Dukakis Center live-blogs Summit for Democracy
On December 9-10, 2021, US President Joe Biden hosted a virtual Summit for Democracy for leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector.
The Dukakis Center for Public Service at ACT followed the summit and offered running commentary on the key moments of the proceedings. “The Joy of Politics” hosted the live-blog, which covered sessions from Day Zero and the two actual days of the summit.
Among the topics covered on Day One were democratic resilience, the media, and corruption. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke on Day One, along with several other heads of state and government. New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern delivered stirring remarks later in the day.
Day Two featured a special session on the interaction, positive and negative, between technology and politics.
Two sessions featured interaction among youth leaders from countries around the world.
The Summit is one of the cornerstones of the foreign policy of the Biden Administration. President Biden highlighted the urgency of the moment in his opening remarks: “The data we are seeing is pointing in the wrong direction… This is the defining challenge of our time.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinkin was similarly insistent, warning “We have seen a democratic recession in recent years.” Both highlighted that the Summit was meant to be, in President Biden’s words, “a kick-off to a year of action.”
The Summit inspired criticism from multiple corners, both within the US and abroad. The People’s Republic of China mounted a concerted campaign claiming that it, too, was a democracy, lambasting President Biden for hosting the event, and critiquing the track record of American democracy.
Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne countered “The most important thing about the summit is that it’s happening.”
The blog solicited the views of ACT students past and present on the meaning of democracy. As Dimitris Moulas wrote, “if a government can esteem their citizen’s values and rights, only then can they be defined as a democratic system.”
Mette Frederiksen, Prime Minister, Kingdom of Denmark, articulated this memorable statement, “Democracy is not just a system of government, it is a way of life.”
The Dukakis Center will host a mini-summit for democracy in January 2022 as part of the annual Thessaloniki Civil Society Forum.