About the ICDT
The ICDT is an international non-profit organization based in Budapest, Hungary which collects the experiences of recent democratic transitions and shares them with those who are determined to follow that same path. Within the general promotion of democracy, the ICDT has focused its efforts on creating concrete and pragmatic goals. Through collecting and analysing data, organizing and hosting conferences, drafting and presenting reports, and, perhaps most importantly, by running field-projects in many transition countries, the ICDT has been able to compile the collective and individual experiences of peoples from all around Europe. The ICDT believes that this research, coupled with the expertise of some of the world’s greatest minds and the practical experience gained through our own transitions, facilitates the use of a toolbox that is instrumental to societies preparing to set off on the difficult path towards a well functioning democracy.
The ICDT was established as an organisational unit with independent legal entity status under the supervision of the Board of Trustees of the Centre for Democracy Public Foundation. It performs the necessary tasks to achieve the goals of the Centre for Democracy Public Foundation according to the Deed of Foundation of the Public Foundation corresponding to the paragraph 74/B. § (3) of the Hungarian Civil Code.
Because the International Centre for Democratic Transition was founded in Central Europe, we are acutely aware of the complexity of democratic transition as a process. We ourselves have recently undergone this process and know full well the fragility of new democracies. We firmly believe that a transition can only be judged to be successful when the benefits of democracy are shared by the whole of society. The ICDT’s mission is to facilitate the smooth and peaceful process of democratic transition on the basis of participatory principles; the political, economic, legal, cultural, and civil societal aspects of transformation; and the socio-cultural context of regions and countries where the process takes place.
In a future filled with daunting challenges and serious obstacles that could impede the spread of democracy, the International Center for Democratic Transition will be a leading organization on the difficult issue of democratic transition. Combining hard-won exceptional practical knowledge with an unyielding commitment to the process of transition, the ICDT will stand at the side of those who seek to bring democracy’s benefits to their own people and to provide the skills to do so effectively.
- Facilitates the process of democratic transition by using the knowledge pool of transitional experiences and by sharing experiences and best practices;
- Convenes the most important indigenous stakeholders to play key roles in the transition process;
- Provides an adaptable toolbox and appropriate models for the creation and consolidation of democratic institutions;
- Mediates between cultures and regions by generating dialogue.
History of the ICDT
The idea to establish an institute to collect and share the experiences of past democratic transitions originated from former US Ambassador Mark Palmer, Vice President of the Council for a Community of Democracies (CCD). His proposal was followed by a meeting between the Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszló Kovács and the US Secretary of State in June 2004. At a conference in Budapest in March 2005 civil society and governmental leaders from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the USA, as well as representatives of a number of international organizations approved the concept paper on the new Centre. Subsequently, the idea was presented by the Hungarian Foreign Minister at the Third Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies in Santiago de Chile. Once again, the idea was well received and endorsed by the participating Foreign Ministers, representing more than 100 democratic governments of the world. Finally, in September 2005, the Hungarian president announced at the World Summit of the United Nations that “an International Centre for Democratic Transition (ICDT) has been set up in Budapest.”