“Exporting Democracy Revisited: A Report From Romainia” with Paul Sum

Episode 18:
Originally broadcast: July 11, 2010

Last year, Paul Sum joined us to talk about the possibilities of exporting the American model of democracy to other countries. He was about to embark on a one-year trip to Romania to examine their transition to democracy. Now he’s back and ready to share what he learned. Join us for a conversation about what democracy looks like in Eastern Europe now, at this very moment, and how the reality compares to our hopes and theories.

Paul Sum is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of North Dakota. His interests were shaped through his experience during an earlier trip to Romania as a Visiting Scholar and Fellow at Babeş-Bolyai University in Cluj (1996-1998). He has worked with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the U.S. Department of State (formerly the U.S. Information Agency), the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Democracy International, and the International Research & Exchanges Board. His work includes monitoring elections and campaigns, assessing pre and post-election voter surveys, and evaluating the impact of various democracy assistance programs in Albania, Bulgaria, Kosovo, and Romania among other locations. He remains on staff as a Visiting Professor at Babeş-Bolyai University in Romania and has taught at Tulane University and Northwestern University. He is particularly interested in the background and motivations of civil society activists in the post-communist world. He has been widely published, but work in this specific area have appeared in East European Politics & Societies and the Romanian Journal of Science and Politics. He is currently completing an edited volume for Lexington Books titled Romania under Basescu.

Why?’s host Jack Russell Weinstein says “Paul Sum has a great mind, and I can think of no better guide to the philosophy of democracy as it exists in Eastern Europe. I’m anxious to learn how American values and ideals transfer to other countries and what America, in turn, can learn from others. It’s always a pleasure to have Paul on the show.”

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