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Activists and Scholars from Argentina, Egypt, Russia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, United States, Yemen, and Zambia among new class of NED Fellows

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is pleased to announce its Fall 2012 cohort of Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows.  In residence are leading practitioners, journalists, and scholars from Argentina, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, the United States, Yemen, and Zambia.

The Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program seeks to increase 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.  Named in honor of NED's two principal founders, former president Ronald Reagan and the late congressman Dante Fascell (D-FL), and now celebrating its tenth anniversary, the program has enabled over 180 activists, practitioners, scholars, and journalists from more than 80 countries to deepen their understanding of democracy and enhance their ability to promote democratic change.

Fall 2012 Fellows

Mr. Ismail Alexandrani (Egypt) is a freelance journalist, socio-political researcher, social media expert, and youth activist based in Alexandria, Egypt. During his fellowship, Mr. Alexandrani is comparing how digital and social media are used in Egypt and the United States for collective mobilization.

Ms. Gabool Al-Mutawakel (Yemen) is a co-founder of the Youth Leadership Development Foundation (YLDF), a Sanaa-based NGO that seeks to strengthen and support the leadership capabilities of Yemeni youth.  During her fellowship, Ms. Al-Mutawakel is identifying ways of strengthening cooperation among Yemeni human rights organizations by: (a) examining networking methods among U.S.-based groups; and (b) developing a set of best practices that she hopes to consolidate into a training manual.

Prof. Eduardo Bertoni (Argentina) is director of the Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information at Palermo University School of Law, in Buenos Aires. During his fellowship, Prof. Bertoni is exploring the prospects for and obstacles to freedom of expression on the Internet in Latin America, including recommendations to ensure that increased access to the Internet promotes, rather than undermines, free speech.

Mr. Chanda Chisala (Zambia) is founder and president of Zambia Online, the country's first and largest online portal promoting public debate on issues of national interest. During his NED fellowship, Mr. Chisala is assessing how mobile phones can be used to streamline service delivery, strengthen citizen participation in local governance, and promote government transparency in Zambia.

Prof. Donald L. Horowitz (United States) is James B. Duke Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University, where he has taught since 1981. During his fellowship, Prof. Horowitz is working on a book concerning constitutional design for ethnically divided societies.

Mr. Jayaprakash Tissainayagam (Sri Lanka) is a seasoned journalist, editor, and analyst covering ethnic conflicts, socio-political issues, and the peace process in Sri Lanka. During his Reagan-Fascell fellowship, he is exploring how international forces affect democratization in South Asian countries.

Mr. Alexander Verkhovsky (Russia) is the founder and director of the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis, a Moscow-based NGO that monitors and analyzes political extremism, ultranationalism, xenophobia, freedom of religion, and the use and misuse of counter-extremism measures in Russia. During his fellowship, Mr. Verkhovsky is studying legislation against hate crimes and hate-related activity passed in the United States, European Union, and the former Soviet republics; identifying common themes and trends; and developing methods to enhance the legal framework and possible enforcement mechanisms in Russia.

Dr. Fouzia Saeed (Pakistan) is director of Mehergarh, an Islamabad-based human rights and democracy center that conducts training and research on youth activism and empowerment. Recognizing the important role that citizens can play in shaping public policy and fostering international exchange, Dr. Saeed is devoting her fellowship to exploring how civil society can influence legal and political decision-making in Pakistan and the United States.

A complete list of the 2012–2013 Fellows and their bios can be found online at http://www.ned.org/fellowships/current-past-fellows.

SOURCE National Endowment for Democracy

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