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Round table on the Future of Democracy: Challenges & Opportunities

Round table on the Future of Democracy: Challenges & Opportunities

Inter-University Centre, Dubrovnik – April 3-5, 2018 

Democracy is under siege. Traditional bastions of liberal democracy are faltering. Young democracies are reverting to their authoritarian pasts.  Populism, corporatization of the media, fake news, retreat from globalism, oligarchy, corruption and other perils are undermining fairness, effectiveness and truthfulness. Just when it appeared that the world was converging on a universal set of values and standards for governance at the national and international level, fundamental questions are being raised regarding the viability and sustainability of democratic institutions. Recent events raise fundamental questions regarding the institutions of governance and also about the underlying social, psychological, cultural and evolutionary processes that determine how these institutions function.

Is democracy in its current form really the most viable and effective system of governance? Are human beings sufficiently rational and selfless to govern themselves justly and effectively? Is the future of democracy at the national level compatible with the persistence of non-democratic institutions at the international level? By what process has the distribution of social power shifted from army, monarchy, aristocracy to democracy and how is that process likely to evolve further in future? To what extent are the institutional problems confronting democracy today reflections of underlying social, psychological and cultural factors and processes? What proven and potential safeguards and remedies are available to address the failures and insufficiencies of contemporary democracies? Is democracy the best possible system or merely a stage in the evolution of governance toward something more stable, an effective and equitable system? These are a few of the questions to be explored during this three-day meeting.

Following the end of the Cold War and the collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, it appeared that democracy had finally established itself as the unquestioned victor in the governance contest, both in terms of acceptability and efficacy. Recent developments are challenging both these claims. The phenomenal developmental achievements of state capitalism coupled with authoritarian rule in China, the unashamed retreat from democracy in Turkey, the backlash against social democratic principles in Eastern Europe, the resurgence of populism, the rising power of corruption and legally-sanctioned oligarchy and plutocracy in the republics of the former Soviet Union, state capture in South Africa, the tension between national and regional interests and priorities in the European Union, and the dramatic deteriotion of democratic practices in USA are posing heightened challenges to the acceptance, effectiveness and resilience of democracy.

This three day roundtable will explore the evolutionary origins of democratic forms of government; their strengths and weaknesses in promoting stable inclusive societies, human welfare and well-being; the continued struggle over the distribution of power, rights and benefits in modern societies; the challenges posed by globalization, immigration, technological advances, money power, social media and resurgent nationalism; available policies and proven mechanisms to enhance their effectiveness and reinforce underlying democratic principles; and evolutionary alternatives that might gradually supplant the forms of democracy prevalent today.

The meeting will consist of facilitated discussions centering on 10 major groups of issues plus an introductory session and a final discussion to frame conclusions and next steps. The format will be highly interactive: short presentations combined with open discussion. Each session will be introduced by a moderator making brief opening remarks and posing fundamental questions to be explored during the session. The remainder of each session is reserved for moderated discussion among all participants. The program is open to participants from all disciplines and occupations. The conclusions of this session will be drawn upon to identify key issues for systematic examination in future programs of WAAS and WUC. 

Round table on the Future of Democracy: Challenges & Opportunities

Inter-University Centre, Dubrovnik – April 3-5, 2018 

Schedule of Lectures

April 3, 2018
No. TOPIC MODERATORS/PANELISTS TIMING
1  Introduction  G. Jacobs 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM
2  Achievements of Democracy  J. Caraça
 E. Çepni
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
3  Challenges Confronting Democracy Today  K. Shengelia
 F. El Guindi
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
4  Foundations of Democracy  E. Constantinescu
 A. N. Yurdusev
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
5  Known Failings of Democracy  R. Fiorini
 N. Nešković
4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
April 4, 2018
6  Evolution of Democracy, Human Rights & Rule of Law  G. Jacobs
 W. Nagan
9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
7  Democracy and Social Power  E. Hoedl
 A. Zucconi
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
8  Il-liberal Democracy  T. Reuter
 G. Leśniak-Łebkowska
1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
9  Small Discussion Groups   3:15 PM – 4:15 PM
10  Reports from the Discussion Groups   4:15 PM – 5:00 PM
April 5, 2018
11  Globalization, Nationalism & Democracy  A. Likhotal
 D. Simeunovic
 J. Bindé
9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
12  Technology, Media and Social Media  M. Djurovic
 Z. Lagumdžija
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
13  Known Remedies for Problems of Democracy  T. A. Aziz
 Z. Bochniarz
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
14  Envisioning a Better System  J. Bunzl
 M. Mulvey
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
15  Small Discussion Groups   3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
16  Conclusions & Recommendations  G. Jacobs
 W. Nagan
 A. Zucconi
4:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Round table on the Future of Democracy: Challenges & Opportunities

