In his final piece of professional work, Dr. Nagi turned his attention to a global challenge he considered of great significance. In “An Interstate Organization For The Institutionalization Of Democracy” (2010), he advances a proposal for an organizational framework at the international level to support the development and maintenance of democratic institutions. He devoted himself to this project with great purpose, as he considered it the culmination of his body of work. It is in keeping with his lifelong dedication to formulating ideas and pursuing bodies of knowledge that he fervently hoped would contribute to the betterment of the human condition. The piece can be downloaded at ftp://ftp.sznagi.com.
“An Interstate Organization For The Institutionalization Of Democracy” was completed in 2010, prior to both the Arab Spring and the massive humanitarian and refugee crises that are currently playing out on the world stage. It is both predictive of consequences he foresaw in a “seething” world, and prescriptive in terms of how to think about improving the circumstances of those suffering under oppressive conditions. It offers a potential starting point from which to approach the development, strengthening and support of democratic institutions.
In this work, Dr. Nagi specifically avoided references to specific countries and circumstances so as not to cloud the generic applicability of the framework. Likewise, he delineated no formula for the shape “democracy” should take in any given population, aside from the expectations that governments be respective of human dignity and committed to eliminating corruption and abuses of power.
While Dr. Nagi distributed this piece to a small set of colleagues for comment and review during the 2000s, it is with great regret that we note that did not live to see its release to a wider audience. This delay resulted from several factors:
- Unease over corruption of the term “democratization” he observed in the wake of global events in the 2000s;
- Requests by reviewers and editors to alter the content of the piece to incorporate elements he had specifically eschewed in order to maintain the generic applicability of the framework;
- Concern about potential appropriation of the underlying conceptual framework by others prior to wider release.
The final decision to copyright the work individually in 2015 stemmed from these factors and the recognition that the power of the framework is increasingly timely given how recent human events have unfolded.
Dr. Nagi’s extensive international work and travel intensified in the 1990s and 2000s. This period saw his residence in Cairo, his continuing travel throughout the Middle East, Europe and the Far East and his increasing involvement with international organizations, including UN-affiliated organizations. These associations continued until the last years of his life. His work often precipitated interactions with both non-governmental and governmental entities which varied widely in terms of political, social and economic development and degree of autocracy.
Dr. Nagi’s long standing interest in ethnic nationalism and social movements broadened during these decades. His experiences served to draw focus more directly to several related phenomena:
- the plight of people living under regimes and in circumstances that oppress self-determination and perpetuate injustice and inequity;
- government corruption as a looming issue, the characterization and effects of which he first turned his attention to in the 1980s;
- the lack of organizational resources at the international level to both offer support and hold governmental actors accountable in the development of institutions of humane, just and equitable governance.
In the early 2000s, having completed his groundbreaking Poverty in Egypt (2001), Dr. Nagi turned his attention fully to the global stage. His studies and observations of human events during this period led him to formulate the framework proposed in “An Interstate Organization For The Institutionalization Of Democracy”.