About the African Democracy Project
Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan coordinates the African Democracy Project (ADP), a program of the Forum on Contemporary Issues in Society (FOCIS). ADP is offered in collaboration with the Irvin D. Reid Honors College, with support from the Journalism Institute for Media Diversity. FOCIS, the college and the institute are at the forefront of the university’s efforts to support democracy across the globe by highlighting the importance of civic engagement on students’ educational experiences and by encouraging students to explore the diverse political and societal viewpoints of citizens throughout our progressive, interconnected, world.
ADP was inaugurated in fall 2009 in Mozambique. A subsequent course on democracy in Botswana was presented in spring 2011, while a third course on democracy in Liberia was completed in fall 2011. Through the first three courses, ADP executed significant academic and outreach activities to highlight citizenship and democracy in Africa, a thrust that continued through the most recent course, African Democracy Project: Ghana. In 2012, under the directon of Irvin D. Reid, former president of Wayne State Unviversity, 12 Wayne State University scholars sought to better understand theories of civil conflict, democratization and democratic institutions during Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
Since its inception, ADP has drawn upon multidisciplinary teams of faculty and students from departments such as Political Science, Africana Studies, Business Administration, Economics, History, Communication, Social Work and Law to develop a model for examining the development of democracy using the Ibrahim Index of Governance as a point of departure. The Index has created a ranking of African nations based upon five criteria: citizen participation in the selection of leaders; safety and security; a system of justice; provision for the public welfare; and a sustainable economy for development.
Mozambique, Botswana, Liberia and Ghana emerged model nations in the practice of democracy. By exploring significant events and political struggles in these and other emerging African nations, the African Democracy Project ultimately encourages civilians across the globe to appreciate their own heritage and understand their responsibilities as citizens.
The research also documents and explores the impact of democracy on the social institutions and lives of the select African nations. The academic teams of faculty members from Wayne State and universities in host nations continue to serve an integral role in the documentary project.