After Afghanistan: A discussion with the Brussels democracy support community

Wednesday 15 September 12:00-13:00 (Zoom event)

The fall of Kabul four weeks ago has highlighted the failure of nearly 20 years of institution-building and raises questions about the effectiveness of democracy support.

Executive Directors and representatives of leading European democracy support organisations will review what recent events in Afghanistan mean for democracy support at a time when democracy faces severe challenges, but retains significant support from citizens around the world. Speakers will discuss lessons to be learned, and the kinds of democracy support now possible in Afghanistan and other countries worldwide, and will look at success stories of the recent past.

This event is part of International Democracy Week 2021, a series of events taking place online from 15-17 September, around the theme ‘Stronger Together: Partnerships for supporting democracy’.

 Jerzy Pomianowski

Jerzy Pomianowski, Executive Director of European Endowment for Democracy

Jerzy Pomianowski took the leadership of the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) after two years as Deputy Foreign Minister of Poland. As the director of OECD-UNDP’s Partnership for Democratic Governance (2008-2011), Pomianowski supported countries destabilized by armed conflict or natural disasters. This followed his launch of Poland Aid (2006-08) and work as Director General of the Polish Foreign Service (2005-06). Pomianowski began his career as a civil servant in 1990, just after the fall of communism, first in the Ministry of Education, and then in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After being in charge of Poland’s relations with Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, he was Ambassador to Japan from 1997-2002. From 1980-89, Pomianowski was an active member of the democratic opposition in Poland.

 Leena Rikkila Tamang

Leena Rikkila Tamang, Regional Director for Asia and Pacific, International IDEA

Tamang joined International IDEA in 2002, first working for the South-Asia programme and then, between 2004-2013, managing International IDEA’s programme on Supporting Constitution-Building Process in Nepal. 

Tamang is a former Secretary-General of Finland's Advisory Board for Relations with Developing Countries (Ministry for Foreign Affairs). She is a member and former chair (2001-2002) of the Network Institute for Global Democracy (NIGD).  She is also a former Board Member of Asia–Europe (ASEF) Foundation and has been teaching at the University of Tampere.

 Magdalena Kirchner

Magdalena Kirchner, Head of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Office in Kabul

A political scientist, historian and conflict researcher, Kirchner specializes in transatlantic security and crisis management, Turkey, and the Levant. Before working for FES, she was Chief Operating Officer at CONIAS Risk Intelligence and Adjunct Lecturer at Heidelberg University.

She has been a 2016/17 Mercator-IPC Fellow at the Istanbul Policy Center and is a Research Fellow at RAND Europe. Previously, she held research positions at RAND Corporation, German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), and Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies.

 Ken Godfrey

Ken Godfrey, Executive Director, European Partnership for Democracy

Ken Godfrey has been Executive Director of the European Partnership for Democracy since 2015. Prior to joining EPD, Ken worked for the United Nations in Timor-Leste and the European Union in Afghanistan as well as at the European Parliament.

Godfrey studied Comparative Democratisation, focusing his research on the links between climate change and representative democracy. He has also worked in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, Senegal and the United Kingdom. He is fluent in English, French and Spanish.

Alistair Scrutton

Moderator: Alistair Scrutton, Head of Communications and Knowledge Management, International Idea

Alistair Scrutton is director of communications and publications at International IDEA. Previously he worked as a journalist at Reuters for more than two decades in South Asia, Latin America, the United States and Scandinavia.

 Register for this panel here.

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