6 November 2023 - 14.30-16.00 / Hemicycle of the European Parliament (access via the Palais de l’Europe)

Interpretation FR/EN

Injustice and inequality are themselves a perpetual source of conflict. Democracies have delivered the highest standards for human and civil rights in our history.

The impressive rise in living standards in the last decades has meanwhile been accompanied by rapidly growing income and wealth disparities. Social and economic rights are therefore now at the centre of debates. In some democracies poverty is increasing, and many citizens feel that their societies are sliding backwards. Is this in and of itself, a threat to peace? Is the peaceful society not only a society without war, but also one where citizens live with the peace of mind that comes with security and opportunity? How do we get there? How to avoid that the wounds of the past become the source of injustice in the present; that remembrance serves not only to reduce conflict, but also to build durable peace? Can democracy's particular assets such as equality, citizen participation, the rule of law, freedom of expression, be put to better advantage in the waging of peace?

World Forum for Democracy 2023: Plenary 2 and 3

Full screen: ENFR / ORIGINAL

Hemicycle of the European Parliament 6 November 2023 - 14.30-17.30
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GERLACH Annette 2023


Journalist and TV-Host, ARTE

Annette Gerlach from Berlin is a bilingual journalist and TV host for ARTE, the European cultural channel she joined when it was founded in 1992. She presents the daily news programme as well as prestigious live music events from La Scala in Milan, La Fenice in Venice, the Paris Opera, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Salzburg Festival, and the Savonlinna Festival in Finland. She is also in charge of developing Educ'ARTE and ARTE Campus in Germany, ARTE's educational tools for schools and universities. Annette Gerlach is a regular speaker at conferences, round tables, symposia or award ceremonies for the Council of Europe or the European Parliament, among other institutions and associations. She also does coaching for television and stage presentations.

TAYLOR Alex 2023


European journalist

Alex Taylor is a European journalist. He has produced and presented TV and radio programmes for 30 years, mainly on French TV and radio (France Télévisions, France Inter), but also for international broadcasters (Euronews, TV5 Monde, ARTE, BBC). He was Programme Director for Radio France Internationale in charge of implementing the current 24 hours news format. Parallel to journalism, he has hosted some 1 500 international conferences on a wide variety of topics, especially environmental issues. He has also written a best seller on his passion, languages, of which he speaks (more or less) 7. He also once worked as a camel trainer in a circus.


Estelle DEPRIS

Activist and creator of Sansblancderien


Estelle Depris, a Belgian consultant, speaker, and activist, raises awareness about racial discrimination and whiteness. With a degree in applied communication and a master's in continuing education, she utilizes her influential Instagram account 'Sans Blanc de Rien' to urge white individuals to acknowledge racism. Boasting over 90,000 followers, she inspires each person to become a change agent. Committed to recognizing racial trauma and its often unseen effects on mental health, Estelle Depris embodies the new generation of anti-racists, connected to contemporary issues of discrimination, reflecting the aspiration for a genuine democracy where equality becomes a reality for all.



AO, KC, former President of the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone and author of "Crimes Against Humanity - The Struggle for Global Justice"

United Kingdom

Geoffrey Robertson AO KC is founder and head of Doughty Street Chambers, Europe’s largest human rights practice. He was the first President of the UN’s special war crimes court for Sierra Leone and has acted in many leading cases in the European Court of Human Rights and the UNHRC, most recently for Lula. He is the author of 20 books, including ‘Crimes against Humanity – The Struggle for Global Justice’ (Penguin 5th edition 2024) and he is a master of the Middle Temple and a visiting profession in human rights law at Goldsmiths college, London University.



Member of the Montana House of Representatives


In 2022, Zooey Zephyr became the first trans woman elected to public office in the state of Montana. Throughout her time in office, Representative Zephyr has been a fierce advocate for affordable housing, healthcare, and human rights throughout Montana.  In 2023, Representative Zephyr made national news when she said that legislators who voted yes on a gender-affirming care ban would have “blood on their hands.” After her speech, Republican leadership refused to allow her to speak on any bills, effectively removing her ability to represent her constituents in debate on the House floor. When Montanans protested that decision, chanting “let her speak,” Representative Zephyr raised her microphone in support of the protestors and was subsequently banned from the House floor by the state’s Republican supermajority. Representative Zephyr then continued working from the public area outside the House chambers, and since the legislature adjourned, she has travelled the country building coalition in the fight for civil rights.