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Democracy Week
15-17 September 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on our lives with far-reaching consequences for democratic space and pluralism, social and economic equality, and geopolitical balances. At a time of crisis, it is more important than ever to protect and promote democracy.

The new US administration and the EU’s renewed commitment to multilateralism hint at a renewed global momentum to safeguard global security, democracy and stability. As President Biden stated during his appearance at the European Council in March, the US is determined to ‘re-energize our cooperation. And deepen this historic bond’. That is why we are proud to organise International Democracy Day as a week of events from 15-17 September, on the theme ‘Stronger Together: Partnerships for supporting democracy’.

With a focus on the renewed global democracy agenda, the 2021 Democracy Week will feature an exciting line-up of international speakers from across the democracy spectrum who will speak of their experiences of democracy partnerships, from inter-state cooperation, transnational and trans-sectoral partnerships to local initiatives.


To mark IDD 2021, this coffee-table talk will bring together democratic leaders from the Global North and South. The conversation will serve as a space to define forward-looking and inclusive commitments for the future of democracy, and to highlight ongoing multilateral and strategic cooperation between transatlantic and global actors.


  • Keynote speech by Eamon Gilmore, EU Special Representative for Human Rights
  • Uzra Zeya, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights (TBC)
  • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia

Moderator: Maria Koomen, Lead of Open Governance Network for Europe

In this session, European political foundations will present their partnerships for democracy in the Eastern Partnership country of Georgia. Together with Georgian counterparts, they will reflect on their activities and draw lessons for international democratisation efforts. How do the different European and Georgian foundations operate in Georgia? How do they evaluate their programmes? And how does the political context affect democratisation initiatives?

Speakers TBA soon.

This debate brings together key trans-Atlantic and multi-stakeholder speakers on democracy and technology from the fields of politics and the tech industry, as well as from the Global South. It will discuss pertinent questions including: How can big tech work with actors such as governments, political parties, civil society and international organizations to defend democracy online? How to ensure the inclusion and voice of the Global South in setting common standards?


  • Kim Van Sparrentak, MEP and Member of the Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age
  • US political representative (tbc)
  • Jan Neutze, Senior Director, Defending Democracy programme, Microsoft
  • Prof. Fabro Steibel, Executive Director, Instituto de Tecnologia & Sociedade Rio de Janeiro

Moderator: Peter Wolf, Senior Expert on digital technologies, International IDEA

As governments throughout the European neighbourhood have continued to respond to the COVID-19 health emergency and react to deepening economic crises, civil society and independent media are playing a crucial role in building and defending democracy. This session will welcome a range of speakers from the MENA region and the Western Balkans, including civil activists and independent journalists, to discuss their instrumental role in protecting and strengthening democracy.


  • Welcome words by Maria Arena, MEP (tbc)
  • Share Foundation, Serbia (digital security and privacy)
  • Center for Spatial Justice, Turkey (urban and environmental justice)
  • Civil society organisation from Libya (tbc)

Moderator: Ece Temelkuran, writer and journalist

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