Areas of Action
The overall theme of the democracy programme is "democracy, culture and peace".
It contains three main areas of action:
Fostering comparative analytical research
The generation of new knowledge through analytical empirical research and capacity-building is coordinated by the Byblos Centre. The initial programme of work is focusing on democracy and its relationship with culture. The aim is to conduct comparative empirical research on hypotheses (case studies) about determinants of democracy in order to analyse the compatibility of democracy with the will of the people living under diverse cultural traditions. These studies will be conducted through surveys, opinion polls and analysis of media, focusing on citizens' attitudes to democracy.
The research will later be widened to cover democracy and its relationship to themes such as ethnicity, peace, development, etc. The objective is to achieve a better understanding of the reality of democracy in the world, in particular the way in which democratic principles are understood and practised by the people of different regions.
The Byblos Centre will assist UNESCO's Member States in developing the capacities of researchers, especially young researchers, to conduct empirical research on democracy.
- Byblos Research Training Programme methodology of empirical research and planning and conducting case studies.
- Byblos Tutorship Programme for graduate and doctoral students;
- Byblos Autumn School: This year's topic is "Neo-Realism Confirmed by Facts? Theories of International Relations and International Law under the impact of Unilateralism".
Organizing dialogues on the future of democracy
The Byblos Centre will conduct prospective analysis and foster international dialogues in cooperation with members of the IPDD. The dialogues will be grounded on reflection and research on democratic norms, values and principles and their relationship to the key issues of globalization and development.
The Byblos Centre and UNESCO will organize a series of public conferences to promote international dialogue on democracy. The first conference, entitled "Democracy and Peace," was held in Beirut, Lebanon, in 2003. The series will continue with: Democracy and Social justice (2005) ; The Impact of Globalization on Democratic Development (2006) ; The Juridical Conditions of Democratic Development (2007) ; Democracy and Culture (2008).
Seminars will be organized around the conferences in order to build capacities in different countries. For example: with academics on universalization of democratic principles; with policy-makers to foster ethics of leadership for democratic governance; with business leaders on the relationship between economic development and democracy; with journalists on the role of communication in democratic development.
Supporting democracy in post-conflict societies
The immediate aftermath of ethnic and factional conflict may pose the strongest challenge for implementing democracy. By means of the integrated strategy on democracy UNESCO will contribute more directly to the restoration and/or establishment of democracy through a programme of research and capacity-building.
The aim here is to encourage the promotion of democracy by local actors in the academic community who will make use of the results of the analytical research produced by Byblos and the debate generated by the IPDD.
In March 2004, during a joint meeting of the Scientific Committee of the Byblos Centre and the IPDD, several general recommendations were made for UNESCO's work in three post-conflict countries: Afghanistan, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These included a mapping exercise of existing studies and research on the promotion of democracy in post-conflict societies and research on democracy and culture with special focus on the challenges posed by cultural traditions.