Democracy promotion is a central pillar of the foreign policy of many states, but the results are often disappointing. In Promoting Democracy, Manal A. Jamal examines why these efforts succeed in some countries, but fail in others. A former journalist and researcher in the Palestinian territories, she offers an up-close perspective of the ways in which Western donor funding has, on one hand, undermined political participation in cases such as the Palestinian territories, and, on the other hand, succeeded in bolstering political engagement in cases such as El Salvador.
Based on five fieldwork trips and over 150 interviews with grassroots activists, political leaders, and directors and program officers in donor agencies and NGOs, Jamal brings into focus an often-overlooked perspective: the experiences of those directly affected by this assistance. Promoting Democracy makes an important and timely argument about how political settlements ultimately shape democracy promotion efforts, and what political choices Western state sponsored donors can make to maximize successful outcomes in different contexts across the world.
Manal A. Jamal is an associate professor of political science at James Madison University (JMU). Her research interests include comparative democratization, civil society, social movements, conflict to peace and the political economy of transitions, and Middle East politics, including the Arab-Israeli conflict.
She holds a PhD in political science from McGill University and a BA and MA in international relations from UC Davis and San Francisco State, respectively. Most recently, during the 2014 and 2015 academic year, she was a research fellow at the Harvard Kennedys Middle East Initiative. Prior to joining the faculty of JMU, she was a Sultan post-doctoral fellow at UC Berkeleys Center for Middle Eastern Studies, a research fellow at the Dubai School of Government, and a visiting scholar at Harvard Universitys Dubai Initiative. During the late 1990s, she worked as journalist and researcher in the Palestinian Territories. She has consulted for a number of organizations, including the United Nations Special Coordinators Office in the Occupied Territories and the UKs IHS Janes. She also contributed to the feasibility studies that led to the establishment of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences. From 2010 to 2015, she served as a member of the Middle East Studies Association's Committee for Academic Freedom, and between 2012 and 2014, she was a member of the transitional board of directors of the Association for Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Studies.