Festival of Democracy, the associated program of Forum 2000, gets underway

The Festival of Democracy, an associated programme of the upcoming Forum 2000 conference, is kicking off in Prague and other Czech cities. In its first full year, the event broadens issues examined at the conference for an even wider audience, adding a cultural component with live music, discussions and film screenings.

Forum 2000, photo: Marta GuzmánForum 2000, photo: Marta Guzmán I spoke to the festival’s Dagmar Caspe on the opening day.

“The Forum 2000 conference has always had associated events but we felt it needed to get a shape. The idea was to try and look at the subjects which are being looked at during the conference from a different perspective and involve the local public a little bit more. That is basically how the idea for the festival came about.

“So the mission is to inspire public debate about democracy, tolerance, respect for human rights, and we want to talk about the responsibility of each and every one of us towards the world and the society in which we live.”

What are some of the Forum 2000 topics which will also be discussed at the festival?

“There are quite a few and I should mention that many of these events will be in English, English-speakers living in Prague can attend.

“As for the topics, one will be about right-wing extremism, there will be several talks looking at the issue of disinformation, in particular in the formerly Soviet space, there will be a chance to meet an advisor to the Minister of Information from Ukraine at the Václav Havel library - that will be very interesting.

Porno para Ricardo, photo: Daniel OrdóñezPorno para Ricardo, photo: Daniel Ordóñez “There are a lot of topics, but there are also alternatives, not just discussions. We also wanted to involve artists and filmmakers so there also screenings, theatre performances and concerts. The whole festival is much bigger than we thought it would be even six months ago and we are very happy with what is going on and what people will be able to see.”

Who are some of the performers? Are they themselves politically active?

“Some of them are, especially the dissident Cuban band Porno para Ricardo, who are banned from playing in Cuba, and will perform on October 9 on Václav Havel Square outside the National Theatre in Prague.

“We have a full day planned there, but at seven they will play and I think that will be kind of the highlight of the day. All the events, including this concert, are free of charge.”