Doyle Elected Chair of U.N. Democracy Fund's Board

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June 2, 2008 (NEW YORK) – Columbia Law School Professor Michael W. Doyle has been elected chairman of the board of the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), which supports projects around the world designed to empower civil society in order to increase popular participation, ensure that people can exercise their democratic rights and develop pluralistic media.
Doyle said that as chair, he will “work with the board to further refine the Fund’s criteria for selecting projects, improve its methods of assessing projects after they have been funded, and enlarge the group of United Nations member states that donate to the fund.”
Doyle, the Harold Brown Professor of International and Public Affairs, of Law, and of Political Science at Columbia Law School, was appointed to the UNDEF board as a personal representative of the United Nations Secretary-General. One of the unusual features of UNDEF governance is that states, organizations and individuals can all be members of the board.
Fund projects have included human rights commissions in Kenya and Nigeria to address electoral related violence; a network of lawyers in Tajikistan to protect journalists from undue pressure; Transparency Brazil, which created an Internet portal to disclose interests of candidates running for office; a pilot civil and voter registry in Afghanistan; the promotion of ethnic minority rights in Thailand, Cambodia and Georgia; and help for Iraqi journalists to create their own independent national news agency. In its first grant cycle, in 2006, the Fund approved 125 projects for a total of $36 million.
Doyle came to Columbia Law School in 2003 as a scholar well-known for explaining the “democratic peace” – the tendency of liberal democracies to maintain peace with each other, as well as an expert the history of empires and comparative peacekeeping. From 2001 to 2003, he was U.N. assistant secretary-general in the executive office of then-Secretary General Kofi Annan, responsible for strategic planning and U.S.-U.N. relations.
At the United Nations, Doyle also focused on private sector outreach through the “Global Compact,” an initiative in partnership with international corporations and labor unions to encourage respect for human rights, labor rights and environmental protection.
Doyle, former director of the Center of International Studies at Princeton University, has also taught at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, Johns Hopkins University and Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He earned B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University.
He is the author of Ways of War and Peace (W.W. Norton & Co., 1997), Empires (Cornell University Press, 1986) and, most recently, Striking First: Preemption and Prevention in International Conflict (Princeton University Press, 2008), his tanner Lectures delivered at Princeton University. Doyle is working on a new book about the law, ethics and politics of international intervention.
Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School joins traditional strengths in international and comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, business law and human rights law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, and criminal law.