IPSA's International Workshop on the State of Global Democracy Features Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

IPSA's International Workshop on the State of Global Democracy Features Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

Publication date: Wed, 15 Nov 2023

Organizing academic events with local political science associations and academic institutions has been a tradition of IPSA Executive Committee (EC) meetings. In keeping with this tradition, an international workshop in preparation for the 2025 IPSA World Congress in Seoul, on the theme Resisting Autocratization and Reinventing Democracy - Global Perspectives, was held at Seoul National University prior to IPSA's 144th EC meeting from 2-3 November 2023.  The workshop was jointly organized by the Local Organizing Committee of the 2025 IPSA World Congress, Seoul National University, the Korean Political Science Association (KPSA), and IPSA.

The international workshop also brought together IPSA Executive Committee members, diplomats, scholars from several Korean universities, as well as experts and professionals from various fields, to engage in an interdisciplinary exploration of the challenges facing democracy worldwide.

Keynote Address of Ban Ki-Moon

The highlight of the event was the keynote address delivered by Ban Ki-Moon, the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations. In his keynote, Ban Ki-Moon expressed his concern about the global resurgence of authoritarianism and the erosion of democratic institutions, which intensify challenges to peace, security, and democracy. He pointed to instances of authoritarian leaders consolidating power in Russia and North Korea and their impact.

The former Secretary-General stressed the significance of worldwide cooperation in safeguarding democratic principles, advancing transparency, and fostering civil participation. As an appeal to action, he encouraged educators, especially political scientists, to prioritize cultivating global citizenship in education. Ban Ki-Moon concluded by reflecting on his ongoing personal efforts to promote democracy, human rights, and sustainable development, urging political scientists to influence students to become genuine global leaders committed to tackling international challenges.

Photo: Ban Ki-Moon

Following his address, a luncheon was held with attending EC members. IPSA President Pablo Oñate and Executive Director Kim Fontaine-Skronski seized the opportunity to present to the former Secretary-General IPSA's first open-access book Does the UN Model Work? Challenges and Prospects for the Future of Multilateralism (Brill, 2022).

Photo (left to right): IPSA Executive Director Kim Fontaine-Skronski, IPSA President Pablo Oñate and Ban Ki-Moon.

Other Panels

IPSA President Pablo Oñate and Past President Dianne Pinderhughes chaired a two-part panel titled Democracy in Retreat and Authoritarian Resurgence (Part 1 & 2). The panels explored the global democracy crisis affecting both new and established democracies, with the focus on issues such as democratic erosion, populism, polarization, anti-immigration sentiment, and economic disparities. Speakers discussed the causes underpinning these challenges and ways to counter illiberal trends and the global expansion of authoritarianism.

Photo (left to right): Kim Fontaine-Skronski, IPSA Executive Director; Ajin Choi, EC member; Pablo Oñate IPSA President; Dianne Pinderhughes, IPSA Past President; Ban Ki-Moon, former UN Secretary-General; Yuko Kasuya, IPSA President-Elect; Dalchoong Kim, IPSA Past President and Euiyoung Kim, Co-chair of the Local Organizing Committee.

Democracy in Retreat and Authoritarian Resurgence - Part 1
Discussants: Irasema Coronado (IPSA Vice-President and Program Co-Chair of WC2025), Magdalena Musiał-Karg (IPSA EC member), Wonbin Cho (Sungkyunkwan University), Jae Hyeok Shin (Korea University)
Speakers: Yuko Kasuya (IPSA President-Elect), Kgothatso B. Shai (IPSA EC member), Sung Min Han (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies)

Democracy in Retreat and Authoritarian Resurgence - Part 2
Discussants: Vanessa Oliveira (IPSA EC member), Francesca Longo (IPSA EC member), Sang E. Ha (Sogang University), Jungsub Shin (Soongsil University)
Speakers: Nam Kyu Kim (Korea University), Azul A. Aguiar-Aguilar (Program Co-Chair of WC2025) and Berk Esen (IPSA EC member)

The workshop’s final panel, Participatory Democracy and Civic Education, was chaired by Jiewuh Song (Seoul National University). It explored the keys to reinventing democracy, highlighting its scope beyond institutional reforms linked to representative democracy. The discussion emphasized the need to foster innovation through participatory democracy and educate citizens to champion an informed and engaged public. The panel focused on research agendas for participatory democracy in different countries and regions, along with approaches to enhancing political science and civic education, especially in the face of democratic challenges.

Discussants: Keiichi Kubo (IPSA EC member), Serge Granger (IPSA EC member), Miura Hiroki (Seoul National University), Hyun Soo Seo (Yonsei University)
Speakers: Theresa Reidy (IPSR Co-editor) and Euiyoung Kim (WC2025 LOC Co-chair)