What Now? Building Back Democratically

The 25th Forum 2000 Conference

Documents


Policy Paper -  Global Cooperation of Democracies in the Digital Realm
Discussion Paper - Towards a Global Cooperation for Democracy

Program


Monday, October 11

09:30 - 10:15 CET

Opening
OPENING SESSION AND AWARD CEREMONY

Welcome:
Jakub Klepal

Introduction:
Iveta Radičová

Remarks:
Carl Gershman

Opening Remarks:
Miloš Vystrčil, Tsai Ing-wen, Maia Sandu

Event description:

On the occasion of the 25th Annual Forum 2000 Conference, The Forum 2000 International Award for Courage and Responsibility has been established. The Award is given to citizens, groups of citizens, or institutions in recognition of extraordinary civic courage and for actions that put responsibility to the wider community, the defense of democracy, and the promotion of human rights and civil liberties above self-interest.

10:15 - 11:15 CET

Opening Panel
A NEW REALITY: DEMOCRATIC WORLD IN A POST-COVID ERA

Keynote speech:
Věra Jourová

Moderator:
Jamie Fly

Speakers:
Shanthi Kalathil, Reinhard Bütikofer, Maiko Ichihara, Gilles Kepel

Event description:

The democratic world is facing a new, dire, reality. It has largely lost its post-Second World War economic and technological supremacy and its post-Cold War ideological and power dominance. The COVID-19 pandemic has further undermined the position of democracies. Today‘s battlegrounds between democracy and its opponents include cyberspace and the field of technology, as well as the more traditional power politics in Latin America, Africa, or Europe. Domestic political arenas in democratic countries have also become part of this struggle, with populist and other forces serving as fifth column for the authoritarian influence. There are hopes on the horizon, in the form of non-western democracies, which are on the rise politically and economically. The major hope is that democracy can still survive and prevail via cooperation and mutual support among various democratic actors on the global scale and via an internal renewal of the democratic system. What is ahead of us? What should be done to face today's challenges and make the best of the looming opportunities? How do we get global democracies working together more effectively?

11:15 - 11:30 CET

Address
VÁCLAV HAVEL AND THE GLOBAL RESPONSIBILITY: MESSAGES OF SPIRITUAL LEADERS

Speakers:
His Holiness the Dalailama, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Event description:

In his opening speech to the first Forum 2000 Conference, Václav Havel observed that at the end of the long chain of causes for different deeper civilizational problems, he encountered one main reason --'a lack of accountability to the world and responsibility for it.' These words are more relevant today than when he spoke them in 1997. It is important to revisit this concern, paying special attention to our inability to recognise the crisis of our global responsibility and to act to overcome it in a resolute manner.

11:30 - 12:15 CET

Discussion
WOMEN 4.0: DEMOCRATIC (E)QUALITY?


Moderator:
Alina Aflecailor

Speakers:
Nyaradzo Mashayamombe, Loujain al-Hathloul, Elda Lorena Becerra Mizuno

Event description:

Across continents, inequalities are glaring. Although women constitute on average 51% of citizens, this does not usually translate to adequate representation on the political level. Moreover, in many places, women suffer different obstacles, bullying and even violence in trying to participate in the governance process. Human rights are universal, with gender equality at their heart. Without equality, democracy is a dream that remains just that - a dream.

12:20 - 12:55 CET

Discussion
CORRUPTION, HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES, AND CITIZEN ACTIVISM IN AFRICA


Moderator:
Fonteh Akum

Speakers:
Jeffrey Smith, Farida Nabourema, Glanis Changachirere

Event description:

COVID-19 amplified the existing governance problems in a number of African countries, including misuse of government funds, and a targeted imprisonment of human rights defenders. From Zimbabwe to Uganda, South Africa, and Cameroon, to Nigeria, African leaders have imposed rules that protect their own interests while silencing activists and political opposition.

12:55 - 13:40 CET

Democracy Dialogues
CAN DEMOCRACIES COMMIT SUICIDE?


Moderator:
Ramin Jahanbegloo

Speakers:
Ashis Nandy, Nicolas Tenzer, Karolina Wigura

Event description:

In 1814, John Adams wrote a letter to Virginia Delegate John Taylor reminding that “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a Democracy yet, that did not commit suicide.” John Taylor, to whom Adams was writing, was also skeptical of virtue as the foundation for democratic government. “The more a nation depends for its liberty on the qualities of individuals, the less likely it is to retain it. By expecting public good from private virtue, we expose ourselves to public evils from private vices.” What are the biggest threats to democracy? How can a democracy democratize itself?

