The Refsa Future of Democracy Lecture 2017 by Mustafa Akyol

The REFSA Future of Democracy Lecture 2017

Delivered by Mustafa Akyol


The experience of Malaysia, Turkey and other nations

Tickets are free, register here to confirm your attendance.


The emergence of Donald Trump as the American president has shocked the world, especially for those who believe in democracy, freedom and human rights. For a nation that talks a lot about such values, it is a farce to see that the United States now is seeing the emergence of right-wing extremism, racism and religious bigotry.

Besides the United States, the rise of racism, religious violence and bigotry is also happening in many parts of the world. To make things worse, the erosion of democracy in a number of countries occurs with the sanction of the government of the day. Many of these were elected governments but they have decided to abuse the very same democracy that puts them in power.

While direct violence has yet to hit Malaysia, we too are facing similar backsliding of democracy. Racism, religious bigotry, discriminatory practices are putting democracy at risk. Does this mean democracy is no longer relevant?

The Future of Democracy Lecture:

REFSA as a progressive, not-for-profit research institute providing relevant and reliable analysis on social, economic and political issues is proud to organise a special lecture to address this issue.

While the topic is global in nature, it is still part of REFSA’s role to deal with the issue as it also affects Malaysians. It is REFSA’s duty to promote open and constructive discussions that result in effective policies and good governance to address those issues.

About the speaker:

The REFSA Future of Democracy Lecture will feature Mustafa Akyol, renowned Turkish writer and acclaimed journalist. He is the author of Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty and a number of other books. He is also a columnist for the International New York Times and the Hurriyet Daily News.

With his wide and vast experience, Mustafa Akyol will discuss issues relevant to the topic of this lecture. With his Islamic and liberal democratic background, he will share his views as well as to clear misunderstandings surrounding the problem and complexities of modern democracy.


7:00 pm-8:00pm Dinner

8:00 pm-8:15pm Introduction & Welcome Address

Liew Chin Tong, REFSA Chairman

8:15pm-8:30pm Opening remarks

Dr Syed Azman Syed Ahmad Nawawi

8:30pm-9:30pm “Is Democracy Still Relevant?”

Speaker: Mustafa Akyol

9:30pm -10:00pm Q & A session

Moderator: Wan Hamidi Hamid

Professor, speak up and make a difference — Kris Hartley

Source: New Mandala

Kris Hartley is lecturer at Cornell University, a Faculty Fellow at Cornell’s Atkinson Centre and a Nonresident Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Kris Hartley is lecturer at Cornell University, a Faculty Fellow at Cornell’s Atkinson Centre and a Nonresident Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Scholars should allocate a portion of their time to addressing social injustice, Kris Hartley writes, and academics of all disciplines have a crucial role to play.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s draconian crackdown on university professors and deans has sent a chill through global academia. While Turkey’s oppressive political climate appears uniquely hopeless, free speech is under assault around the world as a wave of authoritarianism crashes ashore. Politically opportunistic ‘strong-men’ such as Erdoğan, Vladimir Putin, Rodrigo Duterte, and potentially Donald Trump are taking advantage of fears about terrorism and globalisation while ridiculing opponents as weak and traitorous.

Sadly, their actions do not end there. Stifling freedom of thought has priority status in the dictator’s playbook and limited press freedom in many countries is an unsettling bellwether. Scholars may be next in line at the figurative guillotine, but does the academic system encourage them to fight back? Read more