Selected Fields 2019

PRESENT - Defending Democracy

Present 2019.web

Democracy, its institutions, norms and values have recently come under siege.

Far from heralding the End of History, developments in some post-communist societies have, after initial promising starts, moved in neo-authoritarian directions - not only in Russia but also in Visegrad countries, accompanied by xenophobic expressions bordering on racism. Similarly, the Arab Spring has mostly fizzled out, and Turkey clearly pivots towards authoritarianism.

These tendencies appear now to be on the ascendant also in well-established and even traditionally exemplary liberal and tolerant societies. Nationalistic, xenophobic, authoritarian, populist and even racist ideologies linked to movements, parties and individual leaders are gaining strength in numerous European countries, while grave political discourse on democratic values emerges in the United States.

In some cases, these developments entail attacks on the rule of law, the judiciary and the free press, even on the very legitimacy of political opposition. The post-1945 and post-1989 democratic consensus may be in serious jeopardy.

The Dan David Prize in the Present Time Dimension for 2019 addresses these issues and calls for nominations of individuals, organizations and institutions that are engaged in a political and intellectual struggle against these anti-democratic and authoritarian tendencies. New ideas and strategies on how to defend democracy, enhance and strengthen it, as well as expand its reach, are crucial and need encouragement and support.