As of June 1, interested parties can begin registering for the 17th annual Forum 2000 Conference, which takes place this year in Prague from September 15 to 17. More than 30 important global figures have confirmed that they will be attending this year’s conference, including, for example, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the American folk singer and activist Joan Baez, the French political scientist Jacques Rupnik, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Frederik Willem de Klerk, and the European Parliament Deputy Marek Siwiec, among others.
The main theme of this year’s conference will concern the problems and consequences of social transformations, i.e. various aspects of ongoing changes in today’s world. Special attention will be devoted to anchoring the values of transformation processes as well as the issues involved in the establishment of the rule of law and democratic institutions. Participants will also look at the phenomenon of corruption and its influence on the management of public affairs and economic development. The conference will continue to develop the legacy of the Forum 2000 Foundation’s founder, Václav Havel.
“If you want to break out of the cycle of violence; if you want to lay the foundations for a more prosperous society; if you want to democratize, the departure point in a country caught up in these crises is that leaders must become convinced that fundamental change is necessary,” says the former President of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Frederik Willem de Klerk, who will speak at this year’s conference about a possible “South African inspiration” for contemporary transforming societies. “This happened in South Africa. I and my fellow leaders in the National Party became convinced we had to change: ‘We cannot improve Apartheid; we cannot make it more acceptable. We must abandon the concept of separateness and we must embrace a new vision of togetherness, of one united South Africa with equal rights for all; a South Africa which would not result in the chaos that resulted in the overhasty decolonization in many other parts of Africa, which led to dictatorships and to despots.’”
The Forum 2000 Conference is traditionally open to the public and attendance is free of charge. Last year, nearly 4,000 interested parties from the ranks of government officials and the academic community as well as representatives of civil society, entrepreneurs, and students availed themselves of the opportunity to attend some of the Forum 2000 discussions. Registration for this year’s conference will be possible as of June 1. One can only register via an online registration form, which will be available on the Forum 2000 Foundation’s website, where the main part of the conference will once again be broadcast live. It will also be possible to get involved in discussions via social networks.
“Just like in previous years, we are trying to convey the important themes of the conference to the biggest number of interested parties,” says the Forum 2000 Foundation’s Executive Director Jakub Klepal. “Consequently, after last year’s successful expansion into Plzeň, Ostrava, and Bratislava, this year, in addition to these three cities, we are also planning discussions in Zlín, Budapest, and Krakow in cooperation with local partners. With respect to the participation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we are well aware of how he has a large base of supporters in the Czech Republic. Therefore, besides his appearance at the conference, we are also preparing a lecture for students at Charles University’s Faculty of Arts. Interested parties from the general public will then be able to attend a public lecture by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the O2 Arena, which is planned for Tuesday, September 17.” More detailed information about the conference program and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s lecture will be published in a timely manner on the conference website.
Besides the people mentioned above, confirmed guests at this year’s conference include, for example, the well-known British journalist Edward Lucas, the former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, the Israeli political scientist Shlomo Avineri, the Bahraini activist Nada Dhaif, the President of the National Democratic Institute Ken Wollack, the Argentinian rabbi and writer Abraham Skorka, the former European Commissioner for Agriculture Franz Fischler, the head of the Danish media company JP Politikens Jørgen Ejbøl, the former Hungarian Foreign Minister Kinga Göncz, the celebrated Middle East analyst Fouad Ajami, the British philosopher Roger Scruton, the politician and former Director of the main Israeli security service Shin Bet Ami Ayalon, the Archbishop of Prague Dominik Duka, the Executive Director of Greenpeace International Kumi Naidoo, the renowned American political scientist Michael Novak, and the Venezuelan lawyer and human rights defender Tamara Sujú Roa. A full list of confirmed speakers can be found here.