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Embedding Democratic Values: Tolerance and Transparency

Monday, May 16, 2016, 10:00 am – 3:15 pm

The Center for European Neighborhood Studies in cooperation with the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation cordially invite you to the workshop

Frontiers of Democracy
Embedding Democratic Values: Tolerance and Transparency

Venue: Khreschatyk Hotel (14 Khreschatyk Str., Kyiv, 01001, Ukraine)
Date: May 16 (Monday), 2016
Language: English, with simultaneous translation to Ukrainian 

Democratization is a complex process that entails both critical choices of new institutions, and most importantly, the rooting of those institutions in the societal ethos. Most of the literature on democratic transition and consolidation has been dominated by the study of institutional crafting, especially in post-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe, where not only political but also economic and social institutions had to be created in the aftermath of the fundamental transformations starting to occur after 1989. However, the footprint of a healthy democracy cannot only be measured in terms of institutional performance, but it has to include citizens’ engagement with the new institutions, and, in fact, a change of mentality that reflects their attachment to the new system.
Thus, the process of embedding democratic values and creeds in a pre-existing belief system marred by features of mistrust, fear and corruption created by totalitarian communist regimes and hardships of transition is a difficult task. We consider that the construction of a democratic political culture – one that reflects interest in and understanding of the new system, and also the desire to participate, motivated by political efficacy – is a process worth exploring, from both academic and practical points of view. During these unstable times, it is the people’s attachment to democratic values that may keep governments in check and preclude them from slipping into populist and anti-democratic measures. 

Participation is free of charge.
Registration is required by May 13 (Friday) at Zsuzsanna Végh (



10.00 – 10.15  Opening remarks
Bogdan Radu, Visiting researcher, CEU Center for European Neighborhood Studies, Hungary; Senior Lecturer, Babes-Bolyai University, Romania 

10.15 – 12.00  Panel I. - Tolerance, cultural diversity and (anti-)discrimination in democratic transition and consolidation
This panel assesses the status of various groups of minorities in new democracies and focuses on the difficult task of embedding tolerance in the societal ethos in recent and transition democracies. The discussion seeks to look beyond the legal and institutional aspects of anti-discrimination and looks at the social dynamics of embedding the value of tolerance in the fibers of society with the aim of creating an overall tolerant polity. The panel will discuss the role of state and non-state actors in the process paying special attention to the place of the education system as well as the activities of IGOs and NGOs. The discussion will touch upon:

  • Constitutional and legal status of minorities (ethnic, religious, sexual, socially marginal categories), anti-discrimination measures and accommodation of diversity
  • Ethnic and religious tensions in recent democracies and societal attitudes towards minorities (including anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim sentiments and homophobia)
  • Tolerance as a universal value: How to create a tolerant polity?
    • Tolerance and national identity
    • Tolerance and the construction of the West as promoter of multicultural values: Does it threaten the national core by diluting traditional values?
    • The false tension between stability/security and freedom of expression/tolerance
  • Multiculturalism throughout history in Visegrad countries, Moldova and Ukraine (historical multiculturalism)

Chair: Agnieszka Słomian, Researcher Kosciuszko Institute, Cracow
Yan Feldman, President, National Council on Preventing and Fighting Against Discrimination and Ensuring Equality, Chisinau
Laco Oravec, Program Director, Martin Šimečka Foundation, Bratislava
Martin Šimáček, Former Director, Agency for Social Inclusion, Prague

12.00 – 13.00  Buffet Lunch 

13.00 – 15.00  Panel II. - Accountability, transparency and (anti-)corruption in transition
This panel aims to explore the effects of corruption on democratic transition and consolidation while it also discusses the multiple facets of the phenomenon. It seeks to discuss the difficulties of breaking the circles of corruption in transitioning societies beyond the introduction of anti-corruption legislation and the establishment of anti-corruption bodies. The discussions will explore what factors can contribute to fostering a change in mentality and embedding accountability and transparency as basic social values in a democratizing polity. The discussion will touch upon:

  • Definitions and operationalizations of corruption: types and facets, sectors affected
  • The difficulty of measuring corruption: actual corruption vs. its perceptions
  • Society-wide consequences of (perceptions of) corruption
    • Big vs. small corruption; corruption in (higher) education, including plagiarism
  • Fights against corruption:
    • The role of the state and institutional innovation
    • IGOs and NGOs in the fight against corruption
    • Social movements

Chair: Anton Pisarenko, Project Manager, Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, Kyiv
Katarzyna Batko-Tołuć, Programming Director,Watchdog Organizations Expert,Citizens Network Watchdog Poland, Warsaw
Anita Koncsik, K-Monitor Watchdog for Public Funds, Budapest
Oleksandr Sushko, Research Director, Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, Kyiv 

15.00 – 15.15  Concluding Remarks
Zsuzsanna Végh, Research fellow, CEU Center for European Neighborhood Studies, Budapest

With this event, the Center for European Neighborhood Studies continues the series of discussions around various aspects of democratic change in order to study the phenomenon of social transition and how democratic values become embedded in societies in transition. The discussions are organized in the framework of the project entitled “Frontiers of Democracy: Embedding Democratic Values in Moldova and Ukraine”, but their scope of enquiry reaches beyond and encompasses democratic change in the wider Central and Eastern European region. The project “Frontiers of Democracy: Embedding Democratic Values in Moldova and Ukraine” is supported by the International Visegrad Fund and is part of the “Frontiers of Democracy” initiative of the Central European University.