The Ratiu Dialogues on Democracy

The Ratiu Dialogues on Democracy is an event held annually, organized by The Ratiu Forum in partnership with LSE IDEAS. The overall purpose of this lecture series is to strengthen discussions and visions on democracy. We aim to have the Dialogues develop as a meeting place for professionals with diverse backgrounds who share an interest in current challenges facing Balkan nations, with a particular emphasis on Romania.

EVENT PHOTOS

2021 SCHEDULE

WELCOME

10.00 - 10.15

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cluj-City Plaza, Sindicatelor 6-9, Cluj-Napoca

The Dialogues on Democracy conference will be opened by the Chairman of the Ratiu Family Foundation, Mr Nicolae Ratiu, with a brief overview of the Ratiu family’s history and interest in democratic resilience that will be covered. He will introduce the internationally renowned speakers from academia and government who will share their expertise with us over the two-day event.

Panel: Corruption and the rule of law

10.15 - 12.30

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cluj-City Plaza, Sindicatelor 6-9, Cluj-Napoca

Speakers include Professor Peter Balazs, CEU, Dr Tena Prelec, University of Oxford, Dr Eric Beckett Weaver, University of Debrecen, Dr Radu Albu-Comănescu, Babeș-Bolyai University.

Corruption occurs in every part of the world, but few regions have witnessed such stark challenges to the rule of law in recent years than Central Europe – in Hungary most clearly, and also in Poland, Bulgaria and elsewhere. Measures by NGOs such as Freedom House and Transparency International indicate that many Central European countries are experiencing a marked decline in the transparency and independence of judiciaries, and growing clientelism in the political sphere.

What are the characteristics of contemporary threats to the rule of law in the region? What mechanisms exist, or should exist, to resist growing corruption and threats to independent legal oversights? Our experts will bring insights from their work in academia, politics, and policy analysis to consider how best to hold governments and people in power to account within a liberal democratic, EU-wide framework.

Péter Balázs held numerous senior diplomatic and government positions in Hungary, including as Foreign Minister (2009-2010) and Hungarian Ambassador to the EU (2003-2004). He was the Government Representative of Hungary in the European Convention drafting the Constitutional Treaty which has become, after several modifications, the Lisbon Treaty. In 2016 he received the Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award by Tufts University and the Institute for Global Leadership “in recognition of his integrity and valor as Foreign Minister, encouraging respect for humanities values and rule of law and fighting discrimination.”

Tena Prelec is a Research Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR), University of Oxford, and a Research Associate at LSEE-Research on South Eastern Europe, LSE.

Eric Beckett Weaver is a historian and political scientist at the Department of Political Science, University of Debrecen. Dr Weaver’s expansive research covers politics and history, international history and politics and comparative politics.

Radu Albu-Comănescu, PhD in History and Lecturer at the Faculty of European Studies of the Babeş-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Teaches “EU Governance and Theories of European Integration”, “European and International Negotiations” and “Cultural Heritage Management”. Fields of research extend to the history of Europe; history of political and religious thinking; cultural, economic and public diplomacy, as well as governance, state-building and networks of power.

Ion Rațiu Journalism Ceremony Award

14.30 - 15.00

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cluj-City Plaza, Sindicatelor 6-9, Cluj-Napoca

With an introduction by Nicolae Rațiu, Chairman of the Rațiu Family Foundation, and an address by this year’s recipient of the Ion Rațiu Journalism Award, Victor Ilie, who currently reports for Recorder.

In November 2020 Victor Ilie published the investigation that discovered and brought to the public’s attention the King of the pandemic, the main person responsible for purchasing vital medical equipment for the Romanian state and its citizens, a master of a “kingdom” dominated by corruption, defiance and incompetence.

According to the members of the Jury Committee that evaluated this year’s proposals, the article written by Victor Ilie is an example of quality journalism produced by an independent press project, an investigation carried out at a time when the access to information was often limited for journalists. Read the press release here

Panel: Journalism and the media in Central Europe

15.30 - 17.30

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cluj-City Plaza, Sindicatelor 6-9, Cluj-Napoca

Speakers include journalists Mr John Lloyd, Financial Times, Mr Alison Smale, Institute of Human Sciences Vienna, Mr Wojciech Przybyski, Visegrad Insight and Res Publica.

A free press is a hallmark of a free, liberal democracy: journalists hold governments to account, keep citizens informed, and expose wrongdoings by those who wield power and influence. The media, however, can also hold considerable influence itself, and is continually at risk of political and business interference. These tensions have come to particular prominence in Central Europe.

To discuss the state of the media in the region, this dialogue brings together journalists with a wealth of experience reporting in, and about, the Central European region:

John Lloyd is a Contributing Editor at the Financial Times, and Chairman of the School of Civic Education (Russia). He was based in the USSR and Central Europe in the 1980s and 1990s as East Europe Editor and the Moscow Bureau Chief

Wojciech Przybylski is the editor-in-chief of Visegrad Insight and chairman of Res Publica Foundation in Warsaw, and former editor-in-chief of Eurozine.

Alison Smale reported from Central Europe for many years, for the United Press International, the Associated Press, The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune. She served as the Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, and is now researching Central European media at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.

Panel: Ideas, ideals and ideology in democracies

10.30 - 12.30

Ratiu Democracy Centre, Piata 1 Decembrie 1918, Turda

This panel discussion will include Professor Slobodan Markovich, Professor Christopher Coker and Doctor Erica Benner.

