About Us >> NED History >> NED 20th Anniversary Timeline
1983 11/18 The National Endowment for Democracy is privately incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in Washington, DC.

11/23 The National Endowment for Democracy Act becomes law.

1984 China Perspective, Inc. publishes the Chinese Intellectual, a journal providing a forum for free discussion of issues related to democratic values and the future of China and is the first of many Chinese reform publications to receive NED support.

Professors Seymour Martin Lipset, Larry Diamond and Juan Linz undertake NED's first research project, Democracy in Developing Nations. The two-year study is the first comparative effort to focus on democracy in the Third World in a comprehensive manner, and becomes the launching pad for all of NED's subsequent scholarly activities.

Centros de Estudios Politicos (CEDEP), a nonpartisan Guatemalan think-tank, provides a forum for political and private sector leaders to discuss policy issues, with an aim to promote democracy and solve political and economic problems in Guatemala.

Through CIPE, NED helps the Intstituto Libertad y Democracia (ILD), headed by Hernando de Soto, carry out its ground-breaking research on the Peruvian informal sector, which leads to significant deregulation in Peru, later emulated by many other countries.

NED supports Conciencia, an Argentinean women's organization similar to the US League of Women Voters, in their efforts to prepare the Argentine public for the return to democratic rule. Highly successful, Conciencia goes on to found branches in several other Latin American countries.

The Free Trade Union Institutes (FTUI) provides direct assistance to the independent Solidarity trade union movement for independent education, publishing, and human rights groups inside Poland. This is one of many programs in 1984 assisting Polish democrats - a primary focus of NED's early grants.

The Andrei Sakharov Institute studies how to encourage greater openness and pluralism in closed societies, particularly in the Soviet Union.
2/9-Konstantin U. Chernenko, 72, named Soviet leader.

5/11-José Napoleón Duarte, elected president of El Salvador.

10/31-Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi assassinated.
1985 NED assists the independent Nicaraguan daily newspaper, La Prensa, through the purchase of printing supplies without which the paper would have been forced to stop publication. 3/11-Soviet leader Chernenko dies and is replaced by Mikhail Gorbachev, who initiates a broad program of reform and liberalization.

11/19-Reagan and Gorbachev meet at summit in Geneva. They both agree to step up arms control talks and renew cultural contacts.
1986 In the Philippines, NED supports important efforts by NDI and FTUI to monitor the February elections, reporting on fraud and intimidation and fielding thousands of election monitors through cooperation with the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines. CIPE also works to fight corruption and strengthen business associations throughout the country.

In Chile, urgently needed support is provided by NED to a broad range of political and social forces working for peaceful transition to democracy.
2/25 -Opposition leader Corazon Aquino is elected President of the Philippines. Dictator Ferdinand Marcos refuses to accept results, but is finally forced from power by huge popular protests.

5/1 - Over 5 million black South Africans strike to protest apartheid.
1987 NED supports the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for South Africa (IDASA), a research center that seeks to improve communication and understanding between white and black communities.

The Sudan Times, an independent English-language newspaper, uses NED funds to purchase supplies essential to its continued publication.

The International Rescue Committee uses a $1 million grant to provide medical supplies, ambulances, medicine, and provides other humanitarian services for the Polish Solidarity Movement.

NED convenes its first World Conference in Washington, DC.

The New York based Center for Democracy, led by former dissidents conducts programs encouraging democracy in the Soviet Union.

Charter Seventy-Seven Foundation provides technical assistance to encourage free speech and communication in Czechoslovakia
2/11 - NewPhilippines constitution goes into effect.
1988 Scores of independent Chilean and NED's four core institutes use NED support for massive civic education efforts that includes a broad spectrum of think tanks, independent publishing, trade unions, political parties, cooperatives and youth leadership training in advance of the 1988 presidential plebiscite. Technical assistance is also provided for voter registration and opinion polling.

