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ERIS Annual Democracy Lecture

ERIS organises an annual lecture in solidarity with those working for democracy around the world. Read, watch and listen to previous lectures here.


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ERIS Annual Democracy Lecture

We organise an Annual Democracy Lecture to express solidarity with individuals working on the ground to advance the cause of democracy. In the last three years, lectures have been given by democracy activists, lawyers and academics from Pakistan, Nigeria and Tunisia on the challenges facing democrats today.

Previous speakers:

Jibrin Ibrahim, Director of the Center for Democracy and Development (Nigeria)

"Citizens have been very active in challenging authoritarianism and dictatorship in Africa. It is important that we continue to empower citizens in their action to impose their will on regimes, and civic education is very important in this context."

Read the full lecture here and listen to a recording



 Asma Jahangir, former chairperson of the Pakistan Human Rights Commission

'Democracy is not simply a word; it is a growing phenomenon. It has to take into account new challenges, and the new questions that development poses you.'

Read the full lecture here


About the lecture

The Annual Democracy Lecture is organised by Electoral Reform International Services (ERIS), in co-operation with Electoral Reform Services Limited (ERSL), the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) and the McDougall Trust. It has been hosted at the London offices of the European Commission and the European Parliament, London's Guildhall and the School of Oriental and African Studies.


Mohsen Marzouk

Mr Marzouk was a member of Tunisia’s interim legislative body prior to the October 2011 Constituent Assembly Elections (the Higher Commission for the Implementation of the Revolution’s Objectives, Political Reform, and Democratic Transition) and previously served as the Regional Coordinator of the El Taller Foundation, the Regional Programmes Coordinator of the International Labour Organization and the Regional Director of Freedom House.  He also founded and directed the Al-Kawakibi Democracy Transition Center in Tunis.
Mr Marzouk participated in the establishment of a number of the region’s most important human rights and democracy networks and is a member of several of their boards and that of the Council for a Community of Democracies.  He also helped to launch several initiatives to promote democratic transition in the Middle East and North Africa, such as the New Generation of Advocates for Political Reform, the Citizenship Movement, the Arab Experts’ Group on Transitional Justice and the Arab Democratic Election Monitors’ Group.

Since 14 January 2011 and the ousting of President Ben Ali, Mr Marzouk has promoted a number of initiatives in Tunisia, including the campaigns for democratic principles to be embedded in the new Constitution, a referendum to determine the duration and mandate of the National Constituent Assembly elected in October 2011 and a Civil Constituent Assembly to promote the concept of participatory democracy in Tunisia. 

Jibrin Ibrahim

Dr Ibrahim is Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), which is based in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. CDD is a respected non-governmental organisation which works throughout West Africa. Dr Ibrahim was a member of the Electoral Reform Committee established by President Yar Adua and was previously National Convenor of the Citizens Forum for Constitutional Reform, a coalition of ninety NGOs seeking to reform the 1999 Nigerian Constitution. Before joining CDD he was Nigeria Country Director of Global Rights and an academic, with Visiting Professorships in Switzerland and Canada and several books on Nigerian politics.

Asma Jahangir

Asma Jahangir, Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, has written widely on democracy and good governance. She is an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and has been a lawyer since 1980. Many of her cases have been in defence of the rights of women, religious minorities, bonded labour and death penalty prisoners, and a number have been widely reported in Pakistan and internationally.

Ms Jahangir is a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists and a member of the Advisory Panel of the International Crisis Group and the International Board of the Open Society Institute.

She has served as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions and is currently the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.  Ms Jahangir was one of the three authors of the report Democracy in the Commonwealth, which was published by ERIS and the Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit in November 2009.