Every democracy needs transparent and accountable political actors. Together, they shape the functioning of a democracy and translate the formal rules and structures into practice and behavior. Developing the skills and knowledge of a country’s political leaders, civil servants, democratic influencers, and other civic actors builds the foundations of a successful democracy and ensures democratic traditions are passed on and thrive in future.
At NIMD, we support politicians and aspiring politicians with the skills, knowledge, and networks needed to navigate fast-changing political environments. We do this through a variety of training programmes, schools, courses, and initiatives tailored to the specific needs of a country, community, or institution. This can take place at every level, from young aspiring politicians making their first steps in public service, to long-established politicians looking to develop their knowledge and skills set.
Our Democracy Education programmes go beyond the classroom. By bringing participants together from across the political and ideological spectrum, these initiatives ensure lasting networks and connections that bridge divides and help combat polarization in future.
All our Democracy Education initiatives follow our inclusivity principles, and in particular, we strive to:
- Have an equal balance between men and women in our Democracy Education programmes
- Ensure under-represented groups have access to Democracy Education, making them as accessible as possible for people from across society
- Reach beyond large urban areas and into rural areas where connections with central governments may traditionally have been weak
- Provide a safe space where participants from different political, social and educational backgrounds can come together to exchange ideas, with participants’ views respected
- Provide space for debate and dialogue between participants and politicians and policy makers
- Adhere to our principles of impartiality, so that all political parties and ideologies are represented in our Democracy Education programmes
Laying the groundwork for collaboration, tolerance and respect in future generations is also key. NIMD works towards this goal by actively targeting diverse communities including young people, indigenous groups, the LGBTIQ+ community, people living with disabilities, and women’s groups for participation in democracy education programmes. Democracy School curricula also embeds the values of inclusiveness and diversity in all courses, which provides indispensable opportunities for fostering tolerance and establishing shared agendas.
At the heart of NIMD’s Democracy Education approach are our renowned Democracy Schools, which bring together established politicians and future leaders from across the political spectrum.
While we tailor each school to the specific needs of a country, the curricula aims to equip participants with the skills and knowledge to become responsive political leaders. We offer the participants a comprehensive package that includes the study of political culture and key political and democratic theory. We also offer coaching on practical political leadership skills such as negotiation, profiling, dialogue and debating.
Just as importantly, by working together across party lines, the participants build relationships and learn to trust one another, laying the foundation for a broad and strong network of democratic leaders who can make a lasting impact on politics.
One of the key values we share at the Democracy Schools is the importance of dialogue, and our graduates continue on their political careers with a renewed understanding of the how tolerance and trust building help forge more equal and inclusive democratic societies.
Democracies are dynamic and fast changing, requiring evolving political knowledge and leadership skills to respond to political developments and challenges. NIMD can deploy a wide range of Democracy Education tools, with our flexible approach meaning we can draw on our extensive experience in the field and respond quickly to needs and goals.
NIMD works in close collaboration with governments, institutions, political parties, and civil society organizations to ensure that our Democracy Education programmes meet the needs of the target groups. These training sessions are often over the short-term with a specific goal in mind. Some examples of tailored trainings include:
- Equipping staff of electoral bodies with skills and knowledge ahead of elections
- Running training programmes on gender inclusivity, which can be tailored to male and female parliamentarians
- Ensuring politicians working on peace and reconciliation have the knowledge and understanding specific to conflict and peace building
- Organizing exchange programmes between different countries so knowledge and experience can be shared across our Democracy Education platforms
- Organizing mentorship, coaching and psycho-social support for the participants of Democracy Schools
NIMD is proud of the success of our Democracy School alumni, with graduates going on to stand in elections and win seats in parliament and at local government level. Our female graduates in particular have felt empowered to extend their political ambition, running for office for the first time or mobilizing for greater female participation.
The benefits of our Democracy Schools do not end when the participant graduates or the training finishes. At NIMD, we are determined to keep fostering cross-party networking, collaboration, and dialogue, and central to this is ensuring the development of alumni networks.
We support our alumni in a variety of ways, offering practical advice on setting up alumni networks, organizing regular alumni events, and assisting alumni groups in setting up dialogue platforms.
NIMD Colombia runs Democracy Schools in some of the most volatile regions in the country, where activists frequently face violence and abuse. But by coming together and sharing their experiences, a new generation of Columbian leaders are building their strength, knowledge, and skills. Read More
In March 2020, the Ethiopian Democracy Academy opened its doors to a diverse group of Ethiopian politicians and activists, with the aim of training the future leaders and emerging politicians who will help shape Ethiopia’s political future. Read More.
Meet the Team
Reem Judeh is the Senior Programme & Knowledge Advisor who is the focal point for NIMD’s Democracy Education programme. With more than 20 years’ experience in international cooperation and social justice across multiple fields in Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East, Reem has extensive skills related to good governance, democracy support, women peace and security, minority rights and civil society space.