Intellectual Framework

The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED) is a constituent unit of the Ronald and Eileen Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia (WCEE) at the University of Michigan International Institute. WCED supports the study of how democracies emerge and the conditions necessary for assuring and extending freedom. Advised by a Policy Board and an Advisory Council, WCED is independent of all political forces.

WCED aims to support the study and practice of emerging democracies in three ways:

  • a focus on both the conditions under which democracies emerge—and autocracies endure. This comparative perspective allows us to draw robust conclusions about regime transformations and stability.
  • a multidisciplinary perspective that is sensitive to the historical, social, cultural, economic, and political contexts in which democracies emerge—or fail to arise. The analysis of any of these by itself is insufficient for the understanding of political stability and change.
  • a focus on the practice of politics, and the dilemmas and challenges faced by political actors such as diplomats, state officials, or popular representatives. The perspectives of these participants are invaluable in drawing lessons about democratic governance for both academics and practitioners.

Through its work on transformations of authoritarian regimes and dictatorships into more open societies, WCED will support the study of past, ongoing, and future efforts to assure and extend freedom and democracy.