Westminster Foundation for Democracy
The Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) is an organisation funded by the U.K. government that works to promote democracy overseas, much like the U.S.-based National Endowment for Democracy.
The WFD was established in March 1992 to provide assistance in building and strengthening pluralist democratic institutions overseas.
It receives a grant-in-aid from the Government which is currently around £4 million. It accounts to Parliament for the resources through the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. It also undertakes selected extra-budgetary technical assistance projects, and seeks contributions from the private sector and other funding organisations. WFD is independent of the Government in setting its priorities and its choice of projects.
The three main UK political parties are each represented on the Board of Governors, and are appointed by the Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs after consulting the parties. There is also a representative from the smaller political parties, and non-party figures drawn from business, the trade unions, the academic world and the non-governmental sector.
(all from )
- 1 Work
- 2 2002 Projects
- 3 "Promoting democracy"
- 4 Egypt
- 5 Governors and patrons
- 6 Contact details
- 7 Resources and articles
Its website states that they are "in the process of moving away from being a grant funder of free standing projects and therefore will not be accepting any new project proposals for grants for the foreseeable future." Their "work will now focus on longer-term programmes aimed at strengthening parliaments and political parties in designated countries in Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, in particular Ukraine, Georgia, Lebanon, Yemen, Mozambique and Uganda.
"Our funds are fully committed to programmes in our two specialist fields of parliamentary strengthening and political party development. In both these fields we work at national and local levels."
They currently have programme commitments in the following countries:
- Middle East and North Africa
"WFD acknowledges the important role played by the media in civil society; that role is essential to the democratic process. In the last year, WFD conducted a project in partnership with the Mohamed Amin Foundation to develop the capacity of the media and improve broadcast journalism in east Africa. The aim of the project was to raise awareness of political and electoral issues, which was particularly relevant in the context of the Tanzanian and Kenyan elections and constitutional review process in Uganda."
The Westminster Foundation for Democracy is similar in nature to the National Endowment for Democracy. William Robinson (1996) suggests that such organizations are involved in "the promotion of polyarchy as a transnational project reflecting globalization" (Robinson, 1996, p. 363)
- "This process is taking place through the development at two distinct levels of transnational mechanisms for promoting and instutionalizing a polyarchic global political system. The first level is that of other Northern countries. These countries have set up their own government-linked "democracy promotion" agencies and launched programs to intervene in the political systems and civil socities of the Third World, in coordination with US programs. By the early 1990s: the British government had established a quasi-private foundation similar to the NED, the Westminster Foundation; the Canadian government had established a similar International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development; Sweden, Japan, and France were expected to develop their own foundations; and several German foundations which have been active in limited "political aid" programs overseas since the 1970s, began to expand these programs and to coordinate them with the NED." (Robinson, 1996, p. 364) The Australian government has also established the Australian Centre for Democratic Institutions (CDI).
The Foundation notes that: "In Cairo in March 2006, for example, we brought together for two days of consultation representatives of the Egyptian government, leaders of secular opposition parties, civil society activists, academics, leaders of the free media and parliamentarians affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood. The result was real dialogue between divergent and opposing opinions focused on strengthening the role of Egypt’s parliament, something which rarely takes place without the role of catalyst that we were able to provide...
"Subsequently, plans were finalised to establish a steering group in Cairo which would enable WFD to develop its parliamentary strengthening programme with direction and advice from a body with wide-ranging local knowledge and experience. The work of the steering group will ensure that this initiative continues to be rooted in the realities of Egyptian parliamentary life. It will also provide a link to WFD’s thematic programme in the MENA [Middle East & North Africa] region." 
