Democracy: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Bi-weekly;  Week One;  Monday;  12:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Two Terms; In-person

The workshop will cover a number of subjects including addressing the tensions within a democracy (populism, protecting the interests of minorities, intolerance etc.), the mechanisms for moving from dictatorship to democracy (e g Poland, Spain, Iraq and The Gambia) and the safeguards needed to minimize the risk of democracies sliding into dictatorships. Can democracy be saved? Join us for a wide-ranging discussion about democracies, how they flourish and how they fail. We will discuss what differentiates democracies of the past, present and future and what mechanisms are at play that undermine or enhance democracies. How do democracies become dictatorships and how do dictatorships become democracies? How are societal tensions amplified such that democracies are threatened? What is populism and when did it start? Is there a difference between manipulation of the electorate in the past, through propaganda, versus today through data derived from social media and other means? How are the vulnerabilities of democracy undermined today and what can we learn from the past in order to enhance democracies in the future. Each participant will prepare a 20 minute presentation leading to a discussion of the topics. There is no assigned reading list and extensive workshop notes will be provided.

Facilitators

Stephen Johnson (stephenjohnson54@rogers.com) is a Chartered Accountant and is the co- founder of a Toronto asset management company. He is interested in history and current affairs. He has facilitated a number of workshops including the Equality and Inequality workshop and the Sport and Its Influence on Society workshop.

Carol Austin (austincarol09@gmail.com) worked for many years in management and training in the pharmaceutical industry. She joined the Academy in 2020 and is looking forward to another exciting year of intellectual discussion on a variety of topics.