University of Sydney hosts Australia's first Festival of Democracy

5 November 2013

Democracy Festival
Image: Peter Turnley/Corbis.

Some of the world's leading thinkers on democracy's sustainability and future will converge at the University of Sydney this week for Australia's first ever dedicated 'Festival of Democracy', from 5 to 9 November.

Over a five-day carnival of talks, lectures, workshops and art exhibitions, globally renowned scholars will contest the viability and health of democracy worldwide. From fossil fuels and environmental politics, democracies in the Asia-Pacific, refugee rights, and corruption and political stability in China, the Festival will explore the full gamut of issues surrounding democratic institutions and challenges.

Organised by the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (IDHR) at the University of Sydney, the Festival draws such distinguished international guests as migration and immigration experts Ruud Koopmans (WZB Berlin) and Joseph Carens (University of Toronto), as well as political scientist Wolfgang Merkel and Michael Zurn, one of Germany's leading international relations scholars (both from WZB Berlin).

IDHR Director, Professor John Keane, said the University of Sydney is proud to host the unique Festival.

"With nearly 40 speakers and nine public events spread across five days, the Festival spotlights the latest thinking about democracy; why there's rising disaffection with democratic institutions in many countries and whether there's a 21st-century future for the old ideals of citizens' equality and freedom from arbitrary rule," he said.

At the Festival's opening night event on Tuesday 5 November, University of Sydney academics Professor John Keane, Dr Benedetta Brevini, Adjunct Professor Peter Fray and IDHR Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Giovanni Navarria will join international guests for a probing consideration of the relationship between a free media system and state power, drawing on case studies from Europe and Asia.

The University of Sydney's broad range of expertise across democratic politics will be on display throughout the Festival at a number of key events. Professor of Environmental Politics, David Schlosberg, will present a discussion on environmental management in a climate-changing world in a talk on Wednesday 6 November, joined by David Ritter, CEO of Greenpeace.

The University's Dr Anika Gauja and Dr Benedetta Brevini will also debate the role of women and democracy at a special panel with Associate Professor Sarah Maddison (UNSW) and Professor Jennifer Nedelsky (University of Toronto) on Wednesday 6 November.

The Festival is presented with support from the Australian Research Council, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, The Refugee Art Project, the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney, the Media and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe (MDCEE) project at the University of Oxford, and the University of Western Sydney.

Event Details

What: The Festival of Democracy, presented by the University of Sydney's Institute for Democracy and Human Rights

When: Tuesday 5 November until Saturday 9 November 2013

Where: University of Sydney, Camperdown campus

Cost: Free, registrations essential.

Bookings: A full program of events and RSVP details are available on the IDHR website.

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Contact: Emily Jones

Phone: 02 9114 1961, 0481 012 600

Email: 20581c3a417921093d32580c294a562f1430454a353c6b3445