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This event is hosted in cooporation with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

With internal and external forces undermining the unity of the European Union, growing dissatisfaction with the post-authoritarian transition to democracy in Central and Eastern Europe should not be ignored. From Moldova to Macedonia, endemic corruption, poor public services, government mismanagement, and self-serving political parties are increasingly undermining genuine democracy, trust in governments, and living standards.

What recourse do regular people have – beyond resignation, despair, radicalization or migration? In many instances, they are mobilizing together in civic campaigns or social movements. They are challenging the corrupt status quo, resulting in resignations, early elections, transnational investigations, environmental preservation, and more accountable health care. Are these manifestations of growing instability or a bottom-up force to (re)claim democracy and reconfigure relations between citizens and states? Can dysfunctional or captured politics and institutions reform on their own or is extra-institutional, nonviolent pressure needed to push for change? Join us for a lively conversation.


Ana Babovic, Co-founder, Serbia on the Move, a civil society organization combining public policy input, engagement with officials and institutions, and grass-roots civic action to impact corruption and improve health care in Serbia.

Shaazka Beyerle, Nonresident Fellow, CTR, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University; Author, Curtailing Corruption: People Power for Accountability and Justice (Rienner 2014)

Dr. Reinhard Krumm, Head of Department of Central and Eastern Europe, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), fmr. Head of FES offices in Tashkent and Moscow; fmr. Moscow Foreign Correspondent, DER SPIEGEL

Dr. Tina Olteanu, Austrian Marshall Plan Fellow, CTR, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University; Post-Doctoral Researcher, Department of Political Science, University of Vienna

Moderator: Dr. Maria Stephan, Senior Policy Fellow, United States Institute of Peace and  co-author of book, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict (Columbia University Press, 2011).