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After having vanquished socialism and communism in the 20th century, liberal democracies are confronting new ideological challenges from various forms of illiberal nationalisms and populist authoritarianism in the 21st century. These ideologies have gained enormous political traction around the world resulting in a wave of global democratic backsliding. The world’s population living under autocratic regimes has risen from 48 percent in 2013 to over 70 percent now. Even established liberal democracies that fought socialism are coming under the sway of these ideas as the rise of the illiberal far-right in Western countries, including the United States, demonstrates. These ideologies threaten to undo the unprecedented political stability, peace and prosperity that Enlightenment liberalism has delivered over the last 250 years. There is no more urgent task than to defeat them—not through coercion, but through persuasion in the marketplace of ideas. Those who understand the enormous stakes in this battle need to set aside their policy disagreements and come together in defense of core liberal democratic values (openness, pluralism, toleration and human rights) and institutions (checks-and-balances, separation of powers, executive restraint, and representative governance). This conference will bring together prominent liberal democratic public intellectuals, writers and activists from all over the world to advance that goal. During the course of a day-and-a-half, not only will they critique the emerging illiberal ideologies but also make an affirmative case for liberalism as the governing system most capable of generating workable solutions to the new issues that humanity is confronting such as climate change and social justice—while at the same time avoiding the perennial problems of  religious-ethnic strife and state tyranny. Our ultimate goal is to develop a principled intellectual framework for a new political realignment for the right, left and center focused on a robust defense of liberalism. The conference is sponsored by Protect Democracy, Investing in Us, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Packard Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Institute for Humane Studies, the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University, and Stand Together Trust. Vox is the conference's media sponsor. A limited number of seats are available to the public. Location: Dupont Circle 1500 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

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