|By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 10:29 am: Edit Post|
Here is some background information on Lloyd Pierson:
DEMOCRACY ADVOCATE SEES OPPORTUNITIES FOR NEW NIGERIA
DEMOCRACY ADVOCATE SEES OPPORTUNITIES FOR NEW NIGERIA
IRI's Lloyd Pierson speaks to USIA
Jim Fisher-Thompson USIA Staff Writer
NAIROBI -- While most Americans spent Saturday, September 26, running errands, doing household chores, or relaxing, Lloyd Pierson was flying high above the Atlantic on his way to Nigeria, where he will help democracy advocates plan national elections, their first since the recent death of General Sani Abacha.
Pierson, a former Peace Corps director in Ghana in the early 1980s who is now director for African programs at the International Republican Institute (IRI), spoke to a U.S. Information Agency (USIA) reporter traveling on the same plane.
Pierson said he looked forward to working with Nigerian democracy advocates in Lagos and Abuja to plan upcoming legislative and presidential elections scheduled between December and March 1999.
IRI, Pierson explained, runs workshops on electoral techniques such as poll watching, voter registration, and political campaigning. At the same time, it offers civic education programs for voters and citizen interest groups who wish to organize.
"Africans are no different from Americans when it comes to participation in political life," Pierson pointed out. "They want education, good health, good roads, and a good quality of life, and they want to determine how to bring that about."
On a personal level, Pierson said, "I'm looking forward to [the] visit because I've never been to Nigeria, and during the seven years I lived in Africa I came to love the continent and learned that its people want the same kinds of things, like democracy and freedom, that everyone in the world wants."
Nigeria's new head of state, General Abdulsalam Abubakar, recently traveled to the United States, where he met with President Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and other top U.S. officials. Abubakar succeeded Abacha, who died of a heart attack, and has promised the military will hand over power to civilians after presidential elections in late February 1999.
Asked if he thinks Abubakar is more sincere about returning to the barracks than Abacha was, Pierson said: "I definitely think so. That's why I and a colleague are traveling today to take a firsthand view. We're going to meet with as many of the members of the National Election Commission as we can."
Commenting on progress the Abubakar regime has made in releasing former political prisoners and smoothing the way for national elections, Pierson said, "I don't think anybody would have believed such a thing would have been possible six months ago" when Abacha was still alive.
Pierson said IRI has not done any work in Nigeria since it sponsored a small youth leadership program in 1992-1993. But he added that he thinks prospects are good now for IRI and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that promote democracy to come and operate in the country. "The simple fact that we were able to get visas attests to the new openness," the IRI official said.
Pierson said he was emboldened to make the trip to Nigeria now, in part, because "we have had very good meetings with Nigerian officials at their embassy in Washington."
He added that "among the Nigerian community in America, whom we've spoken with, there are some mixed feelings" about trusting the new regime, but "I think everybody is hopeful and wants a civilian democratic government."
IRI, along with its sister non-governmental organizations, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), was established by Congress in the early 1980s to help promote democracy worldwide.
|By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 10:31 am: Edit Post|
More background information on Lloyd Pierson:
The 1999 Elections and the Future of Nigeria
Lloyd Pierson is the Director of the Africa Division for the International Republican Institute (IRI), in which capacity he observed Nigeria's 1999 elections. Previously, he was Associate Director of the U.S. Peace Corps, overseeing domestic educational activities. From 1984 to 1991, he served as the Peace Corps Country Director in Ghana and Botswana. He also served as chief negotiator for bilateral agreements in Zimbabwe and Namibia and was the first Peace Corps Director in Namibia following that country's independence from South Africa in 1990.
|By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 10:33 am: Edit Post|
More background information:
KENYAN SURVEY SHOWS FIRM SUPPORT FOR MULTIPARTY DEMOCRACY
The poll was part of a democracy training program sponsored by IRI, which received funding for the project from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Lloyd Pierson, IRI's director of African programs, told the briefing that "IRI's program objectives in Kenya include improving both the science and popular perception of public opinion polling in Kenya and advancing it as a tool for political leaders to better understand citizen views."
Pierson, who has a long background in development on the continent -- he is a former Peace Corps country director in Africa -- said: "We entered into this on a non-partisan, very professional basis to try to gauge issues that Kenyans identified as key issues. So those involved in public policy -- whether it's civil society, individuals, political parties, the government -- can see these results in a very professional way and make their own judgment about public policy positions they should develop to respond to them."
|By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 4:02 pm: Edit Post|
Following is background on the International Republican Institute where acting Peace Corps Director Lloyd Pierson previously worked:
International Republican Institute
"Freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few, but the inalienable and universal right of all human beings."
With these words, spoken in 1982, President Ronald Reagan set forth the idea of an active effort by U.S. citizens to assist the global campaign against tyranny and totalitarianism. The International Republican Institute is the result of President Reagan's vision, an organization dedicated to advancing democracy worldwide.
IRI conducts programs outside the United States to promote democracy and strengthen free markets and the rule of law. The programs are tailored to the needs of pro-democracy activists in over 30 countries and include, for example, grassroots political organizing, campaign management, polling, parliamentary training, judicial reform and election monitoring.
By aiding emerging democracies, IRI plays a valuable role in helping bring greater stability to the world. Stable democracies not only further the cause of peace, but also enhance American opportunities for business investment and trade.
IRI is not part of the Republican Party of the United States. Its programs are nonpartisan and adhere to fundamental American principles such as individual liberty, the rule of law, and the entrepreneurial spirit that fosters economic development.
Established as a private, nonprofit organization, IRI receives contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations and the U.S. government. It is designated by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a 50l(c)(3) organization. Contributions are tax-deductible.
In deciding where to conduct programs, IRI considers current and historical U.S. national interests, and weighs whether it can make a difference and achieve a result over a period of time.
Board of Directors
Michael V. Kostiw
Ambassador J. William Middendorf, II
Lawrence S. Eagleburger
Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.
Alison B. Fortier
James A. Garner
Gahl H. Burt
Cheryl F. Halpern
Dr. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick
Peter T. Madigan
Janet G. Mullins Grissom
Constance B. Newman
Richard S. Williamson