The Global Democracy Conference (GDC), organized by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, is an integral component of the broader University of Notre Dame Global Democracy Initiative designed to connect academic research and non-academic audiences. It will be an annual forum that projects the University as a leader and convener on questions of democracy, while simultaneously facilitating positive, tangible impact on global democratic practices.

With the theme "Understanding Today, Shaping Tomorrow," the inaugural GDC will see the Kellogg Institute convene leading defenders of global democracy at the University of Notre Dame for a series of profound, actionable conversations about the state of democracy around the world. Animated by our understanding of the multidimensional, complex nature of democratic erosion, this conference will i) identify emerging challenges to democracies and possible solutions; ii) highlight the research being undertaken by top universities in order to have meaningful impact in the world of policy; and iii) convene global actors that will help lay the foundation for partnerships with institutions and leaders who might utilize our research in protecting local democratic structures.

The GDC includes two types of sessions: panels, in which participants make formal, 12-minute presentations, and roundtables, which follow a conversational format led by a moderator. Sessions are organized in three thematic blocs:

  • New Ideas. Panels primarily formed by academics. They present original research on democracy to a broader audience, emphasizing the substantive relevance of their findings and mapping ongoing debates in the field. A practitioner may discuss how this line of research is relevant to practice. 
  • The State of the World. Roundtables formed by academics and practitioners. They assess the state of democracy in particular countries or regions, with a particular interest in the near future. 
  • The Path Forward. Sessions focused on practical lessons to protect and promote democratic governance. Those sessions may take the form of panels or roundtables and may include practitioners or academics. Of particular interest are sessions focusing on particular sectors, such as industries (e.g., technology, finance) or professional fields (e.g., international law) discussing their ability to strengthen democracy.

Our inaugural event is in part generously underwritten by Bert Piedra, a 1978 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and member of the Kellogg Institute Advisory Board.

For more information or to attend the conference, contact Anna Bradley, Institutional Relations Manager, at

All sessions will take place in the auditorium of the Hesburgh Center for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Monday, May 20, 2024

5:30-6:30pm   Opening Keynote
Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Former Pre-Candidate for Presidency of Nicaragua and Former Political Prisoner
Hewlett Visiting Fellow for Public Policy, Kellogg Institute

6:30-7:30pm   Opening Reception

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

8:00-9:00am    Continental Breakfast / Welcome

9:00-10:30am   New Ideas: Understanding International Support for Anti-Democratic Movements
Some undemocratic regimes seek to undermine democracy in other countries. Which countries act in this way? What forms of influence do they employ? Have they formed alliances, cooperating in targeting democratic countries? How effective are their efforts? How well have champions of democracy organized internationally to limit their influence?
A. James McAdams, University of Notre Dame (Chair)
• Joshua Eisenman, University of Notre Dame
• María Isabel Puerta Riera, Valencia College
• Oliver Stuenkel, Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV), São Paulo, Brazil
• Steven Wilson, Brandeis University

10:30-11:00am    Break

11:00am-12:30pm    State of the World: The US Election and Its Consequences for Democracy
The November election will shape democracy in the US and abroad. What are the possible scenarios for US democracy in the aftermath of the election? How can foreign policy change over the next four years, and what are the implications for democrats worldwide?
Anne Thompson, NBC News (Chair)
David Campbell, University of Notre Dame
Frank Langfitt, National Public Radio
• Christina Wolbrecht, University of Notre Dame

12:30-2:00pm    Lunch

2:00-3:30pm    The Path Forward: Artificial Intelligence and Democracy
New technologies have changed the ways in which political actors process information, communicate with voters, and solve conflicts. Can Artificial Intelligence pose a danger for democratic politics? How can we leverage new technologies to make our societies more democratic?
• Justin Kempf, Democracy Paradox (Chair)
• Giorleny Altamirano Rayo, US State Department
• Lisa Schirch, University of Notre Dame
• Dmitry Zaytsev, University of Notre Dame

3:30-4:00pm    Break

4:00-5:30pm    New Ideas: Measuring the State of Democracy 
Any systematic assessment of the state of democracy requires reliable metrics. What are the new developments in this field? Despite great progress in this area, experts still debate whether “objective” or “subjective” measures are preferable. How are metrics used by practitioners? What information do regime types convey that continuous measures do not?
Luis Schiumerini, University of Notre Dame (Chair)
Michael Coppedge, University of Notre Dame
• Brigitte Seim, University of North Carolina-Chapel HIll

