A voter casts her ballot. Gabrielle Bardall/IFES.
Three years ago, the United Nations General Assembly declared September 15th as the International Day of Democracy. The preamble of the resolution affirmed that:
"while democracies share common features, there is no single model of democracy and that democracy does not belong to any country or region...
democracy is a universal value based on the freely-expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of life."
IFES’ founder F. Clifton White also believed there was no “blueprint” for democracy, philosophy that guides our work. IFES works with countries whose systems range all across the democracy spectrum. What matters is that the democratic systems employed take into consideration the characteristics of the population and accurately reflect the will of the people.
Having a say in the way we are governed is a human right. The International Day of Democracy affords us the opportunity to reflect on what it means to vote and partake in our country’s political affairs. It is also a good time to remember that for many around the world, the right to vote is hard fought and elusive.
In observance of this day, IFES has put together a photo gallery of images from around the world that capture the spirit and struggle for democracy.