AUBG Board Chair Mike Marvin Welcomes Dr. Jacob to CIDC

April 16, 2024 Mike Marvin
AUBG Board Chair Mike Marvin Welcomes Dr. Jacob to CIDC

Read below the welcoming address by AUBG Board of Trustees Chair Mike Marvin to Dr. Jacob, Executive Director Center for Information, Democracy, and Citizenship.

I am delighted to welcome Dr. Jacob, who recently joined us as the Executive Director of the AUBG Center for Information, Democracy, and Citizenship. Dr. Jacob, a distinguished scholar, diplomat, and teacher with extensive international experience, is already making significant contributions. I am confident that his dynamic and focused approach will greatly enhance our efforts to advance our democratizing mission, which is more crucial now than ever.

From its very founding, AUBG has had a specific mission, one unique in the world. AUBG was created to educate ethical and democratic citizens and leaders. That has been our mission for over 30 years, and it continues to be our mission today, at the core of what we do.

We live in a critical moment for democracy. According to Freedom House, last year marked the 18th consecutive year of decline in global freedom: The breadth and depth of the deterioration were extensive. Political rights and civil liberties were diminished in 52 countries, while only 21 countries made improvements.

2024 is a decisive year: voters in 80 countries will go to the polls, and over half the planet, 4.2 billion people, will be affected by the results of these elections. Will they be free and fair? Will democracy prevail, or will fake news, disinformation, election suppression, and misuse of technology, especially generated by AI tools, prevent democracy from prevailing?

These are fundamental questions for individuals, universities and all who care about the future of democracy.

AUBG’s Center for Information, Democracy, and Citizenship was established to serve as a platform for honest, thoughtful discussions of freedom, democracy, and human rights. It also functions as a civic engagement center that involves the entire university, our local community, country, and region in evidence-based practices and programs to support democracy.

Many of our students and alumni originate from the Balkan region, where they have culturally and personally experienced a variety of governing bodies over the years. The world can benefit from the lessons they have learned and continue to learn. The Center serves as a vehicle for bringing increased attention to this important topic.

We invite students and faculty from around the world to join us, and I personally look forward to working with Dr. Jacob and the AUBG community to build upon our many strengths in this field.