Event Reports 09/11/2022

World Forum for Democracy 2022

On 7-9 November 2022 the Council of Europe convened its 10th annual World Democracy Forum at the Palais de l’Europe in Strasbourg under the title “Democracy – A New Hope?”, organised in partnership with the French government, the region Grand Est, the territorial authority of Alsace and the city of Strasbourg.

Academic experts, journalists and high level officials from the Council of Europe and member states as well as the European Union and international organisations introduced the theme of the conference, “Democracy – A New Hope?”, in a series of panels on day one. The common threat running through the contributions were the multiple challenges to democratic institutions and actors from within societies and posed by foreign interference but also the question, what trends provide possibilities to (re-)strengthen democracy – and therefore give hope for joint action.

In more participatory formats on day two, thematic “labs” and “fora” took a deep dive in a wide range of issues, from (youth) participation, education, the role of historical narratives and digitalisation to anti-discrimination, the fight against corruption and media. Whereas the previous day the policy level had been the focus, various workshops presented specific initiatives such as story telling projects to make marginalised voices heard to digital platforms to enable citizens to collect data for civil society election observation. Officials of diplomatic missions to the Council of Europe and Ministries of Foreign Affairs, activists, practitioners and academics engaged in the discussions and exemplified that democracy and democracy support requires different groups of actors on various levels to act together. Youth delegates from Council of Europe member states and beyond contributed their perspectives throughout the whole conference and underscored the Council of Europe’s commitment to strengthen the participation of young people.

The last day summed up the event by the presentation of observations of rapporteurs of the various events and on youth as well as gender. Their reports will serve the Council of Europe to ensure that the debates of the conference will provide impulses and reflection for the institution’s operations and policy throughout the whole year.

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