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Statement by Dr. Rajiv J. Shah on the Summit for Democracy

For decades, the world has come together to promote economic development and democracy, both of which are essential to unlocking human potential and creating a more prosperous, stable world. The results have been incredible — billions of people have been able to live freer, healthier, safer, more equitable, and more prosperous lives in the United States and around the world. The Rockefeller Foundation has proudly played its role in supporting democracy as part of our mission to lift up all of humanity and make opportunity universal.

Unfortunately, today, amid a global pandemic, rising inequity, and environmental peril, democracy is stalling and — in many nations — sliding backwards. As autocrats seize power, corruption eats away at institutions, and civil liberties and human rights are undermined, the Foundation heartily welcomes the Biden Administration’s Summit for Democracy, which opens today.

Together, with President Biden’s leadership, nations, multilateral institutions, philanthropies, and citizens everywhere can learn important lessons and take the first critical steps — in the coming year of action and beyond — to not only stop democracy’s slide but also start its renewal. In doing so, we can launch a new era of democratic and human progress that once again makes the world freer, healthier, safer, more equitable and more prosperous.

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