Lessons from 1989: Reinvigorating Democracy in Europe | Freedom House

Lessons from 1989: Reinvigorating Democracy in Europe

Mark Palmer Forum
for the Advancement of Democracy Annual Conference

Lessons from 1989: Reinvigorating Democracy in Europe

Thursday, October 17, 2019
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Registration and a light breakfast will begin at 8:30 a.m.

Freedom House
1850 M Street NW
Suite 1100
Washington, D.C. 20036

November 9, 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. This event, combined with the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, cleared the way for the formation or restoration of liberal democratic institutions not only in Eastern Europe, but around the world.

But, this surge of progress has begun to roll back. Many countries have struggled to accommodate the political swings and contentious debates intrinsic to democracy. In Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans, antidemocratic leaders are undermining democracy by weakening democratic institutions, restricting freedom of expression and attacking the media, and in some cases even consolidating power beyond constitutional limits.

This conference will seek to examine the biggest challenges facing democracy in Central and Eastern European states today, how lessons from 1989-1991 can be applied to present circumstances, and how the United States and other democracies can work to reinvigorate democracy in the region.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House
  • Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Washington Post columnist, and professor of practice at the London School of Economics
  • Timothy Garton Ash, author, historian, Professor of European Studies in the University of Oxford, Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University
  • Alex T. Johnson, chief of staff at the U.S. Helsinki Commission
  • James Kirchick, author, columnist, and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution
  • Lindsay Lloyd, director of the Human Freedom Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute
  • Malgorzata Szuleka, lawyer and advocacy officer at the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in Poland
  • Vessela Tcherneva, deputy director of the European Council on Foreign Relations
  • Ambassador Kurt Volker, executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University
  • Edit Zgut, political scientist and visiting lecturer at University of Warsaw

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