Festival of Democracy 2021

Associated Program of the Forum 2000 Conference


Sunday 10.10.

Normalization in the Middle East

Panel discussion/EN/CZ
16:00 - 17:30, Maisel Synagogue (Maiselova 10, Praha 1)
In cooperation with the Jewish Museum, Herzl Center of Israel Studies, and the Embassy of Israel,

Since its establishment in 1948, Israel’s relations with the Arab countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been characterized mostly by conflicts, boycotts, and a lack of diplomatic recognition. The Abraham Accords peace agreements signed in summer 2020 are hence an important step towards improving relations in the region. How have the agreements changed the Middle East and to what extent may they contribute to the stability and economic development of the region? How are the agreements going to impact the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Representative of Israel Embassy in Prague, Israel
Hanane Saadi, Ambassador, Kingdom of Morocco to the Czech Republic, Morocco

Irena Kalhousová, Director, Herzl Center for Israel Studies, Charles University, Member, Program Council, Forum 2000 Foundation, Czechia

Democratic Solidarity movie: The Edge of Democracy

Movie screening/CZ
16:30 -18:30, Scout institute (Staroměstské nám. 1/4, Staré Město)
In cooperation with Democratic Solidarity

The Edge of Democracy (2019) is a political documentary by Brazilian director Petra Costa that explores the socio-political crisis in Brazil between the years 2014 and 2018 - one of the most dramatic periods in Brazilian history. Drawing upon the director´s personal experience and family history, the movie follows the rise and fall of both President Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff who paved the way for the political upturn of Jair Bolsonaro.

Monday 11.10.

Protection of Elections from Misinformation

13:00 -13:30, European House (Jungmannova 24, Praha 1)
In cooperation with Institute for Politics and Society

Spreading information via social media is a common practice today which however brings about several risks. One of them is the dissemination of misinformation and fake news, the other is the subsequent formation of closed social bubbles in which this misinformation flows. Social media operators set algorithms in a way that users often receive only information that confirm a specific worldview. Society is subsequently becoming more polarized and radicalized. What can be done to prevent it?

Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency, European Commission, Czechia

Roman Máca, Project Manager, Institute for Politics and Society, Czechia

Human rights violations in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong: Implications for foreign policy towards the PRC

Panel Discussion/EN
16:00 - 17:30, Scout Institute (Staroměstské nám. 1/4, Staré Město)
In cooperation with Sinopsis and Taiwan Foundation for Democracy

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) faces serious accusations of human rights violations, including cultural genocide, use of forced labour, mass detentions of the Muslim population in Xinjiang and the use of the state security law to erode the last remnants of freedom in Hong Kong. There doesn’t seem to be much the outside world can do to influence Beijing’s behaviour. Yet it cannot continue to turn a blind eye. How should the international community react to China’s oppression of its own citizens?

Martin Hála, Sinologist, Director, Sinopsis, Czechia
Didi Kirsten Tatlow, Senior Fellow, German Council of Foreign Relations, Germany
Dolkun Isa, Uyghur Politician, Activist, President, The World Uyghur Congress, USA/Germany
Lobsang Sangay, Former Sikyong, Central Tibetan Administration, Tibet

Kateřina Procházková, Journalist, Sinopsis, Czechia

Taliban’s Victory in Afghanistan: Impacts of US Withdrawal on European and Global Security

17:00 -18:30, CEVRO Institute (Jungmannova 28/17, Praha 1)
In cooperation with Prague Centre for Transatlantic Relations and Prague Centre for Middle East Relations

Amid the chaotic withdrawal of Coalition forces from Afghanistan, the Taliban once again decisively took control of the country. Consequently, a number of pressing questions have arisen such as what this means for Islamist movements across the globe, both in the Islamic world and in the West? What implications will it have for European security in particular? Is Afghanistan under the Taliban going to become a safe haven for international Jihadists again? What is the relationship between the Taliban and other Islamist movements?

