EIUC and GTZ Conference on "Promoting sustainable democracy"

The EIUC and GTZ International conference on Promoting sustainable democracy: concepts, experiences, trends took place on 14-16 July 2006 in Venice, Monastery of San Nicolò. The conference was officially opened by Prof. Horst Fischer, EIUC President. Among the guest speakers were Ms Karen Fogg, Policy Coordinator, European Commission – DG External Relations; Prof. Thomas Carothers, Director of the Democracy and Rule of Law Project, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington;

Prof. Wolfgang Merkel, Director Research Unit Democracy, WZB-Social Science Research Centre, Berlin / Humboldt University; Mr. Vidar Helgesen, Secretary-General, IDEA – International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance; Mr. Ignacio Walker, President, CIEPLAN (Corporación de Estudios para América Latina); Dr. Dele Olowu, Principal Governance Specialist, African Development Bank; Dr. Albrecht Stockmayer, Head of Section Governance-Gender - Division Governance and Democracy, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH; Prof. Christian Pippan, Lecturer, Institute of International Law and International Relations, University of Graz; Major General (ret.) Holger Sammet, GTZ Advisor, Yerewan, Armenia; Dr. Vladimir Shkolnikov, Head of Democratisation Department, ODIHR (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights); Dr. Martin Beck, Senior research fellow at the German Institute for Middle East Studies; Mr. Carlos Santiso, Governance advisor, UK Department for International Development (DFID); Mr. Petre Roman, Senator, Former Prime Minister of Romania, Club de Madrid; Mr. Wilhelm Hofmeister, Director of the Study Centre of Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Brazil; Dr. Eduard Westreicher, Head of Division Governance, Democracy, Human Rights Chair, OECD/DAC Network on Governance, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Background and basic elements on the conference

To promote democracy is a focus of national policies and international programmes as well as the core activity of major institutions from different continents. In the on-going debate among different actors about the underlying theoretical foundations and concepts of democracy promotion, several fundamental elements have been identified as crucial to successful promotion. However, the specific contribution of such elements to the sustainability of democracy in different regional and national contexts has not yet been sufficiently explored, in particular taking into account the new challenges that democracy is facing.

The interdisciplinary conference with participants representing international institutions and organizations, academia and organizations active in the field aims at identifying and analyzing the central concepts, experiences and trends in democracy promotion as well as the new threats to democracy. Methods and means will be identified to respond to the current challenges and develop models for promoting sustainable democracy. The conference will identify assumptions, dilemmas and choices in democracy promotion and will deal with five thematic areas which together form the fundamental pillars of successful democracy promotion. Twelve introductory speeches will highlight the current challenges related to the thematic areas based on specific country experiences or scholarly and institutional analysis. A final panel discussion of the results of all sessions will outline the orientation for the future.

The conference is the second in a series of academic and action-oriented conferences jointly organized by EIUC and GTZ. The first conference held in Venice, Italy, in July 2005 dealt with the topic: Equality in Economic Development. The third conference is being planned to take place in Seville, Spain, in the Spring of 2007.

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