World Forum for Democracy. Freedom vs Control: For a Democratic Response, 18-20 November 2015, Strasbourg, France

Publish Date: Oct 05, 2015

Deadline: Oct 16, 2015

Event Dates: from Nov 18, 2015 12:00 to Nov 20, 2015 12:00

Democracies across the world feel increasingly vulnerable to a diverse range of threats – from violent extremism to economic, technological, environmental and geopolitical risks. Fear, and particularly the fear generated by violent attacks such as those carried out in 2015 in Paris, Copenhagen and in other parts of the world, destabilises societies. The lack of guarantees for the protection of personal data sharpens anxieties. In this context, the growing tension between the concern for safety and the protection of freedoms is one of the key challenges facing democracies today.

How to maintain a balance between security and freedom in a democratic society under threat? Can democracies resist the escalation of fear and formulate responses based on civic responsibility and active citizenship? Can they deal effectively with security risks linked to the digital revolution without jeopardising individual rights and freedoms, the benefits of the digital revolution and democratic institutions?  

These questions will be in focus at the 2015 World Forum for Democracy.

The Forum will consist of plenary sessions with high-level speakers. Three such plenary sessions have been foreseen:

  • Surveillance– what is the right dose?
  • Lifting the veil of fear – building trust and resilience in diverse societies
  • Media responsibility in “the age of terror”

A closing plenary session will summarise inputs and draw up conclusions.

In addition to the plenary sessions, smaller sessions/labs (19 in all) will critically assess realised initiatives or novel ideas corresponding to the Forum’s themes. The key conclusions and lessons learnt from the labs will be discussed in a summing up session between rapporteurs in order to prepare the Forum’s overall conclusions.

The Forum will also include a Hackathon (a term combining a “hack” – solution – and marathon) for the creation of an incubator of democratic innovation at the Council of Europe. The Hackaton will enable spontaneous discussions, fresh ideas and new alliances to emerge between Forum alumni and other social innovators. The aim of the Hackathon is to develop strategies for increasing the impact and reach of democracy innovations in institutionalised decision-making.

Cartoonists will illustrate the lab sessions live.

Participation in the Forum is free of charge and open to the public.

Online registration for the World Forum for Democracy 2015 is open!

Participation in the Forum is free of charge and open to the public.

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