IFES Annual Report 2022
Message From the President
72 percent of the world’s population lived in autocracies in 2022, according to an analysis from Swedish research institute V-Dem, an IFES partner. A dramatic spike from 2012, when the number was 46 percent.
So is the democracy story of 2022 one of decline? I do not believe so. Instead, the story is about democratic resilience.
Ukraine’s resistance to Russian aggression is undoubtedly the most inspiring example of democratic resilience in 2022. I have traveled to Ukraine twice since the invasion began and witnessed the devastation and trauma—but more importantly, the bravery of Ukraine’s people, the strength of its institutions, and the commitment of IFES’s staff. What I have seen leaves me with no doubt: Ukraine will prevail as an example for global democracy.
Ukraine is only one of more than 40 countries where IFES worked to support democracy in 2022. While we take a deep look at Ukraine in this annual report, each country where we work faces significant challenges of its own, and, in each, IFES brings the same holistic strategy for democracy support, the same spirit of local partnership and innovation, and the same drive to ensure that all people have a voice in their system of government. And in each country where IFES works, we see people rallying around shared values of freedom and fairness.
So we at IFES do not read V-Dem’s findings as a prophecy of decline. We see these numbers as a signal that our work is more vital and necessary than ever. And we are doubling down on doing that work in the places where it is needed the most.
IFES President and CEO
Message From the Board
Democracy does not just happen. It takes work.
It is our great privilege as Chair and Co-chair of IFES’s Board of Directors to see how IFES contributes to that work around the world. This report offers examples of IFES’s impact in supporting free and fair elections, fighting corruption, ensuring technology
works for rather than against democracy, and advancing inclusive societies.
The key to our work’s success is almost always local.
In every place that IFES operates around the world, the organization builds deep local connections. From institutions to civil society to citizens, IFES has become a trusted partner worldwide in building resilient democracies from the ground up. And through IFES’s strategic network building, those local democracy forces benefit from global learning and innovation.
That is why IFES’s mission statement is “Together we build resilient democracies that deliver for all.” That first word, “together,” is the key to IFES’s success.
It is well understood that democracy is under attack in countries in all regions of the world. In this report, you will read about some of the many local partners with whom we work. In their stories, you will see some of the reasons we are so confident that IFES has the right formula for meeting democracy’s challenges today and tomorrow.
Ambassador William Eacho
Chair, IFES Board of Directors
Ambassador J. Kenneth Blackwell
Co-chair, IFES Board of Directors