Press release - 523(2010)

5th Summer University of the Council of Europe on the theme "The crisis of leadership"

Strasbourg, 28.06.2010 – Some 600 students of the schools of political studies of 16 European countries are participating in the fifth Summer University for Democracy, which began today in Strasbourg and which is devoted to "The crisis of leadership".

The Summer University is the annual flagship event of the Council of Europe’s schools of political studies, which aim to train the next generation of political, economic, social and cultural leaders in transition countries. It has now become a key rendezvous for young leaders working in the New Europe's public sector, an opportunity to hold debates, exchange ideas and attempt to answer the questions of today.

In his opening address Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, declared: "Growing unemployment and marginalisation lead to people losing their identity and defining themselves in opposition to others. This creates a climate of xenophobia and antipathy against the most vulnerable groups, and provides fertile ground for extremists to spread their message of hatred.

This is what happened before World War II. At the time, political leadership failed, with catastrophic consequences.

We need political leaders who can offer a multicultural society more than talk of fear and sustaining of the status quo. We need leadership that can offer confidence in a liberal democratic society. A society which is rooted in the idea of human rights and sustained by a rational and critical debate."

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, President of the Parliamentary Assembly, expressed satisfaction at the Assembly's proposal to form a Strasbourg Democracy Forum as a kind of umbrella structure providing an international reference in the field of democracy and a laboratory for new ideas and proposals. He stated "All the major institutions of the Council would participate and a Delegate for Democracy could be appointed to lead and inspire this new Forum and provide continuous reactivity on democracy-related issues. This could give greater prominence and visibility to the Council of Europe’s message on democracy."

Vasko Naumovski, Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, declared that leadership was of particular importance for the countries where the schools of political studies are located: leadership in everyday life, in civil society and within the community. He added that the best way of restoring public confidence was to promise people less and give them more.

Nawel Rafik-Elmrini, Deputy Mayor of Strasbourg, Luisella Pavan-Woolfe, the European Union's representative to the Council of Europe, and Catherine Lalumière, President of the European Association of the Schools of Political Studies, were also among the speakers at the opening session.

Sylvie Kauffmann, Director of Le Monde, gave the opening lecture.

During the course of the week, the participants will attend a series of themed conferences and workshops on financial and economic crisis, crisis of politicqs and democracy, civil resistance, democratisation and democratic sustainability.

For the second time, the Summer University is welcoming participants from Africa, who are attending the event with the support of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

Programme of the SUD-2010

Special file: The schools of political studies

Press contact:

Henriette Girard, Press Officer Tel. +33 (0) 3 88 41 21 41 ,

Note for Editors

The first Council of Europe-backed school of political studies was founded in Moscow in 1992 to train the next generation of decision makers in politics, economics, society and culture. At present 16 such schools exist in Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Kosovo, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Armenia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro and Belarus.

The event brings together participants from political studies schools (500 in 2006, 600 in 2007, 608 in 2008, 600 in 2009) to study common questions and create bilateral and regional opportunities for dialogue. It also gives participants the opportunity to hear from international and European leaders and meet numerous experts from Europe and elsewhere. Each Summer University has a special theme. In 2006 it was “Challenges to Democracy”, in 2007 – “The future of the European Project”, in 2008 – “Governance, power and democracy.”, in 2009 “Global Challenges to Democracy”.

The Fifth University for Democracy in numbers:

- 598 participants;

- 13 % of participants are journalists;

- 69 experts, lecturers and international personalities;

- Budget: € 800 000;

- 16 Schools welcoming about 1000 participants per year;

- the first school is the one created in Moscow in 1992;

- the most recent one is the School for Belarus created in 2008


« All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo ».

Council of Europe Directorate of Communication
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11