November-December 2014Announcing the November/December 2014 Issue VI, Vol VIII Cover Story: Occupying Public Spaces and Democratized Dialogue Featured: Protests in the 21st Century PLUS: Resurrecting the Silk Road; The War of Information; Interview with Ambassador Jimmy Kolker on Global Health; and more! Washington, DC: Political scientist Samuel Huntington (The Clash of Civilizations) defined three waves of democracy in his book “The Third Wave”. His theory was that there have been three major periods of democratization in world history. The First Wave, which occurred during the 19th century, began with the revolution in 1776 and continued on to the French Revolution. The Second Wave followed the victory of the Allies in World War II. The Second Wave lasted until the 60s but then began to fade out. I was a product of the Third Wave. In the mid 70s a global process had begun: protests and dethroning of militants and dictators across Central and Latin America signaled a new wave of democratization. It was soon to touch Central and Eastern Europe in the late 80s, ending with a bang in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Coming from a Communist dictatorship—and isolationist—Albania, I experienced these early changes of the protests at the Tirana square as a young child. My family soon fled to Greece as did hundreds of thousands of Albanians and others from Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Then Yugoslavia plunged into war and signaled, according to Huntington’s theory, the beginning of the end of the Third Wave. But was it truly the end? The so called Arab Spring, regime changes in Myanmar, and democracy movements across African and Asian nations have been hailed as the start of a Fourth Wave. So in this edition, we embarked on a study to discover if that was the case. In the case of Eastern and Central Europe, renewed protests in the Ukraine for example, signify that perhaps the Third Wave has been continuing on. Our own Chrisella Herzog has been following Occupy movements and protests for years now. In this edition’s cover story she explains that in this new wave of protests “The most important factors are the defining characteristics of the post-Global Financial Crisis era: growing political disaffection, increasing economic inequality, and the explosion of new and more democratic media outlets.” And therein rest the most fascinating and important actors of the modern day Fourth Wave—if we can call it that—the democratization of media and the proliferation of social media. Much ink has been spilled on the subject, as our author says. Access to news and information as well as their creation and curation has never been easier. But can they be used without each other? Especially, as our author explains, this democratized media cannot always be trusted? It’s a fascinating conundrum. We invite you to view this edition not as the answer to the above but a chronicle of the past decade, be it the continuation of the Third Wave or a brand new Fourth Wave of democracy. Ana C. Rold is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Diplomatic Courier.  

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