• Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy






    To register for the event, please download registration form and consent for personal data processing regarding the conference.


    Fill in the registration form and the consent, save it under your surname and send a scanned copy with your signature to



    Thursday, 22 November 2018


    9.00 - 9.30

    Registration of Participants

    9.30 - 10.00








    Mr. Jerzy Baurski, Director of the Department of the United Nations and Human Rights, Ministry
    of Foreign Affairs of Poland

    Mr. Wojciech Federczyk, Director of the Lech Kaczyński National School of Public Administration


    10.00 -  10.45





    Opening High-Level Addresses


    Mr. Piotr Wawrzyk, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland

    Ms. Dunja Mijatović, Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe

    Ms. Saida ben Garrach, Spokeswoman to the President of the Republic of Tunisia

    Dr Mateusz Szpytma, Deputy President at the Institute of National Remembrance


    10.45 - 11.00

    Family Photo

    11.00 - 11.15


    Coffee break



    11.15 - 12.45




































    Session 1 European Endowment for Democracy:


    ‘Social media – potential or threat?’


    Globalisation, the internet revolution and the ensuing digital era brought about a significant change in media consumption habits. Living in the ‘’information age’’, aided with the new technology tools, is enabling the spread of information in an unprecedented way. The reality of ‘’many-to-many communications’’ has the Internet and social media platforms at the very core.


    The explosion of social media has been seen as having a great potential for democratizing and increasing access to information. Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, once famously concluded that ‘’connectivity is a human right’’. Today social media is omnipresent to the extent that it has become part of a human DNA, it has successfully integrated into the lives of the individuals as well as societies at large. Consequently, serving as the gateway to the internet, the social media platforms have effectively become the largest source of information.


    However, every coin has two sides, and social media is a perfect manifestation of the double-edge sword. While it brings untapped opportunities, it equally carries serious risks and challenges. Indeed, as much as an improved access to information creates opportunities, it also opens the door to various form of manipulation with diverse detrimental effects, including undermining trust in media and even democracy. Why? Not least because, as evidenced by various studies, mis- and dis-information is seen as more interesting than the truth and thus spreads quicker. It is mainly because through echo chambers, filter bubbles, algorithms and other dirty techniques, social media platforms contribute to manipulation and distortion of the reality, which covertly but effectively influence public opinion across the world. The scandal around the Cambridge Analytica – a data firm employed by President Donald Trump's campaign in the lead up to the 2016 election, which abused the data of the millions of Facebook users – demonstrates the gravity of risks and threats that social media can bring to a well-established society. 


    In the aftermath of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data crisis, at the European Parliament hearing Mark Zuckerberg, admitted that ‘’We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility and that was a mistake. I’m sorry’’. Indeed, connectivity is not only the right but first of all great responsibility. Responsibility that needs to be carefully exercised and applied while respecting the freedom of opinion and speech, privacy, data protection and, at the same time, preventing any misuse of connectivity.


    Following this dark moment, the initial belief in the positive potential of social media was dealt a severe blow. Yet, it continues to be seen by many as a positive and still very potent force for good. “I’m committed to getting this right’’ said Mark Zuckerberg. Will the scandal serve as a catalyst to positive changes? What are the next necessary steps needed to avoid further misuse of data? What is the role of the state, corporate sector, such as tech giants, media, civil socjety?




    Mr. Andy Pryce, Head of Counter Disinformation and Media Development Programme, HMG Russia Unit, Eastern Europe and Central Asia Directorate, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK)






    Ms. Marta Ardashelia, Editor in Chief, Sova News (Georgia)
    Ms. Tatjana Udovičić, Online Portal Žurnal (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
    Mr. Assaad Thebian, Gherbal Initiative (Lebanon)
    Ms. Nika Aleksejeva, Lead Digital Forensic Researcher Baltics, Digital Forensic Research Lab, Atlantic Council (Latvia)


    12.45 - 13.45



    13.45 - 15.15






















    Session 2 Community of Democracies in partnership with the International IDEA:


    ‘New tools of civic and public responsibility’


    One of the main provisions of the Warsaw Declaration is “the right of every person to freedom of opinion and of expression, including to exchange and receive ideas and information through any media, regardless of frontiers” (Art. 4). A bold assertion of a core democratic value at the time of its signature, in June 2000, it holds the same relevance today. Nevertheless, rapid, unprecedented technological advances engendered a new world of communication, alongside specific opportunities and challenges.


