Blog | Join Us for Conversations on Wednesday, March 10

In his new book, “Wars, Guns, and Votes,” Oxford economist Paul Collier argues that the international community – presumably including The Carter Center – focuses too much on holding elections and ignores the underlying problems of insecurity and lack of checks and balances essential for democratic development. Collier will discuss his concerns during a Carter Center Conversation on Wednesday from 7-8:30 p.m. Joining him on stage will be the directors of our Democracy and Americas programs, David Carroll and Jennifer McCoy, plus Associate Director of Conflict Resolution and Project Manager for the Center’s post-conflict transitional justice work in Liberia Tom Crick.

Collier’s warnings that elections exacerbate rather than resolve conflict in weak states, especially across Africa, are grounded in empirical evidence well-known to The Carter Center, which pioneered independent international observation of post-conflict elections in Latin America in the 1980s and continues to be an international leader in developing principles and standards for the growing number organizations involved in determining whether an election is a credible reflection of the popular will.

During Wednesday’s event, we will discuss why elections are necessary but insufficient for sustainable peace and development. We will explore and compare the lessons we have learned from Latin America and Africa and whether our recent efforts to assist grassroots organizations that seek to ensure that the election promises are kept and that there is greater transparency and accountability on still too powerful executive authorities in post-conflict weak states, notably Liberia.

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