You are cordially invited to a conference on recent history and trends in election observation around the world. This public meeting will convene experts on elections in Africa, Latin America, and the former Soviet Union in order to review cases and recommend ways to maximize the effect of electoral observation missions.

Election Observation Missions: Making Them Count

Hosted by:
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
With the Support of:
American University
National Democratic Institute
Commonwealth Secretariat
United Nations
The Fund for Peace
Democracy International
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)


International election observer missions have become a critical element in building democracy; their very presence helps ensure that existing rules are followed. In exceptional cases, such as Ukraine, judgments by international election observer missions can lead to a new election. The 1999 Istanbul Summit Document of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) commits signatories to "follow up promptly" upon election assessments and recommendations. More often, however, there is little follow-up to the reports of Election Observation missions.

There is a growing awareness among the recognized, credible organizations involved in Election Observation concerning the need to develop more effective practices to ensure that recommendations by election observer missions be considered seriously, and when appropriate acted upon, following elections. There have been significant cases around the world where the role of observers had a tangible positive effect, most recently in Ukraine, both in the course of the election process and in post-election electoral reform.

Conference Agenda

8:15 am Registration
8:30 am Welcome
Howard Wolpe, Woodrow Wilson International Center
8:45 am Overview
Joe Clark, Diplomat-in-Residence, American University
9:00 am Panel I: Three Case Studies (Peru, Cameroon, Nigeria)
Chair: Pauline Baker, The Fund for Peace
Matt Dippell, National Democratic Institute
Diana Acha-Morfaw, National Elections Observatory, Cameroon
Peter Lewis, American University
10:15 am Coffee Break
10:30 am Panel II: Progress to Date and Issues for the Future
Chair: Carina Perelli, United Nations Electoral Assistance Unit
Eric Bjornlund, Democracy International
Gerald Mitchell, OSCE/ODIHR Elections Department
Patrick Merloe, National Democratic Institute
Christopher Child, Commonwealth Secretariat
Robert Pastor, American University
12:30 pm Plenary and Recommendations
Joe Clark, Diplomat-in-Residence, American University
1:15 pm Adjourn


Attendance at this event will be free, but RSVP is requested as space may be limited.

This event will be webcast live via this site, beginning at 8:30 AM on Friday, April 29.