World Forum for Democracy: Women, NGO activism and the development of inclusive politics

In this podcast, Jutta Gützkow looks forward to the 7 October inclusive democracy debate, the curtain raiser to the start of the World Forum for Democracy.

Some 150 activists from civil society organisations in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America will gather in Strasbourg for the event, organised by the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe.

A key theme of the conference will be the development of inclusive democracies for women. Lina Ben Mhenni, author of the ‘Tunisian Girl’ blog and Sima Samar, the Afghan former minister, who has just won the alternative Nobel prize for her achievements, have both confirmed their participation.

“We have speakers from India, Afghanistan, Greece and Germany, who are very active,” says Jutta, head of the Council of Europe’s Civil Society division. “It’s a broad spectrum. Our aim is to listen and then to bring this message to the debates of the World Forum.”

Event: Follow the Council of Europe’s World Forum for Democracy (5-11 October) on the web, Facebook and Twitter #CoE_WFD

World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg

The World Forum for Democracy, an initiative of the Council of Europe, will be held in Strasbourg from 5 to 11 October 2012 on the theme “Bridging the gap: democracy between old models and new realities”.

Which forces will be shaping democratic societies in the future? Will the emerging voices of the Arab Spring bring about lasting stability? And can they be a source of inspiration for reforms in established Western democracies? These are amongst topics that will be debated by over one thousand people from about one hundred countries in an attempt to determine how democracies can respond to citizens’ expectations, while respecting their diverse values and traditions. Leading public figures, political and academic experts, national and European parliamentarians and local elected representatives will participate in the discussions alongside civil society activists, bloggers and members of the public.

The Forum will be opened by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Nobel Peace Prize winner for 2011 Tawakkol Karman and Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki. Immediately after the opening addresses, Morocco’s Head of Government Abdelilah Benkirane, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and a number of other international figures will discuss the relationship between democracy and the economy. The closing session, on Thursday 11 October, will be addressed by Nawal El Saadawi, the Egyptian writer and winner of the North-South Prize for 2004.

Full programme

A debate on “Media responsibility and potential to foster democracy” will take place in the Assembly Chamber on Tuesday 9 October from 1.30 to 3 pm. The panel will include Tawakkol Karman, Ali Farzat, Eynullah Fatullayev, Moez Masoud, Ksenia Sobchak, Kadri Gürsel and Jillian York. Melissa Eddy of the International Herald Tribune will chair the panel.

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