In Poland, the broad Solidarity social movement continues to receive NED support for a wide range of activities.
3/21 - Leaders of Nicaragua's Sandinistas and Contra rebels begin implementing a 1987 peace plan.

8/8 -Student protests against Burma's dictator are put down by force leaving thousands dead; many more civilians are slain in an ensuing crackdown.

Polish workers strike for three weeks in August, demanding the return of the outlawed Solidarity organization.

10/5 - Chile's citizen's say "NO" in a plebiscite to extend the rule of Augusto Pinochet.
1989 Scores of independent groups and NED's four core institutes conduct a wide range of activities supporting the democratic opposition in Nicaragua in preparation for the 1990 elections. The four institutes support business organizations, labor unions, and 14 opposition parties to carryout programs of civic educations, voter registration, election monitoring and observation, get out the vote drives, policy analysis and independent media.

The National Civic Crusade for Panama strengthens its local grassroots network and promotes mass participation in the May elections.

The Documentation Center for the Promotion of Czechoslovak Literature in West Germany maintains an archive of samizdat literature and provides assistance to independent scholars and writers in Czechoslovakia.

NED, through the International Rescue Committee, provides nearly $2.5 million to Polish Solidarity for a wide range of activities and institutional support.
5/7 - Panamanian voters oust Manuel Noriega in free elections, but Noriega ignores the election results and retains power.

5/14-Argentina elects Carlos Menem president in the first peaceful transfer of power.

6/4 -- Chinese massacre hundreds of prodemocracy protestors in Tiananmen Square.

8/18 - Poland ends 40 years of Communist rule when Party candidates are defeated by Solidarity in parliamentary elections.

9/11- Patricio Aylwin elected President of Chile, ending the 26-year rule of Augusto Pinochet.

11/7-- The Communist government of East Germany collapses, on November 9, the Berlin Wall falls.

11/17-12/29 - The "Velvet Revolution" in Czechoslovakia concludes with the ascension of Vaclav Havel to the presidency.

12/21 - Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu falls and on 12/22 is executed on the 22 is executed with his wife.

Nicaragua ends ten-year civil war and prepares for elections.
1990 NED launches the Journal of Democracy.

The Civil Liberties Organization uses NED support to investigate and document Nigeria's human rights record.

Foundation for Human Rights and Democracy in China collects and disseminates information concerning human rights abuses in China.

The Association of Social Studies and Research conducts a mass media voter education campaign in Guatemala.

Civic Forum and the Public Against Violence educate and engage Czech and Slovak citizens in the political process leading to the national elections.

Freedom House provides a printing press to the independent newspaper Romania Libera, in Romania, and NED helps the Romanian journal Agora and the Group for Social Dialogue establish a Center for Democratic Studies in Romania.

USSR Memorial Society, establishes a database and information network that will systematically document human rights violations in the Soviet Union.
1/22 -Yugoslav Communists end 45-year rule.

2/7 -Soviet Communists relinquish sole power.

2/11 - Nelson Mandela is released after 27 years in prison.

4/25 -Violeta Barrios de Chamorro inaugurated as Nicaraguan president.

5/27 - Elections held in Burma. The National League of Democracy wins 80% of the parliamentary seats; the military regime ignores the results and begins arresting members of the NLD.

5/20 - The first post- Communist presidential and parliamentary elections are held in Romania.

7/28 - Alberto Fujimori elected president of Peru.

8/2 -Iraqi troops invade Kuwait.

10/3 -East and West Germany reunited.

12/9 - Lech Walesa wins Poland's runoff presidential election.
1991 NED supports Mouvement Burkinabe des Droits de l'Hommes et des Peuples to promote human rights education and advocacy in Burkina Faso.

In Yugoslavia, Radio B 92, an independent radio station in Belgrade, purchases a transmitter and other equipment to increase its broadcasting range.

The Popular Movement of Ukraine (Rukh) purchases equipment to establish an independent publishing facility.

FTUI provides essential support for the newly emerging independent trade unions throughout former Soviet Union.
6/5 - Due to tremendous international political and economic pressure, South African Parliament repeals apartheid laws.