Gilles Kepel, Political Scientist, Professor, Sciences Po, France

Tomáš Pojar, Vice President for International Relations, CEVRO Institute, Czechia
Tomáš Kaválek, Director of Prague Centre for Middle East Relations, CEVRO Institute, Czechia

Art for Change. Art as the means of social change

Panel Discussion/SK
16:30 - 18:00, POLIS Foundation (Mariánské náměstí 31, Žilina)
In cooperation with Foundation POLIS, Žilina Beskydy 2026
Video recording of the debate can be found here.

The discussion will take a look at how art and creativity may inspire people to make changes in their cities or communities and what specific changes we have witnessed over the last 30 years. How does contemporary art impact public opinion and policy in the areas of protection and defence of human rights, activism and justice? Does art also facilitate solving environmental problems? Can art projects change cities, regenerate local neighbourhoods and increase social harmony?

Zuzana Mistríková, Producer, President, Slovak Advertisement Board, Slovakia
Darina Arce, Curator, Slovakia
Christian Potiron, Coordinator, Žilina Beskids 2026 - European Capital of Culture, Slovakia
Richard Krivda, Documentary Cameraman, Slovakia

Martin Staňo, Broadcaster, Rádio_FM, Slovakia

White Flower: On indecency in Hong Kong

18:00 -18:30, Scout Institute (Staroměstské nám. 1/4, Staré Město)
In cooperation with Loretta Lau

White Flower is a performance commemorating a recent event in Hong Kong - Leung Kin Fai killed himself after injuring a police officer. A week after, when people came to mourn Leung Kin Fai, Hong Kong police officers marked mourning the attacker as an act backing terrorism. The seventh day after a person’s death is significant in traditional Chinese culture for it is believed that the spirit of the deceased returns home on that day. Nevertheless, as in other cases, officers ticketed a woman who took out a white flower to bow. What does it say about the decency of the newest political regime in Hong Kong?

Loretta Lau, Performance Artist, Czechia/Hong Kong

Tuesday 12.10.

On the future of democracy in the Czech Republic and the EU

Panel Discussion/CZ
10:00 -11:30, European Dome (Slovanský ostrov, Praha 1)
In cooperation with EUROPEUM

Ever since its creation, the European Union's main objective has been to preserve peace and democracy in the European states and around the world. Given the growing frequency and intensity of humanitarian crises and conflicts posing a major threat to world peace and democracy, the EU has come up with the concept of a so-called "resilient society" that aims to strengthen democracy, especially in fragile countries. The current epidemiological crisis and growing inequalities in society however test the resilience of all the countries. Will they be able to deal with the problems and the growing democratic deficit?

Adéla Horáková, Legal Counsel, Jsme fér, Czechia
Pavel Pšeja, Former Member, Board of Directors, DEMAS, Czechia
Aneta Zachova. Editor-in-chief EURACTIV.cz, Czechia

Martin Vokálek, Deputy Director, EUROPEUM, Czechia

Democracy back then and now: What challenges are we facing?

Panel Discussion/EN
16:00 - 17:30, European Dome (Slovanský ostrov, Praha 1)
In cooperation with EUROPEUM

Only 30 years ago, after the fall of the Communist regime, the Czech Republic made a large transition from a non-democratic regime with a centrally planned economy to a liberal and parliamentary democracy with a free-market economy. While the expectations were high, the democratic reality of today is quite different. In 2019, the country witnessed the largest manifestations since the Velvet Revolution. What are the challenges that young democracies such as the Czech Republic face?

Aleš Chmelař, Deputy Minister for European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Czechia
Monika MacDonagh-Pajerová, Czech activist, university lecturer at New York University Prague Center, former diplomat and student leader of the 1989 Velvet Revolution, Czechia
Linda Sokačová, Director, Amnesty International ČR, Czechia

Alexandra Visnerová, Project Coordinator, EUROPEUM, Czechia

Interfaith Dialogue through Women Leaders' Perspective

Panel Discussion/EN
18:00 - 20:00, Václav Havel Library (Ostrovní 129/13, Nové Město)
In cooperation with National Democratic Institute

Faith community women leaders from various faiths - both formal and informal - are coming to Prague to share their perspectives on religious freedom in V4 countries and to discuss the importance of inclusion in interfaith dialogue. This is organized by the National Democratic Institute as a part of its program to support interfaith dialogue.

