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Release: April 24, 2001

Barkan wins $51,000 fellowship to continue research on African governments in transition

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Joel D. Barkan, a professor of political science in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts, has been awarded a $51,000, nine-month residential fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. Barkan will be a senior fellow at the Wilson Center from Sept., 2001-May, 2002 during which time he will continue his research on early elections in transitional polities.

This research project examines the impact of early elections in more than 40 countries in the midst of transitions from authoritarian to democratic rule and in war-torn societies seeking to reestablish their governments after periods of civil war.

For polities in the midst of transition from authoritarian to democratic rule, the holding of "free and fair" elections is regarded as the first step toward the realization of "electoral" or "procedural democracy." For polities emerging from a breakdown of the political process, first elections are considered a key step toward the reconstitution of the state and the rebuilding of war-torn societies. Countries that send international peacekeepers into post-conflict societies generally view the successful holding of elections as an indication that the work of the peacekeepers is completed.

Barkan's research is an outgrowth of his involvement in several early elections in Africa as an advisor to the U.S. Agency for International Development and as an international observer of such elections in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

The fellowship will extend Barkan's stay in Washington, where he has been a senior consultant on governance issues at the World Bank since January 2001, and intermittently since 1998. Prior to his current World Bank assignment, he was a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and at the National Endowment for Democracy, also in Washington.