Do – or should – ideals, or ‘values’, matter in a democracy? What are the differences between values and ideology? Have post-cold war democracies lost sight of their ideals? Are we living in a post-ideological age?

In this wide-ranging discussion, Professor Christopher Coker, Professor Slobodan Markovich and Dr Erica Benner will explore the ways in which ideas, ideology, pragmatism, and realpolitik do – and should – influence domestic and international politics.

Christopher Coker is Director of LSE IDEAS, LSE’s foreign policy think tank. He was Professor of International Relations at LSE, retiring in 2019. He is a former twice serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, a former NATO Fellow and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, US. Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the National Institute for Defence Studies In Tokyo, the Rajaratnam School for International Studies Singapore, the Political Science Dept in Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok and the Norwegian and Swedish Defence Colleges.

Slobodan G. Markovich, MBE is a Full Professor at the School of Political Science of the University of Belgrade where he lectures Political Anthropology, Political History of South-East Europe and Image of European Other. He is also a Full Professor at the Institute for European Studies in Belgrade. He has been Research Associate at LSEE/LSE since 2012, and at LSE IDEAS since 2018. He has been the head of the Centre for British Studies at the School of Political Science in Belgrade since 2017. His research interests include Construction of Ethnic/National and Religious Identities in the Balkans, British-Balkan Relations, psychoanalytic anthropology, and History of European Pessimism.

Erica Benner is a political philosopher who has held academic posts at Oxford University, the London School of Economics and Yale University. She was awarded a DPhil by Oxford in 1993. She is the author of the books Really Existing Nationalisms (Oxford University Press, 1995), Machiavelli’s Ethics (Princeton University Press, 2009), Machiavelli’s Prince: A New Reading (Oxford University Press, 2013) and Be Like the Fox: Machiavelli’s Lifelong Quest for Freedom (Penguin Allen Lane, 2017). Be Like the Fox was one of The Guardian newspaper’s best books of 2017 and shortlisted for the 2018 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography. She is currently writing a book on democracy.

 

Closing keynote address: Global Challenges to European Values in the Contemporary Era

14.30 - 16.30

Ratiu Democracy Centre, Piata 1 Decembrie 1918, Turda

Professor Richard Higgott, Brussels School of Governance, VUB, will speak in conversation with Professor Christopher Coker, LSE IDEAS.

Are there values that are exclusively European? Values that are often attributed to Europe—and sometimes called universal values—are currently contested not only outside Europe but inside Europe too. If we can identify core European values, what are the challenges that Europe faces in both defending them and advancing them in the wider global context in the current era?

In this keynote address, Professor Higgott will embed the discussion of European values in a comparative global context, with reference to Asia in general and China and India in particular. 

Richard Higgott is Emeritus Professor of International Political Economy at the University of Warwick, Senior Researcher in the Brussels School of Governance, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Visiting Professor of Political Science at the University of Siena. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Diplomacy at Vesalius College at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel working on an H2020 project on European cultural and science diplomacy.

Christopher Coker is Director of LSE IDEAS, LSE’s foreign policy think tank. He was Professor of International Relations at LSE, retiring in 2019. He is a former twice serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, a former NATO Fellow and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, US. Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the National Institute for Defence Studies In Tokyo, the Rajaratnam School for International Studies Singapore, the Political Science Dept in Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok and the Norwegian and Swedish Defence Colleges.

Ratiu Dialogues on Democracy 2021 - COMING UP

The international Ratiu Dialogues on Democracy conference returns on Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th September to Cluj-Napoca and Turda, Romania.
This prestigious two-day event will feature discussions on important topics relating to democracy in the region by internationally renowned speakers from academia and government. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions and to engage with some of the world’s leading thinkers on democracy and European identity.
The event will feature keynote speaker Professor Richard Higgott from the Brussels School of Governance, and there will be three panel discussions on the role of journalism and the media in Central Europe, authoritarianism and liberalism, and corruption and the rule of law.

This year we are delighted to announce that the line-up will include:

Professor Richard Higgott, Brussels School of Governance
Professor Christopher Coker, LSE
Professor Janne Haaland Matlary, University of Oslo
Professor Michael Burleigh, LSE
Dr Ivan Vejvoda, Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna
Dr Eric Weaver, University of Debrecen
Dr Spyros Economides, LSE
Ms Alison Smale, Fellow, Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna
Mr John Lloyd, Financial Times
Dr Tena Prelec, University of Oxford and LSE

More speakers will be announced in due course.

The Ratiu Dialogues on Democracy is an annual event held with the purpose of strengthening discussions and visions on democracy. The Dialogues event is a meeting place for diverse professionals who share an interest in current challenges facing Balkan nations, with a particular emphasis on Romania. Previous speakers have included Professor Michael Cox, Professor Michael Clarke and the Rt Hon. Lord David Owen CH FRCP.

This event is jointly organised by the Ratiu Forum, based in Turda, and LSE IDEAS, a foreign policy think tank affiliated with the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
The Ratiu Dialogues on Democracy conference is scheduled to take place in person, although it will be moved online if the coronavirus situation makes an offline event unsafe.

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Ratiu Forum 

No. 1, Piata 1 Dec. 1918 Turda, jud. Cluj, Romania

+4-0264317555

office@ratiuforum.com

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