Democracy News

CCD to Co-Host Conference in Paris on Pluralism in the Arab World
December 5, 2012
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The Council for a Community of Democracies (CCD) and the European Council on Foreign Relations are hosting a conference entitled “Pluralism and Democracy: Prospects for the Arab Middle East and North Africa” from December 6-7 at the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris. The two day conference will feature panels and lectures by experts, among whom are several members of the nongovernmental International Steering Committee of the Community of Democracies (ISC/CD). The conference has been organized by Canadian Ambassador and CCD Board member Jeremy Kinsman and Anthony Dworkin, Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

Several questions that will be asked throughout the conference include: “After the wave of uprisings that swept across the Middle East and North Africa in 2011, a debate of vital significance appears to be playing out across the region. How far will the dramatic changes of the last 18 months – and the more gradual reform processes that may be following in their wake – lead to unified societies, where the people are able collectively to take control of their countries’ future in an inclusive way? And how far, conversely, will political opening and the disruption it entails, in complex societies with often difficult historical legacies, lead to division and political settlements that do not have consensual support?”

Regional panels will convene to discuss pluralism in Northern Africa and the Middle East, respectively. Topical panels will weave the issue of pluralism into discussions about political life, constitutions, law and governance, citizen engagement, and international cooperation. CCD President Bob LaGamma will chair the panel on “Citizen Engagement in the Democratic Process.” The session will “look at the role of citizens in a pluralistic democracy and the kind of engagement that is necessary to sustain it.” Among the questions to be asked of the panelists are: “What is the place of social movements in ensuring that the interests and viewpoints of all groups are fairly represented? What kind of education can help to foster democratic ideals and mutual respect among people? What are the most important steps in helping to develop a culture of democracy across the Middle East and North Africa, where some countries have little historic experience of pluralistic politics?” Democracy Dialogue featured LaGamma’s prepared remarks for the panel in November.

To read LaGamma’s remarks on citizen engagement, please click here.



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