Strasbourg 5-11 October 2012

World Forum for Democracy


Palais de l'Europe : Room 5

9:00 pm / 12:00 pm

A. Democracy: a universal value?

A.1. Public sector/private sector:
religion in the democratic public domain

Much of the tension in our present-day societies is linked with problems of perception hence representation of cultural differences. The public institutions and civil society should redefine their relationship in order to foster the development of more inclusive societies in which cultural and religious diversity could mean an asset rather than a problem.

  • M. Marc Scheuer, Director of the Secretariat of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
  • Ms Amel Grami (Tunisia), Professor at the University of Manouba
  • Mr Moez Masoud (Egypt), radio and television Host
  • Mr Moncef Ben Slimane (Tunisia), President of "Lam Echaml"
  • Mr Patrick Waschmann (France), professor of public law at the University of Strasbourg
  • Mr Akuila Yabaki (Fiji), Executive Director of the Citizens Constitutional Forum

Palais de l'Europe : Room 1

A.2. Multiple identities and "living together"

Living together, while reconciling cultural diversity and social cohesion, is one of the major present challenges at the local and national level as well as on broader planes of interaction such as the two shores of the Mediterranean. Social dialogue and international co-operation should be equal to this challenge.

  • Mr Alvaro Gil-Robles (Spain), Former Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe
  • Mr Vincent de Paul Emah Etoundi, Member of the National Assembly of Cameroon
  • Ms Aline Karim (Lebanon), Journalist
  • Mr Frans Diale Kgomo (South Africa), Judge President of the Northern Cape Division of the High Court
  • Mr Helge Lunde (Norway), Executive Director of International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), Stavanger
  • Mr Alberto Moreno Pérez (Colombia), Judicial Field Officer, United Nations Development Programme
  • Ms Alexandra Veleva, Programme Advisor, International Organisation of Francophonie
  • Mr Leen Verbeek (Netherlands), Queen's Commissioner of the province of Flevoland, Member of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

Palais de l'Europe : Room 9

9:00 am / 12:00 am

B. Virtual values? Democracy and new social networks

B.1. Civil resistance and democratisation

From South Africa to Serbia last century, from Tunisia to Syria and Burma today, all democratisation movements throughout the world started off with the affirmation of a civil society aware of its rights and wanting the will of the people to be respected. How can people denied a voice be supported while respecting State sovereignty? Is a new conception of sovereignty in the 21st century coming into being?

  • Ms Nicola Barrach (USA), Director for civic and new media initiatives, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC)
  • Mr Ahmed al-Senussi (Libya), Member of the National Transitional Council, Sakharov Prize winner 2011
  • Ms Sarah Mahir, activist for human rights and democracy in Maldives
  • Mr Ivan Marovic (Serbia), Co-founder of OTPOR movement
  • Ms Luisa Trujillo (Colombia), Researcher, Centre of Political and International Studies, Rosario University
  • Mr Dismas Kitenge Senga (RD Congo), President of the NGO "Groupe LOTUS RDC" ICNC experts
  • Ms Lhadon Tethong, Director of "Tibet Action Institute"
  • Mr Aalam Wassef (Egypt), blogger and video producer

Palais de l'Europe : Hemicycle

B.2. Internet, new media and democratic (r)evolutions

The advent of the Internet and of the new media (the 2.0 society) constitutes the greatest democratic revolution of the recent years, having shaken numerous authoritarian regimes that try to control them by whatever means. While influencing political decisions more and more, they are not immune to manipulations or to dissemination of untruths. So should this new area of freedom be regulated?

  • Ms Deborah Bergamini (Italy), Chair of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe, Chair of the Sub-Committee on Media and Information Society of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
  • Mr Sébastien Abgota (Benin), journalist, International Advisor in communication
  • Mr Hasan Al Mustafa (Saudi Arabia), Journalist
  • Mr Hervé Barraquand (France), Specialist of the programme "Media", "Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie"
  • Mr Luis Fernández (Mexico), Foundation "Participando por Mexico"
  • Mr Yannick Harrel (France), Cyber Strategy Consultant and Lecturer
  • Mr Alexandre Heully (France), Executive Director of the European magazine
  • Ms Sharon Hom, Executive Director of "Human Rights in China"

Palais de l'Europe : Room 7

9:00 am / 12:00 am

C. One size fits all? Democracy and globalization

C.1. Consequences of the economic and financial crisis on democratic institutions

The world economic and financial crisis has weakened the democratic institutions by affecting their legitimacy as a consequence of the leaders' inability to provide lasting and socially acceptable solutions to the crisis. What is to be done to restore the legitimacy of the institutions of democratic representation at all levels? How can we reinsert in democratic institutions an ever-broader fringe of the population which has turned away from it?

