Does Democracy Matter?

About the Conference

Negative experiences from state-building projects in Iraq and Afghanistan, the mixed record of democratic change in the former Soviet Union and the aftermath of Arab Spring have led many to question the efficacy of democracy promotion. Some argue that Western democracy support is ineffective at its best and counterproductive at its worst.

Is there a case for continuing efforts to encourage transitions to democracy? The unresolved Ukraine crisis has heightened the importance of this question.

Taking stock of democracy promotion over the past 30 years, what are its strengths and weaknesses? If U.S. and European democracy promotion should be continued, how can it be better targeted and reformed to more effectively advance democratization in post-authoritarian societies? If such assistance programs deserve to be terminated, should there be alternative policies to support human rights and other aspects of pluralism?

Confirmed Speakers Include:

  • Dr. Larry Diamond, Stanford University
  • Carl Gershman, National Endowment for Democracy
  • Thomas O. Melia, U.S. Department of State
  • Amb. Kenneth Yalowitz (ret.), Wilson Center
  • Christian Caryl, Foreign Policy and Legatum Institute
  • Dr. Nikolas Gvosdev, Naval War College
  • Dr. Barak Hoffman, World Bank
  • Amb. Adrian Basora (ret.), Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Dr. Sarah Bush, Foreign Policy Research Institute and Temple University
  • Melinda Haring, Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Dr. Tsveta Petrova, Harriman Institute, Columbia University
  • Michael Cecire, Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Dr. Michal Kořan, Prague Institute of International Relations

The conference will be LIVE webcast. Tune in at 9:00 AM EST on Monday, 20 October: http://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/does-democracy-matter

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