Recovering the Promise of 1989

23rd Forum 2000 Conference

Recovering the Promise of 1989

23rd Forum 2000 Conference
October 13 – 15, 2019

Thirty years ago, the world was full of hope that, finally, democracy, freedom, and a global order based on peace and responsibility would prevail. In the tumultuous year 1989, people rallied against governments with a dismal human rights record and a lack of respect for the rule of law. Protests in Beijing, Berlin, or Prague coincided with ongoing or looming democratic transitions in Chile, Nicaragua, South Africa and elsewhere. Citizens globally asked for more freedom and democracy and hoped for a just society. Western democracies served as a model to which many looked up to.

Since then, the spirit of freedom and civic responsibility in new democracies, as well as in the more established ones, has faced many difficult tests and today, we are at perhaps one of liberal democracy's most demanding moments. Inability of political leaders to face climate change, a growing gap between winners and losers of globalization, a political system which many consider overly bureaucratic and unresponsive to the needs of people, the impact of new technologies, and other major trends drive voters to elect untested or even populist leaders.

The October meeting aimed to analyze these challenges and search for ways to renew the spirit of responsibility and strengthen democracy. It also looked at how these internal uncertainties of the democratic “West” and the rise of China, India and other actors are reshaping the world and how these converging trends will affect our common global future in the next 30 years. 



A selection of photographs from previous years


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Jan Barta

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