Lecture / Reading

Toomas Hendrik Ilves: The Future of Liberal Democracy in the Digital Age

Sponsored by Stanford University Libraries


Tuesday, April 11, 2017
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
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Bender Room, Green Library
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Event Details:

Join us for an engaging talk with the Former President of the Republic of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who will discuss:

The Future of Liberal Democracy in the Digital Age

This talk will review the development of new tools in the digital era to disrupt democracies and how they have been used – first against my part of the world, Eastern Europe and later in Western Europe, and ultimately elsewhere.

We are under attack. It is an attack against Western democracies and on the institutions that bind them, the EU and NATO. This attack is at once asymmetrical, yet ideologically promiscuous. By the latter I mean that an authoritarian regime supports both extreme left and extreme right parties that are anti-EU, anti-NATO and anti-US, and does what it can to undermine centrist parties and politicians. It is asymmetrical because our democratic institutions – free and fair elections, rule of law, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, especially freedom of the press, do not allow us to respond in kind.

In my talk I shall also look at what democracies can do to respond.

Toomas Hendrik Ilves is the former President of Estonia (2006–2016). In 2017 he joined Stanford University as a Bernard and Susan Liautaud Visiting Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford’s hub for researchers tackling some of the world’s most pressing security and international cooperation problems.

Ilves has been appointed to serve in several high positions in the field of ICT in the European Union. Starting from 2016, Ilves co-chairs The World Economic Forum working group The Global Futures Council on Blockchain Technology. Ilves has published many essays and articles in Estonian and English on numerous topics ranging from Estonian language, history, and literature to global foreign and security policy and cyber security.

Ilves has received numerous awards and honorary degrees from organizations worldwide. Most recently, Bertelsmann Stiftung awarded Ilves with the Reinhard Mohn Prize “Smart Country: Connected. Intelligent. Digital” in honor of his pioneering work on the promotion of digitalization in government, education and public services.

In a series of talks hosted by Stanford Libraries, Toomas Hendrik Ilves will address topics ranging from e-society and digital entrepreneurship to cyber security and geopolitical challenges of the Baltic countries. His next talk is scheduled to take place on May 18.

Admission Info

Free and open to the public. RSVP requested.

Closest free parking may be found on Galvez St., Serra St., or Roth Way.