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From Dictatorship to Democracy: What Does It Take?
February 18, 2016, 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Throughout much of the world, and particularly in regions that shed colonial control after the great wars of the 20th century, no political challenge has proved more difficult that achieving and maintaining democratic governance. Strong-man dictatorships and repressive military regimes have been more the rule than the exception. Establishing representative government has proved to be a complex process fraught with many difficulties, particularly in countries facing economic and social challenges. Nonetheless, transitioning to democracy has been achieved in a number of cases, from Poland and Spain in Europe, to various nations in Latin America, Africa and the Far East.
To discuss how and why tyranny was defeated and democracy took hold, we are pleased to host Dr. Abraham E. Lowenthal, professor emeritus at the University of Southern California, and the founding director of the Wilson Center’s Latin America Program and the Inter-American Dialogue. He was the founding president in 1995-2005 of the Pacific Council on International Policy in Los Angeles. Together with co-author Sergio Bitar, Dr. Lowenthal recently published Democratic Transitions: Conversations with World Leaders, a study built on probing exchanges with heads of government and others who managed such transitions. Called “a must-read for future transitions” by Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet, and lauded by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan for the “pragmatic wisdom and unique outlook” of the interviewed leaders, the study’s lessons will be detailed by Dr. Lowenthal in his presentation.