7/1 -Warsaw Pact dissolved.

7/10 - Boris N. Yeltsin inaugurated as first freely elected president of Russian Republic.

8/18- Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev is put under house arrest while he was vacationing in the Crimea. The coup, led by eight high-ranking hard-liners, collapses in less than 72 hours.

9/6 -The Soviet Union recognizes the independence of the Baltic States.

12/25 - Gorbachev resigns. Soviet Union dissolves.
1992 The Soweto Civic Association organizes the residents of Soweto to engage in negotiations for the restructuring of local government in South Africa.

The Democratic Alliance of Burma, an umbrella organization of pro-democratic groups, provides education and training to Burmese citizens on theory and application of nonviolent struggle.

NED makes its first grant to Harry Wu's Laogai Research Foundation to create a database to store and track information about Chinese forced labor (laogai) prison camps, interview former prisoners, and publish and translate materials into Chinese for dissemination in China.

The Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe establishes Centers for Pluralism in Poland, Hungary, Czech and Slovak Federal Republics, Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine, providing forums for communication and open debate of ideas.
Peruvian President Fujimori dissolves Peruvian Congress, suspends the constitution.

1/15 - The Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia ceases to exist. Slovenia and Croatia gain independence.

3/1- After a majority of Muslim and Croatian communities vote for Bosnian independence, Bosnian Serb snipers fire on civilians.

3/3 - Bosnia and Herzegovina secede from Yugoslavia.

10/23 - Paris Peace Accors signed, ending the civil war in Cambodia.
1993 The Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), a radio program taped in Bangkok and the border areas of Burma, is broadcast from Norway, under the direction of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma and the Democratic Alliance of Burma.

CIPE establishes a business information center in Egypt, disseminating its materials to opinion leaders.

NED support enables the newspaper Svaboda, one of the few independent sources of information in Belarus, to expand publication.

NDI and IRI organize foreign and local election observers in the first major post-Soviet election in Russia (the April Referendum).

The Ibn Khaldoun Center for Development Studies, headed by Egyptian intellectual Saad Eddin Ibrahim, publishes its newsletter Civil Society, addressing democratic development in the Arab world.
1/1 - Czechoslovakia divides and establishes the Slovak Republic and Czech Republic.

1/26-Vaclav Havel elected Czech president.

11/18 -South Africa adopts majority rule constitution.

9/9- Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat meet in Washington to sign the Oslo Accords.
1994 NED establishes its research arm, the International Forum for Democratic Studies.

NED supports the reestablishment of the Associaition Rwandaise pour la Defense des Droits de la Personne et des Libertes Publiques, which conducts inquires into genocide in Rwanda, document human rights abuses, and develops strategies to encourage repatriation, greater human rights protection, and fair conduct of the war crimes tribunal.

The Civic Alliance, a coalition of over 400 civic associations in Mexico, conducts an extensive election monitoring program for the August 1994 presidential election.

Bosnia's most important daily independent newspaper in, Oslobodjenje, continues printing in Sarajevo through the purchase of newsprint and oil to run its generator; and Sarajevo's only independent radio station, Radio Zid, continues broadcasting news and information with NED support.

CIPE works with the Chinese Economist Society to strengthen public understanding of market-economy societies by publishing a series of 14 books.
1/5-6 - Serbs' heavy weapons pound Sarajevo.

4/6 -Rwandan genocide of Tutsis by Hutus begins; at least 500,000 slaughtered in 100 days.

4/29 -Nelson Mandela elected president, after South Africa holds first interracial national election.

12/11 -Russians attack secessionist Republic of Chechnya.
1995 The Khmer Student Association's multifaceted program increases student exposure to democratic principles in Cambodia.

Transparencia works for a fair and a transparent presidential election in Peru.

A NED grant enables the leading Russian Human rights newspaper, Express Chronicle, to resume publication, providing important independent coverage of the war in Chechnya.
Elections held in Peru, Argentina, Guatemala, Haiti, and Venezuela.

