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Transatlantic Dialogue III – Five Falling Stars: The Decline of Rule of Law and Democratic Multilateralism

The third session of the BTI project’s transatlantic dialogue series “Troubling Trends in Transformation” co-hosted by the Bertelsmann Foundation North America (BFNA) and the World Justice Project (WJP) focused on the state of democratic governance and the rule of law in Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa, and Turkey. 

Less than ten years ago, they were the democratic hopefuls of international liberal order: Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa, and Turkey. They were economically striving, aimed at improving social inclusion and broadening participation in democratic governance. Many observers had hoped that – despite several shortcomings – they could be the new standard-bearers of multilateralism, promoting human rights, rule of law, and democracy worldwide and contribute to establishing a South-North partnership based on common norms and systems.

Today, many of these expectations have been sobered by autocratization and foreign policy stances less inclined to cooperate internationally. Co-chaired by Ted Piccone, author of “Five Rising Democracies and the Fate of International Liberal Order,” a roundtable of distinguished experts from these countries discussed the commonalities and differences in political regression and nationalism, and debated the prospects for a positive turnaround and a revival of multilateralism.


Ted Piccone (Chair)
Chief Engagement Officer, World Justice Project

Elizabeth Sidiropoulos
Chief Executive, South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA)

Joseph Chinyong Liow
Tan Kah Kee Chair in Comparative and International Politics, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore

Seda Gürkan
Lecturer, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Department of Political Science

Oliver Della Costa Stuenkel
Associate Professor of International Relations, Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV)

Constantino Xavier
Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies, Brookings India

Sabine Donner (Introduction)
Senior Expert, Transformation Index BTI, Bertelsmann Stiftung

Anthony Silberfeld (Moderator)
Director, Transatlantic Relations, Bertelsmann Foundation North America (BFNA)


About the dialogue series:

The dialogue series “Troubling Trends in Transformation”, co-hosted by the Bertelsmann Foundation North America (BFNA) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung, intends to dig deeper into the findings of a troubled decade, both regionally and thematically. In cooperation with like-minded institutions and well-connected think tanks around the world, we discuss the current and future challenges to political and economic transformation as well as governance perfomance. The results of the BTI serve to kick off a broader debate on how to strengthen democracy, market economy and good governance in a post-COVID world.


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