3rd International Conference on Democratic Governance in the Developing World

Advancing Democratic Governance in the Developing World: The Role of Conflict, Complementarity, and Collaboration in Fostering Democratic Ideals, Practices, and Institutions

Although many developing countries have transitioned to some sort of democracy over the last several decades, actual democratic consolidation and democratic governance have remained elusive. In part, this is because democratic ideals, practices, and institutions have not fully taken root and become institutionalized in the day-to-day practices of politicians, public administrators, civic leaders, and citizens. As a result, many developing countries struggle to adequately address conflict (in numerous forms), foster collaboration across sectoral, jurisdictional, and other boundaries, and otherwise nurture complementary democratic forces. In turn, ineffective practices for dealing with conflict, complementarity, and collaboration have led to poor performance, opportunistic behavior, corruption, and other challenges that weaken the quality of governance and undermine democracy.

The purpose of the 3rd International Conference on Democratic Governance * is to explore the various dimensions – political, economic, social, spiritual, and cultural – needed to advance and sustain democratic governance in the developing world. Specifically, the conference will bring together an international group of scholars and practitioners from diverse disciplines (e.g., public administration, political science, economics, sociology, business, law, journalism, international relations, and others) to collectively examine the role of conflict, complementarity, and collaboration in fostering and sustaining democratic ideals, practices, and institutions. In their papers, conference participants can address numerous themes and issues, such as:

1. Democratic Ideals, Practices, and Institutions

What democratic ideals (e.g., accountability, transparency, integrity) are critical for good governance, and what practices and institutions are most appropriate for enacting them? How might conflict and collaboration support or undermine these ideals, practices, and institutions? How are these ideals, practices and institutions affected by contemporary changes or reforms in governance?

2. Conflict Resolution and Collaboration as Democratic Ideals and Practices

What is the relationship between conflict, collaboration, and democracy? How and why might (or might not) conflict resolution and collaboration be important ideals and practices for democratic governance? In what ways and why are conflict and collaboration healthy or unhealthy (constructive or destructive) for democracy? What are some mechanisms and practices for transforming conflict and using collaboration to promote democratic governance?

3. Contextual and Cultural Determinants of Conflict Resolution and Collaboration

Do Western norms and ideals about conflict and collaboration transfer to other parts of the world? What cultural norms and values might make such practices context-specific? How do trust and social capital advance conflict resolution and collaboration? How can nations best engage in peace-building and other post-conflict reconstruction efforts? What can we learn from extant cases and examples about what works and what does not?

4. Representation and Participation as Democratic Ideals and Practices

What is the role of representation and participation in fostering democratic governance? How do they ameliorate or exacerbate conflict and help or hinder collaborative efforts? What is the significance of racial, gender, caste and class representation and participation for democracy? How can such ideals (representation and participation) be used more effectively to promote democratic governance?

5. The State-Civil Society-Market Balance

What is the appropriate State-Civil Society-Market balance in democratic governance, and how can that balance be best struck? What role do civil society, non-profit and non-governmental organizations play in fostering democratic values, institutions, and practices? How can such organizations promote peace and reconciliation, constructive conflict resolution, and productive collaboration? What administrative capacities and resources are needed to manage cross-boundary and cross-sectoral relationships and promote democratic governance?

6. Scenarios of Democratization in the Developing World

What are the most serious challenges to democratic governance facing the developing world? What are root causes of democratic success and failure? What do cross-national comparative studies reveal about the patterns of convergence and divergence in achieving democratic ideals and practices across nations or regions in the developing world? What lessons can be learned in developed nations from advanced democracies?

Submission of Paper and Panel Proposals

The conference program committee welcomes the submission of proposals for individual papers and fully formed panels. High-quality conceptual, theoretical, empirical, and policy- and practice-oriented research is welcome. All proposals should: (1) briefly explain how the paper or panel connects to the overall conference theme, (2) note the individual conference track in which the proposal best fits, (3) include 3-4 keywords, and (4) provide complete contact information.  Proposals for individual papers should include an abstract of 250-400 words. Proposals for fully formed panels should consist of three to four complementary papers and include an abstract of 400-600 words. The deadline for proposal submissions is March 1, 2016. Proposals will be evaluated by the program committee and notifications of decisions will be made via email by March 31, 2016. Proposals should be emailed to the program committee chair, Dr. Tina Nabatchi (

The members of the conference program committee include:

Tina Nabatchi, Committee Chair, Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

Khaldoun AbouAssi, School of Public Affairs, American University

Catherine Gerard, Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

Louis Kriesberg, Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

Gedeon Mudacumura, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

Shamsul Haque, National University of Singapore

Oluwole Owoye, Western Connecticut State University

Alketa Peci, Fundação Getulio Vargas, Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration

Sabina Schnell, Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

Anastase Shyaka, CEO, Rwanda Governance Board 

Publication Opportunity

Conference participants are encouraged to submit their papers for consideration of inclusion in an edited book or special issue of an academic journal. All submissions will be peer reviewed. Further details about the publication opportunity will be provided in spring 2016.

Conference Sponsor and Supporters

This conference is being organized and financially sponsored by the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC), an interdisciplinary research institute housed in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Additional conference organizers include the Rwanda Governance Board and Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.

Conference Venue

The conference will take place at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036. Information on registration, travel, and accommodations will be provided soon.