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Globalization, Mediatization and Populism: Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century

Public event series to celebrate the conclusion of the research program NCCR Democracy. February to June 2017 at the University of Zurich, main building, Rämistr. 71.

Updated program event series

Democracy is not a perfect form of governance. To date, however, and despite all its shortcomings, there exists no alternative form of government that is better suited to managing the way in which we live together. Democracy allows for individual freedom and self-determination. It enables citizens to lead their governments to take decisions that are in the best interests of the general public. However, democracy can certainly be improved. For these reasons, and also due to new developments and changing framework conditions, we continuously need to reflect upon, and renegotiate, the rules of democracy.

While democracy was the most successful political idea of the 20th century—during which time it became a universal value—it finds itself increasingly under pressure in the 21st century: globalization, changes in political communication and in the media system, and populism all challenge democracy. Why? Which trends are emerging and what are the consequences for democracy? These are the questions the NCCR Democracy has been researching for more than 11 years.

In spring 2017, to mark the conclusion of its research program, NCCR Democracy will be organizing a series of public events at the University of Zurich and at the Center for Democracy Studies Aarau. The speakers will be internationally renowned figures from politics, the media, and academia. The aim of the series is to trigger a public debate on the current challenges to democracy.


1 February 2017 Populismus in unserer globalisierten, mediatisierten Welt - eine Gefährdung der Demokratie Watch full video
Public talk (in German) by
Dr. Benita Ferrero-Waldner
, former Foreign Minister of Austria and European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy
University of Zurich, Aula (KOL G-201)
22 February 2017

Power and progress: Geopolitics and the future of democracy under President Trump Watch full video

Public talk by
Dr. Robert Kagan
, Washington Post und Brookings Institution
University of Zurich, Aula (KOL G-201)
16-17 March 2017 Die Rolle der Medien in der direkten Demokratie Video of panel discussion
9. Aarauer Demokratietage Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Aarau
30 March 2017 Brexit, Trump, AFD, Front National – sind wir machtlos gegen den Populismus? Watch full video
Public talk (in German) by
Daniel Cohn-Bendit, publicist and co-President of the Greens/Free European Alliance Group in the European Parliament
University of Zurich, Aula (KOL G-201)
11 April 2017 Der Reiz des Populismus Workshop with NCCR Democracy researchers
Zentrum Karl der Grosse
12 April 2017

How the populist reference to "christian identity" runs against freedom of (any) religion

Public talk by
Prof. Olivier Roy, European University Institute
University of Zurich, Aula (KOL G-201)
27 April 2017

Was die Europäer unter Demokratie verstehen und was sie von ihr halten

Public talk (in German) by
Prof. Hanspeter Kriesi, European University Institute, former Director of the NCCR Democracy
University of Zurich, Aula (KOL G-201)
3 May 2017
Präsidentschaftswahlen in Frankreich - der nächste Schock?

Public panel discussion (in German) with:

  • Prof. Hans-Georg Betz, University of Zurich
  • Daniel Binswanger, Das Magazin
  • Dr. Simon Bornschier, University of Zurich
  • Dr. Claire Demesmay, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Moderation: Dr. Laurent Bernhard, NCCR Democracy / Universität Zürich
University of Zurich, Aula (KOL G-201)
11 May 2017

Demokratieförderung in Entwicklungsländern - ein sinnloses Engagement?

Public panel discussion (in German) organized in collaboration with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC):
  • Dr. Thomas Greminger, SDC
  • Prof. Tina Freyburg, University of St. Gallen/NCCR Democracy
  • Dr. Julia Leininger, German Development Institute Bonn
  • Oliver Liedtke, Westerwelle Foundation Berlin
  • Dr. Felix Knüpling, Forum of Federations Ottawa
  • Moderation: Prof. Daniel Kübler, University of Zurich/NCCR Democracy
University of Zurich, Aula (KOL G-201)
18 May 2017

Das Demokratiegebot - Antrieb oder Zündstoff für die europäische Integration?

Public talk (in German) by
Prof. Günter Verheugen, former EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy
University of Zurich, Aula (KOL G-201)
1 June 2017

Demokratie in postfaktischen Zeiten: Eine Herausforderung für Wissenschaft und Medien

Public panel discussion (in German) with:
  • Gülsha Adilji, freelance journalist
  • Prof. Frank Esser, NCCR Democracy / University of Zurich
  • Prof. Brigitte Geissel, University of Frankfurt
  • Julius Van de Laar, Campaign Manager, amongst others for Barack Obama
University of Zurich, Aula (KOL G-201)
14 June 2017, 17:30 Globalization, mediatization and populism: Challenges to democracy in the 21st century

Short presentation of NCCR Democracy research results

Prof. Daniel Kübler, Director NCCR Democracy

University of Zurich, KOH B-10
14 June 2017, 18:15
Medien und Demokratie - Öffentlichkeit zum Verkauf? Public panel discussion (in German) with:
  • Roger de Weck, SRG SSR
  • Christof Moser, Project R
  • Prof. Gabriele Siegert, University of Zurich
  • Moderation: Pascale Bruderer Wyss, National Councillor for the Canton of Aargau
University of Zurich, KOH B-10
15-16 June 2017 Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century Final international conference of the NCCR Democracy University of Zurich, main building
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