The Lessons Other Democracies Can Teach Our Own

Wayne State University hosts a virtual event on January 21 about democracies in Africa and what they can teach us about crisis.

On this Inauguration Day, all Americans are faced with some grave questions about the past four years and where we’re headed as a nation deeply divided. 

So many of us are learning just how fragile democracy can be. But clearly, we’re not the first country to learn these lessons. 

Former Wayne State University President Dr. Irvin D. Reid has been exploring democracies in Africa, what sustains them, and what threatens them. He’s the producer and narrator of the upcoming documentary, “African Democracy: Hopes and Challenges.” He’ll be talking about his work on this subject Thursday at 6 p.m. as part of a Wayne State University virtual Knowledge on Tap event, which will be moderated by Wayne State University Irvin D. Reid Honors College Dean John Corvino.

Find more information and RSVP »

Listen: Dr. Irvin Reid and John Corvino talk about the lessons America can learn from African democracies


Dr. Irvin D. Reid is Wayne State University president emeritus and the producer and narrator of the upcoming documentary, “African Democracy: Hopes and Challenges.” He says the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol represents a grave challenge for democracy here in America. But he says other countries have demonstrated ways we can work toward addressing the issues that led to the riot.

“We need to have a commission after what happened two weeks ago,” he says. “Somebody has to do some sort of reconciliation, some sort of truth-telling about how did that come about.” 

John Corvino is dean of the Irvin D. Reid Honors College at Wayne State University and will moderate Thursday’s event. He says it’s a timely discussion as Americans realize that a functioning democracy is not guaranteed. “We think we’re so advanced,” says Corvino. “Democracy is a fragile thing, and I think we’re realizing that now.”

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