2018 Copenhagen Democracy Summit

The Royal Danish Playhouse, June 22

The Copenhagen Democracy Summit 2018

The inaugural Copenhagen Democracy Summit 2018 took place at the scenic Royal Danish Playhouse, situated beautifully on the harbor front in central Copenhagen. The Summit highlighted important current issues facing the world’s democracies. As the Foundation recognizes the positive symbiosis between democracy and business and believes democratically elected leaders and global business executives will benefit from a greater level of personal interaction, the Summit successfully brought together more than 300 participants from over 40 different countries having a range of backgrounds from politics, business, academia and journalism. Offering a variety of viewpoints, the discussions highlighted both the challenges for the 20 elections facing world democracies, but also the opportunities brought forward by technology and trade.

2018 Summit highlights


The inaugural Copenhagen Democracy Summit 2018 focused on democracy and technology, as well as democracy and trade. A range of interesting topics were discussed during the Summit, including:

  • Building an Alliance of Democracies
  • Technology and democracy
  • Fake news and free speech
  • Cyber security and democracy
  • The future of global trade
  • Nurturing democracy through economic development

See full agenda

The Summit offered a strong line-up of speakers from both sides of the Atlantic representing viewpoints across the political spectrum. Throughout the day, the message was crystal clear, whatever differences we may have, we all share the love for the democratic process that enables us to debate and discuss these viewpoints without fear and in the open.

Speakers and Participants

The Summit successfully brought together political figures from the democratic world, including current and former heads of government, as well as leading business executives, academic experts, and dissidents.

Speakers at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit included former Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden; former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair; former President of Mexico, Felipe Calderón; former President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves; former Prime Minister of Spain, José Maria Aznar; former Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper; former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nick Clegg; American Economist and Entrepreneur, Professor, Carl Schramm; CEO of BenevolentAI, Joanna Shields; VP of Global Policy Solutions at Facebook, Richard Allan; CEO of Codewise, Robert Gryn; President of the Global Fairness Initiative, Karen Tramontano; VP of EU Government Affairs at Microsoft, John Frank; former US Secretary for Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff; former editor-in-chief of BILD, Tanit Koch; among many others.

Joe Biden, Tony Blair and Anders Fogh Rasmussen on the future of democracy

Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Anders Fogh Rasmussen commenced the first Copenhagen Democracy Summit with a strong address stating: “Today gives us an opportunity to recommit to principles that we often take for granted; freedom, democracy, open markets and open societies.”. The opening statement by the Chairman and Founder of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation displayed great determination and conviction emphasizing the need to continuously promote democracy: “We are here to make democracies great again”. In light of this, Anders Fogh Rasmussen emphasized that the project of building an alliance of democracies is more important than ever.

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Joe Biden

Joe Biden’s speech was a powerful testament to how defenders of democracies have to promote its core values especially in a time when it is challenged by authoritarian rule and populism. Biden highlighted the importance of citizen engagement in the democratic processes because “the threat isn’t just Russia. Authoritarianism is on the rise in every region”. Emphasizing the need to pursue the pillars of great democracies: inclusive institutions, the rule of law, equal protection and equality of opportunity for everyone. Biden concluded with a strong statement: “Democracy demands diligence. Democracy demands engagement. And sometimes, democracy demands sacrifice of its citizens. That is how we keep it.”

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Tony Blair

The Summit’s final keynote address by Tony Blair provided the audience important insights on our current democracies, emphasizing that we should not view our political opposition as enemies but rather opponents: “democracy needs to revive its spirit. But it also needs to be muscular. Those who would weaken our democracy from within, should know they will face an adversary determined enough to wage this fight and smart enough to win it.” Furthermore, Tony Blair also highlighted the important role of the Transatlantic Alliance in defense of liberal democracies stating that “we need to engage the minds and hearts of people. They need to hear arguments from a leadership willing to step out and not back.”

Copenhagen Democracy Summit 2018

Did you miss the Summit?

Do not worry. We have gathered speeches and panel debates from the Copenhagen Democracy Summit 2018 on the Alliance of Democracies Facebook page for everyone to watch. Here you will also find interviews with the members of the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity.

Watch here

Press Release

Democracy Perception Index 2018

The largest single global study measuring citizens’ trust in government indicates democracies are facing a severe crisis of faith in the eyes of the public. The Democracy Perception Index 2018 (DPI) finds that a majority of people living in democracies are disillusioned with the idea that their government is formed “by the people” and works “for the people.” The DPI, conducted by Dalia Research in collaboration with the Alliance of Democracies and Rasmussen Global, is based on nationally representative interviews with over 125,000 respondents in 50 countries worldwide.

Read more

Photos from the 2018 Copenhagen Democracy Summit

Copenhagen Democracy Summit


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