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Student Portrait

The nation’s oldest, largest, and most successful voter education project ...

What Is the Instituto de Formación Democrática?



The Instituto de Formación Democrática (IFD), was founded in the late1980 by former Cuban Ambassador-At-Large to Europe and past director of the Inter American Defense Board in Washington D.C., Col. Ramón M. Barquín, in its quest to spread democracy throughout the region and fight totalitarian regimes like the one installed in his native country. Col. Barquín thought the only way to give back to the countries that hosted him as a political exile, the United States and Puerto Rico, was to give back in civic education to safeguard its democratic traditions and in academics. The former Chief of the Army before the communist takeover of Cuba, once founder and director of the War College (Escuela de Guerra) and the Cuban Armed Forces Military Academy (Escuela de Cadetes), laid down his sword and embraced books to lead the way in founding schools, colleges and universities in his adopted country, Puerto Rico.

Since its founding, the IFD has been the affiliate and representative in Latin America and to US Hispanics of the National Student/Parent Mock Election. Together they have trained teachers, parents, and students about democracy and how to be better citizens. Overall, more than 50 million students have participated in their Mock Elections in a little over 30 years.

Mock Election Day November 1, 2024

The National Student/Parent Mock Election has put millions of dollars worth of free voter education materials into the schools through its past partnership with McGraw-Hill, The New York Times, and TIME Magazine. CNN Studios in Atlanta served as National Election Headquarters in the last 3 presidential election years. A CNN webcast in which students from all across the country and around the world discussed national issues was held in conjunction with the broadcast of the 2000 Mock Election. The webcast had twice the number of hits of any previous webcast on CNN.

The National Student/Parent Mock Election is run by a national network of volunteer state and school district coordinators ranging from the League of Women Voters to educators, public officials, newspaper-in-education coordinators, etc., who have put hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours into the project.

There is never any charge to participate in the National Student/Parent Mock Election. There is never any charge for curriculum materials. Every American student and parent are invited to join

"...without a doubt one of the most organized and beneficial events I have attended in my 28 years as an educator...Those of us participating will be able to help instill in our students the feelings of patriotism and the privileges and responsibilities they have as potential voters and leaders of tomorrow."

Nan Barber, High School Teacher

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