Revitalizing Democracy Support in Troubled Times
1850 M Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
The world has experienced a decade of decline in democracy, and the downward trajectory is accelerating. Nativist sentiments in the United States and Europe are weakening support for the liberal world order, while China is increasingly assertive in projecting its hard and soft power and its anti-democratic model. Citizen activism meanwhile offers new opportunities and innovation for change in repressive environments. The annual conference of the Mark Palmer Forum for the Advancement of Democracy will explore new policies and initiatives for these troubled times, with a focus on U.S. foreign policy, China, and citizen activism.
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Morning Keynote Speaker — 9:00 a.m.
The Honorable Ben Cardin
Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Introduction by Mark P. Lagon, President, Freedom House
Session 1 — 9:30 a.m. U.S. Policy in Defending Democracy
Growing nativist sentiments and public skepticism about international engagement are limiting U.S. capacity to support democracy abroad, even as the EU increasingly turns inward and the liberal world order comes under growing strain. Given these constraints, how can the next U.S. administration best defend democracy? What are the most effective diplomatic initiatives and resource priorities? Click here for the video recording of the panel discussion
Center for a New American Security
Director and Senior Fellow, Human Rights Initiative
Center for Strategic and International Studies
PEN American Center
The Washington Post
Coffee Break — 10:40 a.m.
Session 2 — 10:50 a.m. China: Repression and Response
Under President Xi Jinping, China has grown more repressive domestically and more assertive internationally in challenging democratic values. What do these trends portend for China’s future? How does repression in China affect U.S. interests? How can the United States and other democratic powers move to support human rights more effectively while maintaining dialogue with China? What can be done to better respond to the influence of China’s soft power? Click here for the video recording of the panel discussion
Senior research analyst for East Asia
Professor of Political Science
Director, China Policy Program
George Washington University
Rana Siu Inboden
Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law
University of Texas at Austin
Mark P. Lagon
Lunch — 12:00 p.m.
Afternoon Keynote Speaker — 12:30 p.m.
The Honorable Gordon H. Smith
President and CEO, National Association of Broadcasters
Introduction by Olin Wethington, Board Member, Freedom House
Session 3 — 12:50 p.m. Citizen Activism in the Digital Age
Political dynamism now emerges mainly from grassroots activism and informal networks, usually incubates and grows online, and often includes elements of artistic expression. This session features activists from different political environments providing show-and-tell of the cutting edge of modern activism. Click here for the video recording of the panel discussion
women’s right activist, Saudi Arabia
My Stealthy Freedom, Iran
Senior Researcher, Local Government Programme
Social Justice Coalition, South Africa
Managing Editor, Democracy Lab