The Ditchley Foundation organised a two-day conference on 29th – 31st January 2015 with the support of the Magna Carta Trust 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee to consider ‘The Future of Democracy in the World’. The invitation-only conference was chaired by former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, The Rt Hon. Baron Judge QC.
The conference was attended by around 40 delegates, from the UK and around the world, who reflected together and discussed the challenges democracy faces today. The conclusions fed into a separate 2015 programme (‘Churchill 2015 – 21st-century statesmanship’), which marked the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death, by identifying the main global and strategic issues facing today’s leaders.
800 years after Magna Carta, democracy has become the most common form of government across the world, but the last few years have seen it under challenge from a number of quarters. Concerns may be exaggerated – demonstrably, when people are given a say, they want the basics of popular choice, freedom and Rule of Law. Democracies often look more chaotic and confused than dictatorships, but they have hidden strengths and resilience, arising from their popular legitimacy and the robust civic spirit and institutions which should underpin them.
This conference brought together politicians, officials, constitutional thinkers, academics and journalists. They considered what a modern democracy needs to succeed and recommended approaches to anchor its success more firmly for the future and to ensure that coming generations will not value it less than their predecessors.
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