The Heritage Foundation, in partnership with the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and Taiwan’s Institute for National Policy Research, are organizing a full day public conference in Taipei on January 10 entitled “Democracy Building in Interesting Times.”
The conference, co-hosted by Heritage Foundation President Edwin J. Feulner, is intended to give folks in Asia who are engaged in the democratic experiment an opportunity to compare notes on common challenges and best practices. The list of distinguished participants includes representatives from some of the most highly developed democracies in Asia, some newly embarked on a democratic course, and some struggling to either maintain their tradition or expand the space for representative government. Panels filled with several currently sitting members of parliaments, a couple recent candidates for heads of government, widely-respected journalists, representatives of premier NGO’s, and a former American Assistant Secretary of State will address several areas critical to democratic governance.
The importance of a flourishing civil society, government accountability, minority rights in government (something enshrined in our Constitution) and informing the legislative process are near and dear to Heritage Foundation’s mission here at home. And they are matters central to democracies, developed and aspiring, everywhere.
The title of the conference comes from a well-worn ancient Chinese proverb highlighting the dangers of uncertainty, “May you live in interesting times.” And, indeed, with global recession, rising regional political tensions, stubborn worries about America’s continuing role in Asia, and the emergence of what popular academics have touted as viable authoritarian models of development, these are challenging times for democracies. This is especially true in a region as dynamic and complex as Asia.
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