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The 2017 World Forum for Democracy will focus on the role of political parties and media in the context of raising populism. A growing disconnect between citizens and political elites and dramatic changes in the media ecosystem are a challenge for democracy as we know it. New political and media actors and practices are emerging, offering opportunities for direct, unmediated engagement of the public, unbound by ethical or institutional safeguards. How can pluralism, freedom of expression, and fair and evidence-based public debate be safeguarded in these new conditions? How to nourish political culture which embraces a long-term perspective and resists the excesses of populism?
Meeting from January 23rd to 27th, 2017 in Strasbourg, the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe brought together some 300 INGO delegates, experts, parliamentarians and permanent representatives of Council of Europe member states who discussed several major issues of concern today :
On November 251h and 261h of this year, 2016, the Joan Maragall Foundation - a Barcelona center dedicated to the dialogue between faith and culture - and Obra Social "La Caixa" organized the International Symposium "State and religion and their relationship in today's pluralistic democracies" at the Palau Macaya. This event completed the reflection that the Joan Maragall Board of Trustees has dedicated to a topic that has lately been the object of their concern.
With this symposium, the Joan Maragall Foundation and the Palau Macaya intend to encourage debate and reflection on today's challenges for religion and the emergence of religious pluralism in democratic societies today, especially in Europe.
Two new videos presenting the World Forum for Democracy 2016 highlights and its conclusions have just been released. Aimed at our participants and the wide audience, the videos describe the challenges faced this year at the Forum and show the scope of its activities through the best highlights.
The videos are available both in a short and long version: http://www.coe.int/en/web/world-forum-democracy/wfd-2016-highlights
We are also happy to inform you that we are currently working final report.
We hope you will enjoy this unique way of recalling the Forum.
Thank you again for your participation and we look forward to seeing you all next year.
World Forum for Democracy
Council of Europe
Internet : www.world-forum-democracy.org
If I were to indicate what feeling prevails today in western societies, I'd say fear. Often unacknowledged or exorcised through displays of security and strength, fear hides in the thoughts of many people, in the decisions of entire populations, in turn back to ideologies that we thought were no longer occupy the scenario of our countries. Afraid, we try to give a name to identify an enemy to fight and to whom to attribute the faults of many social problems that we cannot solve. This enemy is identified as external to us: the Isis, monster that creates cruel children also in our well-ordered society; foreign, invading our lands and feeding new social tensions; European bureaucracy which oppresses our lives with rules made to limit our freedom.
Exorcising mercy almost a year ago, Pope Francis launched the Jubilee of Mercy, with the aim of helping us to experience mercy, both the mercy which all of us need to receive from God and the mercy we must show towards all those overwhelmed by suffering.
But there are some words which are traitorous: words that though they mean positive and good things, sound bad, at least to some people. One of these words is mercy. Is mercy a weakness? Nietzsche said, ‘I do not like the merciful who feel blessed in their pity”. And maybe modern man feels too self-sufficient.
Merry Christmas 2016 and Happy New Year 2017.
We hope that next year will be economically, socially and politically better. In Indonesia, the group of the Muslim extremists have shown an anti christian attitude. Recently there was a large demonstration opposing the major of Jakarta, who will run for the next period governor post. It was the biggest demonstration ever made in Jakarta.
Fortunately the government of Indonesia under Jokowi presidency is firmly protecting the rights of minority, which is written in the constitution. It has been found several bombs intended to be used for the churches at the Christmas nights. It was fortunate that the polices have been continuously agile and speedily acting to capture the extremist groups.
But in reality, the majority of the population are not against the Christians, but the small extremists have their network and means to act. Some of them have been trained in the Middle East, the ISIS group.
I hope that French and all European Christian countries are protected by the God's mercy.
Since June 2015, I have been a member of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) of the DRC. I had the privilege of having been appointed by the civil society organisations working in the civic and electoral education for a non-renewable six-year term Our main challenge, as a member of CENI, is to organise fair and transparent elections at local, provincial and national levels. In particular, I am in charge of following up the youth, persons living with disabilities and indigenous populations.
From freedom to security
The leading value put forward by politicians today is not freedom but rather security. The world, value systems, society, health, culture – all of these are portrayed as vulnerable and open to attack, and are therefore perceived as such.
