About Us

A functioning democracy incorporates many components, including free, fair and transparent elections, independent governmental institutions and an informed electorate. The Global Democracy Initiative (GDI)  is an organization established through a partnership between the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians, the European Parliament Former Members Association and the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress (USAFMC) to utilize former legislators as a valuable resource in the ongoing process of democracy building.

European parliament May 8, 2008, Resolution on EU Election Observation Missions
We welcome the work done by the European Parliament Former Members Association in founding the International Election Monitors Institute (IEMI) in conjunction with the Former Members of the Canadian Parliament and the United States Association of Former Members of Congress.

GDI engages in three areas of expertise – one, to train former legislators based on internationally recognized guidelines for legislative st rengthening and election observation work; two, to collaborate with reputable NGOs to place trained legislators in existing missions; and three, to engage former parliamentarians in post-election democracy building work.

Voters in a polling booth

Voters in a polling booth

Founded in 2005, IEMI, now GDI, was created out of the universal idea that an international group of former legislators can add an important dimension to democracy building work in the many nations trying to set up a government based on transparency and rule of law. GDI is able to work with partner organizations to ensure that egalitarian principles take hold and thrive.

Former legislators possess a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of representative government, and are a welcome addition to an election monitoring or democracy strengthening mission.

Many NGOs may currently recruit individual former legislators for their missions, but working with GDI offers the following core benefits:

  • A cadre of former legislators trained to internationally recognized standards
  • Members with regional legislative expertise, who have served on the local, state and federal levels, and have experience in several branches of government
  • An international, multi-party perspective
  • A proven track record of public service
  • The ability to work with parliamentarians on a collegial level
  • Constant communication between members to ensure that recommendations from the pre-election and election period are implemented into post-election work

GDI, and its predecessor IEMI, and its member organizations are honored to endorse the October 2005 United Nations Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct for International Election Observers. We abide by this worldwide accepted standard in all of our democracy building endeavors.

Patrick Merloe Senior Associate & Director of Electoral Programs, NDI
The International Election Monitoring Institute (IEMI, now GDI) is an important addition to the organizations working to strengthen democratic efforts around the world.

NDI has collaborated over the years with the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians, the European Parliament Former Members Association and the United States Association of Former Members of Congress, and we are happy that they have joined in founding IEMI. IEMI members participated in NDI election observation missions to Ukraine and Morocco last year, and we look forward to IEMI’s contributions on a range of issues.