Forum on Democracy & Peace
“Growing Threats for Democracy Around the World”
(Berlin; February 21st – 24th, 2024) – Held Parallel to the Berlin Film Festival 2024
The World Forum on Democracy & Peace 2024 will take place in Berlin from February 21st – 24th, 2024 and will focus on the current threats to democracies worldwide.
For decades, all forms of the arts have served as powerful, effective vehicles to inspire and enable people to build diplomatic, cultural and economic bridges and come together towards prosperous peaceful relations. Over the course of many years, people have discovered the unique potential of the arts and in particular cinema, music, painting, sculpture and performing arts to transcend cultures, serving as common languages to bring together different groups and communities in order to promote democracy, justice and human rights. The power of film & arts to build peace will be discussed during the conference and the immense transformative value that the arts hold as vehicles of Cultural Diplomacy to promote democracy and human rights will be examined.
After years of successful globalization and development, the world is facing major risks and inevitable conflicts. The growing tension between the major powers, that spans from trade wars to armed conflicts is developing quickly and the momentum has turned to negative direction. Events that up until a decade ago were inconceivable, are becoming the daily dialect and “normal” vocabulary in global politics. The “Culture of Peace” notion of the United Nations in the Millennium has long been forgotten and revolutions such as the Arab Spring have brought about the rise of groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram to the forefront. These groups and many similar are now flourishing and have become “ignorable” in global politics. These developments have helped to bring us into the new level of violence that the world now sees on multiple fronts, highlighted by the war in Ukraine and in the recent in the Middle East.
The future doesn’t carry any beacon of optimism, as democracies are trying, with not much success, to defend and protect at least some of the concepts and realities of the past decades in front of rising powers, which are trying to realize other standards and goals. Additionally, the possibility for democracies to tackle these realities is significantly challenged by inner conflicts between diverse groups within those democracies. These efforts are coming after already 3 years of fighting the COVID-19 crisis, which resulted with the loss of significant resources for these democracies, at many levels.
Parallel, and simultaneously, the migration crisis adds significantly more weight to the growing rupture of society. These raptures are for example separating the old from the young, the progressives from the conservatives, those who are for business from the socialists, those who believe in science from those who challenge it and those who are for the classic culture from those who would like to cancel it. These ruptures that can be observed in all corners of democracies and societies are creating a dangerous political chaos, which leads to a situation where nobody wins.
The security situations in many cities in the US and in the UK, for example, are sometimes extremely volatile, where looters are coming into shops, conducting organized raids, while the police forces are often not reacting as they are afraid to take action and to thereafter be criticized. The online slander, which has created a culture of defamation is still not legally regulated and is creating ongoing conflicts between people and institutions. All this was tolerable on behalf of free speech, which is now also threatened, as there are some topics that anyone knows that if one speaks about then hard consequences will be immediately applied against. Freedom of speech, which is the soul of democracy is currently being crucially compromised.
All these deteriorations are causing democracies to be evermore fragile, ineffective, and facing major existential risks. These pathways are rapidly growing with no correction process in sight.
In light of the significance of the above-mentioned issues, we have initiated the Forum on Democracy & Peace in order to review and analyze methods of cultural diplomacy that can be used and support the great efforts of democracies to move back onto a safe course.