This reality is concocted by the media, which have their agendas of economic and political interests, fuelled by daily rations of shock, horror, fear and vulnerability.
Yet “freedom”, not “security”, is the message that the major religions of the world are putting forward, namely their vision of “what is still possible”. This is the message that religious representatives should be proclaiming, whether or not the timing is right.
Understanding fear: moral panic
CAN –Community Action Network is a network of former Catholic Student Movement members, founded in 1993, who continue to meet as a community to live out their faith in action through engaging on human rights awareness in parishes. Since its inception, CAN has collaborated with churches and non-governmental organizations to organize activities to promote and advocate justice and peace in society.
Preparations for Elections, GE 13 – What’s at Stake?
Editorial, Michael Kuhn: Through the eyes of the poor
Read more : (Link)
The North America region of ICMCIA/MIIC is pleased to present this brief report for the Assembly. We look forward to taking the next steps to renew this region in the coming years. We hope that this Assembly will help to guide some of our questions as we move forward (see challenges).
A. Mobilizing Communities of Young Professionals
Over the past four years, we have prioritized outreach to young professionals. Our focus has been on engaging both young professionals and young lay theologians (see list of events). As a movement, we have organized or co-sponsored several events related to this effort. Kevin Ahern has visited existing communities in, Boston and Washington and has tried to establish or connect with new communities in New York, Toronto, Denver, and other cities. He has also worked on the board of several national organizations dealing with this question. These include: the Catholic Common Ground Initiative, America Media (Jesuits), Daily Theology, and the Church in the 21st Century Center of Boston College. In 2015, Kevin was asked to lead a session on young professionals in the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace’s conference on the 50th Anniversary of Guadium et Spes.
This draft strategic plan includes:
- long term guidelines
- plan of action for the year 2017.
These documents will be discussed during the statutory session in Barcelona.
Please find herewith the text in english of the video desplayed by our permanent delegation to the Council of Europe during the Plenary Assembly of Pax Romana in Barcelona on October the 30th 2016, session VI : "Looking to the future".
We shall arrive in Barcelona, as members of Pax Romana with our histories, cultural backgrounds and hopes for the future. First we want to take time to be together, which is not possible in the ordinary life, to share what is important for us as brothers and sisters, and also what is less important.
But it is a time for discernment. We shall take time to see our movement, how it is dealing with the challenges of the world in different countries, time to reflect on this situation, time to organize our action in the future.
All this is sustained by two ideas:
- a common thread : to move from indifference to mercy, which is not only a thematic issue but a change of attitude in Pax Romana life,
- the openness to the Holy Spirit, with times for meditation, praying together and celebrating as a Christian community.
Letter from world religious leaders appealing to maintain the agreements and the peace-building progress in Colombia.
We, religious leaders from around the world, have been able to engage with communities and in particular with the victims of the armed conflict in Colombia for many years now. In the almost six years of the public and private dialogues between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP guerilla we have continuously been able to follow-up (with you, Mr. President, as well as with the guerrillas) in the critically difficult moments, but that always turned out well, supporting the process until the final agreement was reached.
The decision taken by a majority of British voters just two days ago once more shows us the complex and difficult situation of Europe’s state at the moment and the importance of developing a path into the future. The successive crises in the last years, beginning with the breakdown of the financial markets, the near-down crash of finances in EU-memberstates, the illegal occupation of Crimea and the astoundingly increased number of refugees during the last months have not only put to test the European Integration Process, but also led to rising resentments between EU-memberstates as well as between groups within these member-states as well. A first rough analysis of the outcome of the British referendum shows us a division between generations, between the inhabitants of cities and of the countryside, between a « well-to-do » elite, able to find their way in a globalized and interconnected world and all those, who feel abandoned, left behind and who fear a loss of what they have gained or built up the past decennia.
In Vienna the following NGO Committees are operating:
NGO Committee on
- Status of Women (CSW)
- Sustainable Development
- The Family
- Narcotic Drugs
NGO Alliance for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
Until recently, Pax Romana delegates were active in all the committees mentioned above, except the one on Ageing. - At present we are participating intensively in the Committee Status of Women (Annemarie Weinzettl) and Peace (Helga Kerschbaum). For the other committees we are looking for persons to replace some momentary vacant – respectively provisionally occupied – committees and hope to start with full engagements in January 2017.