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Asian Values and the Future of Democracy in Asia

The global balance of power is shifting toward Asia. While the economic prospects of Asia appear to be bright, the future of democracy in Asia is less certain. Advocates of autocratic rule insist that Asian values are uniquely different from those of the West, and democratic values are not necessarily universal. The observed distinct characteristics of Asian democracies seem to make such arguments persuasive.

Dr. Larry Diamond, one of the leading experts on democracy in the world, will deliver a lecture on Asian values and the future of democracy in Asia at the Athenaeum on March 4. In addition to Senior Fellow, he also directs the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. He is the founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy and also serves as Senior Consultant (and previously was co-director) at the International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy. His latest book, The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World (Times Books, 2008), explores the sources of global democratic progress and stress and the prospects for future democratic expansion. At Stanford University, Diamond is also professor by courtesy of political science and sociology. He teaches courses on comparative democratic development and post-conflict democracy building, and advises many Stanford students. He has edited or co-edited some 36 books on democracy, including the recent titles How People View Democracy (2008), How East Asians View Democracy (2010), Latin America’s Struggle for Democracy (2008), Political Change in China: Comparisons with Taiwan (2008), and Assessing the Quality of Democracy (2005). Among his other published works are, Developing Democracy: Toward Consolidation (1999), Promoting Democracy in the 1990s (1995), and Class, Ethnicity, and Democracy in Nigeria (1989). He also edited the 1989-90 series Democracy in Developing Countries, with Juan Linz and Seymour Martin Lipset.

Dr. Diamond’s visit is made possible by a grant from the Freeman Foundation and sponsored by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies.