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Thursday, October 15, 1998

Louisa Coan Next Millennium Speaker, November 4

SALISBURY, MD--Louisa Coan, senior program officer for Asia National Endowment for Democracy, is the next speaker in Salisbury State University s cultural events lecture series, Beyond 2000: A Journey into the Millennium. Her presentation, free and open to the public, is on Wednesday, November 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the Wicomico Room of the Guerrieri University Center. Coan s presentation, Human Culture: The Future of Democracy, poses the questions, Are democracy and human rights Western concepts that cannot be successfully transplanted to other societies; and Are there, for example, distinct Asian values emphasizing order, economic well-being and the collective good over individual rights and freedoms?

As we begin a new millennium, said Coan, who directs NED s grants program in Asia, we have learned that we cannot escape the laws of economics no matter how grand the vision of the communist ideal. Will we ever have the same confidence about the laws of politics? Some feel we have already reached the end of history with the triumph of the liberal, democratic ideal over all competitors and a worldwide convergence toward a common set of norms; others feel we face a clash of civilizations as different cultures begin to square off against one another. One s conclusions about democracy s future depend on how fundamental one judges cultural differences to be, and whether the definition of legitimate government can differ from society to society, said Coan.

NED's grants program in Asia provides technical assistance for electoral, parliamentary and civil society development in transitional countries and new democracies in the region. In addition, Coan oversees direct grants to human rights and prodemocracy groups in China, Hong Kong, Tibet, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam and other countries in Asia. In 1998, the NED will provide more than $5 million for democratic development in Asia. She first visited China in 1989 and lived there for two years in 1987-89. She was a witness to the pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing in Tiananmen Square and in other cities in the spring of 1989.

For more information on her presentation or a complete listing of fall cultural events at Salisbury State call the SSU Public Relations Office at 410-543-6030.


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