The International Day of Democracy was commemorated last night in the City Chambers, Edinburgh, with a speech from the convener of ‘Building Global Democracy’ in Western Europe, Professor Jan Aart Scholte.

Scholte, Professorial Research Fellow in the Centre for the Study of Globalization, and author of Globalisation: A Critical Introduction, gave an enthusiastic and engaging speech that thoroughly explored the idea that we should come together globally, rather than individually, on a number of issues.

Scholte said: “If someone was to speak about the term ‘Global Democracy’ in a political climate in Edinburgh 15 years ago, many would think you belong in a show in the Summer festival you have here. Global Democracy is an on-going topic for discussion that, as you can see in this room, the young are engaging with too.

“Ideas about Global Democracy are usually presented by academics and political theorists – which is a good thing – but all groups and sectors should be involved in debates and thinking on the matter.”

As well as asking why global affairs were nowhere near the forefront of parliamentary campaigns, he put forward the idea that we should not only be citizens of an individual country but be citizens of the globe.

The audience of around 40 got the opportunity to ask questions of Professor Scholte, with Professor Dabir Tehrani, an elected member of the UNA-UK, asking about Scholte’s views on The Economist‘s Democracy Index rankings which believe the Scandinavian countries are the most democratic.

Lishia Erza-Evans, a co-opted member of the UNA-UK, introduced the proceedings and also asked a question that Professor Scholte took a few moments to answer: “What is the role of journalists and the media in regard to global democracy?”. After some deliberation, the Professor replied:- “It is evident that the media have a prominent role in delivering information, but they must be very careful as global media is becoming more and more concentrated. The idea of this emerging new media is exciting though.”

The speech was rounded off by the Convener of the UNA committee Dr. Gari Donn who thanked the Professor for his time and an eye-opening speech.

The UNA-UK welcomes all those who want to join and attend their meetings throughout the year.