Panel discussion 1 - From Fake to Fact: How to strengthen ties among Research, Policy, and Society to counter populism?

9 November 2017 - 9.00-10.30 - Palais de l'Europe, Room 6

Interpretation: FR/EN

Co-sponsored by the EU Horizon2020 study 'DANDELION' and the Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders“, University of Frankfurt a. M.

Series of openDemocray articles on the subject by Georgios Kolliarakis and Rosemary Bechler

‘Post-fact’ politics is internationally fuelling concern, particularly in contested fields of public policy, such as social and minority rights, external relations and migration/refugee affairs, and, not least, counter-terrorism and -radicalisation. The interplay of value divergence and uncertainty has proved very vulnerable to opportunistic, simplistic discourses that blend out uncomfortable facts, disqualify opposing views, and polarise public opinion.

Under such circumstances, the relationship among science, policy making, and society is taking a new twist: In the face of proliferation of fake news via social media, and the spread and ‘normalisation’ of uncivil and manipulative behaviours in the public sphere by populist and extremist parties for political gain, the demand for evidence-based resistance has become visible.

While researchers, policy makers, and the media operate along different logics, interests, and time-frames for their action, there is a pressing need to re-examine responsibilities of research and academia, politicians and public administration, as well as the media and the organised civil society, and recast their strategic partnerships. A common objective thereby is to contribute to the self-defence capacity of democracy’s ‘immune reflexes’ by providing evidence and facts to inform policy making both in the technical-scientific sense, and by promoting plausible counter-narratives in the social media and the public sphere in general.

The speakers’ inputs and the plenary discussion will spin around the questions

1/ 'What to change in the supply and the demand sides for facts in order to help them ‘travel’ to policy makers and civil society actors  and shape public debate and decision-making?’, and

2/ 'How to engage and cope with actors who disseminate fake and  distortive information?

 From Fake to Fact: video of the debates

Moderator Moderator


Political Scientist, University of Frankfurt, Cluster of Excellence


Dr. Georgios Kolliarakis is a political scientist and works with the University of Frankfurt (Cluster of Excellence ‘Normative Orders’). His research focuses upon strategic, institutional, and organizational aspects of security, including barriers and enablers of knowledge transfer among different stakeholders in policy, academia, and society.  Georgios has been involved as principal investigator in a series of international research projects on contemporary counter-terrorism, and has published on security policies and their non-intended and non-anticipated consequences. Georgios is an external expert with a number of national ministries and international organisations, and has launched over 30 roundtables at academic and policy conferences.

panelists panelists
BECHLER Rosemary

Rosemary BECHLER

Writer, journalist, and editor of OpenDemocracy

United Kingdom

In 2000, Rosemary Bechler, co-founded and chaired Peaceworkers UK, later absorbed into International Alert, while helping to pilot an innovative online global discussion forum, openDemocracy, in which she became European, then International Editor. In 2006 Counterpoint, the internal think-tank of the British Council commissioned her to write Unbounded Freedom: a guide to creative commons thinking for cultural organisations. She edited The Convention on Modern Liberty: The British debate on fundamental rights and freedoms (Imprint Academic 2010) in the year in which she became Editor of openDemocracy. She has a Cambridge doctorate on eighteenth century literature.



Policy Officer, DG Research & Innovation, European Commission

He is in charge of several projects of the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) in the field of Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities and he is contributing to the Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge on "Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective societies". Before joining the Commission, Yuri was Lecturer in Law at the University of Sussex. He holds degrees from the Universities of Cologne, East Anglia and Sussex.


Member of Parliament and Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe


Titus Corlăţean is a Romanian politician and diplomat, former Minister of Justice and of Foreign Affairs. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), part of the Party of European Socialists, and was elected to the Chamber of Deputies for Brașov County in the 2004 elections. He became an appointed Member of the European Parliament on January 1, 2007, with the accession of Romania to the European Union. In 2012, he was elected Senator for Bucharest. Titus Corlăţean believes with conviction in the values ​​promoted by social-democracy.



Director of Policy Planning, Council of Europe



Professor of political sciences the New Bulgarian University


Anna Krasteva is professor of political sciences at the New Bulgarian University, doctor honoris causa of University Lille 3. She teaches and is member of the board of the European MA on democracy and human rights at the Universities of Sarajevo and Bologna. Her main fields of research are post-communist democratization; civic mobilizations; contestatory, solidary and e-citizenship; populist youth. She is editor-in-chief of the international journal Southeastern Europe (Brill), member of the editorial boards of Nationalism and ethnic politics (Routledge), and of numerous international academic boards. She leads the projects “Securitization and its impact on human rights and human security” of the Global campus for human rights.



