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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.


The fall of Kabul four weeks ago has highlighted the failure of nearly 20 years of nation-building and raises questions about the effectiveness of democracy support. Executive Directors and representatives of leading European democracy support organisations will review what recent events in Afghanistan mean for democracy support at a time when democracy faces severe challenges, but retains significant support from citizens around the world. Speakers will discuss lessons to be learned, and the kinds of democracy support now possible in Afghanistan and other countries worldwide, and will look at success stories of the recent past.


  • Jerzy Pomianowski, Executive Director of European Endowment for Democracy
  • Leena Rikkila Tamang, Regional Director for Asia and Pacific, International IDEA
  • Magdalena Kirchner, Head of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Office in Kabul
  • Ken Godfrey, Executive Director of the European Partnership for Democracy

Moderator: Alistair Scrutton, Head of Communications and Knowledge Management, International IDEA

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 
  • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia

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

The European Commission has updated the EU Toolbox on the Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA). It provides practical tools, guidance and examples, for placing the individuals and their human rights at the centre of international partnerships. The Toolbox aims at strengthening democracy through participation, non-discrimination, transparency and accountability.

In this session, Ms Chiara Adamo, Acting Director INTPA Human development, Migration, Governance and Peace will present the main features of the newly adopted HRBA toolbox, followed by a discussion that focuses on the key relevance of the HRBA for development cooperation and the promotion of democracy and good governance.


  • Welcome and introduction by Chiara Adamo, Acting Director INTPA Human development, Migration, Governance and Peace
  • Christine Lundberg, quality manager HRBA
  • Marie Dominique Parent, Deputy Representative, OHCHR Europe
  • Pepijn Gerrits, Director at the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, co-organiser of the Democracy week

Moderator: Thomas Millar, Head of Democracy and Rule of Law Sector, DG INTPA

In this session, ENoP member organisations – from three different political families – will present their partnerships for democracy in the Eastern Partnership country of Georgia. Together with their Georgian partner organisations 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?


  • Levan Tsutskiridze, Executive Director, Eastern European Centre for Multiparty Democracy
  • Lilia Chikhladze, Programme Coordinator for Democratisation Programme, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Tbilisi Office
  • Christian Luijkx, International Officeer, Haya van Someren Foundation
  • Astrid Frey, Programme Manager, Eduardo Frei Foundation

Moderator: Hoba Gull, International Officer, International Democratic Initiative Foundation and Chair of ENoP Working Group Democracy

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 (Video)
  • Brando BenifeiMember of the European Parliament (Italy) and Member of the Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (Video)
  • Moira Whelan, Director for Democracy and Technology, National Democracy Institute
  • Cornelia Kutterer, Senior Director, Rule of Law & Responsible Tech, European Government Affairs, 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, Chair of DROI subcommittee
  • Danilo Krivokapić, Share Foundation, Serbia
  • Yaşar Adnan Adanali, Center for Spatial Justice, Turkey
  • Yara El Murr, The Public Source, Lebanon

Moderator: Ece Temelkuran, writer and journalist

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