Democracy’s “third wave”—the spectacular blossoming of open political systems after the Cold War—is receding. In Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, major democracies are now backsliding toward authoritarianism. And in the West populist candidates proposing illiberal policies are achieving previously unimaginable success.
Democracy is facing a global crisis of confidence. The failures of elected governments to respond to the disruptive effects of globalization and technological change, and tackle the resulting inequality, corruption, and political dysfunction, are fostering a culture of cynicism. At the same time new forms of political communication are altering the tone of political discourse in ways that erode faith in elites and institutions.
What comes next for the world’s democracies? Can governments and civil society bridge the growing disconnect between citizens and their elected leaders? Can open political systems be retooled to confront the complexity and volatility of the global age? Policy experts, researchers, and practitioners will convene at this half-day symposium to examine the retreat and renewal of global democracy.
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