The eighth edition of International Democracy Day Brussels (IDD Brussels 2022), with the theme ‘Democracy in an Era of Geopolitics’, took place over three days from 14-16 September, with an in-person full-day event in the European Committee of the Regions on Thursday, 15 September 2022, and additional online events.

A full-house attended the conference’s opening session at the Committee of the Regions on 15 September, which featured a keynote speech by Indian journalist Rana Ayyub, who discussed the risks journalists face at this time of global democratic backsliding, and the need to bring international attention the challenges of marginalised and discriminated communities around the world.

Moderator, Shada Islam, Managing Director of New Horizons Project, also read out excerpts from a letter from European Parliament President, Roberta Metsola addressed to the conference attendees.

Jerzy Pomianowski, Executive Director of the European Endowment for Democracy, and Richard Youngs, Carnegie Europe Senior Fellow, took part in a moderated discussion reviewing the global decline of democracy, the impact of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on the international system, and the importance of democracy support.

An International Panel discussed the main theme of the conference, ‘Democracy in an Era of Geopolitics’. EEAS’s Deputy Managing Director Christina Kokkinakis stressed the European Union’s commitment to human rights as a universal need, not limited to a specific country or region. Imad Daimi, President of Raqabah Observatory, described the main challenges of civil society in Tunisia now that the hard-fought democratic progress in the country is being eroded.

David Salvo, Deputy Director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, suggested that, while Russia is interfering in the West to sow the seeds of doubts towards democracy, western countries need to address their internal issues to preserve democracy. Rana Ayyub joined the panel, and criticised western tendencies of ignoring the challenges of the Global South.

The former Prime Minister of Sudan Abdalla Hamdok and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Jan Lipavský also sent video messages to attendees of IDD Brussels 2022.

Picture credits: Homam Daoud