Restrictive actions against domestic civil society groups, and against international support for them, are multiplying and intensifying around the world. The scope of this phenomenon is wider than is commonly understood, and the causes are more complex. Responding effectively is a crucial challenge for the community of international actors committed to fostering democracy and human rights globally—one the community is only starting to meet.

Benjamin Rhodes joined Thomas Carothers for a discussion moderated by Jessica T. Mathews marking the launch of the report Closing Space: Democracy and Human Rights Support Under Fire, co-authored by Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher.

Benjamin Rhodes

Benjamin Rhodes is assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for strategic communications and speechwriting, overseeing President Obama’s national security communications, speechwriting, and global engagement. He previously served as deputy director of White House Speechwriting, and as a senior speechwriter for the Obama campaign.

Thomas Carothers

Thomas Carothers is vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is the founder and director of the Democracy and Rule of Law Program and oversees Carnegie Europe in Brussels. Carothers is a leading authority on international support for democracy, rights, and governance and on comparative democratization.

Jessica T. Mathews

Jessica T. Mathews is president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Before her appointment in 1997, her career included posts in both the executive and legislative branches of government, in management and research in the nonprofit arena, and in journalism and science policy.