13:45 - 14:25 CET

Discussion
UKRAINE: A SUCCESS STORY?

In cooperation with Prague European Summit.


Moderator:
Ralf Fücks

Speakers:
Jerzy Pomianowski, Oleksandra Drik, Jan Lipavský, Oksana Pokalchuk

Event description:

In the year of the military coup in Myanmar, the fall of Afghanistan, or the fracturing of democracy in Tunisia, the only remaining success story of the Arab Spring, is there also good news for the global democratic camp? Ukraine, despite the continuing Russian occupation of Crimea or the unresolved conflict in Donbas, has largely disappeared from the international headlines and seems to be dealing with "normal" problems. - Is Ukraine a democratic success story? - What does its future look like? - How effective is the international support of Ukrainian reforms? Can more be done?

14:25 - 14:45 CET

Žofín Conversation
POST-PANDEMIC ECONOMY FOR A SUSTAINABLE DEMOCRACY

In cooperation with Columbia University.


Moderator:
Jan Švejnar

Speakers:
Saskia Sassen, Arvind Panagariya

15:00 - 15:50 CET

Discussion
CAN EUROPE PROTECT ITS VALUES IN THE DIGITAL SPACE?

In cooperation with the European Commission Representation.

Moderator:
Jan Hornát

Speakers:
Lajla Fetic, Thibaut Kleiner, Francisak Viacorka, Dmitri Teperik

Event description:

By the end of the decade to 2030, the European Union aims to "pursue digital policies that empower people and businesses to seize a human centred, sustainable and more prosperous digital future" and to be "digitally sovereign in an interconnected world". It also needs to ensure that Europe remains able to protect its values of freedom and democracy in the digital sphere. - Is Europe setting its plans and ambitions right? - Where do its priorities need to be? - What practical steps need to be taken in the coming years?

15:50 - 16:10 CET

Žofín Conversation
IS INEQUALITY DESTROYING DEMOCRACY?


Moderator:
Vesna Pusić

Speakers:
Jeffrey Sachs

Event description:

The rule of law, democratic institutions, elections, civic participation, accountability, and free media are most often named among the key prerequisites of a functioning democracy. Although this is accurate, democracy has always been in its essence foremost about reducing inequality and enabling participatory self-regulation. It seems that this prerequisite for a functioning democracy has been lost in recent decades. In many societies, inequality in social status, economic conditions, political rights, access to education, healthcare, justice, social protection and security have grown exponentially. Is the rise of populism and anti-liberalism related to the growing inequality? How should this be addressed? Where can we look for inspiration on possible solutions?

16:10 - 17:00 CET

Discussion
HOW TO COUNTER THE POPULIST THREAT: INSPIRATIONS FROM THE BALTICS?

In cooperation with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.


Moderator:
Błażej Lenkowski

Speakers:
Jan Zielonka, Vytautas Mitalas, Aneta Zachová, Hanno Pevkur, Miroslav Singer

Event description:

Central Europe and the Baltic states share a lot in common, historically. Today, however, a closer look at the region provides an increasingly differing picture. Whereas in Central Europe a democratic backlash and increase in illiberal tendencies are to be observed, Estonia and Lithuania with their new governments seem to be countering populism and leading the way for the innovative future. What has driven the Baltic success story? And what inspiration can Central Europe draw from the Baltic experience?

17:15 - 18:00 CET

Discussion
VÁCLAV HAVEL TRANSATLANTIC DIALOGUES ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRATIC TRANSFORMATION

In cooperation with Václav Havel Library.


Moderator:
Michael Žantovský

Speakers:
Réka Szemerkényi, Michael J. Abramowitz, Nicolas Tenzer, Charles Grant

Event description:

“Human freedom, human rights, democratic political system and human responsibility for the world” are in the words of Václav Havel (Washington, September 20, 2002) among the ideals that bind together the two sides of the Atlantic. Only when the free nations of America and Europe act together, can they effectively support the freedom-loving people elsewhere. By the same token, some recent failures of the democratic transformation, i.e. Libya, Syria, Burma and Belarus, have had their roots in the absence of a common strategy. Václav Havel Transatlantic Dialogues on Human Rights and Democratic Transformation initiated by Václav Havel Library and the Forum 2000 are designed to pursue the above agenda and discuss actions needed for democratic change in Belarus, Burma, Cuba and Syria, including recommendations to democratic governments.

18:15 - 19:15 CET

Panel Discussion
FACING THE AUTHORITARIAN TECHNO-CHALLENGE

In cooperation with the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.

