Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Conference: Democracy in Trouble?

VENUE:Perry World House

Conference: Democracy in Trouble?

About the Event

Democracy in Trouble?
Opening Conference 
by The Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy
at the University of Pennsylvania

Co-sponsored by Foreign Policy Research Institute, Perry World HouseFels Policy Research Initiative, and Penn-Temple European Studies Colloquium

The Mitchell Center's 2018-19 Speakers Series, is driven by a growing sense that democratic governance is under siege around the world. New democracies such as Poland and Hungary are reverting to authoritarian practices. Voters throughout the West – and elsewhere – have shown a willingness to jettison democratic institutions and norms to pursue the narrow interests of national, linguistic, or religious groups. Commitment to democracy has waned in particular among young people. The United States and other countries have witnessed demagogic attacks on the media, the courts, and an array of perceived internal enemies. “Democracy in Trouble?” seeks to both examine and counter these trends with wide-ranging discussions that reach our entire campus community and beyond.


10:00 am – Welcome and Introduction
Jeffrey Green, Andrea Mitchell Center Director
Mitchell Orenstein, “Democracy in Trouble?” Planning Committee Chair

10:15 am – Why do Democracies Fail?
Steven Levitsky, Harvard University
Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin 
Moderator: Trudy RubinPhiladelphia Inquirer

12:30 pm – Keynote Speaker
Francis Fukuyama
, Stanford University

2:15 pm – Why is Authoritarianism Suddenly Appealing? 
Cas Mudde, University of Georgia
Ruth Ben-Ghiat, New York University 
Moderator: Mitchell Orenstein, FPRI; University of Pennyslvania

4:00 pm – Is Democracy Worth Saving? A Debate
Jason Brennan, Georgetown University 
Hélène Landemore, Yale University
Moderator: Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico, 2012-2016


The Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy aims not just to promote, but to understand, democracy. Global in its outlook, multifaceted in its purposes, the Mitchell Center seeks to contribute to the ongoing quest for democratic values, ideas, and institutions throughout the world. In addition to hosting speakers from the fields of academia, journalism, politics, and public policy, the Mitchell Center supports undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral research.  It continues the legacy of the Penn Program for Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism, which fostered interdisciplinary scholarship from 2007 to 2017.



Perry World House

University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia. PA. US. 19104



*Registration is through UPenn, not FPRI. For questions, please contact (215) 573-4881. 


Mitchell Orenstein

Mitchell Orenstein - Mitchell Orenstein is a Senior Fellow at FPRI’s Eurasia Program and Professor and Chair of Russian and Eastern European Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.