U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet in Mongolia July 9th, to launch the LEND Network, a new tool that will help countries navigate the transition to sustainable democracy. The program is modeled as a very powerful social network for leaders of democracies. “The LEND Network is designed to give people the information they need when they need it,” Secretary Clinton said:
”It employs the latest communications technology, including tablet computers and video conferencing, to create an online forum where leaders can exchange information on building their own democracies and answering questions.”
Participants in the network will include leaders and former leaders of more than 20 countries that have already transitioned into democracy and leaders of countries that are currently on the path to democracy. LEND, which stands for Leaders Engaged In New Democracies, will offer new leaders unprecedented access to the advice and help of those who have been in their shoes.
“New democracies can and should learn from those that have already made the transition,” said Secretary Clinton:
“Over the past two decades, more than 40 countries became democracies, and that represents a wealth of hard-won knowledge that we need to capture and share.”
Secretary Clinton noted that the pace of political change has accelerated, and so has the need for immediate access to helpful information. Finally, Secretary Clinton noted that the work of building democracies is too large a job for government alone. LEND is a public-private partnership.
“We believe we should tap into the expertise and resources of the private sector and civil society,” she said.
LEND is housed under a U.S. - Estonian-led working group within the Community of Democracies. Sponsors include the governments of Sweden and Chile, Google, OpenText, Dialcom, and the Club of Madrid.