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March 03, 2015

INTERNATIONAL PARLIAMENTARY MEETING

 

INTERNATIONAL PARLIAMENTARY MEETING

 

State of Democracy around the Globe: Current Challenges and Future Prospects

 

9–10 March 2015

Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania

 

More than 20 years ago, when the world observed the collapse of the Soviet Union and the triumph of freedom, democracy and free-market economy, the prominent political scientist, Francis Fukuyama, optimistically predicted the inevitable triumph of liberal democracy and the end of history in his celebrated book The End of History and the Last Man. Samuel Huntington, a famous political scientist dealing with the development of democracy and associated processes, described what was happening at the time as the third wave of democratisation, which began in Spain and Portugal in the 1970s and reached its peak with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

However, according to the Freedom House’s annual country-by-country report on global political rights and civil liberties, “the state of freedom declined for the eighth consecutive year in 2013.”

Today, democratic movements in many countries are weakening, while undemocratic regimes are posing a threat to international security and stability around the world, the international community of democracies needs to unanimously take action in order to alleviate the situation and avoid the repetition of the painful lessons of history. As the Irish writer, S. M. Sigerson, puts it, “History repeats itself. As do the methods used by those specialising in the elimination of leaders who unite people into a strong force for dignity, justice and self-determination.”

While marking the 25th anniversary of the restoration of Lithuania’s independence and in the lead-up to the International Parliamentary Meeting, we suggest looking at the most important international agreements and decisions which paved way for successful creation of democratic states, and evaluating the factors for sustainable democratic development. Along with the celebration of the success, it is also imperative to notice and discuss current concerns, challenges and threats to democracy in different parts of the globe. The world today witnesses the whole range of alarming trends: from the rebirth of revisionism and indulgence in power games to open military actions, from the rise of radical movements to outrageous terrorist acts. In the face of threats arising to international law and order, it becomes important for states and societies to counter the negative and remain true to the fundamental democracy values, prevent the shrinking of democratic space and to reverse these trends. Democracies encounter the challenge to search for effective ways to consolidate the progress achieved and invest in strengthening the global resistance to the advance of non-democratic powers.

The International Parliamentary meeting initiated by the Parliamentary Forum of the Community of Democracies and due to be held in Vilnius on 10 March 2015 will provide the participants with an opportunity to examine the determinants conducive to successful establishment and development of democracies as well as address the most urgent negative factors threatening the democratic world. The meeting will aim at an exchange of views on the ways of consolidating the progressive forces and investing in the coming generations to stand for the democratic values globally.                   

 

 

 

DRAFT PROGRAMME

 

                                          

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

 

Venue: Constitution Hall

Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania

 

 

8.15–9.50

Registration

9.00–9.30

OPENING SESSION

Welcoming addresses

H.E. Mrs Loreta GRAUŽINIENĖ, Speaker of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania

Mr Neris GERMANAS, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania

Opening address

Hon. Emanuelis ZINGERIS, President of the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy, Signatory to the Act of Independence of Lithuania, Member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania

 

Opening session introductions by Ms Viktorija BRAŽIŪNAITĖ, Acting Secretary General of the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy, Chair of the Young Leaders Forum

9.30–10.45

PANEL I. PAST AND PRESENT DEMOCRATIC TRANSITIONS: FACTORS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT

 

The first panel focuses on the past and present democratic transitions, their unique historical context, as well as the lessons learnt and the main factors for successful sustainable democratic development in the future. Speakers of this panel will look not only at the most important international agreements and decisions, reforms and internal factors which paved the way for the successful creation of democratic states, but also at individual stories of how a single individual can tremendously impact the democratic development of a state.

 

Moderator: Mr Mark P. LAGON, President of Freedom House

 

  • Mr. Mustafa JEMILEV, Member of the Parliament of Ukraine
  • Prof. Vytautas LANDSBERGIS, Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania, Signatory of the Act of Independence of Lithuania, former Member of the European Parliament
  • Mr Anatoliy LIABEDZKA, Chairman of the United Civil Party of Belar0us
  • Mr Jón Baldvin HANNIBALSSON, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iceland

11.00–11.45

Coffee break (Seimas Cafeteria, Building 1)

11.45–13.05

PANEL II. DEMOCRACIES AROUND THE GLOBE: ISSUES, CHALLENGES AND THREATS

 

During the second panel, speakers will discuss the whole range of alarming trends in the world today: from the rebirth of revisionism and indulgence in power games to open military actions, and from the rise of radical movements to outrageous terrorist acts. In the face of threats arising to international law and order, it becomes important for the states and societies to counter the negative trends and remain true to the fundamental democratic values, to prevent the shrinking of the democratic space and to reverse these processes.

 

Moderator: Mr Karl ALTAU, Managing Director of the Joint Baltic American National Committee

 

Speakers:

 

  • Mr Boris NEMTSOV, Russian Opposition Leader (In Memoriam)
  • Mr Vladimir RYZHKOV, Leader of the movement Russia’s Democratic Choice
  • Mr Borys TARASYUK, Member of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Mr Jerzy POMIANOWSKI, Executive Director, European Endowment for Democracy
  • Mr Dhamir MANNAI, Tunisian Member of the Arab Parliament and former Deputy Speaker of the Tunisian National Assembly
  • Mr Audronius AŽUBALIS, Member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs

13.05–13.55

Debate

14.00–15.30

Lunch break (Seimas Restaurant, Building 3)

15.30–16.50

PANEL III. RESISTANCE TO NON-DEMOCRATIC REGIMES: STRENGTHENING AND CONSOLIDATING THE INTERNATIONAL DEMOCRATIC COMMUNITY FOR ACTION

The third session concentrates on joint projects on re-empowering the democratic community and increasing its resistance to non-democratic regimes. Speakers of the panel will examine factors conducive to successful establishment and development of democracies as well as address most urgent factors threatening the democratic world. The third panel will aim at exchanging views on the ways of consolidating progressive forces and investing in the coming generations to stand for the democratic values globally.

                  

Moderator: Ms Maria LEISSNER, Secretary General of the Community of Democracies

 

Speakers:

  • Mr John SHIMKUS, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Mr Giorgi KANDELAKI, Member of the Parliament of Georgia
  • Mr Jun Hong LU (Master LU), President of the Australian Chinese Buddhist Research Centre
  • Mr Artūras PAULAUSKAS, Chair of the Committee on National Security and Defence, Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania
  • Mr Ahmed Samih FARAG, Co-founder and Director, Andalus Institute For Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies in Egypt
  • Mr Yegana HAJIYEVA,  President of the Institute of Young Democrats

16.50–17.40

Debate

17.40–18.30

SUMMARISING AND CLOSING SESSION

FAMILY PHOTO

19.00–21.00                  

Reception in honour of the participants of the International Parliamentary Meeting on State of Democracy around the Globe: Current Challenges and Future Prospects and the International Forum on Challenges and Responsibilities in Contemporary Journalism (by invitation only)

 

Venue: Stained Glass Gallery of the Seimas, Building 1 (Address: Gedimino Ave. 53)

 

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

 

 

9.00

Departure of the participants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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