10/5 - Warring parties sign a ceasefire in Bosnia.

11/10 - Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other minority rights advocates are executed in Nigeria.

12/14 -Combatants sign Dayton Peace Accord on Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1996 Campaign for Democracy strengthens its organizational structures, and conducts a massive civic education program through press conferences, leaflets, and its newspaper Democracy Echo in Nigeria.

The independent Burmese newspaper New Era Journal provides extensive and accurate information about Burma's democracy movement. The paper is published by exiled journalists and editors and smuggled into the country.

Sisterhood is Global Institute completes the first phase of a project to produce a manual for use in women's human rights education in the Muslim world.

FTUI supports Nezavisnost, an independent trade union confederation that is a cornerstone of democratic opposition in Serbia-Montenegro.
5/27 - Russian President Yeltsin meets with Chechen rebels for the first time and negotiates a cease-fire.

10/13 - Ethnic violence breaks out in Zairian refugee camps; thousands of refugees from Rwanda and Burundi abandon camps.

12/29 - Guatemala and leaders of Guatemalan National Revolutionary Union sign a peace accord that ends a 36 year a civil war.
1997 The Press Union of Liberia prepares journalists for July elections.

NDI to monitors the development of Hong Kong's "postreversion" election process.

IRI works for legislative, policy, and legal reform in China, providing support for village level electoral reform, public policy formation and legislative reform at the national and provincial levels.

Youth Alternative organizes the first internship program for students at the Ukrainian parliament.
2/4 -After at first contesting the results, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic recognizes opposition victories in the November 1996 elections.

5/25 -A military coup in Sierra Leone replaces President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah with Major Johnny Paul Koromah.

7/1- The United Kingdom hands over sovereignty of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China.

7/19-Charles Taylor is elected President of Liberia.
1998 In response to civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Associacion pour la Defense des Droits de l'Homme (AZADHO) conducts a national program of human rights advocacy, monitoring, and education.

Rally for Youth Action involves young Algerians in activities focused on democracy and human rights.

Through direct grants to NGOs and support to its four institutes, NED supports the successful democratic movement in Slovakia's Parliamentary and local elections. In particular, NED assists the Civic Campaign'98 (OK'98), a non partisan, independent initiative of more than 100 NGOs that is credited with boosting voter turnout to record levels.

The Museum of Political Repression and Totalitarianism in Russia expands its public education program concerning the history of the Perm-36 gulag camp.

The Center for a Free Cuba provides emergency humanitarian assistance to the families of political prisoners and democracy activist who are under government attack, while the quarterly journal Encuentro, is a vehicle for outside ideas and information to reach Cuba. These two programs are a part of a wide-ranging effort to support human rights, independent media and democracy on the island.
5/21 - Indonesian dictator Suharto steps down after 32 years in power.

12/29 - Leaders of the Khmer Rouge apologize for the genocide in Cambodia that claimed over 1 million in the 1970s.
1999 The Citizen's Alliance to Help Political Prisoners in North Korea organizes the first international conference on human rights abuses in North Korea.

The Inaugural Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy convenes in New Delhi, India.

Both before and after the 11-week NATO bombing campaign in Serbia, NED provides emergency assistance to the democratic opposition though all four of its core institutes, as well as through direct grants supporting independent media, campaigns for civic change and support for grass-roots NGOs throughout Serbia.

Thirteen NED-funded groups in Nigeria join together with 40 other NGOS to form the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) in 1998. TMG mobilizes 11,000 observers for Nigeria's historic February 27 presidential election. On May 25, NED presents its annual Democracy Award to Clement Nwankwo, a leader of the TMG and a long-time NED grantee.
2/4 - Hugo Chávez Frías is elected President of Venezuela.

2/27 - Olusegun Obasanjo becomes Nigeria's first elected president since 1983.

3/24 Serbia's ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo prompts an 11-week bombing campaign by NATO in Yugoslavia.

