Democracy vs. Illiberal Democracy: Which Will Win in Eastern Europe?

Panel Discussion

Democracy vs. Illiberal Democracy:
Which Will Win in Eastern Europe?

Zoom Webinar

Monday, May 10, 2021 | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET

For decades, Europe has been considered a bastion of liberal democracy, with a considerable portion of its countries operating under democratic governments. However, in recent years a growing number of countries have deviated from the European Union ideal, leading many to fear a rise in democratic backsliding in the region. Countries in Eastern Europe, such as Hungary and Poland, have been moving away from liberal democratic norms and towards more authoritarian tendencies. What is fueling these changes? How will these developments progress in the future? And how will those changes impact the EU and its identity? Tune in for a discussion of democracy in Eastern Europe, the second installment of our State of Democracy Series, on Monday, May 10th, from 12:00 to 1:00 PM EDT, when we are joined by Andras Petho, Co-Founder and Editor of Direkt36, and Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies at the University of Oxford.

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Timothy Garton Ash

Timothy Garton Ash is the author of ten books of political writing or ‘history of the present’ which have charted the transformation of Europe over the last half century. He is Professor of European Studies in the University of Oxford, Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His essays appear regularly in the New York Review of Books and he writes a column on international affairs in the Guardian which is widely syndicated in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

His books are: ‘Und willst Du nicht mein Bruder sein …’ Die DDR heute (1981), a book published in West Germany about what was then still East Germany; The Polish Revolution: Solidarity (1983), which won the Somerset Maugham Award; The Uses of Adversity: Essays on the Fate of Central Europe (1989), for which he was awarded the Prix Européen de l’Essai; We the People: The Revolution of ’89 witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin and Prague (1990; US Edition: The Magic Lantern), which was translated into fifteen languages; In Europe’s Name: Germany and the Divided Continent (1993), named Political Book of the Year in Germany; The File: A Personal History (1997), which has so far appeared in eighteen languages; History of the Present: Essays, Sketches and Despatches from Europe in the 1990s (2000); Free World (2004); Facts are Subversive: Political Writing from a Decade without a Name (2009); and Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World (2016), which draws upon a major Oxford university research project built around the 13-language website

After reading Modern History at Oxford, his research into the German resistance to Hitler took him to Berlin, where he lived, in both the western and eastern halves of the divided city, for several years. From there, he started to travel widely behind the iron curtain. Throughout the nineteen eighties, he reported and analysed the emancipation of Central Europe from communism in contributions to the New York Review of Books, the Independent, the Times and the Spectator. He was Foreign Editor of the Spectator, editorial writer on Central European affairs for the London Times, and a columnist on foreign affairs in the Independent.

In 1986-87 he was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC. Since 1990, he has been a Fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford, where he directed the European Studies Centre from 2001 to 2006 and is now Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow. Since 2010, he has directed the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom, based at St Antony’s. He became a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, in 2000. A frequent lecturer, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Society of Arts and a Corresponding Fellow of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences. He has honorary doctorates from St Andrew’s University, Sheffield Hallam University and the Catholic University of Leuven.

He continues to travel extensively, and remains a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and other journals. His monthly column in the Guardian is syndicated in leading newspapers across Europe, Asia and the Americas. He also contributes to the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.


Andras Petho

Andras Petho is a co-founder and editor of Direkt36. Previously, he was a senior editor for leading Hungarian news site Origo before it had been transformed into the government’s propaganda outlet. He also worked for the BBC World Service in London and was a reporter at the investigative unit of The Washington Post. He has contributed to several international reporting projects, including The Panama Papers. He twice won the Soma Prize, the prestigious annual award dedicated to investigative journalism in Hungary. He was a World Press Institute fellow in 2008, a Humphrey fellow at the University of Maryland in 2012/13, and a Nieman fellow at Harvard University in 2019/20. Andras has taught journalism courses at Hungarian universities.




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