openDemocracy and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) are launching a major debate on the current state of democracy support in the world
The debate will be published in a series of articles and discussions between November 2008 and June 2009.
It will include articles commissioned by both openDemocracy and IDEA, and a debate forum with contributors from members and associates of both organisations, authors and citizens.
The starting-point of the debate is a sense that the world is in a critical period of questioning about democracy and the prospects of political change. The notion of democracy support has been one of the shaping ideas of the post-1989 world; now it needs to be reconsidered and re-evaluated in light of the leading events in the 2000s - the experience of intervention and war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the rise of powerful authoritarianisms in the non-western world, the problems of populism and alienation in liberal-democratic states, the challenges to democratic ideas from faith-based and ethno-nationalist currents.
These developments have put the problems and prospects of democracy support (indeed of democracy itself) under renewed scrutiny. The heart of the IDEA/openDemocracy project is to consider these issues in a global perspective, with contributions from around the world - by experts in the field, scholars, activists, journalists, advisers - that both attend to the integrity of particular countries and regions and speak to an imagined community of global citizens.
This is an exciting but daunting political era - where the political landscape in the United States is being transformed, yet where the power-relations in the international order are in flux as new voices emerge. There is no better time to ask: what are the lessons of democracy support in the past generation - and where does it go from here?
Notes to Editors:
openDemocracy (www.openDemocracy.net) is an independent website on global current affairs seeking to build an informed community committed to the values of human rights, free speech and democracy.
For more information on the new oD/IDEA debate see http://www.opendemocracy.net/idea
Or contact David Hayes at openDemocracy:
E: david.hayes (at) opendemocracy.net
T: (+44) (0) 20 7193 0676