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Assisting Democratic Change – the Future of Diplomacy

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About this Event

09 Mar 2012 @ 12:45

Download the keynote audio podcast here.

About the speech:

Kurt Bassuener gave a presentation to the IIEA based on A Diplomat’s Handbook for Democracy Development Support, a project of the Community of Democracies. In his speech he traced what he called the “democratic recession” following the 2004-2005 Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and the subsequent renewal of democratic momentum with the Arab Spring in 2011.

Mr. Bassuener pointed to a change in the role of diplomats from democratic states posted in undemocratic countries – from purely government-to-government liaison to a broader role incorporating people-to-people contacts and support for civil society. He drew on testimonies from diplomats in Burma, Syria, Chile, Zimbabwe and elsewhere to give “live examples” of the range of tools available to diplomats to support democratic transition.

Mr. Bassuener highlighted a number of dilemmas which diplomats commonly face when working in authoritarian states but also drew attention to the many assets which they have at their disposal – including legitimacy, visibility, access to funding, external sources of information – which may be mobilised in their contacts with governments, civil society and the media. He also underlined that many countries in Central and Eastern Europe have recent experience of democratic transition which they can draw on in their diplomatic relations.

A Diplomat’s Handbook for Democracy Development Support, which is co-authored by Mr. Bassuener, can be downloaded at http://www.diplomatshandbook.org/  

About the speaker:

Kurt Bassuener is Co-Founder of the Democratisation Policy Council, a global initiative for accountability in democracy promotion. He is also co-author of the Diplomats’ Handbook for Democracy Development Support, a project of the inter-governmental Community of Democracies which is now in its second edition.  

Theme: Foreign Policy and ESDP 

Views: 3530

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