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ADF was established at the initiative of Arab democracy advocates, and with support from the State of Qatar which accepted to host the ADF headquarters.
ADF initiators believe that its primary impact lies in stimulating innovations and supporting Arab CSOs programs and citizens' initiatives. This involves supporting promising groups to strengthen their institutional capacities, promote democratic values, raise awareness, participate in important public policy debates, and increase their ability to serve their communities, so as to prepare the countries of the region for a peaceful transition to democratic governance, while working against all forms of social and political exclusion.
ADF is an independent international Arab civil society organization advocating democracy as a culture, as a way of life, and as the best system for good governance. It provides material and moral support to organizations and activists in this field, by using all possible peaceful means, and by channeling all human and financial resources available at the local, regional and international levels.
ADF aims at promoting democracy in the Arab region through :
- Undertaking actions of awareness-raising, information and communication;
- Promoting research and education in the field of democracy among all social and professional spheres;
- Promoting cooperation, in the field of democracy, with all international and regional organizations, national institutions, and Arab and international civil society organizations concerned with democracy;
- Anchoring the principles of democracy in Arab countries in theory and practice.
ADF seeks to disseminate the culture of human rights and to increase the citizens’ awareness of, and commitment to, their legitimate rights.
ADF uses all ways and means that fall in line with its objectives. It does not side with, or acts against, any Arab regime. It is concerned with the promotion of democracy, and seeks to achieve its objectives through the following means:
- Creating capital funds;
- Conducting legal, political and social research and studies related to ADF’s objectives;
- Holding conferences and seminars related to ADF’s objectives;
- Writing, publishing and distributing books;
- Exchanging information and expertise with Arab regional and international NGOs acting in the field of democracy;
- Providing financial support to the programs of Arab non-governmental institutions acting in the field of democracy.
ADF may create branch offices in Arab countries, in accordance with its internal regulations.
ADF is fully independent in implementing its democracy-related intellectual, political and humanitarian activities.
ADF resources come from the contributions of its founders, as well as from donations, grants, endowments, subscriptions, earnings, and other forms of financial support approved the Board of Trustees.
ADF is legally headquartered in Doha, Qatar. It also plans to establish branch offices in other countries.
The Forum on Democracy and Reform in the Arab World, held every three years, serves as a general assembly from which the ADF Board of Trustees emanates.
- Board of Trustees
It is the highest executive body of the ADF. It shall be composed of 15 to 30 members, at least four of whom should be public international figures concerned with democracy and the Arab region.
The Board of Trustees draws the ADF general policy, adopts its plan of action and budget, appoints its senior officials, and regularly reviews the programs and projects included in its Plan of Action.
The Board of Trustees meets at least once a year. An Executive Committee, composed of Board members, acts for the Board during the interim between Board of Trustees meetings.
- Executive Committee
The Board members choose from among them a five-member Executive Committee, headed by the Board president or her deputy, or by any other member chosen by the Board. The Secretary General of ADF and the heads of the Program and Fundraising Committees shall be members of the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee shall have full authority of the Board of Trustees, and is directly responsible before the Board. The Committee shall meet at least four times a year, upon the invitation of its president or his deputy.
The Executive Committee follows up the work of the Secretariat General and the ADF, and submits periodic reports to the Board of Trustees. For the purposes of its work, the Executive Committee may create specialized, ad hoc or standing, committees.
- Secretariat General
It is the executive body of the ADF, and is headed by a full-time Secretary General, pursuant to a Board decision. This body is in charge of:
- Implementing the general policy, the Plan of Action, and the Board of Trustees decisions;
- Maintenance of the headquarters and managing ADF’s activities;
- Preparing annual, long- and mid-term plans of action;
- Managing the organizational, administrative and financial affairs of ADF, including its funds and properties;
- Preparing the draft budget and the final accounts.
The Secretariat General includes divisions in charge of program and research, financial and administrative affairs, public relations and information. Each division works in accordance with ADF internal regulations