6:00-8:00pm    Dinner and Keynote Speaker
Helena Carreiras, Former Minister of Defense, Portugal

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

8:00-9:00am    Continental Breakfast 

9:00-10:30am    State of the World: Four Decades of Democracy in Latin America
Four decades after a wave of democratization transformed Latin America, new challenges like organized crime and migration test the strength of democratic institutions. What is the current trajectory of democracy in Latin America? What are the “bright spots” in the region? What are the lessons of Latin America for troubled democracies elsewhere?
• Benjamin Garcia-Holgado, University of Delaware (Chair)
Francisco Guerrero, OAS Secretariat for Strengthening Democracy
Wendy Hunter, University of Texas at Austin
Scott Mainwaring, University of Notre Dame

10:30-11:00am    Break

11:00am-12:30pm    New Ideas: Inequality, Human Development, and Democracy
State failure to promote human development, combined with growing inequality, appear to be at the root of the current crisis of democracy. Is that the case? If structural conditions change slowly, why have we seen a concurrent proliferation of populist leaders worldwide? How does the process of state building affect governance?
Clark Gibson, University of California at San Diego (Chair)
• Michael Camilleri, USAID
• Helena Hofbauer Balmori, Ford Foundation
• Evelyne Huber, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
• James Long, University of Washington

12:30-2:00pm    Lunch

2:00-3:30pm    State of the World: Africa and the Return of the Military Coup
In the last four years, there have been eight coups on the African continent.  What explains the rapid increase of junta rule after nearly two decades of multiparty elections in many of these countries?  In what ways are these coups and their relationship to broader governance trajectories very different?  How are populations reacting to the new era of military rule?
• Jaimie Bleck, University of Notre Dame (Chair)
• Joseph Asunka, Afrobarometer
• Rachel Riedl, Cornell University
• Naunihal Singh, US Naval War College

3:30-4:00pm    Break

4:00-5:30pm    The Path Forward: Defending Democracy
What strategies are most effective to protect democracy from processes of autocratization? What are the lessons from successful experiences in Brazil, Poland, the United States, and other cases? What are the mistakes that democratic forces should avoid when confronting authoritarian populists?
Aníbal Pérez-Liñán, University of Notre Dame (Chair)
Laura Gamboa, University of Utah
• Jennifer McCoy, Georgia State University
Zerxes Spencer, National Endowment for Democracy
Kurt Weyland, University of Texas at Austin

6:00-8:00pm    Dinner and Keynote Speaker
Luis Almagro
, Secretary General, Organization of American States


Global Democracy Fellows are undergraduate students who have been engaged in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and who have been selected to participate in the Global Democracy Conference. The Fellows will participate in panel discussions, serve as rapporteurs, and introduce keynote speakers. This year's students are both political science majors whose senior theses relate to the future of democracy in Zambia and Brazil respectively.

Global Democracy Fellows 2024

Bupe Lughano Kabaghe '24 (Political Science and Global Affairs)
Kellogg Institute International Scholar

Benjamín Rascón Gracia '24 (Political Science and Global Affairs)
Kellogg Institute International Scholar


Our graduate student rapporteurs are doctoral affiliates of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies who serve to document the conference proceedings. They attend the full conference and act as either a note taker (transcript) or as a “theme identifier” (listening for core themes) for the various roundtables and panels, alternating between these roles. The rapporteurs will provide a synthesis of the event in preparation for an impact report that will be later submitted to the Keough School of Global Affairs and Office of the Provost. This report will include an outline of themes/sessions, key takeaways, and plans for the coming year(s) to move action ideas from the conference forward.

Graduate Student Rapporteurs

Alejandro González Ruiz (Political Science)
Kellogg Institute Doctoral Student Affiliate

Isabel Güiza-Gómez (Political Science and Peace Studies)
Kellogg Institute Doctoral Student Affiliate

Patrick McQuestion (Political Science and Peace Studies)
Kellogg Institute Doctoral Student Affiliate

Mayra Ortiz Ocaña (Political Science)
Kellogg Institute PhD Fellow

List of Nearby Restaurants

Nearby Hotel Options

Embassy Suites by Hilton
1140 East Angela Boulevard
South Bend, IN 46617

Inn at Saint Mary's
53993 State Hwy 933
South Bend, IN 46637

Hilton Garden Inn
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The Ivy Court Inn and Suites
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South Bend, Indiana 46637-5688

The Morris Inn at the University of Notre Dame
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Notre Dame, IN 46556