Emeritus professor of Ethnic Studies of the University of Amsterdam


Rinus Penninx is emeritus professor of Ethnic Studies of the University of Amsterdam. He has been involved in the field of migration and integration in several capacities. His report `Ethnic Minorities’ (1979) formed the starting point for integration policies in the Netherlands. He worked in Dutch Ministries on integration research and policy making (1978-1988). He founded the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies at the University of Amsterdam in 1993. From 1999 to 2009 he was co-chair of the International Metropolis project. He was coordinator of the IMISCOE Network of Excellence (2004-2009) and the IMISCOE Research Network (2009-2014).

Panel discussion 2: What responses to anti-migrant populist rhetoric and action?

9 November 2017 - 9.00-10.30 - Palais de l'Europe, room 5

Interpretation FR/EN/RU

Sponsored by the Network of Schools of Political Studies

In recent years, populist and right-wing discourse has taken on an increasingly aggressive anti-refugee and anti-immigrant dimension, imposing this subject rather successfully on the political agenda in European countries. As a consequence, excessively restrictive measures adopted in many European countries are increasingly jeopardising fundamental values of our societies and the human rights of migrants and refugees.

What approaches and strategies can be drawn upon to develop a counter-narrative to this anti-immigrant rhetoric? How can political figures, civic leaders and media professionals share responsibility for building effective and compassionate asylum and integration policies?

The Network of the Council of Europe's Schools of Political Studies is committed to the defense of human rights and the fight against all forms of discrimination. The Schools engage with these concerns and explore how concrete initiatives such as the planned Council of Europe ‘s Academy for Democratic Leadership for persons with a refugee background’ may contribute to countering the prevailing xenophobic discourse and improve the integration of refugees into European societies.

Speakers in this panel debate have come together earlier this year at an Alumni event of the Network of Schools to discuss matters relating to migration and asylum policies.

World Forum for Democracy 2017: Panel discussion 2: What responses to anti-migrant populist rhetoric and action?
Palais de l'Europe, room 5 9 November 2017 - 9.00-10.30
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moderator moderator
SYRRI Despina

Despina SYRRI

Director of the Civic School of Political Studies, “Symbiosis”


Despina Syrri is the founder and director of the Civic School of Political Studies in Greece, and an education specialist at the UNICEF Refugee and Migrant Response in Greece. She is a member of the Thessaloniki Migrants' Integration Council and has served as advisor on the Regional Cooperation Council. Previously, she was director of research and international cooperation at the Immigration Policy Institute in Greece. Despina has published various research papers and journal articles and has worked with news outlets and policy institutes on issues related to post-conflict development, migration and integration of the Western Balkans to the EU.

panelists panelists


Integration Team Coordinator, Immigrant Council of Ireland


Teresa Buczkowska is Integration Team Coordinator at the Immigrant Council of Ireland, where she works to improve, in policy and practice, the integration of people of migrant background living in Ireland. A migrant herself, Teresa is originally from Poland and has been living in Ireland since 2005. While working for the Immigrant Council Teresa completed a study on racism in the taxi industry and co-authored a report on racially motivated anti-social behaviour in social housing. Between May 2016 and May 2017 she served on the Board of the European Network of Migrant Women. Teresa holds an MA in Ethnography and Social Anthropology from the Jagiellonian University, Krakow.



Independent Expert on Migrations


Barbara Joannon is an expert on asylum and migration policies in the French and European context. She is currently working as an independent consultant for the French Development Agency, supporting their strategic thinking and framework on migration and development. Previously, she was Head of EU Affairs at Forum réfugiés-Cosi, a French NGO that supports asylum seekers and refugees. A graduate of Lyon’s Institute of Political Sciences, she built up her experience in Brussels at the European Parliament, the Joint Migration and Development Initiative, and the European Migration Network. Barbara is a Senior Fellow of international non-profit organisation Humanity in Action



Policy Officer, Consortium of Organisations Assisting Migrants

Czech Republic

Tomáš Jungwirth is a policy officer at the Consortium of Organisations Assisting Migrants in the Czech Republic and a researcher at Prague-based think-tank AMO. He became involved with migration and integration while volunteering on the Serbo-Croatian border, and he was the co-founder of a popular Facebook page which promoted a positive narrative of migration and refugees. Previously, Tomáš worked as a high-school teacher, as manager of election campaigns and as assistant to an MP. He holds a Law degree from Charles University and a degree in Democracy and Human Rights in South-East Europe from the Universities of Sarajevo and Bologna.



Recurrent Visiting Professor, Central European University of Budapest


Takis S. Pappas is a political scientist and author. He has held teaching and research positions at Central European University, Budapest, the European University Institute in Florence, Princeton University and Yale University among others. An expert on populism, democracy and contemporary European and Greek politics, Pappas has researched and published widely on these subjects. His latest book is On the Tightrope: National Crises and Brinkmanship in Greece from Trikoupis to Tsipras. He is now preparing a new comparative study under the title Illiberal Democracy: How Populism Grows to Menace Democracy. Pappas holds a Ph.D. in Political Sociology from Yale University.



