Budapest Forum for Building Sustainable Democracies


Joint Press Release by Budapest Municipality, Political Capital, and CEU Democracy Institute


On September 16-17, 2021, Budapest Municipality, Political Capital, and CEU Democracy Institute will hold the inaugural Budapest Forum for Building Sustainable Democracies with the intention of establishing a new, annual event. The aim of the conference, which brings together domestic and foreign experts, journalists, activists and policymakers, is to provide a forum for strategic thinking on the pivotal political, social, economic, and environmental transformations of our era affecting Hungary, the wider region and the whole world.  

The Forum aims to put Budapest squarely back on the region's progressive intellectual map. By bringing thinkers to Budapest formulating innovative, unusual, bold ideas and suggestions the Forum seeks solutions rather then just dwelling on the challenges. This year's edition of the Budapest Forum focuses on cities, local initiatives, and building sustainable democracies.

During the two-day conference, we will cover the following topics:

  • democratic sustainability: rebuilding and consolidating democracy in the age of populism;
  • social and economic sustainability: addressing inequalities during and after the coronavirus epidemic;
  • environmental sustainability: the need for bold policies to accelerate the green transition;
  • technological sustainability: policy responses to rapid technological change and public health challenges;

Speakers include:

  • Anne Applebaum, Senior Fellow, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
  • Larry Diamond, Professor, Stanford University
  • Vera Jourova, Vice-President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency
  • Timothy Garton Ash, Professor, Oxford University
  • Charles Gati, Professor, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
  • Peter Pomerantsev, Senior Fellow, London School of Economics

Mayors and deputy mayors attending the conference in person or virtually include: Amsterdam, Bratislava, Düsseldorf, Warsaw, Prague, Ankara, Košice, Mannheim, Milan, Florence, Barcelona, Podgorica, Strasbourg, Gdańsk, Paris, London, Vienna, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Taipei, Fort Worth, and Los Angeles.

During the Forum mayors will also meet to formally expand the Pact of Free Cities founded by the Visegrad Four capitals, an organization to protect and promote democracy committed mayors, will take place in Budapest, attended by dozens of mayors.

Gergely Karácsony, Mayor of Budapest, will give the opening keynote speech at the conference.

Our strategic partners: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Erste Stiftung, Open Society Foundation

Our partners: Green European Foundation, National Democratic Institute, International Republican Institute, Graphisoft Park

The language of the conference is English, but those who follow the event online will also have access to all panels with simultaneous interpretation in Hungarian.

Venue of the event: Central European University (CEU) (15 Nádor str. 1051-Budapest, Hungary)

The continuously updated program of the Budapest Forum is available here:

We accept press registration for our event at