Forum 2000 starts Sunday

The conference will explore the challenges currently threatening democracy

The 21st edition of the Forum 2000 Conference, with the title Strengthening Democracy in Uncertain Times, takes place Oct. 8–10, 2017 in Prague and other cities around the Czech Republic. The Forum 2000 Foundation is going to welcome over 100 significant delegates, including Prince Albert II of Monaco and former Austrian President Heinz Fischer.

The conference will react to the challenges faced by the current democratic world. Democracy is at a historic juncture, confidence in the institutions is in decline, and democracy is weakening. Quite paradoxically, democratic processes often become the vehicle for the rise of authoritarians and the undermining of democratic structures.

Registration to attend events is closed, but many of the panels will be streamed live over the internet on the Forum2000.cz website and permanent videos of the panels will be available shortly after the discussions end as well. Videos from previous years are also still available online.

The working language of most of the panels and discussions is English.

Traditional liberal visions are losing power in the turbulent development of the world, according to the Forum 2000 Foundation. Is it the end of democracy as we know it? Are we at the threshold of a systemic change? Did democracy lose the ability to respond to changes in society and technological progress? And how can these negative trends be answered? This year’s conference will seek the answers for all of these questions and many others.

Guests of the conference can visit dozens of lectures and discussions. Among the confirmed delegates are Prince Albert II of Monaco; former Mayor of Reykjavik Jón Gnarr; Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro; Human Rights and Environmental Activist and former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed; lecturer on Political Sciences at Harvard University Yascha Mounk; President of Radio Free Europe Thomas Kent; or professor of Islamic and interfaith studies, Mona Siddiqui.

On Oct. 10, 2017, the Coalition for Democratic Renewal (CDR), a global initiative of a group of intellectuals, activists, and politicians, will officially be launched with the aim of reaffirming the fundamental principles that have been the basis of modern democracy. CDR was created in response to the expansion of power and the influence of authoritarian regimes and the simultaneous weakening of democratic systems from within.

“It is the coalition’s objective to engage in systematic intellectual defense of liberal democratic values and principles. It aims to help formulate convincing arguments, influence public debate, and seek solutions to the challenges that democracy faces,” Jakub Klepal, director of the Forum 2000 Foundation and one of the CDR signatories, said in a press release.

The CDR founding document — The Prague Appeal for Democratic Renewal — was signed by more than 180 personalities including Garry Kasparov, Francis Fukuyama, Bernard-Hénri Levy, Nathan Law, Anne Applebaum, Ivan Havel, Rosa Maria Paya, Timothy Garton Ash, and Richard Gere.

The Forum 2000 Foundation fulfills the mission of Václav Havel by promoting democratic values and respect for human rights, developing civil society and strengthening religious, cultural, and ethnic tolerance. Leading world personalities, thinkers, and courageous individuals from all walks of life are provided with space where they can share these critical themes and discuss them openly.

For instance, Prince Hassan bin Talal, Yohei Sasakawa, Bill Clinton, Oscar Arias Sánchez, His Holiness Dalai Lama, Henry Kissinger, Simon Sores, Mario Soares, Shirin Ebadi, Sergei Kovaljov, Nicholas Winton, and Madeleine Albright have all been delegates of the Forum 2000 Conference in the past.

Running alongside this year's Forum 2000 Conference is an accompanying program called Festival of Democracy, taking place Oct. 5–12 in Prague and other cities. The highlight will be “Festival Monday” on Oct. 9 at the náměstí Václava Havla, the plaza of the National Theater. For more on the Festival of Democracy, see www.prague.tv/Festival-of-Democracy

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