Forum 2000 Bulletin

October 2017

The 21st Forum 2000 Conference in numbers

The 21st Forum 2000 Conference is successfully over. We were able to welcome over 250 delegates and 100 speakers from all over the world at the Conference on Monday, October 9, and over 150 delegates and 60 speakers on Tuesday, October 10. The second day of the conference was aimed at professionals and therefore consisted largely of closed, focused meetings. On Monday, the total number of persons who attended the Conference including the guests, students and expert public amounted to over 1000, on Tuesday over 500 persons. The Conference has been thoroughly documented thanks to the participation of over 90 journalists, cameramen, or photographers.

Topics Discussed

The discussions focused on the challenges that liberal democracy are facing today and on what can be done to address these challenges. Diverse effects of globalization, social changes, and economic and technological transformation create uncertainty and fear among large segments of societies, opening up space for populism and extremism. Populist leaders within democracies or authoritarian regimes take advantage of these problems and add to the increasing pressure on democratic systems. Leading thinkers, politicians and activists from around the world have agreed that there is no serious alternative to liberal democracy. No other known system of government is able to guarantee basic freedoms, respect for human rights and the rule of law, nor able to enable economic prosperity and social justice. In these uncertain times, there is a need for an active and coordinated defence of democracy. In this context a new initiative, the Coalition for Democratic Renewal, was launched.

Illustrious Attendees

The attendees of the conference include HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco; former Prime Ministers Felipe González of Spain and Iveta Radičová of Slovakia; Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro; democracy activists Vladimir Kara-Murza from Russia, Tamara Sujú from Venezuela, Xiao Qiang from China and Sławomir Sierakowski from Poland; former President of Austria Heinz Fischer; President of Radio Free Europe Thomas Kent; philosophers Akeel Bilgrami, Claus Offe and Ramin Jahanbegloo; famous Venezuelan pianist and activist Gabriela Montero; leading analysts Yascha Mounk, Suat Kiniklioglu, Sebastian Foa and Neelam Deo, and many other distinguished speakers.

Coalition for Democracy Renewal

On October 10, the Coalition for Democratic Renewal (CDR) was launched. The CDR was established because of the shared concern about the current state of democracy in the world. The Prague Appeal, its founding document, has already been signed by more than 180 individuals, including intellectuals, politicians, artists, activists and journalists, such as Garry Kasparov, Francis Fukuyama, Bernard-Hénri Levy, Nathan Law, Anne Applebaum, Rosa Maria Payá, Ivan Havel and Richard Gere. Signatories gathered at the Conference for two internal meetings in order to discuss the future steps of the CDR. Participants agreed on a world-wide focus of the initiative and on using and strengthening existing structures and partnerships in the CDR activities.  The CDR efforts will focus on, among other issues, working with younger generations and on forming public discourse.

The Festival of Democracy

The Festival of Democracy was held from October 5 – 12, 2017. Visitors had the opportunity to attend more than 80 discussions, film screenings, workshops, exhibitions and concerts in Prague and other cities in the Czech Republic and abroad. The Festival culminated with Festival Monday on October 9, 2017 at the Václav Havel´s Square (piazzetta of the National Theater), where several dozen non-profit organizations were represented. Musical accompaniment was provided by the music band Ille (CZ), Justin Lavash (UK) and the dissident band Porno para Ricardo (Cuba). Part of the program included the satirical carnival Velvet Parade (Sametové posvícení) and an exclusive photographic exhibition on the life and legacy of the Dalai Lama.