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International Aid Programs and Democracy Discussed Feb. 28

By Lori Wright, Media Relations
February 20, 2008

The impact of international aid programs on spreading democracy in the developing world is the focus of the next Saul O Sidore Memorial Lecture at UNH.

Dinorah Azpuru, assistant professor of political science at Wichita State University, will discuss “Financing Democratic Change” Thursday, Feb. 28. Lecture starts at 4 p.m. in the MUB Theater II. It is free and open to the public.

International democracy assistance programs soared after the end of the Cold War (1990s), which coincided with the spread of democratic governments around the world. The main donors have been the United States and the European Union.

“Democracy assistance is only one of the factors that can influence democratic development, but it is certainly a very important one. Many countries lack the economic resources and especially the expertise to launch democracy. Therefore, outside support has been essential,” Azpuru says.

Most countries that have become democratic -– and have received democracy assistance -– have remained democratic, such as countries in Latin American and Eastern Europe, according to Azpuru.

“In the past two years, we have seen some setbacks in certain countries, like the coup d’etat in Thailand, but for the most part, countries that became electoral democracies in the 1990s are still democratic,” she says.

The Saul O Sidore Memorial Lecture Series was established in 1965 in memory of Saul O Sidore of Manchester. The series offers programs that raise critical and sometimes controversial issues facing our society. The UNH Center for the Humanities sponsors the program. For more information visit http://www.unh.edu/humanities-center/Events_Sidore.html.

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