Saturday, 6 April 2019

Forum 2000 conference opens in Prague

14 September 2015

Prague, Sept 13 (CTK) - The role of education in the process of enhancing and spreading democracy is the main issue on the agenda of the 19th Forum 2000 conference of world personalities and thinkers, an annual event focusing on human rights, which was ceremonially opened in Prague yesterday.

The speakers at the opening ceremony included Forum 2000 director Jakub Klepal and scientist Ivan Havel, brother of the late ex-president Vaclav Havel (1936-2011) who initiated the Forum 2000 event in the second half of the 1990s.

"Democracy is no genetic information. It is not a mere social system. We need to learn democracy," Klepal said.

The situation in their respective home countries was described to the audience by Lilian Tintori, wife of an imprisoned Venezuelan opposition leader, Azerbaijani political scientist Leila Alieva and head of the Belarusian centre for human rights Ales Bialiatski.

Bialiatski pointed out the need to extend the EU eastwards. He criticised the present tactically "pretended" democracy of what is in fact the authoritarian regime of Alexander Lukashenko, who wants to be elected president for the fifth time.

A huge applause went to Alex Chow, a student activist from Hong Kong which belongs to China now.

The foreign guests to the conference include former South African president Frederik Willem de Klerk, Slovak ex-PM Iveta Radicova, Russian economist and politician Grigori Yavlinski and British philosopher Roger Scruton.

In the days to come, the conference will deal with questions such as whether it is possible to teach democracy in areas without a democratic tradition.

Issues related to refugees and Islamic State will also be on the agenda, as will be the role of economic literacy in democratic reforms.

Klepal said the number of invited delegates who could not come to Prague for political reasons has been increasing every year.

This time, they include Antonio Ledezma, mayor of Caracas who has been accused of a conspiracy against the authoritarian regime of Nicolas Maduro.

Apart from Prague, Forum 2000 events will be held in Brno, Ceske Budejovice, Liberec and several other Czech towns, as well as Bavarian Munich and Slovak Zilina.

Most of the events are open to the public, some will be transmitted via the Internet.

Together with Havel, the Forum 2000 conference was initiated by writer Elie Wiesel and Japanese philanthropist Johei Sasakawa with the aim to give space to world personalities to analyse the challenges of the new millennium.

More than 700 personalities, including the Tibetan Dalai Lama, Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi and former U.S. president Bill Clinton, took part in the conference in the past 18 years.

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