Spotlight Series: Can Democracies Still Win Hearts and Minds? with Prof. Yuval Shany
Can Democratic Institutions Win Hearts and Minds in an Age of Democratic Decline?
We’re honoured to host Prof. Yuval Shany, an expert in humanitarian law and human rights, to give a special talk for Circle Square members on the role of democracy in today’s society.
Liberal democracies, which seemed invincible at the end of the Cold War, find themselves increasingly under pressure these days, due to a combination of populism, polarisation, lack of civility and growing frustration with governments’ inability to resolve long term societal and economic problems. These processes are accelerated by fast changes in communication technology, globalisation and the growing influence of radical or opportunistic politicians.
Examples of democratic decline can be found across Europe, but also in the US, Israel and many other places around the world. The question confronting us in these context, is how to revalidate and revitalise core ideas underlying liberal democracy, such as universal human rights, institutional checks and balances and tolerance. International cooperation, effective regulation or self regulation of communication technology and investment in education are likely to be part of any future plan of action in this field.
About Professor Yuval Shany
is the Hersch Lauterpacht Chair in International Law and former Dean of the Law Faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was a member of the UN Human Rights Committee from 2013 to 2020 and served for one year during that time as Chair of the Committee. He serves, at present, as a senior research fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute (where he was a vice president between 2018-2022), and as the head of the CyberLaw program of the Hebrew University’s Federmann Cyber Security Research Center. He is also the current co-director of the Center for Transnational Legal Studies at King’s College in London. He has published extensively on international courts and tribunals, international human rights law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law. In recent years, his research focuses on international law in cyberspace and digital human rights.