The Research Network ‘External Democracy Promotion’ (EDP) brings together political science scholars from Germany working at the intersection of international relations and comparative politics. Our joint interest is in the range of cross-border activities by states, non-state actors and international organizations aimed at establishing, improving or defending democracy in third countries. It is our goal to deepen and focus research on democracy promotion as well as strengthen policy advice, and we regularly come together to discuss our research as well as current political developments, collaborate on publication projects, and present our work to academic audiences as well as the politically interested public.
We come from a range of academic organizations and universities in Germany and Switzerland. Our group is comprised of postdoctoral researchers and professors and, while all having been trained in political science, our diverse backgrounds in different fields allow us to tackle our research from different perspectives. Beyond our expertise in international studies and comparative politics, we bring in expertise from the fields of economics, history, and sociology and a broad range of theories and methodologies. The network’s regional expertise on democracy promotion encompasses Africa, the Caucasus, Eastern and South Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.
In organizational terms, the EDP Network is a collaborative project of seven partner institutions: the two Leibniz institutes Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, the German Development Institute (DIE), as well as four universities (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Erfurt, Konstanz, Lüneburg). The University of St. Gallen is an associated member.
While our common research interest lies with the international promotion of democracy, we pursue different research agendas at different times. Currently, we are concerned with the largely neglected dimension of interaction in democracy promotion. In previous projects we have jointly worked on “critical junctures” and the promotion of democratic processes, as well as on challenges and conflicting objectives in democracy promotion policy.
The EDP Network, which has officially launched in May 2015, builds and expands upon an already existing structure – the “Discussion Forum External Democratization Policy”. Coordination of the network is based at PRIF. Currently, the network is funded by the German Leibniz Association under the Leibniz Competition 2015-2018. Previous funding was granted by the German Research Foundation (DFG) (2010-2015).