International Symposium 2023

A unique space to discuss the problems of contemporary democracy.

Democracy in the 21st Century:
Challenges for an Open Society

The International Symposium is a unique space for dialogue between foreign and Czech experts, representatives of NGOs, politicians and the general public. The world's leading scholars will once again gather in Prague to discuss current challenges to democracy and open society. This year, they will focus on disinformation and freedom of expression, the use of artificial intelligence and the issue of elections.

The fifth edition of the international symposium will take place on Friday 15 September 2023 in Prague. The lectures of the world's leading experts will be simultaneously interpreted into Czech. Come and listen to them in the Rytířský sál Velkopřevorského paláce on the Lesser Town and join the discussion on the challenges of contemporary democracy. Tickets for the all-day event are on sale at


The entire programme of the symposium will be held in English, with simultaneous interpretation into Czech language.

Stein Ringen

University of Oxford

Stein Ringen is a political scientist and an authority on states, governance and democracy. He is Professor of Political Economy at King's College London and an emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Oxford. Stein Ringen is the author of numerous books and publications on topics ranging from the Scandinavian welfare state via constitutional affairs in Britain and the USA to dictatorship in China. His journalism has previously appeared in the Financial Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, South China Morning Post and other leading newspapers. He has also previously served as an consultant to the United Nations.

Topic: Elections, Nominations and Money

Nadine Strossen

New York Law School

Nadine Strossen is a leading expert on freedom of expression. She believes that the appropriate defence against hate speech is not censorship but free speech. In other words, by suppressing extremists' speech, we reduce our own chances of overcoming their views. Nadine was the longtime, and at the time youngest, president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She is also a founding member of the Feminists for Free Expression movement.

Topic: Defending freedom for disinformation and other dangerous speech: a conversation between Adam Ruzicka and Nadine Strossen

Miroslav Bárta

Charles University

Miroslav Bárta is a Czech Egyptologist and archaeologist. Since 2011 he has been conducting excavations at the archaeological site of Abusir (Egypt). In 2013-2019 he was the director of the Czech Institute of Egyptology. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2019, he received the prestigious Česká hlava scientific award.

Topic: Dialogue 21: Quo vadis, civilization?

Sacha Altay

University of Zürich

Sacha Altay is an experimental psychologist working on misinformation, misperceptions, social media, and trust. He’s currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Zurich, and holds a PhD in cognitive science from the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. He believes that many fears surrounding misinformation are reminiscent of moral panics about the effects of new technology and the presumed gullibility of (other) people.

Topic: Rethinking the problem of misinformation

Peter Levine

Tufts University

Peter Levine is an associate dean and professor in Tufts University’s Jonathan Tisch College of Civic Life. Trained as a moral/political philosopher, he has spent most of his career conducting applied empirical research and organizing professional efforts related to civic life in the United States, including sustained work on civic education, voting rights, public deliberation, and social movements.  He is the author of eight books, including most recently We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: The Promise of Civic Renewal in America and What Should We Do? A Theory of Civic Life

Topic: People Are Not Points in Space: Opinions and Discussions as Networks of Ideas

Karel Janeček

Institute H21

Dr. Janeček is the founder of Institute H21 and the author of the innovative voting system D21. He received his PhD in mathematical finance at Carnegie Mellon University. He established RSJ Algorithmic Trading and now dedicates his time to anti-corruption and pro-democratic activities.

Topic: Dialogue 21: Quo vadis, civilization?

Eli Noam

Columbia Business School

Eli M. Noam is a professor of economics at Columbia Business School and holds the Paul Garrett Chair in Public Policy and Accountability in Business. He is director of the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information (CITI). His research focuses on the economics, governance, and politics of media and the digital world, most recently on global media ownership and next-generation "Cloud-TV." He has written more than 400 articles and authored, edited and co-edited more than 30 books.

Topic: AI as a tool for Citizen Empowerment

Radek Chlup

Charles University

Radek Chlup is a religionist who lectures at the Institute of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the Charles University. He is interested in symbolic thought and action, both in the traditional religious context and in our contemporary secular society, for which stories and symbols are more important than we often admit. He explores the mythic-symbolic layers of contemporary culture and politics, among other things, on his blog. On it, he shows the workings of our contemporary stories, but also their limits. His aim is to cultivate the ability to acknowledge the stories of others and to find ways to understand each other. More recently, he has been using his expertise to explore the problem of misinformation in the age of authenticity.

Topic: The problem of tackling disinformation in an age of authenticity


Lectures of foreign experts will be held in thematic blocks. Simultaneous interpretation into Czech is provided. The detailed programme will be specified in the week of the event. Follow the Facebook event for the symposium here.

8:48 - 9:21


9:21 - 9:27


9:27 - 10:21

Peter Levine: People Are Not Points in Space: Opinions and Discussions as Networks of Ideas

10:21 - 10:42

Coffee break

10:42 - 12:12

Stein Ringen: Elections, Nominations and Money
Sacha Altay:
Rethinking the problem of misinformation

12:12 - 13:12

Lunch break

13:12 - 14:21

Radek Chlup: The problem of tackling disinformation in an age of authenticity
Eli Noam: AI as a tool for Citizen Empowerment

14:21 - 14:42

Coffee break

14:42 - 16:21

Nadine Strossen: Defending freedom for disinformation and other dangerous speech: a conversation between Adam Ruzicka and Nadine Strossen
Karel Janeček and Miroslav Bárta: Dialogue 21 - Quo vadis, civilization?

16:21 - 16:42

Final word




Democracy in the 21stCentury Symposium: Challenges for an Open Society will take place in the Rytířský sál of the Velkopřevorský palác. The entrance to the building is located at Lázeňská Street 485. Tickets for the all-day event are on sale at


Velkopřevorský palác
Lázeňská 485, 118 00
Malá Strana, Praha 1


Friday September 15th 2023


Registration at 08:48 a.m.


Take a look at the Symposium 2021 aftermovie.

Previous years of the symposium

What did the symposium look like in previous years? Who were the speakers? Read more and watch the recordings of the lectures.
International Symposium 2023: Challenges for an Open Society
In 2023 the symposium focused mainly on the topics of disinformation and freedom of expression, the use of artificial intelligence and the issue of elections.
Event date:
September 15, 2023
See more ...
International Symposium 2022: Meaning of Freedom
Probably all of us would agree that freedom is an absolutely indispensable part of democracy. Yet we may not always agree even with our loved ones on whether freedom should have boundaries, and where exactly those boundaries lie.
Event date:
September 24, 2022
See more ...
International Symposium 2021: At the Crossroads of History
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.” - Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
Event date:
September 18, 2021
See more ...
International Symposium 2020: Crisis or Opportunity?
“Every crisis has both its dangers and opportunities. It can spell either salvation or doom.”, - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Event date:
September 12, 2020
See more ...
International Symposium 2019: Challenges and New Horizons
“I once said that democracy is a discussion. However, true discussion is only possible where people trust each other and genuinely seek the truth. Democracy is a conversation between equals, a united contemplation of free citizens before the whole public.” - Tomáš Gariggue Masaryk
Event date:
September 15, 2019
See more ...