Defending Democratic Institutions against Malign Foreign Influence

Panel Discussion

Traditional challenges to democracy such as voter alienation and corruption have been joined by new issues such as MALIGN state interference in other nations’ democracies‘- said SG Thomas E. Garrett in his welcome remarks at a panel discussion on Defending Democratic Institutions against Malign Foreign Influence, hosted on January 29th, 2020, by the Permanent Secretariat of the Community of Democracies.

A keynote speech was delivered by USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick who emphasized that ‘democracy is humanity’s most fertile soil for nurturing tolerance because it rests on respect for the individual’s right to contribute to her society’s political future regardless of political, religious or other persuasion. These sorts of open political societies are also the systems most likely to host enabling environments necessary for open markets, and, in turn, strong and sustainable economic growth.’  Full remarks are available here.

Panel discussion also featured H.E. Ambassador Martin Roger of Estonia, who shared experience of how Estonia is countering foreign interference, and Ms. Katarzyna Chimiak of a Warsaw-based think tank, Institute of Public Affairs, who highlighted the importance of maintaining a dialogue with civil society and providing a counter-narrative to challenge malign interference.