On January 24, the 2017-19 Fellows had a wonderful opportunity to meet with John Miller Beauvoir, a Political Analyst and Senior Democracy & Governance Expert.

John talked about his recent book, “Démocratie: Mythes & Limites” (Democracy: Myths & Limits), which stresses the need for substantive democracy that goes well beyond simply holding elections.

We had an engaging conversation about how leaders can tackle complex governance issues with an emphasis on international development in the global south. John talked about his experience with youth engagement in Haiti and his extensive background working with international organizations and grassroots organizations in many countries around the world to promote human rights and good governance.

John described the political and economic crisis in Haiti and highlighted the need for a better ecosystem of democracy through a firm constitution, strong institutions and good leadership. We talked of the many varieties of democracies and how elections do not necessarily equal effective democracy. We also talked about innovative new ways that countries in the world are engaging youth such as the MySenate application in Colombia or naming and shaming processes in the Middle East and North Africa.


Many of the Fellows reported on the experience of human development and democratization in their respective countries, from Kenya to Turkey to Albania and Antigua.  A rich and lively discussion ensued about whether democracy is necessarily inherently a better system to achieve better human and economic development.

We want to thank John Beauvoir for taking the time to lead such an interesting discussion with our Fellows and sharing some of the ideas from his new book with us. Thank you also to the Fellows for sharing their experiences from their respective countries and their thoughts on youth leadership, good governance and international development. These sorts of rich exchanges with a very international perspective is part of what makes this public leadership program so special and meaningful.