Anna Polcková, Lutheran Priest, Slovakia
Yael Brunner, Czech Council of Jewish Women, Czechia
Miroslava Keryk, Our Choice Foundation, Poland
Dóra Laborczi, Evangelist Theologian and Journalist, Hungary

Jan Fingerland, Commentator, Czech Radio, Czechia

Wednesday 13.10.

The Role of Journalism in the Age of Algorithms

17:30 -19:00, Scout Institute (Staroměstské nám. 1/4, Staré Město)
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Social media has changed the nature of the public debate, their algorithm enriching our lives in many ways; but authoritarian governments have also seized them as an opportunity. They have become a part of authoritarians' multipronged strategy to create illusions of freedom. We will discuss and workshop strategies for journalists to persevere in such environments.

Patrick Boehler, Head of Digital Strategy, Radio Free Europe, Austria

Thursday 14.10.

Corporate Sustainability in Today’s Global Pandemics

Working breakfast/EN
8:30 - 10:30, British Embassy in Prague
In cooperation with Business Leaders Forum

By special invitation only

The CEO breakfast is a unique opportunity to meet and debate a current sustainability topic with fellow leaders of corporate businesses in the Czech Republic. It aims to bring a thought-provoking discussion, quality networking and a joint CEO manifest that will be communicated with the Czech government. A special research among the Czech public will be undertaken for the purposes of this event.

Can Europe become a leader in data?

Panel discussion/CZ
17:30 - 19:00, European House (Jungmannova 24, Praha 1)
In cooperation with European Commission Representation
Video recording of the debate can be found here.

The European data strategy aims to make the EU a leader in a data-driven society by ensuring that more data become safely available for use in its economy and society. Making sure that high-quality, high-value data from public sector information (PSI) are widely and freely available is a key factor in accelerating European innovation from SME´s, expert research to highly competitive fields such as artificial intelligence. What brings new European legislation to overcome existing barriers and who can benefit from open data?

Opening speach:
Pavlína Žáková, Economic Expert of European Commission Representation, Czechia

Roman Pašek, Programme Manager for Deep Tech, AMIRES, Czechia
Jakub Malina, National Open Data Coordinator, Czechia
Nela Krawiecová, Data Journalist, Czech Radio, Czechia

Aneta Zachova. Editor-in-chief EURACTIV.cz, Czechia

Friday 15.10.

Modern Wars of Modern States: Rivalry of Regimes in Digital Worlds

Panelová diskuse/CZ
18:00 -20:00, Scout Institute (Staroměstské nám. 1/4, Staré Město)
In cooperation with Politologický klub FSV UK

Disinformation is a global issue and the subject of many discussions. In the Czech Republic, we see its impact on the public discourses in a wide array of areas, from anti-vaccination campaigns to the recent Vrbětice case. At the end of last year, the European Commission presented an Action Plan that addresses the need to fight disinformation, but how thin is the line between defending democracy and “the Ministry of Truth“? Who is behind the disinformation and how much do they affect our day-to-day lives?

Pavel Havlíček, Research Fellow, AMO Research Center, Czechia
Jan Kofroň, Political geographer, Charles University, Czechia
Vojtěch Bahenský, Researcher at Peace Research Center Prague, Charles University, Czechia

To kill a dragon

19:00 - 20:30, Marianna Arzumanová Theatre (Žitná 41, Nové Město)
In cooperation with Marianna Arzumanová Theatre

Have you ever tried to kill a dragon? So many eyes, so many heads and each has its own trick! One evokes fear, the other breaks self-confidence, and the third slowly changes your perception of good and evil. The dragon of the playwright and novelist Evgeny Schwartz is not an obedient animal. A timeless philosophical tale about totalitarianism in all its forms and periods comes again to life under the direction of Marianna Arzumanová. This time, however, it focuses on the problems of the nowadays world. Where does the dragon hide this time and in what form does it enter our souls in modern times? Can you stand up against it?

Marianna Arzumanova

Matouš Zah, Štefan Radačovský, Jaroslav Tůma, Denisa Licková, Igor Šebo, Janusz Hummel, Jiří Valeš, Sona Beaumont, Elvira Nikitina, Tatiana Abramova, Olga Achkasova.