City Manager’s Office, International Relations and Networking, European Policy on Social Inclusion and Welfare, City of Ghent


After graduating in Social Pedagogy she started her career as street corner worker with male prostitutes in Ghent. After this five-years-long exciting challenge, she became lecturer in didactical management and later Programme Coordinator at the Teacher Training Academy in Alost. In 2007 she returned to Ghent to lead the Integration Service of the City. She specialises in Diversity Management and European Studies, whereshe is now responsible for European Policy on Social Inclusion and Welfare within the City and is a doctoral student at the Ghent University working on Europeanisation through dissemination of standards. She strives to support the most vulnerable groups in society by removing barriers to the political and social participation of all the most vulnerable groups.

Panel discussion 3: Gender Equality and Political Empowerment of Women: A Populist Reaction?

9 November 2017 - 9.00-10.30 - Palais de l'Europe, Room 8

Interpretation FR/EN

Sponsored by the Community of Democracies, UNDP and International IDEA

The advancement of Gender Equality and Political Empowerment of Women is an ongoing issue across nation states worldwide, with divergence in shades and levels in which these two concepts are approached, managed and used in politics, economics, and social and cultural interactions.

Unequal opportunities and conditions for political participation and representation between men and women still exist worldwide. Women remain under represented from the structures of governance that determine political and legislative priorities.

The low numbers of women’s participation continue despite decades of efforts by international and regional organizations, as well as by national governments to eliminate discrimination against women and promote the empowerment of women. The International Parliamentary Union (IPU) data show that in the world´s parliaments today, women hold 22 percent of the seats.

Organised by the Community of Democracies, UNDP and International IDEA as a part of the ongoing Advancing Women’s Political Participation project, this session will discuss the main challenges and opportunities faced on the race to advance gender equality and political empowerment of women, in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It will touch on the question of is gender equality a systemic goal or is it consider an instrument of the populist discourse?

moderator moderator


Director, International IDEA’s Office in Brussels

South Africa

Andrew Bradley heads the Office of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) to the EU in Brussels, Belgium.  He was previously the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Human Development of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States. Prior to that, he was a diplomat and served in South African Embassies and Missions in Canada, Switzerland and Belgium.

panelists panelists


Programme Officer for Partnership Development and Resource Mobilization at International IDEA

Luis José Consuegra is the Programme Officer for Partnership Development and Resource Mobilization at International IDEA, since 2015, where he coordinates the Inter-Regional Dialogue on Democracy (IRDD.) Prior to working at International IDEA, he worked on External Relations and International Affairs at the Organization of American States (OAS), at the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Universidad del Norte in Colombia. He holds a BA from Universidad del Norte en Colombia and an MA in International Studies from American University in Washington, D.C.

IGNAT Victoria

Victoria IGNAT

Project Manager – Women in Politics UNDP

Republic of Moldova

Victoria Ignat is with UNDP Moldova Country Office since 2010. Currently she is the UNDP Project Manager of the flagship programme “Women in Politics” implemented jointly with UN Women and funded by the Government of Sweden. Ms. Ignat is managing the conceptual and operational management of the programmatic interventions under UNDP, with focus on building capacities of the Parliament of Moldova, Central Electoral Commission, Local and District Authorities, as well as CSOs in integrating a strong gender perspective in political and electoral processes and within the respective institutions.



Head of the Gender Equality Unit, Council of Europe

Carolina Lasén Diaz joined the Council of Europe in 2005. She has been the Head of the Gender Equality Unit for three years. She previously worked in the secretariat of the Council of Europe’s monitoring mechanism on action against trafficking in human beings (GRETA). Prior to her arrival at the Council of Europe, Carolina lived in the United Kingdom (from 1997 to 2004), where she provided legal advice on international and EU law. She holds a Law Degree from Madrid’s Complutense University and a Master in EU Law.



Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women Issues and Gender Equality, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland


Currently serving as Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women Issues and Gender Equality, Anne Meskanen obtained an M.A in Political Science from the University of Helsinki and joined the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1996. At that time, she published Women at the European Forums, a book on women facing challenges within the European Union. Since then, she has held diplomatic service posts in the Finnish Embassies of Romania, Syria and Kosovo, as well as with the Finnish Mission to the United Nations in New York. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Ambassador to Afghanistan.



Planning Manager to the Secretary General of the Community of Democracies and coordinator for the CoD Working Group on Women and Democracy

Jason Worlledge is the Planning Manager to the Secretary General of the Community of Democracies and coordinator for the CoD Working Group on Women and Democracy. Prior to joining the CoD, Jason was the Executive Director of the European Academy of Diplomacy, with a focus on capacity building projects for Eastern Partnership countries (EaP). He is the co-founder of the Visegrad School of Political Studies, Warsaw Security Forum and served as the Operations Manager at the Casimir Pulaski Foundation think-tank in Warsaw, Poland. Jason holds an MBA from London Business School and undergraduate degrees in change management & organizational development.