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Western Promises

In a world facing the highest level of violent conflict since the Second World War and in which democratic structures are increasingly eroding, the 20th anniversary of Elevate festival takes a critical look at the global situation under the title "Western Promises".

We are experiencing democracy under siege. The number of democratic countries is decreasing worldwide, while at the same time more than 70 elections are due to take place in 2024.

At the centre of the festival is the question of how robust the Western ideals of democracy, humanism, individual empowerment, political participation and tolerance are when they are threatened from within and without by right-wing populist propaganda and other anti-democratic forces.

The programme emphasises that democracy is not a spectator event, but requires active engagement and looks for ways to counter polarisation and promote collective empowerment instead of celebrating hyper-individualised outrage.

What are the prospects for Western values and democracies in a multipolar world? What remains today of the numerous "Western Promises" that were made over the course of the last and new century and what about the relationship to our own colonial past? What values does an inclusive democracy need today? Are we ready to take on the challenges and find new ways to translate the promises of universal human rights into a shared, dignified future for all? For these and other questions, the Heimatsaal in the Graz Volkskunde Museum will once again be the venue for three days of discussions with national and international guests.