Democracy and Its Opposites: Challenges in a Global World

Lund Critical Debate

Democracies worldwide—even many wealthy democracies long considered safely consolidated—are at risk today. Governments, policymakers, and voters face new conflicts over democratic institutions, checks and balances, which citizens can compete for office or deserve representation, and what rules of accountability apply.

This year’s Lund debate from the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies examines the threats democracies around the world are confronting, both from external forces and from within—and what governments and citizens can do to fight back.

Join Thomas Garrett of the Community of Democracies and Damon Wilson of the National Endowment for Democracy for a conversation on democratic backsliding, strategies for resilience, and the conditions and practices that undermine democracy: democracy … and its opposites.

A reception with refreshments will follow the conversation.

Lund Debate: 5:00–6:30 p.m. | Alice Statler AuditoriumReception: 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. | Alice Statler Lobby Free ticket required for in-person attendance. Reserve your ticket today!



Thomas E. Garrett is secretary general of the Community of Democracies, a global intergovernmental coalition comprised of the Governing Council (GC) member states that support adherence to the Warsaw Declaration’s common democratic values and standards. Garrett serves as a liaison to the GC members and handles the day-to-day management of the Community of Democracies’ Permanent Secretariat, including allocating budget resources.

Damon Wilson is president and CEO of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a nonprofit grant-making foundation supporting freedom around the world. Prior to joining NED, he helped transform the Atlantic Council into a leading global think tank as its executive vice president. He previously served as special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs at the National Security Council. Wilson also served at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad as the executive secretary and chief of staff, where he helped manage one of the largest U.S. embassies during a time of conflict.


Rachel Beatty Riedl has served as the Einaudi Center’s director since 2019. She is the Einaudi Center’s John S. Knight Professor of International Studies and professor in the Department of Government and Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy. Her research interests include institutional development in new democracies, local governance and decentralization, and authoritarian regime legacies in Africa.


About the Debate

The Lund Critical Debate is a signature event of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. This year’s dialogue is part of Einaudi’s work on democratic threats and resilience. Established in 2008, Einaudi’s Lund Critical Debate series is made possible by the generosity of Judith Lund Biggs ’57.

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