World Forum for Democracy 2017

Is Populism a problem?

The 2017 World Forum for Democracy (8-10 November) asked “Is Populism a Problem?” and focused on the role of political parties and the media in the context of rising populism in Europe and beyond. How can pluralism, freedom of expression, and fair and evidence-based public debate be safeguarded in these new conditions? How can we foster a political culture which embraces a more long-term perspective? Are there social structures that can replace political parties in building social capital and providing frameworks for grassroots political debate participation and decision-making?

The objective of the World Forum for Democracy 2017 was to review novel initiatives and approaches which can enhance democratic practices and help parties and media, but also other political actors, to re-connect to citizens, make informed choices and function optimally in a 21st century democracy.

Over the course of three days, over 500 participants from the Schools of Political Studies, along with other young leaders from around the world had the chance to discuss these questions through a series of panel discussions, debates, labs, lightening talks, and plenary sessions in the hemicycle of the Council of Europe. A series of additional events were offered to participants of the Schools of Political Studies cycles, including visits to the European Court of Human Rights, meetings with the national Permanent Representations, Networking Lunches and bilateral or thematic meetings between Schools.

Special programme of additional events for Schools' participants


Diploma ceremony with the Secretary General for participants from the Schools of Political Studies

WFD 2017 web










 Artistic performance by Lisa Simone

Lisa Simone web












 Artistic performance by Shavnabada Ensemble, Georgia

Shavnabada web









 Panel debate sponsored by the Schools of Political Studies on populism and anti-migrant rhetoric

SPS Lab Web