Building peace in the minds of men and women

International Day of Democracy

15 September

The International Day of Democracy provides an opportunity to review the state of democracy in the world. Democracy is as much a process as a goal, and only with the full participation of and support by the international community, national governing bodies, civil society and individuals, can the ideal of democracy be made into a reality to be enjoyed by everyone, everywhere.

The values of freedom, respect for human rights and the principle of holding periodic and genuine elections by universal suffrage are essential elements of democracy.  In turn, democracy provides the natural environment for the protection and effective realization of human rights.

At each of the key moments that have marked contemporary history, UNESCO has supported the peaceful development of societies by contributing to the construction and consolidation of democracy, and the development of democratic institutions, especially in times of transition.
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Since its foundation, the Organization seeks to promote the aspirations of all people, especially young women and men, to strive for the realization of shared universal values, such as tolerance, pluralism, the respect of human rights, freedom and dialogue.

Message from the Director-General

"On this International Day of Democracy, we are celebrating more than a simple principle of political organization: we are celebrating a particular vision of humankind. Democracy is an ideal whose foundations are “the dignity, equality and mutual respect” of people – the foundations of the Constitution of UNESCO."
̶  Audrey Azoulay, Director-General

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Democracy as a destination will always be a challenge

On International Democracy Day, which is remembered every 15th of September, we share the views and reflections of Dr Max Hernández, renowned Latin American intellectual and psychoanalyst, member of the Peruvian Consultative Committee of the National Agreement (a set of measures approved by the main political parties of Peru in 2002 to strengthen the governance of the country).

Democracy is an ideal recognized by an overwhelming majority of countries, and is one of the basic values of the United Nations. However, in recent years this political system seems to be undergoing one of its greatest challenges. How to understand the current situation? What is the way forward?