Type: Public event

Dean's Symposium - The State of Democracy around the World


Stephen Biegun, David Carroll, Jenna Bednar, Susan D. Page

Date & time

Apr 12, 2024, 1:00 pm EDT


Betty Ford Classroom (1110)
735 South State Street Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Have a question for our panel? Submit your question at: https://myumi.ch/4rPZ4

The Financial Times calls 2024, "The most intense and cacophonous 12 months of democracy the world has seen since the idea was minted nearly 2,500 years ago." Some two billion people in 70 countries will vote in 2024, including in eight of the 10 most populous countries. It is happening against a backdrop of democracies on the defensive. What is the true state of democracy around the world in this crucial year? 

This event is part of the Dean's Symposium. For more information about the other panels and keynotes, please click here.

This panel is co-sponsored by the Weiser Diplomacy Center, International Policy Center, and the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan. 

From the speakers' bios:

Stephen E. Biegun  is a board member of the National Endowment for Democracy, an independent, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. He has more than three decades of international affairs experience in government and the private sector, including service with the Department of State, the White House, and the United States Congress. In 2021, he concluded his most recent government service as the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, to which he was confirmed by the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote of 90-3.

Importantly, he is also a graduate of the University of Michigan where he was awarded a bachelor’s degree in political science and Russian language.

 David Carroll leads the Carter Center's initiative on developing standards and best practices in international election observation. He has managed or participated in more than 70 Carter Center projects to strengthen democracy and electoral processes around the globe in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Carroll joined The Carter Center in 1991 to serve as the assistant director of the Latin America and Caribbean Program. Since 2003, he has directed the Center's Democracy Program, playing a key role in the Center's work to build consensus on international standards for democratic elections, as rooted in states' obligations in international and regional human rights law.

Jenna Bednar is a professor of public policy and political science at the University of Michigan and a member of the external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute. Professor Bednar's research is on the analysis of institutions, focusing on the theoretical underpinnings of the stability of federal states. Generally, her work seeks to answer questions such as: Why does the federal government take advantage of state governments? Why are some federations stable, despite frequent episodes of intergovernmental tension? Can the court effectively referee federalism disputes if it makes mistakes or is biased in favor of one government?

Susan D. Page applies her vast foreign policy experience to the Weiser Diplomacy Center. She has served the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United Nations, and non-governmental organizations in senior roles for decades, across East, Central, and Southern Africa, and in Haiti and Nepal. Page was the first U.S. ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan and served as Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations in Haiti.