Future of Democracy Forum

Reimagining Democratic Resilience

A NATO High-Level Dialogue


The Future of Democracy Forum is Diplomatic Courier’s innovation lab and high-level dialogue examining the health and future of democracy and democratic institutions by exploring the question: Is democracy in decline or under attack? Hosted in partnership with the permanent secretariat of the Community of Democracies (CoD), the forum will be held on the eve of the NATO Leaders Summit in Washington, DC, and will aim to inform NATO principals and other stakeholders through a post-meeting communique.


Societal and governance institutions are under pressure with 2024 being the year when half of the world’s population will vote on a general election. The acceleration of AI products and services adds an unprecedented layer of complexity. What’s more, our trust in one another and our institutions is in crisis, opening the door for misunderstandings or bad actors to cause great harm. At a time when our challenges are increasingly global and require close cooperation, we are increasingly turning away from collective action and focusing on our differences.

This year’s forum will focus on the health and future of our democratic institutions in the face of multifaceted and evolving pressures, which have been supercharged due to the polycrisis. Specifically, delegates to the forum will:
– Reconsider the root causes of various challenges to our democracies—systemic or external threat?
– Examine the near–term and likely long–term trajectories of resilience to these threats, both in entrenched democracies and in nascent democracies.
– Gamify decision making to open up new angles for thinking about actions we can meaningfully take to engender more resilient democracies.


A principals intimate meeting with the key goal to connect leaders and experts working on solutions at the policy and Board/Governance level. The Forum is intentionally designed to be interactive and intimate with the key goal to convene, connect, and create partnerships among the different stakeholders participating in the event. Participants include executives, board members, NGO and IGO leaders, Civil Society leaders, and policy and diplomacy officials.


FOD delegates, speakers, and guests are also invited to attend a special exhibition titled: “Democracy in the Crossfire: Art, Identity, and Resilience” co-curated with International Arts & Artists. The exhibit will launch with a private curator’s tour and reception on July 8th, immediately following the FOD, from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm EST.


  • Host’s Welcome Remarks
    Ana Rold, CEO & Founder, Diplomatic Courier & World in 2050
  • Co-Host’s Welcome Remarks
    Thomas Garrett, Secretary General, Community of Democracies (COD)
  • Convening Partner Welcome Remarks
    Glenn Nye, President & CEO, Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC)
  • Convening Partner Welcome Remarks
    Andrew Wilson, Executive Director, Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)

Act 1: Is Democracy in Decline, or is it Under Attack?

Introduction of theme and exercise
Shane Szarkowski, Editor-in-Chief, Diplomatic Courier & Executive Director, World in 2050

  • In Act 1, we examine certain types of threats to democracy, with an eye toward rethinking to what extent these pressures are endemic, and to what extent they are external attacks on democracy.
  • Each lightning talk will consider one genre of threat and help to inform collective intelligence discussions at each table.

Lightning Talk + Discussion

Situating threats to democracy for the digital area
Camille Stewart Gloster, CEO, CAS Strategies

Lightning Talk + Discussion

Why are our societies so prone to fragmentation?
John Gable, CEO, Allsides

Collective Intelligence Workshop

A New Taxonomy of Threats to Democracy

This collective intelligence exercise, led by Shane Szarkowski and moderated by a facilitator at each table, guides participants in re-examining our assumptions about threats to democracy.

  • Categorizing current challenges to democracy on a 2×2 grid taking into consideration two factors: whether this is an internal or external threat, and how much would that challenge impact democracy if it comes to fruition—and how likely is it to come to fruition as things stand?
  • Discussion, based on the group’s previous recategorization efforts, about relationships between these challenges and new / old trends they can identify emerging based on this mapping exercise. Headlines of these findings will be shared with the larger group by the table facilitator.


Networking & Wellness Break

Act 2: Helping the Future of Democracy Arrive Well

Introduction of theme and exercise
Shane Szarkowski, Editor–in–Chief, Diplomatic Courier & Executive Director, World in 2050

  • In Act 2, with the learnings of Act 1 in mind, how we might need to rethink our understanding of the ecosystem of threats to democracy to better build democratic resilience.
  • This lightning talk examines the challenges of building democratic resilience in mature and nascent democracies at a time our systems are uniquely disrupted by polycrisis.

Collective Intelligence Workshop

Gamifying the Future of Democracy

  • This group exercise, led by Shane Szarkowski and facilitated by a moderator at each table, encourages participants to think strategically about specific steps we can take, in the context of learnings from the previous activity, to help the future of democracy arrive well.
  • Strategic problem solving activity which gamifies decision making via a three–step “card game” to open up new angles for thinking about handling various polycrisis threats to democracy, considering the new taxonomies of threat explored in Act 1.

Closing Remarks

  • Gregory Houston, President & CEO, International Arts & Artists
  • Ana Rold, CEO & Founder, Diplomatic Courier & World in 2050

Private Curator’s Tour & Reception

Democracy in the Crossfire: Art, Identity, and Resilience
In partnership with International Arts & Artists
FOD participants, speakers, and special guests are invited to attend a special exhibition co-curated with International Arts & Artists and NATO. The exhibit will launch with a private curator’s tour and reception, immediately following the Future of Democracy Forum.



Ana Rold
CEO & Founder
Diplomatic Courier & World in 2050
Thomas Garrett
Secretary General
Community of Democracies


Camille Stewart Gloster
Former Deputy National Cyber Director for Technology & Ecosystem
The White House
Rep. Glenn Nye
President & CEO
Center for the Study of Presidency & Congress
Andrew Wilson
Executive Director
Center for International Private Enterprise
Greg Houston
Greg Houston

Innovation Lab Designers & Facilitators

Shane Szarkowski
Editor-in-Chief & Executive Director
Diplomatic Courier & World in 2050
Charlie Ursell
Managing Director
Tidal Strategies
Tom Plant
Fulbright Scholar in Estonia, Researching Media Literacy
Melissa Metos
Diplomatic Courier
Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari
Diplomat, Educator and Writer
Barbara Langley
Director, Center for Women’s Economic Empowerment
Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)
Ethan Brown
Senior Fellow
Ian Ralby
Founder and CEO
I.R. Consilium
John Gable
Joshua Huminski
Mike Rogers Center for Intelligence and Global Affairs
Kathryn H. Floyd
W&M Whole of Government Center of Excellence

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