Inter-University Centre, Dubrovnik – April 3-5, 2018 

List of Participants

  1. Tunku Abdul Aziz – Activist, Politician; Former special advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations; Fellow, WAAS
  2. Goran Bandov – Vice Dean, Dag Hammarskjöld University College of International Relations and Diplomacy, Zagreb
  3. Jérôme Bindé – French writer, Futurist; Director of Foresight, Philosophy and Humanities, UNESCO; Fellow, WAAS
  4. Zbigniew Bochniarz – Professor, University of Washington and Harvard Business School; Member, WAAS Board of Trustees
  5. John Bunzl – Businessman, Writer, Founder, Simultaneous Policy (Simpol) campaign
  6. João Caraça – Senior Advisor, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation; Fellow, WAAS
  7. Elif Çepni – Head, Nisantasi International, Nisantasi University, Turkey; Partner, Foresight Consult; Associate Fellow, WAAS
  8. Emil Constantinescu – President, The Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Civilization and Civilization; Member, WAAS Board of Trustees
  9. Momir Djurovic – Former President, Montenegrin Academy of Sciences & Arts; Member, WAAS Board of Trustees
  10. Fadwa El Guindi – Senior Scientist, El Nil Research; Retiree Professor of Anthropology, University of California; Fellow, WAAS
  11. Rodolfo Fiorini – Academic Scientist, Politecnico di Milano, Italy; Fellow, WAAS
  12. Ivo Grga – Secretary General, Global Round Table, Croatia
  13. Erich Hoedl – Vice-President, European Academy of Sciences; Fellow, WAAS
  14. Senthil Inbarajan – Software Professional, USA
  15. Garry Jacobs – CEO, WAAS and WUC; Vice President, The Mother’s Service Society
  16. Adam Koniuszewski – Fellow of the Quebec Order of Chartered Professional Accountants; Fellow at the Geneva Center for Security Policy; Associate Fellow, WAAS
  17. Zlatko Lagumdžija – Former Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Hercegovina; Professor of Competitiveness and Information Technology, University of Sarajevo; Fellow, WAAS
  18. Ivana Lazarovski – Student, MA in International Security Studies, University of Belgrade; Junior Fellow, WAAS
  19. Grażyna Leśniak-Łebkowska – Professor, Warsaw School of Economics, Poland; Associate Fellow, WAAS
  20. Alexander Likhotal – Professor, Geneva School Of Diplomacy; Former President of Green Cross International; Member, WAAS Board of Trustees
  21. Andrii Miroshnychenko – Teaching Assistant, University of Bergen, Norway; Junior Fellow, WAAS
  22. Michael Mulvey – Outreach Coordinator, The Independent Constitutionalists UK movement and political process (ICUK)
  23. Winston P. Nagan – Chairman, WAAS Board of Trustees; Professor of Law, University of Florida, USA
  24. Nebojša Nešković – Secretary-General, WAAS; Former Head of TESLA Project, Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Belgrade, Serbia
  25. Natalia Pogozheva – CEO of Green Education Ukraine Foundation; Member of Board, Regional development Association; Former Head of the Board, DUCATT
  26. Thomas Reuter – Professor, Asia Institute, The University of Melbourne; Fellow, WAAS
  27. Rita Reuter – Independent Designer, Germany
  28. Naren Senthil – Student, PSBB Millennium School, India
  29. Kakha Shengelia – President, International Association of University Presidents (IAUP); President at Caucasus University, Georgia
  30. Dragan Simeunović – Professor, Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade, Serbia
  31. Marco Vitiello – Student, Roma Tre University, Italy
  32. Kathlena Walther – Special Advisor to Chairman, Econet Foundation; Fellow, WAAS
  33. Ahmet Nuri Yurdusev – Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Middle East Technical University, Turkey; Fellow, WAAS
  34. Alberto Zucconi – President of the Person Centered Approach Institute (IACP), Italy; Secretary General of the World University Consortium

 Course Directors: Goran Bandov, Garry Jacobs, Winston Nagan and Alberto Zucconi

Round table on the Future of Democracy: Challenges & Opportunities

Inter-University Centre, Dubrovnik – April 3-5, 2018 

Background Papers

Click here to download Background Papers

  1. Issues for Discussion on Future of Democracy by Lloyd Etheredge
  2. Rule of Law Background to Democracy by Winston P. Nagan
  3. Achievements of Democracy by João Caraça
  4. Achievements of Democracy by Elif Çepni
  5. Poland: From Transformation Leader to Troublemaker by Zbigniew Bochniarz
  6. Notes on Democracy by Gerald Gutenschwager
  7. Money in Politics by International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
  8. Declaration of Purpose of the Independent Constitutionalists UK (ICUK) by Michael Mulvey
  9. A Constitutionalist Guide to Morality: Language as Democracy by Michael Mulvey
  10. Agnosticism and the Uses of Religion by Michael Mulvey