  • Mr Mikolaj Dowgielewicz (Poland), Vice-Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank
  • Mr Masahiro Kawai (Japan), Dean and CEO of the Asian Development Bank Institute
  • Mr Evan Papp (USA), US Agency for International Development
  • Mr James Sirleaf, General Manager, Corporate and Institutional Banking, First International Bank of Liberia
  • Mr Igor Soltes (Slovenia), President of the Court of Auditors
  • Ms Francesca Traldi (Italy), Director of international relations, Magna Carta Foundation

Palais de l'Europe : Room 8

C.2. The crisis threat to social cohesion?

Faced to an aggravation of unemployment and of poverty among ever larger populations resulting from the economic and financial crisis, there is a strong temptation to look for scapegoats, especially migrants. How can we make it understood that the way out of the crisis is not less solidarity and democracy but more justice and sharing, in particular towards the youngest?

  • Mr Gérard Fuchs (France), Head of International Cooperation, Jean Jaurès Foundation
  • Mr Luca Belgiorno-Nettis (Australia), Founder, « The newDemocracy Foundation »
  • Ms Kim Campbell, Former Prime Minister of Canada, Chair of the World Movement for Democracy, Member of the Club de Madrid
  • Ms Kinga Göncz (Hungary), Member of the European Parliament, member of the Network of Leaders United for Shared Societies (NetPLUSS) of the Club de Madrid

12:30 pm


Lunch at the restaurant of the European Parliament


Palais de l'Europe : Hemicycle

1:30 pm / 3:00 pm

Media responsibility and potential to foster democracy

The panel will discuss new trends in political participation, new and old media; their impact on democracies and on freedom of expression. Moderated by Melissa Eddy of the International Herald Tribune, it will assess the dual problem of stifled media freedom on the one hand, and non-transparent relationships between government and media on the other.

Freedom of expression is a fundamental right, enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. A free press is vital for any democracy. Elected politicians have a duty to ensure that journalists can work freely and without fear of state repression. But the onus is not on governments alone. Pluralistic societies are at risk when media try to exert influence on governments to gain economic advantage and business ties between journalists and politicians remain undisclosed.

  • Ms Melissa Eddy, International Herald Tribune
  • Mr Eynullah Fatullayev, Journalist and Editor-in-chief of the weekly "Realny Azerbaijan" and daily "Günd?lik Az?rbaycan"
  • Mr Ali Ferzat (Syria), political cartoonist, Sakharov Prize winner 2011
  • Mr Kadri Gürsel (Turkey), columnist for Turkish daily Milliyet
  • Ms Tawakkol Karman, political Activist, Journalist and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner
  • Ms Elizabeth Linder, Facebook's Politics and Government Specialist for the Europe, Middle East and Africa Regions
  • Mr Moez Masoud, television and radio Presenter, religious Leader and political Activist from Egypt 
  • Ms Jillian York, Director of International Freedom of Expression at the US-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, free-expression activist, journalist and travel-writer

Issues for discussion include:

  • How should governments and international organisations protect media freedom? Hands off or hands on?
  • Is Wikileaks a threat to journalism?
  • Where is the line between private and public?
  • What role can social media play in established democracies?
  • What can the old democracies learn from emerging voices of the young democracies?

Working sessions (continued)

Palais de l'Europe : Room 1

3:00 pm / 6:00 pm

A. Democracy: a universal value?

A.3. Can democracy be imposed?

The fundamental principle of democracy and its legitimacy lies in free expression of the citizens' choice. Does a duty of interference exist when the democratic aspirations of a people are put down – sometimes with bloodshed – by oppressive regimes? Should international law be revised to legitimise a right of democratic interference that might go as far as armed intervention if required?

  • Mr Jacques-Paul Klein (USA), Former Under Secretary General of the United Nations
  • Mr Faiysal Alikhan (Pakistan), Founder and Executive Director of the NGO Foundation for Integrated Development Action (FIDA)
  • Mr Guy Buchsenschmidt (Belgium), Chief of Staff, Eurocorps
  • Mr Zbigniew Janas (Poland), politician, former member of the "Solidarity" movement
  • Ms Vanessa Ortiz (USA), Transition Program Advisor, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Ms Rabiatou Serah Diallo (Guinea), President of the National Transitional Council (CNT)
  • Mr Adejare Somorin (Nigeria), International Initiative for Peace

Palais de l'Europe : Room 2

A.4. Testing democracy against extremism

The 21st century opened with the great hope of a new democratic wave washing over every continent. These new democracies were confronted with various forms of extremism imperilling their survival. Older democracies too have been confronted with this phenomenon since the economic and social crisis undermining them. What democratic responses could be made to the onset of division: is exclusion the best way to combat extremist forces, or is it better to combat them by including them in the democratic process?

