Experts Convene in Ulaanbaatar Seminar on Democracy Education
The Mongolian Foreign Ministry, working closely with CCD, hosted a two-day seminar in Ulaanbaatar for democracy education experts from May 21st to 22nd. Governments from Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Nigeria, Romania, South Africa and Taiwan sent representatives. More than a score of experts from civil society organizations (CSOs) as well as representatives from the Arab Democracy Foundation, the Council of Europe, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, and the United Nations Democracy Fund also participated. Participants reviewed a UN General Assembly resolution, a Declaration on Democracy Education, and a Democracy Education Action Plan.
Subsequent to an opening session at which high level officials commented on the priority Mongolia has given to the Working Group established to advance democracy education, the seminar continued with an introduction by CCD President Bob LaGamma, which highlighted the importance of democracy education and proposed objectives for the seminar. Experts from the Council of Europe, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, and South Africa then reviewed the current state of democracy education in their countries and region. On the second day of the seminar, working groups reviewed and revised draft proposals of the resolution, Declaration, and Action Plan provided by CCD, based on CCD's Global Strategic Plan for Democracy Education. The Declaration on Democracy Education focuses on bringing democracy education to the forefront of CD activities. The Action Plan details the methods by which governments can and should pursue democracy education policies, proposing a process of creating a National Democracy Education Action Plan (NDEAP) in each country. Following the ideas laid out in the Declaration, the Action Plan centers around an approach that involves stakeholders not only in the government but also educators, parents, and NGOs and calls for the creation of a democratic classroom.
In addition to the seminar activities, a small group of participants met with Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. He stressed the need for democracy education in Mongolia and the important role of the Community of Democracies in addressing the issue around the world. A conference designed for policymakers is set to take place in India early next year. CCD expects to produce a practical guide for democracy education following the event.
The Warsaw Declaration that founded the Community of Democracies in 2000 committed the CD to “promote civic education and literacy, including education for democracy.” CCD previously organized three conferences on democracy education at the Pocantico Conference Center in New York. Since the creation of the Global Strategic Plan for Democracy Education at the first Pocantico conference in 2003, subsequent documents produced in 2005 and 2008 developed strategies for pursuing democracy education policies.
To read the Ulaanbaatar Communique on Democracy Education, please click here.
To read the Democracy Education Action Plan, please click here.
For more information about the Pocantico Conferences, please click here.