Philippa Neave: The unexpected challenges of a country's first election
Philippa Neave - Electoral consultant
Philippa Neave is senior advisor on the UN's Lexicon of Electoral Terminology. Full bio
there's no word for it,
we know what we're talking about.
We have the vocabulary.
where democracy doesn't exist,
no words to describe the concepts
of electoral assistance,
who goes around the world
on countries that can't handle it."
does not impose anything on anybody.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
to choose who governs them.
designing information campaigns
to participate or to vote
campaign to reach out to women
because very often in this work,
that I've been doing it
high levels of illiteracy,
it was in 2005,
on the same day.
are so incredibly difficult,
explaining two elections instead of one
so many people wanted to take part,
which is the parliamentary elections.
we had even more candidates.
a lot of symbols and things like that.
in Southern Sudan.
who had never, of course, voted,
high levels of illiteracy,
the size of Texas, more or less.
where we landed the planes
about what a box looked like.
was obviously the way to go,
by that enormous movement
there was Egypt, there was Yemen.
with the election commission,
about various aspects of the election,
that I hadn't actually heard before,
I'd worked with Jordanians, Egyptians,
was this word "observer."
was talking about "mulahiz" in Arabic.
in a passive sort of sense,
he was wearing a light blue shirt."
the shirt was light blue or not?
by all kinds of treaties,
that control function in it.
of the fact that in Egypt,
which means "to follow."
followers of an election.
that's already accepted and in use,
which means "a controller."
for one concept. This is not good.
we thought perhaps it's our role
that the words are understood
of Electoral Terminology,"
in eight different countries.
of everything you need to know
a democratic election.
about what would be the appropriate word
and that's part of the problem.
that speak Arabic,
that is used across the whole region
to the next in day to day language and use
added layer of complication.
fully ripe, if you like,
eight correspondents in the region.
to harmonize or force harmonization.
understanding among people.
the different expressions in use
it took three years to produce this
and took it actually into the field,
in all these different countries,
in November 2014 in Cairo.
We published 10,000 copies.
off the internet in PDF form.
that they've taken it up in Somalia.
a version of this in Somalia,
for Electoral Management Bodies,
built up a pan-Arab observation unit,
is quite high-pitched.
are quite technical,
need to know at least a third of it.
of what we know as civic education.
in that part of the world,
the right of everybody
producing a work of reference
that can be used now
about the Middle East.
We hear terrorism.
and all this horrible negative news
the people, the everyday people, thinking?
let's give them the words.
with the knowledge tools
does not need to be silent.
About the speaker:Philippa Neave - Electoral consultant
Philippa Neave is senior advisor on the UN's Lexicon of Electoral Terminology.
Why you should listen
Philippa Neave specializes in electoral communications and education, devising information and training campaigns for voters and candidates in emerging democracies. Since 2005 she has worked in electoral assistance as a consultant for the United Nations, developing strategies to inform people on their voting rights, with particular emphasis on reaching women and people with low levels of literacy. She has worked on elections in Afghanistan, Iraq UAE, Jordan, Turkey, Cambodia, Madagascar, Southern Sudan and Tunisia.
An Arabic speaker, Neave initiated and conducted a three-year project to produce the first Arabic lexicon of electoral terminology. With close to 500 entries, the tri-lingual (Arabic, English and French) lexicon provides clear and accurate explanations of key concepts and terms in the field of elections. Neave's approach included a groundbreaking effort to account for Arabic language variations across the region in eight participating countries: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Tunisia and Yemen.
Neave has always worked with words. For 15 years she was a reporter specialising in the Middle East. After a year and a half in Cairo, she became a foreign correspondent for an international features syndicate in based Rome, Paris and New York. Later, in London, she was chief editor of a magazine on arts and culture and in Paris after that, she was chief editor of European Press Network. She then left the news business and worked as Middle East Director for a British charity, based in Beirut for five years.
Her interest in democracy building goes back to the time when soon after leaving university, she served for several years as deputy Secretary General of the Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation, organising and participating in the Euro-Arab Parliamentary Dialogue.
Born in 1960 in France to an English father and a Danish mother, Neave grew up bilingual. She studied Arabic at Durham University in the UK and obtained a BA degree. She speaks seven languages, including Arabic, and is based in Paris.
Philippa Neave | Speaker | TED.com