  • Mr Mevlüt Çavusoglu (Turkey), Former President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
  • Mr Zbigniew Bujak (Poland), co-founder of the "Solidarity" movement
  • Ms Alimata Diarra (Mali), Human Rights Lawyer, Malian Association of Human Rights (AMDR)
  • Ms Claudia Mosquera Rosero-Labbé, Professor at the National University of Colombia
  • Mr Donatus Obi (Nigeria), International Initiative for Peace
  • Mr Hassan Shire Sheikh (Uganda), Executive Director, "The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project"
  • Mr Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon (Sri Lanka), Freelance Journalist, Executive Director of the Centre for Human Rights

Palais de l'Europe : Hemicycle

3:00 pm / 6:00 pm

B. Virtual values? Democracy and new social networks

B.3. Participatory democracy: the citizen, an active political actor

Alongside elective and representative democracy, and complementing it, there have developed diverse forms of participatory democracy enabling the citizens (and non-citizens too) to take part in the decisions that influence and determine their day-to-day life. Can and should we lay down rules for the functioning of the various pressure groups and for their action vis-à-vis political decision-makers?

  • Mr Jean-Marie Heydt, President of the INGO Conference of the Council of Europe
  • Ms Maite Azuela (Mexico), Founder of the movement "Dejemos de Hacernos Pendejos"
  • Mr Andrew Bradley, Director, Office of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) to the EU
  • Mr Richard Giragosian (Armenia), Director of the Regional Studies Center, Yerevan
  • Ms Inès Hammami (Tunisia), Vice-president of "Lam Echaml"
  • Mr Jean-Pierre Liouville (France), Vice-President of the Lorraine Regional Council, Member of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
  • Mr Christian Saves (France), political Scientist, senior civil Servant
  • Ms Olena Tregub (Ukraine), Journalist and political Analyst

Palais de l'Europe : Room 5

B.4. Becoming a citizen: education and democratic culture

Civic education is not confined to the education system. The media – particularly the new media – have an essential responsibility in the matter. Education is before anything else information. An enlightened and informed citizen will be a responsible citizen able to assume his/her responsibilities in the operation of the democratic institutions. How to accommodate civic education in school curricula? How to use the new media for training responsible citizens?

  • Mr Jean-Paul Costa (France), President of the International Institute of Human Rights (Strasbourg), former President of the European Court of Human Rights
  • Ms Deborah Bergamini (Italy), Chair of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe
  • Mr Youcef Boukoucha (Algeria), National Secretary for Youth, "Front of socialist forces in Algeria"
  • Mr Paul Bromberg (Colombia), Former Mayor of Bogota
  • Mr Jose Luis Martin C. Gascon, Undersecretary for Political Affairs, Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines
  • Mr Koffi Kounte (Togo), President of the National Commission for Human Rights
  • Mr Krzysztof Stanowski (Poland), President of the Management Board of Solidarity Fund PL
  • Mr Steven Wagenseil (USA), Former First Deputy Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

Palais de l'Europe : Room 9

3:00 pm / 6:00 pm

C. One size fits all? Democracy and globalization

C.3. Which democratic governance in a globalised world?

With economic and financial decisions being often taken at the supranational level, the nation state is gradually losing in relevance. Its effectiveness in action is reduced, heightening the alienation of the citizen. If the course of economic and financial globalisation cannot be stopped, how are we to guard against global deregulation – and social dumping – with dire political consequences? What power should be given to the international organisations in charge of regulating the economy? What supranational political power is foreseeable today and tomorrow?

  • Mr Wendelin Ettmayer (Austria), Ambassador, author on international affairs
  • Ms Pelagie Belomo Essono (Cameroon), Catholic University of Central Africa
  • Ms Maria Leissner (Sweden), Secretary General of the Community of Democracies
  • Mr Igor Rogov (Kazakhstan), President of the Constitutional Council, Member of the ‘Venice Commission'
  • Ms Sima Samar (Afghanistan), Chair of the Independent Human Rights Commission

Palais de l'Europe : Room 7

C.4. Towards a new democratic ethic?

The gangrene of corruption, the inability of political leaders to deliver solutions to the citizens' problems, the discredit of policies, the citizens' growing disinterest in public affairs, compel new ethics, new morality in politics. What can be done to rehabilitate the political function and the attraction for public affairs? How is undue permeability between the business world and political leaders to be avoided? Which code of conduct should be imposed on each?

  • Mr Roman Jakic (Slovenia), member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
  • Ms Shaazka Beyerle (USA), Senior Advisor, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict
  • Mr Geo Sung Kim (South Korea), Founding President of Transparency International – Korea
  • Mr Andrei Kolesnikov (Russia), Journalist, "Novaya Gazeta"
  • Ms Hélène Lambatim (Chad), Vice-President of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council
  • Mr Marin Mrcela (Croatia), President of the Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption (GRECO)


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