National Democratic Institute
TypeNon-profit non-governmental organization
Headquarters455 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC, US
Derek Mitchell

The National Democratic Institute (NDI), or National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, is a non-profit American NGO that works with partners in developing countries to increase the effectiveness of democratic institutions.[1] The NDI's core program areas include citizen participation, elections, debates, democratic governance, democracy and technology, political inclusion of marginalized groups, and gender, women and democracy, peace and security, political parties, and youth political participation.[2] The organization's stated mission is to "support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government."[1]

The NDI was founded in 1983, shortly after the United States Congress created the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).[3] The NED's creation was followed by the establishment of three related institutes: the Center for International Private Enterprise, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and the National Republican Institute for International Affairs (later renamed the International Republican Institute). The Endowment serves as the umbrella organization through which these three institutes and an expanding number of private sector groups would receive funding to carry out programs abroad.[4]

The NDI claims to be non-partisan and does not operate in the United States; it takes no position on U.S. elections, although it has a loose affiliation with the Democratic Party,[5] and is a "cooperating organization" with the Liberal International.[6]


The National Democratic Institute has worked in 156 countries and territories around the world and supported the efforts of 16,000 civic organizations, 925 political parties and organizations, 10,000 legislators, and 1,300 women's organizations. Furthermore, NDI has organized over 200 international election observer delegations in over 67 countries. Through its local partners, NDI has helped train and deploy 4 million election observers in 350 elections and referendums in 85 countries and has trained 600,000 party poll-watchers in more than 50 countries. It has helped partner groups organize 400 candidate debates in over 35 countries.[7]


The NDI started its activities in Chile in 1985. Its programs promoted free elections, working together with opposition leaders. In 1988, it participated in the United States campaign for the No at the Chilean national plebiscite. The United States Congress budgeted this campaign with US$1 million that the National Endowment for Democracy distributed through the NDI, the National Republican Institute for International Affairs, Free Trade Union Institute, and the Center for International Private Enterprise. The NDI participated organizing seminaries, sending political consultants, and an election observation mission.[8][9][10]


In the 1980s, the NDI participated in the broader National Endowment for Democracy programs against the Nicaraguan Revolution.[11]

Northern Ireland

In the 1980s, the NDI provided support to the Social Democratic and Labour Party in Northern Ireland to strengthen its democratic principles.[12]


In the 2000's, NDI worked with election monitoring organizations such as the Committee of Ukrainian Voters to provide financial and technical assistance to develop election monitoring capabilities. This monitoring played a salient role in popular uprising against electoral fraud during the Orange Revolution.[13]

United States

They are partnered with Gov2U[14] an organization acquired by Scytl.[15]


According to an article in the American socialist magazine Jacobin, after the death of Hugo Chávez, the NDI provided funding and training to the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) coalition of opposition parties in Venezuela. The MUD used the NDI's assistance to create a voter database and target swinging voters through Facebook. In 2015, the opposition won a majority in the Venezuelan National Assembly for the first time since 1999 and the NDI said a "determining factor in the success of the coalition in the parliamentary elections of 2015 was a two-year effort prior to the elections to raise awareness, train and align national and regional structures of communication of all the parties that conform the MUD".[16]

Sources of funding

NDI receives financial support from the National Endowment for Democracy,[17] the US Agency for International Development,[18] the US Department of State,[19] and the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening.[20] Furthermore, NDI receives contributions from governments, foundations, multilateral institutions, corporations, organizations, and individuals. Some of these institutions include the Government of Australia,[21] Government of Denmark,[22] Government of Belgium[23] and the Open Society Foundations.[24]

Awards, events, and honors


The socialist magazine Monthly Review stated that the terms democracy assistance, democracy building, and democracy promotion are rhetorically employed to overpower nationalist and socialist resistance to US economic and cultural domination, particularly in Russia.[35]

The NDI was expelled from Cambodia in August 2017.[36][37]

In December 2020 China sanctioned three high-ranking individuals from the institute, accusing it of "blatantly interferes in Hong Kong affairs and grossly interferes in China’s domestic affairs".[38]

See also


  1. ^ a b About NDI, 23 January 2017
  2. ^ NDI: What We Do
  3. ^ Idea to Reality: NED at 25
  4. ^ NED: History
  5. ^ FAQs Archived 2015-08-01 at the Wayback Machine at
  6. ^ "Cooperating Organisations". Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  7. ^ "NDI". Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  8. ^ Lowenthal, Abraham F. (October 13, 1988). "Chile and the No Vote--a Bravo for U.S. Role". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  9. ^ Gamarekian, Barbara (November 18, 1988). "Washington Talk: Foreign Affairs; How U.S. Political Pros Get Out the Vote in Chile". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  10. ^ National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (1989). "Capítulo 1: Actividades del NDI en Chile" [Chapter 1: NDI activities in Chile]. La transición chilena hacia la democracia. El Plebiscito Presidencial de 1988 [The chilean transition to democracy. The Presidential Plebiscite of 1988] (PDF) (in Spanish). pp. 5–12.
  11. ^ Pear, Robert (April 25, 1989). "U.S. Allots $2 Million to Aid Anti-Sandinistas". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  12. ^ Clarity, James F.; Weaver, Warren (October 14, 1985). "BRIEFING; Irish Are Looking In". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  13. ^ McFaul, Michael (May 2006). "Importing Revolution: Internal and External Factors in Ukraine's 2004 Democratic Breakthrough" (PDF). Stanford University Center on Democracy, Development, and The Rule of Law.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ "Government To You | Gov2U | - Our Network". Archived from the original on 2011-09-20.
  15. ^ "Scytl acquires Gov2U's software division expanding its eDemocracy solutions portfolio - MarketWatch". Archived from the original on 2013-06-09.
  16. ^ Gill, Tim; Lewelling, Christian (30 October 2021). "Documents Show How the US Government Used Social Media to Intervene in Venezuela". Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  17. ^ "NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY". Retrieved 2016-12-16.
  18. ^ "U.S. Agency for International Development". Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  19. ^ "U.S. Department of State". Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  20. ^ "Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening | NDI". Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  21. ^ "". Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  22. ^ "Government and Politics-The official website of Denmark". Archived from the original on 2012-05-27. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  23. ^ "The federal government". 2014-11-24. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  24. ^ "Partners".
  25. ^ Andi Parhamovich Fellowship, 11 January 2017
  26. ^ Harriman Democracy Award, 11 January 2017
  27. ^ "NDI To Honor Archbishop Tutu, Women's League of Burma | NDI". Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  28. ^ "Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf | NDI". 18 June 2008. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  29. ^ "Jimmy Carter | NDI". Archived from the original on 2016-03-14. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  30. ^ "Václav Havel | NDI". Archived from the original on 2015-08-01. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  31. ^ "Bill Clinton | NDI". Archived from the original on 2016-03-15. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  32. ^ "Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas | NDI". Archived from the original on 2016-03-15. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  33. ^ "Aung San Suu Kyi | NDI". Archived from the original on 2016-03-15. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  34. ^ "Madeleine K. Albright, Chairman | NDI". 2 September 2016. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  35. ^ The Myths of 'Democracy Assistance': U.S. Political Intervention in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe, Gerald Sussman, Monthly Review, December 2006.
  36. ^ "Cambodia's government asks the courts to abolish the opposition". The Economist. 12 October 2017.
  37. ^ "Statement on Cambodian Government's Decision to Shut Down NDI's Office in Cambodia". National Democratic Institute. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  38. ^ "China sanctions four with U.S. democracy promotion ties over Hong Kong". Reuters. 2020-11-30. Retrieved 2021-02-09.((cite news)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)

Further reading