I salute the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and congratulate it on this important occasion, taking note of the significant contribution that NED has made to democracy worldwide. I would like to highlight what I believe are some of the main advances and achievements of democracy assistance over the past quarter-century and also to examine the challenging road ahead.

The progress of democracy assistance in the past 25 years can be described as democracy aid finding its place. First, it has found its place within U.S. foreign policy. In the 1980s, democracy aid had to struggle to become something more than just a side element of anticommunist security policies, to become rooted in broader prodemocratic principles. Over time it did that. In the 1990s, democracy assistance had to find its place in a U.S. foreign policy that was no longer anchored in a framework of geopolitical strategic competition. Again, democracy aid did that and in that decade increased rapidly, both in dollar amounts and geographical reach.

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