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Democratic Leadership in Times of Uncertainty

Over the last decades, we have observed disquieting democratic backsliding across all regions worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this situation and triggered a cycle of democratic decline and deterioration as recently seen in Nicaragua, Belarus or Myanmar. This cycle often starts with an attack on democracy in the form of a crisis or emergency that national governments and their leaders are not prepared to address. This lack of effective response recurrently leads to more polarised societies and citizens’ distrust, which in consequence facilitates the rise of authoritarian regimes and populist movements.

 With the growing lack of trust in institutions, increasing inequality, and persistent patterns of social exclusion, it is fundamental that democratic leaders come together to protect, nurture and promote democratic values and practices. As times rapidly change, the idea of responsible political leadership must adapt to new and old global challenges alike. Leaders must go beyond providing for the citizens of their countries and contribute to establishing a fair and inclusive, rules-based global order able to guarantee international peace and global stability for generations to come.

In this session, our panel will advocate for leadership that fosters democratic resilience based on three main pillars: decision-making in the face of uncertainty, building bridges to prevent polarisation and, removing the seeds of authoritarianism from our democracies. 


Moderator: Ted Piccone, Non-resident senior fellow at Brookings and Advisor of Club de Madrid 


Danilo Türk, President of Slovenia (2007-2012) and Club de Madrid President

Jorge Quiroga, President of Bolivia (2001-2002) and Club de Madrid Member

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Leader of Belarusian Democratic Movement

Wai Hnin Pwint Tho, Burmese human rights activist