This is the title of a collection of articles by Bjørn Førde, published by DIPD on his departure as Director.
The book was launched by the Chairman of DIPD, Henrik Bach Mortensen, when friends and colleagues gathered in Parliament for a reception on 15 December, to celebrate his four decades of work in the development community, the last six years with DIPD.
Most of the articles cover dimensions of the partnerships, DIPD has developed over these six years. They are personal reflections on the challenges facing all of us in the democracy community, when we try to support the deepening and strengthening of a democratic culture in environments like the Arab Spring, the post-conflict environment of Nepal, the young democracy of Bhutan, the transition from a military dictatorship in Myanmar, and the efforts to establish some form of dialogue in Zimbabwe.
Another group of articles focus on the ideas we are trying to support and protect, and how we dialogue about them from our own point of departure and context, when we meet our partners in the Global South. Some of these have been published in different versions on other occasions over the years Bjørn has worked for DIPD.
In a final article, Bjørn points to some areas that DIPD and other institutions working with democracy and political parties need to rethink their approach. The article is called “Bringing democracy support home!”. It argues that the present state of affairs in the West challenges our legitimacy as ‘change agents’ for democracy. Consequently, we need to look at how we can help reinvigorate democracy at home.
In his speech at the launch, Bjørn Førde stated the following:
“With the kind of winds blowing strongest right now, this book will probably be seen by some as an old-fashioned way of thinking, simply because it commits strongly to the basic values and principles that our democracy is based on – as well as the need for genuine dialogue and finding solutions together. I also commit myself to the need for a global approach, to global cooperation, contrary to the nationalism and isolationism seen as the way forward by many today.