Moderator:
Christopher Walker

Speakers:
Trisha Ray, Xiao Qiang, Eileen Donahoe, Maria Virginia Marin

Event description:

The technological and digital spheres are increasingly becoming the defining space of competition between democracy and authoritarianism. To find joint responses to the growing challenges, the US, the EU, India, and other democracies need to cooperate on improving their digital capabilities, protecting themselves against digital interference, and building a digital regulatory framework that would guarantee human rights and democratic principles. Simultaneously, the democratic community also needs to be mindful of China and other autocracies‘ own efforts to shape such a regulatory framework and further their vision of digital future. What steps must the free world take to keep pace with China’s technological ambitions? How can democracies work together to thwart the rise of „digital authoritarianism“? And can the free world hold its technological leadership?

Tuesday, October 12

10:05 - 11:05 CET

Panel Discussion
CAN BUSINESSES ACT WITH DEMOCRATIC INTEGRITY AND PROFIT?


Moderator:
Iva Petříčková

Speakers:
Eva Zamrazilová, Helena Horská, Alexander Kryvosheyev

Event description:

For decades, business leaders have focused on financial results. However, as growing numbers of investors and consumers turn their attention to sustainability and human rights, focusing solely on the bottom line is no longer enough. Private firms, in their capacity of active corporate citizens, must play an active role in the society, stand up and develop strategies that reinforce standards of openness, accountability, and institutional integrity. Are socially responsible programs a meaningful corporate contribution to society? How should governments and businesses work together to address the challenges and create meaningful change? Should business devise guidelines to protect democratic values? How can private firms best send clear signals about their own principles?

11:20 - 12:05 CET

Discussion
GERMANY AFTER THE ELECTION: CONFRONTING OR APPEASING AUTHORITARIANS?

In cooperation with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.


Moderator:
Detmar Doering

Speakers:
Wolfgang Gerhardt, Réka Szemerkényi, Liana Fix, Charles Kupchan

Event description:

Although the preference for multilateral solutions and a human rights’ based approach have always been the pillars of Germany’s foreign policy, in cases like the Nord stream pipeline, short-term economic considerations seem to have prevailed over strategic human rights concerns. After 16 years of Chancellor Angela Merkel in office, we will see a new start in Germany. What kind of policies can we expect from a new government vis-à-vis regimes like the ones in Beijing or Moscow? Will it be more confrontational, or rather more “realpolitik”?

12:40 - 13:10 CET

Discussion
STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY IN IRAN


Moderator:
Irena Kalhousová

Speakers:
Ramin Jahanbegloo, Ladan Boroumand, Mehrzad Boroujerdi

Event description:

How can we explain the recurrent explosions of popular anger in the Islamic Republic over the last three decades? The wide scope and radically anti-theocratic character of the demonstrations in 2018 and 2019 seem to prove that the Iranian regime contains no genuine capability for progressive change. Though the ensuing rise in tensions between different factions inside the Islamic regime helped to create a space for the emergence of Iran’s women’s and students’ movements, despair and disappointment drives the civil society into isolation and engagement. Considering the opportunities, weakness and breaking points of the civil society in Iran and the existing struggles and developments in the Iranian society, due to American sanctions, the rise of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and an eminent death of the Iranian Supreme Leader, what scenarios can be predicted for the next few years?

13:30 - 14:15 CET

Panel Discussion
MULTILATERALISM (STILL) MATTERS!

In cooperation with the Embassy of Canada and the Embassy of Germany.


Moderator:
Jacques Rupnik

Speakers:
Robert Rae, Katherina Ahrendts

Event description:

After the end of the Cold War, multilateralism and the international rules-based order seemed as almost universally accepted guiding principles towards a better, more peaceful world. Recent years have dealt a heavy blow to both concepts and have perhaps shown that the reality was never so bright. Nonetheless, vis-a-vis the enormous global challenges, multilateralism seems to be a must if humankind is to survive. What can be done to protect, preserve and advance international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law and internationally agreed norms, agreements and institutions? Should the multilateral system be strengthened? How can we reform and modernize existing international institutions, in order to make them more inclusive, representative, democratic, transparent, accountable and more effective in their functioning as well as capacity to deliver tangible results to citizens?

