2013 Session 4: Societies in Transition, Democracy under Construction

Sofia Platform 2013

31 October – 1 November Sofia (Bulgaria)

The Arab revolutions of 2011 sparked around the world, yet again, the enthusiasm for the democratic transition. Two years later we are reminded that democracy is not a state of natural equilibrium of society. Democracy is a process with usually unpredictable turnings. It is enough to look how differently the transformational movements developed in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria to realise how simplistic is to brand them all simply as one movement, whether we would call them Arab Spring or something else. The transitional landscape is becoming even more complex when we look at the recent civil society protests in other countries – Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and elsewhere. What do all these movements from the last two years telling us? Do they suggest that democratisation is the inevitable final direction but the roads to get there are different and unpredictable? Or that history and culture predetermines the different fate of the societal change? Or is it the economy that has the ultimate role? Or the geopolitical interests and interferences? Or maybe we are witnessing a new global trend of civil society demands and political participations? These will be the questions that the first panel will address, or perhaps it will just add more questions.

Julian Popov, Member of the Board of Sofia Platform (Bulgaria/UK)

Hassan Mneimneh, Senior Transatlantic Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States (USA)

Ahmed Driss, Director of the Tunisian School of Politics (Tunisia)

Mohamed Khalaf, Journalist (Iraq)


Moderator: Pavol Demeš, Board Member of the European Endowment for Democracy (Slovakia)