8 November 2022, 11.30-13.00 - Room 5 – Palais de l’Europe

Interpretation: EN/FR

Many political theories focus on explaining why States, societies or voters do what they do with their power, but it is democracy’s everyday routines, the mechanisms of public institutions and behaviours of citizens which determine how political power is allocated. There can often be a real disconnect between political rhetoric or electoral campaigns and the imperatives of governance. In today’s world it is not always clear whether public opinion drives political agendas or vice versa, nor is it clear if what politicians will do to get into office is indicative of what they will do when in office.

What can the lived experience of democracy activists and political parties teach us? Why does the power of the “what or who we are against” argument seem often to overwhelm the impact of the “what or who we are for” argument in politics? What can we learn from the experiences of how politics is done in different societies? Does it remain true that in a democracy the most important task is to convince a majority to support your ideas?

Forum Talk 3: Persuasion or Polarisation?
Palais de l'Europe, room 5 8 November 2022 - 11.30-13.00
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Full screen: ENFR / ORIGINAL

moderator moderator
PERRY Valery

Valery PERRY

Senior Associate, Democratization Policy Council

Valery Perry has worked in the Western Balkans since the late 1990s, conducting research and working for organizations including the Democratization Policy Council (DPC), the European Center for Minority Issues (ECMI), the Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG), the NATO Stabilization Force (SFOR), the OSCE, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and several NGOs. She received a PhD from George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, has published widely, has spoken at events in the United States and throughout Europe, and has testified at the U.S. Congress. Her first documentary film, Looking for Dayton, was screened at the 26th Sarajevo Film Festival in August 2020. She lives in Sarajevo.

panel panel


Research Officer at The Balkan Forum

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Samir Beharić is an award-winning youth activist and a Research Officer at The Balkan Forum. His human rights activism was recognized by the OSCE honoring him with the Max van der Stoel Award for his efforts in the prevention of further ethnic segregation of schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Previously, he served as the Lantos Congressional Fellow in the U.S. Congress, as well as a Schuman Trainee at the European Parliament. Beharić received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Sarajevo, and his Master’s from the University of Vienna and Leipzig University. He is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Bamberg.



Campaign strategist and Founder of Mandate


Tomislav Damnjanovic has been a campaign strategist for the last 22 years, campaign consultant & manager, and trainer for many European, Middle East, and African political parties. He is the owner and CEO of ‘A Media’ which works on strategic decisions, crisis, and classic PR with companies in the Balkan region but also, he is the owner of ‘Mandate’ which works on political campaigns. In the Serbian community he is also well known as a media consultant – with the team in his private company won many awards. He was the producer of several documentaries awarded movies – Why they whisper in church, Heads down / hands-on back and the TV serial “Camp is the address” which consisted of four 24 minutes programs dealing with controversies of Nazi camps in Belgrade during WW II.



Deputy chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, the Parliament of Georgia


George (Giorgi) Khelashvili (born 29 April 1975) is a Georgian politician, and serves as member of Parliament of Georgia from the Georgian Dream faction, in a position of the deputy chair of the Foreign Relations Committee.

O LYNN Patricia

Patricia O’LYNN

Member of the Legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland, Alliance Party

Northern Ireland

discussant discussant

Despoina PANTELI

Youth Delegate


I am Despoina from Greece, and I am studying “European Governance” in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. As a student in that field, I am very invested in research about democracy, democratic legitimacy and dealing with the democratic deficit especially in the EU and its neighboring countries. I have been a Young European Ambassador under the EU Neighbours East project since 2018. Our core aim as YEAs is to connect young people from the Eastern Partnership Countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine) and the EU member states and the UK. One of the main focus points of the project is to have an exchange of democratic ideals between the youth and empower them to make a change in their local communities.

WOLF GOLAN Dalit 2022


Eco Peace Middle East, Democracy Innovation Award Winner 2021


She is the Israeli Deputy Director and Regional Development Director of EcoPeace Middle East. Through EcoPeace, Dalit contributes to environmental sustainability and peacebuilding in one of the most challenging environments imaginable. EcoPeace shows Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians how their national destinies and self-interests are inextricably linked to their environment, and thus to each other; encouraging action across conflict lines to advance solutions to pressing environmental concerns. Dalit develops strategic initiatives and partnerships. She is passionate about projects that engage youth in combating climate change and digital technology. Dalit has a degree in psychology and is a certified mediator. 

rapporteur rapporteur


Political Science student