14:15 - 15:00 CET

Panel Discussion
MYANMAR: AN UPDATE


Moderator:
Igor Blaževič

Speakers:
Zin Mar Aung, Wai Wai Nu, Aung Myo Min, Constantino Xavier

Event description:

On February 1, 2021, the world was shocked by the coup of the Myanmar military forces against the democratically elected parliament, which was about to convene. Eight months later, the military has not consolidated power. It is trying to suppress protests and resistence through brutality and terror, and is not managing to break the resilience and determination of resistence. The panel will discuss the current situation in Myanmar, the state of the civil society, and the priorities of the democratic government operating in hiding. What are the perspectives? What are the tasks for the international community?

15:15 - 15:35 CET

Discussion
INFORMATION IN THE DIGITAL SPACE: THE (FALSE?) PROMISE OF DIGITAL DEMOCRACY

In cooperation with Project Syndicate, RFE/RL and Democratic Solidarity.


Moderator:
Kiryl Sukhotski, Elda Lorena Becerra Mizuno

Speakers:
David Kaye, Nanjala Nyabola

Event description:

The Internet was supposed to allow the disenfranchised to make their voices heard and to bolster democracy by promoting inclusive and informed debate. Instead, liberal democracies near and far have seen toxic content and disinformation spread farther and faster than ever thanks to online platforms, while repressive governments have co-opted digital tools to strengthen their control.

15:35 - 15:55 CET

Discussion
INFORMATION IN THE DIGITAL SPACE: STRUGGLE FOR INTERNET FREEDOM IN LATIN AMERICA

In cooperation with Project Syndicate, RFE/RL and Democratic Solidarity.


Moderator:
Kiryl Sukhotski, Elda Lorena Becerra Mizuno

Speakers:
Eduardo Magrani, Gerardo Berthin

Event description:

In the last assessment of internet freedom published by Freedom House only Argentina qualified as fully free among the Latin American states, with Cuba and Venezuela closing the regional ranking labelled as not free. Moreover, the yearly trend for the region shows slight deterioration or no change for all countries except Mexico. As the internet plays a crucial role in exercising a wide range of personal freedoms, it is therefore not surprising that as internet freedom shrinks in the region, so does the overall freedom.

15:55 - 16:15 CET

Discussion
INFORMATION IN THE DIGITAL SPACE: AS RUSSIA CLAMPS DOWN ON FREE SPEECH, USING DIGITAL TO KEEP CONVERSATIONS ALIVE

In cooperation with Project Syndicate, RFE/RL and Democratic Solidarity.


Moderator:
Kiryl Sukhotski, Elda Lorena Becerra Mizuno

Speakers:
Tolkun Umaraliev, Patrick Boehler

Event description:

The Kremlin has all but extinguished free speech in Russia. Teenagers are sentenced for reciting the Constitution; journalism is criminalized; the simplest dissent is branded "extremist." All in pursuit of a single and unassailable state narrative. As a designated "foreign agent," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has faced an unprecedented threat to its ability to deliver independent news and information to vulnerable audiences throughout Russia. New digital technologies and engagement philosophies, though, are providing an opportunity to forge even stronger channels of communication and connection between journalists and their audiences. Secure communications, digital forensics, community-driven journalism, and user-generated content all represent the new wave of 21st century best practices in reaching, impacting, and growing audiences in self-isolating countries. Join RFE/RL journalists for a discussion on new tools and storytelling techniques that are being deployed to keep the marketplace of ideas alive in increasingly totalitarian countries.

16:25 - 16:35 CET

Special Address
MINISTRIAL ADDRESS


Introduction:
Arzu Geybulla

Keynote speech:
Jaushieh Joseph Wu

Ministerial Speech

16:35 - 17:45 CET

Closing Panel
FORMING A GLOBAL COALITION FOR DEMOCRACY


Remarks:
Zuzana Čaputová

Moderator:
Šimon Pánek

Speakers:
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Damon Wilson, Timothy Garton Ash, Farida Nabourema

Event description:

As the democratic world is entering the post-Covid era, there are hopes on the horizon. We see active civil societies, engaged youth, and modernizing democratic governance. We also see renewed willingness for cooperation in the Trans-Atlantic area, as well as increasing like-mindedness among the ever more important non-western democracies. However, there are also challenges and risks, including temporary crises, misunderstandings, or even conflicts among allies; the recent tensions over withdrawal from Afghanistan or the AUKUS deal may only be a taste of what is ahead. If democracy is to survive, cooperation and mutual support, as well as trust and effective conflict-resolution mechanisms among democratic actors on the global scale will be crucial. How to make sure that values of freedom and democracy remain strong and lasting in these complicated times? What steps should we take to form a resilient and effective global coalition for democracy?

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