Freedom at Issue:

Insights on the global struggle for democracy

Girl picking cotton in pink in Uzbekistan

Collecting cotton during Uzbekistan’s harvest season. Photo Credit: The Guardian.

Rebeka Foley

Longtime Uzbek president Islam Karimov is dead, but the autocratic regime he built lives on. The country’s vital cotton industry illustrates how the system operates, and why it is unlikely to change.

woman in blue burkini swim suit
Tyler Roylance

The debate over swimwear in France touches on broader questions of provocation and outrage that go to the heart of what it means to live in a democratic society.

Serbian soldiers marching in a military parade in Belgradein 2014. Credit: Marko Vucicevic. 

There can be no regional security in the Balkans without Serbia, but the current government has failed to play the constructive role assigned to it by the West.

Unilever advertisement in Côte-d'Ivoire. Credit: Abdallahh (Flickr/Creative Commons). 

Multinationals have a lot to gain from partnerships with civil society groups, and a lot to lose if activists are not allowed to do their work.

Paul Manafort. Credit: StockNews USA. 

Arch Puddington

Trump’s campaign chairman is under the microscope for his dealings in Ukraine, but he is part of a much larger consulting industry that serves the interests of autocrats. 

Honorable Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga. Credit: Ford Foundation. 

Kate Byom

The current selection process will determine the strength and independence of the judiciary as the country prepares for highly contested elections in 2017.

south africa president jacob zuma

Jacob Zuma. Credit: GovernmentZA. 

Arch Puddington

As politicians around the world chip away at democratic institutions, South Africa’s recent elections show that ordinary voters can still help put their countries back on course.

Credit: Daniel Coomber. (Flickr/Creative Commons). 

The Olympic games are increasingly becoming synonymous with financial mismanagement, autocracy, and the systematic violation of human rights.

Bret Nelson

Democratic conditions usually remain worse long after the troops have returned to their barracks.