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Populism Threatens Global Liberal Democracy

Populism Threatens Global Liberal Democracy
Governor Markell Foresees Change in Global Wealth Creation 

For Immediate Release

Press Contact Information
Sarah Halls,, +32 484 491 078 (mobile)
Hasnaa Tadili,, +212 668 11 60 69 (mobile)

MARRAKESH (December 16, 2016) – On the final day of The Atlantic Dialogues, Yascha Mounk, a lecturer at Harvard University and fellow with the Transatlantic Academy, warned that the western liberal order faces an existential threat from the continued reshaping of democracy and the general population’s growing acceptance of authoritarian and illiberal governance.

“When you look at public opinion polls, across North America and Western Europe, people have actually fallen out of love with liberal democracy in important ways,” said Mounk. “They’re less invested in liberal democracy, but they’re more open to straightforward alternatives to democracy, and that you see the rise of these partisan movements who really flout basic parts of democratic norms.”

Mounk was speaking at The Atlantic Dialogues, a high-level gathering of international public and private sector leaders from around the Atlantic Basin. The Atlantic Dialogues is a joint initiative of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the OCP Policy Center in Morocco.

Mounk was part of a larger conversation on changing political tides spurred by populist movements reshaping the Atlantic. Much of the discussion focused on how far these trends would continue to disrupt the conventional political views of the masses.

“What we need at this stage is to re-engage the civil society because if these people are not given a chance, there is the alternative, which is fundamentalist movements. Meanwhile, they’re telling them, ‘you tried, you failed, let me give you the alternative,’ and unfortunately that’s where religions come in,” said Fouad Makhzoumi, secretary general of Lebanon’s National Dialogue Forum.

In an earlier discussion focused on the trade relationship between Morocco and the U.S. state of Delaware and the future of broader transatlantic trade, Jack Markell, governor of Delaware, argued that trade and broader bilateral relationships made now will have a significant impact on the future of overall global prosperity. “Over the next 15 or 20 years, most of the wealth that will be created around the world will not be created in our country. Now, we can either bemoan that fact or we can recognize that that’s an incredible opportunity for us,” he said.

The Atlantic Dialogues concluded with a conversation from The Atlantic Dialogues Emerging Leaders program, a young professional development conference of policy workshops, creative thinking, professional leadership training, and peer-to-peer learning, conducted before joining the larger conference. After discussing the problems facing the world today over the past two days, four Emerging Leaders were elected to close the conference discussing how they will address and act to solve these problems as they take on the mantle of leadership.

“We recognize that an oppressive system can’t be dismantled unless we dismantle the oppressive conversation,” said Jessica Gottsleben, #ILookLikeAPolitician ambassador.

To pull together this year’s theme of “Changing Mental Maps,”  2013 Emerging Leader Stacey Links tasked participants to act in 2017 after a year of unprecedented disruption.

“There’s clearly massive change going on throughout the world, and I think our main priority needs to be how we adaptable we are and what we do with this change,” said Links. “Are we going to react to this change from the position of fear or as a challenge and as an opportunity?”

The Atlantic Dialogues is a partnership between The German Marshall Fund of the United States and OCP Policy Center. Gathering for the fifth time, The Atlantic Dialogues is designed to broaden the transatlantic dialogue to include issues and voices from around the Atlantic Basin and to reinforce North-South and South-South Atlantic dialogue.


Atlantic Currents seeks to understand the trends and issues that affect the wider Atlantic space from many different perspectives in an effort to move away from rigid North-South divisions in international political debates. By focusing on the entire geographical space of the Atlantic Ocean and the continents that surround it, the publication enables a different type of conversation, as does Atlantic Dialogues. This third volume of Atlantic Currents asks how the international community can more openly engage in sensitive debates around the role of religion in diplomatic discourse as well as the implications of the post-Paris push for low-carbon, climate-resilient development models.

Only video of on-the-record plenary sessions will be livestreamed, which will be available here.

Members of the press are invited to cover The Atlantic Dialogues in the on-site press room, which features a Wi-Fi-enabled workspace, access to a live video pool feed from the public sessions for recording on-site, and is where any speaker availabilities will take place. The Atlantic Dialogues can also be covered virtually via The Atlantic Dialogues website. Only video of on-the-record plenary sessions will be streamed live and transcripts and video will be posted following each session as soon as they are available. Registration for on-site coverage is required.

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During the proceedings, The Atlantic Dialogues will provide two video news releases (VNRs) with conference highlights free of rights and free of charge.
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