Discussing democracy

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September 18, 2007

2:07 AM

__Lehrer, O’Connor and others sat on World Forum panel yesterday in W&M Hall__

Former Supreme Court Justice and current College Chancellor Sandra Day O’Connor, former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger and Dr. Ali M. Ansari, director of the Institute for Iranian Studies at University of St. Andrews, were in attendance at the World Forum on the Future of Democracy panel, “The Future of Democracy: Why does it Matter?” Moderated by Executive Anchor of the NewsHour, Jim Lehrer asked questions about religion, security, foreign policy and global markets, along with questions about their relation to democracy both at home and abroad.

p. The event was the conclusion of a year-long conference series hosted by the Jamestown 2007 delegation as part of an effort to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement. In addition to Monday’s panel, there have been several smaller panels run by scholars, public officials and experts discussing the future of democracy in a global context.

p. Yesterday’s panelists responded to questions from students and panelists from some of the other seminars.

p.Virginia Attorney General Robert McDonnell said he felt that the themes of the panel resonated strongly.

p. “I am excited all of you are here to be part of this ongoing tradition in the American experiment that is democracy,” he said.
O’Connor, Eagleburger and Ansari all drew upon their different experiences to discuss the successes and failures of democracy and why it matters today.

p. “Democracy is not a solution to all ills,” Ansari said. “It is the means to an end, not an end itself.”

p. Eagleburger, a former Board of Visitors member, offered advice to policymakers and discussed the importance of recognizing the threat of nuclear weapons.

p. “If we don’t deal with that now, we’re going to regret it, and our children will regret it until they die,” he said.

p. Lehrer and the three panelists stressed that the discussion of democracy is still relevant today.

p. “[A country] isn’t a success by hanging the word democracy on some system,” O’Connor said. “Each of us has to be involved to make it work.”

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