The state of democracy in the world is fragile right now. While the ongoing autocratization takes up speed around the globe, with Russia and China meddling in other countries’ affairs more strongly than a decade ago, democracy’s two major supporters appear to part ways. Across the Atlantic, the U.S. seem, for a while now, increasingly uninterested in or unwilling to promote democracy abroad. On Europe mainland, in contrast, the Von der Leyen Commission started with the intention to be a geopolitical one, striving for a stronger Europe in the world, including efforts to strengthen democracy in its neighbourhood and beyond. President Biden declared the era of US nation-building to be over – von der Leyen wants the EU to “promote its values and interests around the world”. Are we witnessing the beginning of the disintegration of joint democracy promotion and an opening for autocracies to position themselves?

Join us in the third debate of ERCAS’ Democracy Promotion after Afghanistan series on the future of EU-US democracy promotion efforts, with Thomas Carothers (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) and Richard Youngs (University of Warwick, Carnegie Europe). Moderated by Alina Mungiu-Pippidi (Hertie School).


Wed, Nov 17, 7pm – 8pm CET, on Zoom
Are the US and the EU parting ways on Democracy Promotion?
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Thomas Carothers is Interim President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is a leading authority on international support for democracy, human rights, governance, the rule of law, and civil society. He has worked on democracy assistance projects for many organizations and carried out extensive field research on aid efforts around the world. Carothers is the author or editor of ten critically acclaimed books and many articles in prominent journals and newspapers, including most recently, Democracies Divided: The Global Challenge of Political Polarization. Prior to joining the Endowment, Carothers practised international and financial law at Arnold & Porter and served as an attorney-adviser in the office of the legal adviser of the U.S. Department of State.

Richard Youngs is Professor of International relations at the University of Warwick and a Senior Fellow in Carnegie Europe’s Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program. He works on EU foreign policy and on issues of international democracy. Prior to joining Carnegie in July 2013, he was the director of the European think tank FRIDE. He has held positions in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and as an EU Marie Curie fellow. He was a senior fellow at the Transatlantic Academy in Washington, DC, from 2012 to 2013. Youngs recently published Rebuilding European Democracy: Resistance and Renewal in an Illiberal Age, The European Union and Global Politics, and Civic Activism Unleashed: New Hope or False Dawn for Democracy?

Alina Mungiu-Pippidi is a policy scientist who founded the European Research Centre for Anti-Corruption and State-Building (ERCAS) at Hertie School, where she holds the democratization chair. Alina is also a consultant for various government and international organizations on evidence-based good governance. In recent years she has worked for the World Bank Development Report, the International Monetary Fund, the European Parliament as principal investigator on ‘clean trade’, as well as the European Commission DG Research on governance innovation. A Romanian by birth, she worked for UNDP in the Balkans and Crimea, for World Bank in the Caucasus and Latin America, and led Romania’s civil society coalitions against corruption for many years.


Missed our past events?

Was Afghanistan’s Corruption Made in America?

The first Democracy Series’ debate on how to salvage democracy promotion and not abandon activists who engaged in conflict-ridden societies. With Sarah Chayes (Independent Expert and Author) and Muska Dastageer (American University of Afghanistan), moderated by Alina Mungiu-Pippidi (Hertie School). Watch the recording on YouTube.

Are autocrats beating democrats at their own game?

The second Democracy Series’ debate on why the Western liberal order is challenged by the new generation of “spin autocrats” – and what can be done about it. With Larry Diamond (Stanford University) and Sergei Guriev (Sciences Po), moderated by Alina Mungiu-Pippidi (Hertie School). Hear the recorded podcast.