An important conference has been organized by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Institute for National Remembrance, Poland’s preeminent transitional justice institution. More information is available here.
Poland’s post-1989 transformation experiences have shown exactly how important it is to shape the space of civic freedoms, build a country governed by rule of law, respect human rights and develop civil society. By sharing its own experiences, Poland is becoming ever more engaged in promoting democracy and supporting democratic transformations in European neighborhood countries, as well as other among other societies which choose to follow the path of democratization.At the same time we have been increasingly active in developing the institutional infrastructure for international cooperation in the field of democracy promotion. It is no coincidence that the Permanent Secretariat of Community of Democracies was established in Warsaw. Now, as a result of a Polish initiative, the European Commission, European Parliament, the European External Action Service, and the EU member states are involved in the creating European Endowment for Democracy (EED). This fund is the first EU project dedicated only to the promotion of measures aimed at fostering an environment that encourages democratic transformations in European neighborhood countries.
Polish activities in the field of promotion of democratic values require the establishment of a permanent forum for the exchange of good practices and expertise in the evolution of democratic systems, as well as developments in that field taking place in different parts of the world, with emphasis on the European neighborhood. It is our ambition to make the Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy event act as such a forum.
The conference is planned in the form of a recurring event which will focus on regular monitoring of the international environment to pursue democracy, as well as on creating recommendations mainly for international organizations involved in supporting democratic transformations. The first edition of the Warsaw Dialogue, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland jointly with the Institute of National Remembrance, will take place on December 14-15 in Warsaw. The forthcoming conference will concentrate on the difficult matter of democratization and systemic transformation. It will be an opportunity to strengthen the message about the establishment of the European Endowment for Democracy and stimulate a discussion on its mandate. The above initiative is addressed to all people, institutions, and organizations focusing on the promotion of democracy, rule of law and human rights.
From the IPN site: “As many as 176 participants from 40 countries, even as far away as Zimbabwe and Chile, came to Warsaw for the first edition of the conference “Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy”. On 14-15 December at the College of Europe in Natolin they discussed the process of democratization in the modern world.
The conference “Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy”, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Institute of National Remembrance, gathered people involved in the promotion of democracy, representatives of think-tanks, NGOs, international organizations, and governments from all continents. Representatives of the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ukraine), the Balkan countries (Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro), Middle East (Israel, Jordan), North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt ), sub-Saharan Africa (Ethiopia, Zimbabwe) and South America (Argentina, Chile) arrived in Warsaw. Democracy is deeply inscribed in the Polish history and it is an important part of the Polish civilization heritage. In the name of solidarity, we want to share our experience, but also we want to know the experience and challenges of others. Let the Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy inaugurated today serve this purpose – said Jerzy Pomianowski, Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the start of the conference.
Discussion took place in four sessions: “From revolution to transformation. Dreams and reality”, “Transitional Justice”, “New meanings of civil society”, “Changing people’s mind for democracy”.
The moderators of the sessions were those involved in the processes of democratization in countries that are recognized democracies (United States, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Romania), as well as from countries where democracy is being built (Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt). The floor was also taken by representatives of the countries where the conditions for a democratic transition have not yet appeared (Belarus), or where it faces serious difficulties (Ukraine). The invitation to participate in the conference was also accepted by representatives of 18 Council of Europe schools of political studies from the EU neighboring countries: North Africa and the Middle East, the Balkans, Eastern Partnership countries and Russia.
Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy is another project reinforcing the so-called “Warsaw process”. It was initiated by Bronislaw Geremek and Madeleine Albright with summit of democratic states under the theme “Towards a Community of Democracies”, which took place in July 2000 in Warsaw. The establishment of the European Fund for Democracy (EED), promoted by Poland, is also a part of this process. Democratization has been a permanent part of the Polish national interest and foreign policy for many years. Polish transformational experience and willingness to share it create a strong and recognizable feature of Polish national brand in the world.”
And some info from this site: “Jerzy Pomianowski, the Polish MFA Undersecretary of State, said in an interview with charter97.org: “Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy is a new initiative that we decided to launch. The conference is a platform to discuss our efforts to promote democracy. It is not a conversation when someone explains something to others. It is a dialogue, where we want to hear one another and want to tell our opinion and experience to one another.
Warsaw is an excellent place to hold this dialogue. People from Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and other regions have come here. There are representatives of almost 40 countries. I think it’s becoming a good example, like the Community of Democracies that was founded in Poland in 2000 due to Prof. Geremek. We then proposed the European Endowment for Democracy. And now we have the conference, which will be held on a regular basis. It is what we would like to tell the world: Poland is a country that appreciates democracy and human rights. It is a subject of our international relations.
Besides the formation of Poland’s brand as a democracy promoter, it is also important for us that voices of people struggling for human rights and democracy could be heard. It is vital, because they give us signals from their side, but they sometimes don’t hear one another. It is very important that they could adopt the experience. There are many things in common between Tunis and Ukraine, Belarus and Syria, Moldova and Egypt. Sharing experience may make their work easier. We also try to help them in this task.”