Democratization Policy Council

"An initiative for accountable democratization policy worldwide"

A Diplomat's Handbook for Democracy and Development Support

The Diplomat’s Handbook for Democracy Development Support was originally conceived by the late Ambassador Mark Palmer to provide diplomats representing democracies, both presently serving and trainees, guideposts as to how they could assist in assisting in local efforts to drive peaceful democratic change – or consolidate it. The project was commissioned by the Community of Democracies and based throughout its development at the (now closed) Council for a Community of Democracies. The authors, Ambassador Jeremy Kinsman of Canada (project director) and Kurt Bassuener of the US (research director), developed a taxonomy of various assets and applications (the “toolbox” defined in Chapter 3 of the book and depicted on the 3rd edition cover) and decided that a historical case study approach, demonstrating the application of these tools in previous situations worldwide, would best demonstrate the applicability of these approaches. From its inception, the Handbook was designed to evolve – to be updated, improved and expanded – and has been published in three editions, most recently in summer 2013 by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Ontario, Canada. The authors hope at a future date to generate a 4th edition, with additional cases and updates of those previously published.

The Handbook was generously supported by numerous partners, with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada and the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) being instrumental in facilitating the launch of the research and drafting process and its evolution. Through its development, the Handbook also received support from Freedom House, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Princeton Project on National Security, the governments of Chile, India, Italy, Lithuania, Morocco, Poland, and the US State Department.

The Democratization Policy Council proudly hosts the 3rd edition of the Handbook on its site, since it demonstrates the full spectrum of what diplomats and other officials from democracies can do to assist civic actors, human rights defenders, and those in host country governments who work to expand the boundaries of human liberty and dignity. It is completely consonant with DPC’s own mission – as would expected, given it was co-authored by DPC co-founder Kurt Bassuener.

Presented below is the full PDF of the 3rd edition of the Handbook in PDF, along with the individual chapters.

The authors welcome feedback from readers. Questions, comments, or other input should be directed to

A Diplomat’s Handbook for Democracy Development Support

Chapter I: The Rationale for Democratic Solidarity

Chapter II: The International Context

Chapter III: The Diplomat’s Tool Box

Chapter IV: Conclusions

Case Studies

Tunisia: Igniting Arab Democracy

Russia and Democracy

Cuban Exceptionalism

Can Egyptians Build a Consensus for Functioning Democracy?

Democracy and the “Chinese Dream”

Ukraine: Independence, Revolution, Disappointment and Regression

Belarus: Europe’s Last Dictatorship

“The Beginning of a Road? Burma/Myanmar’s Uncertain Transition”

Zimbabwe: An African Tragedy

The Fall and Rise of Chilean Democracy: 1973-1989

South Africa: “The Long Road to Freedom”