Network Institute for Global Democratization

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"The aim of NIGD is to contribute to worldwide democratisation. To promote global democratisation, NIGD works to strengthen global civil society by producing and developing emanicipatory knowledge for democratic movements, organisations, and states. All of NIGD’s work is based on the conviction that globalisation, defined as the coming-together-of-humanity, must be based on cross-cultural dialogue concerning both philosophical fundamentals, and concrete reform proposals.

NIGD was founded in Helsinki in 1997 in accordance to the Finnish law on public associations. The seven founding members were Reino Hjerppe, Veli-Pekka Niitamo, Heikki Patomäki, Katarina Sehm, Vappu Taipale, Riku Warjovaara, and Matti Wuori. The cooperation between the foudning members eventually leading to the set up of NIGD emerged from the Finnish follow-up process (1995-1997) to the UN Secretary-General’s annual report on democratisation. Although initiated by seven Finns, NIGD has expanded into an international network with an international board. NIGD’s membership is composed of a transnational network of nearly 100 researchers and practitioners who strive to promote democratisation.

Today, NIGD operates from Helsinki, Finland and Lima, Peru. The Peru Office was set up in 2001 at the San Marcos University in Lima, Peru. In 1998-2002 NIGD operated on core funding from the Nottingham Trent University in Nottingham, UK.

The concept of ‘network institute’ stands for our principle of maximal light-weight infrastructure. NIGD is a ‘coming-together’ of researchers and activists from most parts of the globe around certain projects, for specific periods of time. UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has explicitly acknowledged NIGD as a ‘pioneering form of electronic network that has furthered the democratisation process’.

NIGD’s activities are funded project wise. Members are encouraged to initiate practical-political activities within NIGD while remaining connected to their respective constituencies. NIGD activities include: conducting research, publishing Discussion and Working Papers, organising workshops, seminars and conferences, and consultancy work.

NIGD is a founding member of the International Council of the World Social Forum, and takes part in thematic, local, regional, and national social forums and debates.

NIGD operates on a project basis. Each project is supervised by a project supervisor who is in charge of the project budget. The project supervisor is directly responsible to the board.

The board is elected at its annual meetings." (