequality, malnutrition, or for entrepreneurship, the citizens of a country do not find options, and leave their country for lack of opportunities.” Congressman Nineth Montenegro, former Second Vice President of the Congress of Guatemala & Human Rights Leader.

    Key Links

  • USAID Programm...
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    October 14, 2021 29 mins

    “...stability in the Central American region is at stake. We already have Nicaragua that the rest of Central America is concerned about, but we [also] have in the northern part of Central America, three governments in different areas, undermining the rule of law, transparency, and any freedom of speech, or movement by civil society and journalists.”  Deborah Ullmer, NDI, Regional Director for Latin America & the Caribbean Progr...

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    October 7, 2021 31 mins

    “It's my goal to bring real clear rules [to Ukrainian politics] like in sports. If you break the rules in sports, you pay a penalty, or are disqualified...we try to give the executives exactly the same standards in Ukrainian politics.” The Honorable Mayor Vitali Klitschko, Mayor of Kyiv & former world heavy weight boxing champion.

    Key Links

  • NDI Ukraine Homepage
  • IRI Municipal Survey of Ukrainians
  • IFES Engages Youth on Democracy...
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    September 30, 2021 31 mins

    “In any country, the work of democratic development is a process…and it's been a very hard, steep, rocky, bumpy path for the Haitians.  But it's a path where they can and will continue to make progress.”  Tony Banbury, President & CEO, The International Foundation for Electoral Systems.

    Key Links

  • IFES President Tony Banbury Testifies on Human Rights in Haiti
  • IRI LAC Director Testifies on the Future of Democracy in Haiti
  • Wh...
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    September 2, 2021 33 mins

    “More than half the population of practically every country is female, and therefore, it is a waste of a resource not to have women involved in active ways to make life better in their own countries.” The Honorable Dr. Madeleine Albright, the 64th US Secretary of State.

    Key Links

  • IFES’s Rural Women in Tunisia (Video)
  • "Not Before 18” & The 30% Gender Quota in Libya
  • Full interview with the Honorable Dr. Madeleine Albright (Vid...
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    August 26, 2021 32 mins

    “The most important part of political organizations…is to start working whatever on your street, within your house, within your building, with the small problems that you have around yourself, and maybe you will fall in love with that part of politics, that part of civic engagement, and maybe that is the way to keep on going….” Malik Sakić, President, The European Democracy Youth Network.

    Key Links

  • Boy Scouts & Girl Guides in Li...
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    August 19, 2021 31 mins

    “...what does it take to have democratic governance effectively manage something like a pandemic? [W]e have to figure out how to bring strong, effective public health responses to democratic governments.”  Dr. David Ross, ScD, President & CEO, The Task Force for Global Health.


    Key Links

  • The Task Force for Global Health
  • Elections and COVID-19 Response Analysis: 2020 Parliamentary Elections in Serbia
  • IFES COVID-19 Briefing Series
  • ...
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    "[I]f we want to protect our own democracy and our own security we need to be alert to the fact that we are subject to these [malign influence & disinformation] campaigns, even if we can't quite see them or trace their finger prints." Dan Twining, President, The International Republican Institute.


    Key Links

  • IRI Communications Experts Provide Vital Support During Challenging Times
  • NDI Presidential Election Report...
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    "[T]he media is the first line of attack in really chipping away and undermining democracy.” Rosarie Tucci, USAID Director, Democracy, Rights & Governance Center 

    Key Links

  • Read NDI’s Kosovo's Vibrant Democracy: Closing the deficit in women's full participation 
  • Check out Internews 
  • V-Dem Democracy Report 2021: Autocratization Turns Viral 

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    As the rise of corruption, authoritarian power, and nefarious interference ta...

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    July 20, 2021 4 mins

    In season one, we’ll take an in-depth look at some of the most perplexing challenges facing the vitality of democracy. Surely, you’ve seen the headlines from places like El Salvador, Tunisia, Ethiopia, and Ukraine, and, no doubt, you’ve heard the concerns from US leaders… people like USAID Administrator Samantha Power and President Biden.

    But what can we do about these global emergencies... these imminent threats to the health and v...

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