    Technology has redefined how citizens engage with each other and with their government. Social media have created new opportunities to expand social inclusion, encourage accountability and transparency in public institutions, and strengthen civic oversight. In many parts of the world, these platforms mobilize and coagulate people, successfully replacing traditional media and other forms of public opinion aggregation. Digitization has enabled and catalyzed the creation of open governments across the world, some of which now form part of the Open Government Partnership, a multilateral initiative aiming to empower citizens and increase their participation in democratic decision-making.


    The session will serve as a platform for experts and practitioners to have an open conversation about the opportunities and challenges new technologies represent in modern democracies, with a focus on identifying and sharing best practices that could feed further reflection and action. Tentative points of discussion may include considerations on: how to increase transparency and accountability in public institutions through technology, and  how to use technology to revise top-down political decision-making processes.

    Opening remarks:


    Mr. Thomas E. Garrett, Secretary General of the Community of Democracies (USA)




    Ms. Patricia Galdamez, Senior Advisor, Community of Democracies (El Salvador)







    Mr. Alberto Fernandez Gibaja, Programme Officer, Political Participation and Representation

    Programme, International IDEA (Spain)

    Mr. Nikolai Kvantaliani, Director of the Association “New Group” (Belarus)

    Ms. Vardine Grigoryan, Democracy Monitoring and Reporting Coordinator at the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor (Armenia)

    Ms. Karolina Wysocka, Community Builder, Techsoup Europe (Poland)

    15.15 - 15.30

    Coffee break

    16.30 - 17.30

    Visit to the Royal Castle Museum in Warsaw (by invitation only)

    18.00 - 20.00

    Official Dinner (by invitation only)


    Friday,  23 November 2018 


    8.30 - 09.00


    Registration of Participants


    9.00 - 10.30



    Opening remarks:


























    ODIHR Workshop “The intersection of youth and the influence of modern technologies and social media on democracies around the world” (for civil society only)


    Ms. Augusta Featherston, Youth Focal Point and Democratic Governance Officer, ODIHR (USA)


    The current narrative in many places in Europe is that young people are disengaged from civic and political life, expressed through a kind of “political apathy.” Low voter turnout rates, extremely low rates of political party membership, and/or lack of knowledge to make informed electoral decisions are often cited as evidence of such apathy. However, conventional metrics used to measure political engagement do not typically include non-electoral/formal political engagement, such as volunteering, information-sharing, and other issue-based activism and advocacy. These “non-formal” engagement methods are typically favored by young people, many of whom are seeking creative engagement tools in order to share their perspectives and influence policy- and decision-making. New information and communication technologies (ICT), including social media and online platforms, offer a range of civic engagement opportunities for young people, from the ability to identify and research issues of importance, to information-sharing and connecting with like-minded peers on any given subject. These tools represent an avenue for public participation, ensuring multiplicity of voices in the public sphere.


    Approximately 65% of the population in the OSCE region is online, and as global mobile-cellular penetration approaches 100%, we are witnessing how new technologies’ further challenge traditional democratic institutions to reinforce democracy and accommodate these new tools vis-à-vis constituent service delivery and functional mandates. Of particular significance during this transition is the role that new technologies can play in the relationship between democratic institutions and citizens, as these platforms open new avenues for communication, advocacy, and accountability.            


    This provocative and interactive workshop will explore themes related to the intersection of young people and the influence of modern technologies, most notably social media, on democracies in Europe and beyond. The invited discussants will provide examples of successful modern engagement tools in light of various barriers to youth political engagement.


    9.00 - 10.30



    Opening remarks:
























    CoD event "Best practice in Community of Democracies’ member states’ engagement with and protection of civil society”

    Mr. Thomas E. Garrett, Secretary General of the Community of Democracies (USA)

    Ms. Patricia Galdamez, Senior Advisor, Community of Democracies (El Salvador)

    Mr. Paweł Wierdak, Head of the Office, Council of Europe Office in Warsaw (Poland)


    In an effort to lead by example, and in support of the principles outlined in the Civil Society Standards, the Permanent Secretariat of the Community of Democracies (PSCD) developed a publication on “Best practice in Community of Democracies’ member states engagement with and protection of civil society”.


    This publication was funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, within the framework of the project: “Designing new guidelines by which citizens, civil society organizations and governments can work better together”.


    The event will consist of the presentation of the publication and a panel discussion on best practice and challenges for the protection of and engagement with civil society.


