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Black Tie International:
The United Nations Democracy Fund
The Doers Of Democracy

The United Nations Democracy Fund
The Doers Of Democracy

An Exhibition of Photography from
UNDEF projects in the Field

Photos by: Blacktiemagazine/GMK

Susan Schemacher, Mimi H. Justice, Ronald Rich, Andy Shromph,james cortrell, annika savill

Susan Schemacher, Mimi H. Justice, Ronald Rich, Andy Shromph,
Annika Savill, James 'Chip' Cortell.

Jerry P. Leamon, Susan Schemacher, Ronald Rich

Jerry P. Leamon, Susan Schemacher, Ronald Rich

Dimitry P. Titov, Annika Savill, Barbera Pleet, Andrew Gilmour

Dimitry P. Titov, Annika Savill, Barbera Pleet, Andrew Gilmour

Krishnan & Steve Jaymanthi, Anthony Alexandrou

Krishnan & Steve Jaymanthi, Anthony Alexandrou

James 'Chip' Cottrell

James 'Chip' Cottrell

Kara Kaszynski

Kara Kaszynski

Mimi H. Justice

Mimi H. Justice

Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Michael W. Doyle

Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Michael W. Doyle

Andrew Marshall, Maia Samuel

Andrew Marshall, Maia Samuel

Nicholas Hayson, Annika Savill

Nicholas Hayson, Annika Savill

Todd Lenart, Pamela Robillard, Tara Tedesco

Todd Lenart, Pamela Robillard, Tara Tedesco

Andy Shromph, Jan Arnesen

Andy Shromph, Jan Arnesen

Harvey Dupiton

Harvey Dupiton






At this critical time for democratization efforts in several parts of the world, the United Nations Democracy Fund, UNDEF, opened an exhibition of photographs illustrating its work in the UN Visitors’ Lobby. The images in the exhibition illustrate selected democracy projects in the field, funded by UNDEF and implemented by civil society organizations in Africa, the Arab region, Asia, Latin America and Europe. The photographs come from 30 countries and are taken by the UNDEF project grantees themselves.  Accompanying the images are brief stories describing the grantees’ work to address challenges in the democratic development of their countries.

 The exhibition was opened by Mr. Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, who delivered a message from the Secretary-General, and by the Chair of the UNDEF Advisory Board, Michael Doyle, Professor of International Affairs, Law and Political Science at Columbia University and former UN Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Planning in the Office of the Secretary-General.

One of the youngest entities in the UN system, UNDEF is the only UN body that has the word “democracy” in its name.  Its main purpose is to support democracy by empowering civil society, and thus it plays a new and unique role in complementing the UN's traditional work with Governments. In this way, UNDEF targets the demand side of democracy, rather than the supply side.  

Since then UN Secretary-General Kofi A. Annan created UNDEF in 2005, UNDEF has funded more than 300 projects in some 150 countries,  including many in the Arab world. Most of them are implemented by local civil society groups, or NGOs. UNDEF projects exist in challenging environments – from post-conflict countries to societies in transition and developing democracies.

The exhibition was presented in collaboration with Deloitte , who provide pro bono observation of UNDEF projects around the world.

To display full photo exhibition, click on the below link, then on "Download", then on "Download Anyway". It will take about a minute. (Too big to email normally.)

The United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) was established by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in July 2005 at the African Union Summit in Syrte, Libya, as a United Nations General Trust Fund under his authority. Its primary purpose is to support democratization throughout the world. UNDEF finances projects that build and strengthen democratic institutions, promote human rights, and ensure the participation of all groups in democratic processes.

The Fund provides assistance to governmental, non-governmental, national, regional, and international organizations, including relevant United Nations departments, offices, funds, programmes and agencies. The Fund complements current UN efforts to strengthen and expand democracy worldwide.

The projects do not promote any single model of democracy. As the Heads of State reiterated in the 2005 Summit Outcome Document, democracy does not belong to a single country or region. They stressed that “democracy is a universal value based on the freely expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural system and their full participation in all aspects of their lives.”

The purpose of the Fund is to build capacities for democratic governance, especially at the country level. This can only be done effectively in a supportive institutional environment. Under no circumstances will activities funded by the UNDEF be “imposed” on a country. The approach will necessarily be one of collaboration and support.


Joyce Brooks

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