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Every annual Forum 2000 Conference has a particular theme, and this year’s – Societies in Transition – could hardly be better in playing to this Forum’s traditions and strengths. It enables us to analyze, compare and contrast the transition from authoritarianism and democracy, here in the Czech Republic and in the former Soviet world, with the transitions that are occurring – or struggling to occur – in the Arab World, elsewhere in Africa, in Latin America and in Asia. A constantly recurring theme in our discussions has been the extent to which a country’s, or group of countries’, distinctive history and culture impacts on what can be done and how quickly it can be done when it comes to both initiating and sustaining transitions from authoritarianism to democracy, and in particular whether revolutions are likely to consolidate or collapse.
Gareth Evans, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs (1988-1996), Chancellor of the Australian National University, Member of the Forum 2000 Program Council, Australia.