5/27 -International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, indicts Slobodan Milosevic.

8/31 - People of East Timor vote for independence from Indonesia.

12/13 - Boris Yeltsin resigns as President of Russia, and is replaced by Vladimir Putin.
2000 The Second Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy convenes more than 400 democracy activists, practitioners and scholars to São Paulo, Brazil.

The Otpor Student Movement promotes civic activism at the local level in Serbia and mounts a hugely successful Get-Out-the-Vote campaign. September 2000 election posters and buttons produced by Otpor proclaim "He is finished!" and "it's time."

Mexico is NED's top priority for Latin America. With both direct assistance and grants to NDI, IRI and ACILS, the Endowment provides critical assistance to civic groups, including Civic Alliance, to ensure a free and fair process in the landmark presidential election that brings an end to 71 years of single party rule.

Human Rights in China campaigns in support of the Tiananmen Mothers who are fighting for government accountability for the June 4, 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square.
3/26 - In Russia, Vladimir Putin is elected president.

7/2 - Vicente Fox is elected President of Mexico, ending seven decades of single-party rule.

9/25 -Yugoslav opposition claims victory in national elections; incumbent Slobodan Milosevic denies results. On 10/5 Milosevic leaves power after a nationwide uprising. On 10/7 Vojislav Kostunica sworn in as president.

11/17 - Alberto Fujimori is removed from office as president of Peru.
2001 NED launches Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship Program.

The Center for Documentation and Advocacy publishes and distributes the South Sudan Post throughout Sudan and abroad.

The Badlisy Cultural Center trains teachers in 96 primary schools and 200 Imams in local mosques on human rights in Iraq.

IRI and NDI carry out groundbreaking civic education programs in East Timor in preparation for the constitution making process and formal independence in 2002.

Za Prava Cheloveka organizes the first All Russian Emergency Congress in Defense of Human Rights in Russia.

In the Congo (DRC), NED supports 28 independent groups working to promote human rights, independent media, rule of law and to impact the Inter-Congolese dialogue. The seminar pictured here, organized by Voice of the Voiceless, trains local human rights activists.
3/15 -The long-simmering resentment of Macedonia's ethnic Albanians erupts into violence.

6/29 -Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic is delivered to UN tribunal in The Hague to await war-crimes trial.

9/11 - Over 3,000 killed in terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, The Pentagon, and in rural Pennsylvania.

12/9 -Taliban regime in Afghanistan collapses.
2002 The quarterly journal of the Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights, Keys, includes commentaries, interviews, articles written by North Korean experts, testimony from North Korean defectors. Published in three languages, the journal addresses democratization and human rights issues in North Korea.

NDI carries out the third phase of an ambitious 18-month program for political parties in Kenya, emphasizing coalition building and deterrence of political violence in preparation for the historic presidential and parliamentary elections in Kenya.

In the prelude to Slovakia's pivotal parliamentary elections, MEMO98 and the Pontis Foundation conducted powerful get-out-the-vote campaigns, including creative and humorous television and radio spots, billboards, posters, postcards, and T-shirts, including this postcard which says "Save your voice for September."
3/31 - Ukraine holds elections for the Parliament

5/20 -East Timor becomes an independent nation.

12/30- Peaceful parliamentary and presidential elections in Kenya bring an end to the 30 year rule of Kenyan dictator Daniel Arap Moi and his KANU party. Mwai Kibaki is elected the new president.
2003 CIPE helps to establish and strengthen business associations inside Afghanistan to ensure a more sustained and diversified effort to build democracy and market economy.

NED along with NDI, IRI, and CIPE begins to give assistance to a wide range of emerging NGOs. Longtime NED grantees in Northen Iraq expand their activities to the south.
1/9 - North Korea Withdraws from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

3/20 - Troops from United States and 3 other countries invade Iraq.

4/9 -US forces seize control of Baghdad, ending the regime of Saddam Hussein.

8/2 - The United Nations authorizes an international peacekeeping force for Liberia.