Governors and patrons
Accessed July 2010: 
- Meg Munn MP Chair
- Haji Saghir Alam OBE
- Baroness Hilary Armstrong
- Jim Bewsher
- Graham Brady MP
- Tina Fahm
- Sean Farren
- Lord Foulkes
- Ken Jones
- Christine Knights
- Jo Swinson MP Vice Chair
- Myles Wickstead CBE Vice Chair
- The Speaker of the House of Commons: Rt Hon John Bercow MP
- David Cameron MP
- Nick Clegg MP
- Gordon Brown MP
- Peter Robinson MP MLA
- Alex Salmond MP MSP
- Ieuan Wyn Jones AC/AM
- Mark Durkan MP MLA
- Reg Empey MLA
Governors and patrons as of June 2008: 
- Hugh Bayley, MP, Chairman
- Tom Brake, MP, Vice Chairman
- Saghir Alam, WFD Governor
- Jim Bewsher, WFD Governor
- Tina Fahm, WFD Governor
- Ken Jones, WFD Governor
- Christine Knights, WFD Governor
- Hugh Robertson, MP, WFD Governor
- Richard Spring, MP, WFD Governor
- Gisela Stuart, MP, WFD Governor
- Myles Wickstead, CBE, WFD Governor
- George Foulkes, WFD Governor ("Lord Foulkes of Cumnock")
Staff as of June 2008:
- David French, Chief Executive
- Sian Dixon, Programme Officer Africa and Rest of the World Team
- Romana Janku, Programme Officer Europe Team
- Salah Khalil, Corporate Consultant
- Dina Melhem, Head of Mena Programmes
- Brian Merritt, IT Officer/Administrator
- Tamara Moluch, Administrator and Assistant to the Chief Executive
- Paul Naismith, Finance Director and Company Secretary
- Marina Narnor, Head of Africa and Rest of the World Programmes
- Leza O'Flaherty, Programme Manager Europe Team
- Alex Romaniuc, Acting Head of Europe Programmes
- David Thirlby, Programme Officer Africa and Rest of the World Team
- Zaya Yeebo, Programme Manager, Africa and Rest of the World Team
- Matthew Young, Programme Officer MENA team
- Georgina Ashworth
- Frances D'Souza
- Nicola Duckworth
- Michael Gapes MP, Chairman
- Mary Kaldor
- Elfyn Llwyd MP
- Patrick Smith
- Michael Aaronson
- Caroline Spelman MP
- David French, Chief Executive
- Jadranka Foster Programme Director, Europe and Deputy to Chief Executive
- Carla Welch Programme Manager, Europe Team
- Alex Romaniuc Programme Officer, Europe Team
- Elizabeth Marsh Programme Director, Africa
- Karen Miller Programme Manager, Africa Team
- Marina Narnor Programme Manager, Africa Team
- Gordon Lane Director of Finance and Company Secretary
- Brian Merritt IT Officer and Assistant to Director of Finance
- Nagina Ashraf PA to Chief Executive
- Nabila Sattar Labour Party
- Matthew Beevor Labour Party
- Philippa Broom Conservative Party
- James Marriott Conservative Party
- Karla Hatrick Liberal Democrats
- Alison Hughes Liberal Democrats
- Tanja Hollstein Smaller Parties
The Speaker of the House of Commons
- Tony Blair MP
- Ian Duncan Smith MP
- Charles Kennedy MP
- David Trimble MP
- Ieuan Wyn Jones MP AM
- John Hume MP MEP
- Alex Salmond MSP
- Ian Paisley MP MEP
- Westminster Foundation for Democracy
- Artillery House
- 11/19 Artillery Row
- London SW1P 1RT
- Tel: +44 (0)20 7799 1311
- Email: wfd AT wfd.org
- Web: www.wfd.org
Resources and articles
Related Sourcewatch articles
- Centre for Democracy and Development
- Timothy Garton Ash
- Lord Robertson of Port Ellen
- John Osmond
- Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe - former chief executive (1992-5)
- Ralf Land
- What we do, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, accessed June 2008.
- Governors and patrons, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, accessed July 19, 2010.
- Governors and patrons/Staff, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, accessed June 2008.
- About BASIC, , accessed August 14, 2007.
- 2002/2003 Annual Report
- William Robinson, Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, US Intervention and Hegemony, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. For a quick summary
- Interview with William Robinson by Jonah Gindin, The Battle for Global Civil Society, June 13, 2005.
- "Review of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy: Volume 1 – Final Report", River Path Associates , 14 January 2005.
- "Review of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy: Volume 2: annexes 1-7", River Path Associates, 14 January 2005.
- "Review of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy: Volume 3: annexes 8–13", River Path Associates, 14 January 2005.