    The side-event will serve as an opportunity to discuss the findings of the publication. Tentative points of discussion may include:  

    • General trends in civil society space in CoD Governing Council member states.
    • Examples of enabling civil society legal frameworks.
    • Specific steps that have been taken by states to create a safe and enabling environment for civil society.
    • Particular challenges faced by civil society organizations, and steps that states can take to protect civil society organizations.
    • Further recommendations and areas of future research on engagement and protection of civil society.


    10.30 - 10.45

    Coffee Break

    10.45 - 11.00




    11.00 - 12.30























    Session 3 OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights:


    ‘Free elections in modern times’


    Democratic elections are recognized globally as the cornerstone of democracy and regarded as one of the key elements of long-term security and stability. A range of international obligations and standards for democratic elections, including OSCE commitments, serve to safeguard the principle that the will of the people, freely expressed in periodic and genuine elections, constitutes the basis for the authority of government.


    To give effect to this principle, international obligations require countries to ensure that suffrage rights be as inclusive as possible. The right to vote and to be elected should extend to all citizens without discrimination or unreasonable restriction. This obligation of universality demands that although every country can determine who is eligible to participate in an electoral process, conditions must be non-discriminatory. To give effect to this right, many countries have introduced special measures to promote the participation of women, minorities and persons with disabilities, as well as to remove restrictions that may impact other marginalized groups due to residency requirements, prior conviction, language abilities or educational qualifications.


    This  panel discussion will give an opportunity to explore challenges and good practices related to the promotion and implementation of inclusive elections. Panelists from prominent international organizations will share their experiences from across the world, with a particular focus on how new technologies can facilitate or hinder inclusive participation.




    Dr. Richard Lappin, Deputy Head of ODIHR Election Department (United Kingdom)




    Ms. Olufunto Akinduro, Head of Elections and Political Processes, Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (Nigeria)

    Ms. Giovanna Maiola, Specialist, EU Election Observation and Democracy Support (Italy)

    Dr. Armin Rabitsch, Director, (Election-Watch.EU) (Austria)



    12.30 - 13.30



    13.30 - 15.00

























    Session 4 Polish Institute of International Affairs:


    ‘Innovative approach to conflict prevention’


    The changing scope and nature of today’s conflict pose a significant challenge to the universal commitment grounded in the UN Charter to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. Seemingly local violent conflicts and wars often cross national borders and spill over into regional and international levels. Internal and international security is interlinked, and, hence the effective and comprehensive conflict prevention activities also improve security at national level.


    Besides, the evolution of conflicts unveiled loopholes of the international law and faced the international community with a challenge to adjust mechanisms created a few decades ago. The modern world, plagued by asymmetrical and hybrid threats as well as underdefined conflicts, confronts us with necessity to find practical and legal solutions to such problems. However, current dynamic international situation cannot let us forget principles – right of people to self-determination, rule of inviolability of borders, obligation to observe international humanitarian law. Our attachment to the international legal order is essential to build, for us and for future generations, the world based on the force of law and not on the law of force.


    As a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council Poland attaches particular importance to conflict prevention and mediation. It is also cohesive with the vision and efforts of the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres to streamline conflict prevention and sustaining peace as a UN priority and to implement holistic approach to sustaining peace agenda covering the pillars of security, human rights and development. 


    In the context of conflict prevention, there is also an urgent need to realize the potential of 1,8 billion young people globally to benefit from their support and contribution to peace. Empowerment and participation of youth are indispensable to enhance inclusivity and equality of our societies. Young people are the cornerstone of sustainable development and lasting peace since they are agents of innovation, development and change.


    Dr Sławomir Dębski, Director of Polish Institute of International Affairs (Poland)



    Prof. John Packer, Director of Human Rights Research and Education Centre, The University of Ottawa (Canada)

    Dr Wojciech Wilk, President of the Foundation Polish Centre for International Aid (Poland)

    Prof. Ahmet Sözen, Eastern Mediterranean University (Cyprus)


    15.00 - 15.30







    Summary session


    Mr. Thomas E. Garrett, Secretary General of the Community of Democracies (USA)

    Mr. Jerzy Pomianowski, Director of European Endowment for Democracy

    Dr. Richard Lappin, Deputy Head of ODIHR Election Department (United Kingdom)

    Mr. Jerzy Baurski, Director of the Department of the United Nations and Human Rights, Ministry

    of Foreign Affairs of Poland


    More detailed information on each panel can be found here.


    Information concerning personal data processing in connection with the conference can be found here.

    Print Print Share: