College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > Applied Diplomacy > About > Conference Recordings > Conference Webinar: Future of Democracy

Conference Webinar: Future of Democracy



​​Overview of Conference​

As we confront the diplomatic challenges across the globe presented by movements and leaders opposed to liberal democracy, the need for a deeper level of collaboration among all practitioners of diplomacy has never been greater. How can a wide-ranging, more inclusive understanding of diplomacy help us better engage the full range of diplomatic agency available in this current environment? To what degree can the democratization of diplomacy contribute to these efforts? What are the roles of state-sponsored, non-state actor and grassroots diplomacy in efforts to challenge illiberal democracy? To what degree has the erosion of democracy in the United States, India, Brazil and among multiple member states of the European Union undercut the agency of nation states to promote democracy through diplomatic means? This conference will explore the work and the strategies being proposed and employed by practitioners and scholars of diplomacy across multiple vocations and contexts – i.e., transprofessional diplomacy – to support diplomatic cooperation and collaboration aimed at the promotion and preservation of democracy. ​

The mission of The Grace School is to train future practitioners of diplomacy across all vocations – from those pursuing careers in the foreign service to those who want to build bridges as NGO leaders, private sector actors, scientists, artists, religious leaders, community organizers and activists. Our goal is to create cohorts of students with a wide range of vocational trajectories who engage the study and practice of diplomacy together, and in so doing establish networks that they will take with them as they pursue or redirect their respective careers upon graduation. Examining the transprofessional diplomatic work which is currently taking place and which must now be amplified in the name of supporting democracy is the theme of our conference. ​

Welcome - Democracy and Good Governance​

​​​Speakers and Biographies:​​

Andy knight


Andy Knight is Professor of International Relations in the Political Science Department at the University of Alberta and past Chair of the Department. He is former Director of the Institute of International Relations (IIR), The University of the West Indies (UWI), Trinidad & Tobago and co-founder and former head of the Diplomatic Academy of the Caribbean (DAOC). He is co-Editor-in-Chief of African Security journal and co-Editor-in-Chief of International Journal– both globally prestigious peer-reviewed publications, and he established, during his secondment in the Caribbean, the Caribbean Journal of International Relations and Diplomacy. Professor Knight was co-editor of another highly regarded and award-winning journal — Global Governance -- from 2000 to 2005. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC), Professor Knight was named by Venture Magazine among Alberta’s top 50 most influential people and, by the Black Business and Professional Association of Canada, the Harry Jerome Trailblazer. He served as an Advisory Board Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Welfare of Children and was Director of both the Peace and Post Conflict Studies Certificate Programme in the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies (OIS), and the Globalization and Governance Certificate Programme, at the University of Alberta. In March 2007, Dr. Knight was appointed by the Canadian Foreign Minister to the Board of Governors of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and served in that position until 2011.

Knight has written several books on the United Nations, Global Politics, Building Sustainable Peace, Remapping the Americas, and the Responsibility to Protect. One of his most recently published books is the award-winning, Female Suicide Bombings: A Critical Gendered Approach, with Tanya Narozhna (University of Toronto Press). His ongoing research and publications address issues of global health governance, global health security, Children and war, the vulnerabilities and resiliency of small island developing states (SIDS), and changes in world order. In March 2021, Professor Knight was awarded the University of Alberta’s highest honour – the University of Alberta Distinguished Professor. In June 2021, he was named 2021-22 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in International and Area Studies at Yale University. He has just completed his Fulbright at Yale.


Twitter: @WAndyKnight1


​​Day 1 Panel 1 – Democratic Backsliding, The Challenge of Illiberal Democracy and Diplomacy​

​​Speakers and Biographies:​​​

Christian Lequesne

Christian Lequesne, holds BA and MA degrees from Sciences Po Strasbourg and the College of Europe, Bruges.  He then got his Ph.D. in political science and his Habilitation in Sciences Po Paris. Assistant, Department of Political and Administrative Studies of the College of Europe (1986-1988). Research fellow and then Professor at Sciences Po since 1988, he was deputy director of CERI from 2000 to 2003, and director of CERI from 2009 to 2013. Director of the Centre français de recherche en sciences sociales (CEFRES) in Prague from 2004 to 2006, LSE-Sciences Po Alliance Professor at the European Institute of the London School of Economics from 2006 to 2008, member and vice-president of the Board of Directors of Sciences Po from 2007 to 2013. He is a regular visiting professor at the School of Government of LUISS University and the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna. 


Co-Founder and Co-Chief Editor with Prof. Christopher Hill (Cambridge) of European Review of International Studies(Brill), member of the international advisory board of The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Journal of European Integration; Politics in Central Europe, Politique européenne.


Member of the evaluation committee of the European Research Council (ERC); member of scientific councils of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, the Institute für Europäische Politik Berlin, the Genshagen Foundation, Brandenburg.

Regular columnist in the daily newspaper Ouest France. Was awarded the F. Palacky social sciences medal by the Czech Academy of Sciences and Chevalier in the Ordre des Palmes académiques (France).


Recent books :

Ethnographie du Quai d’Orsay. Les pratiques des diplomates français, Paris, CNRS Editions, 2017, 255 p. (pocket 2020).


The Member states of the European Union(avec S. Bulmer eds.), Oxford, Oxford University Press, The new European series, 2020, 468 p.


Ministries of Foreign Affairs in the World. Actors of State Diplomacy (dir.), The Hague, Brill, Diplomatic Studies, 2022, 398 p.

 Shailja Sharma

Shailja Sharma is Professor of International Studies and the co-director of the DePaul Migration Collaborative. She is the author of Postcolonial Minorities in Britain and France: In the Hyphen of the Nation-State(Manchester 2016) and editor of New Cosmopolitanisms: South Asians in the United States (Stanford 2006). She was a Fulbright Fellow in India in 2018-2019, working on a project on violence, memory and citizenship. She writes for public outlets including newspapers and journals in the US and India. You can hear her TedX talk about refugees and the Indian Partition at the link here.

Fabricio Chagas-Bastos

Fabricio H. Chagas-Bastos is an Assistant Professor and EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at University of Copenhagen’s Department of Political Science. His research integrates insights from politics and social psychology into the study of international relations and knowledge production —in particular how non-Western states seek influence in their engagement with international order and institutions. His primary substantive areas of concern are foreign policy and diplomacy, security studies, and knowledge/intellectual history. He completed his doctorate in International Relations at the University of Sao Paulo and another in Psychology at the University of Melbourne, and held visiting positions at the Australian National University, University of Cambridge, and University of Sao Paulo. 

​​Day 1 Keynote – The Role of Citizen Diplomacy in the Promotion of Democracy​​

​​​​​​​​Speakers and Biographies:​​​​

David Wellman

David Joseph Wellman’s work focuses on the relationship between diplomacy and religion, ecological sustainability and interconvictional engagement. He is an Associate Professor and the Director of The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy at DePaul University in Chicago. Wellman is the author of Sustainable Diplomacy: Ecology, Religion and Ethics in Muslim-Christian Relations (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Sustainable Communities (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 2001). Wellman's writing on diplomacy was used as the basis for an international conference, whose outcome was the collaborative volume Sustainable Diplomacies, edited by Costas Constantinou and James Der Derian, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). His more recent work has focused on European Union integration, non-state actor and grassroots diplomacy and the role of religious culture in building bridges across boundaries of difference. Wellman's current book project focuses on urban diplomacy among non-state actor and grassroots practitioners in Paris and Chicago.

​​​Day 1 Panel 2 – Reconsidering US Democracy and US Diplomacy

​​​​​​​​​​​Speakers and Biographies:​​​​​

Nicholas Cull

Nicholas J. Cull is professor of public diplomacy at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.  He is a pioneer of the historical study of public diplomacy and author of numerous books on aspects of the subject including Public Diplomacy: Foundations for Global Engagement in the Digital Age (Polity, 2019), which is available in multiple languages and has become the standard introduction to the field.  He has trained and advised diplomats from many countries and international organizations including those of the US, UK, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Switzerland and Ukraine.  He has held guest appointments at Catholica, Milan, Beijing Foreign Studies and the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Oxford University.  He is part of the North American Cultural Diplomacy Initiative and a board member of the Public Diplomacy Council of America.  He is originally from Britain.

Ryan Scoville

Professor Scoville teaches and writes on U.S. foreign relations law and international law. He is a Fulbright grant recipient and a former associate managing editor for AJIL Unbound. Before entering academia, he worked as a litigation associate in the Denver and Tokyo offices of the law firm of Morrison & Foerster, and served as a law clerk for Judge Milan D. Smith, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Judge Neil V. Wake of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. He also worked briefly at the Arms Control Association and the Defense Department's Office of the General Counsel (International Affairs).

Professor Scoville holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School, where he was an executive editor for the Stanford Law Review, and a B.A. from Brigham Young University.

Reverend Senator Kim Jackson

The Honorable Rev. Kim Jackson 

District 41

Georgia State Senate  

Kim serves as Senator for Georgia State Senate District 41, representing portions of Dekalb and Gwinnett counties. Since January 2021, Kim works every day to build a safer, fairer, and more prosperous Georgia, and bring the diverse voices of her district to the Capitol.  

In her first term, Kim has defended our voting rights against relentless attacks; authored life-saving legislation for stalking victims (Senate Bill 75 "Lease Release") which passed both chambers unanimously; secured unprecedented funds for Black farmers; started serving as co-chair of the Mental Health Caucus; and earned an appointment to the Georgia Commission on Family Violence. She serves on the Agriculture & Consumer Affairs, Government Oversight, Natural Resources & the Environment, and Public Safety standing committees and the Study Committees on Sickle Cell Anemia and Unsheltered Homelessness. 

An Episcopal priest from the rural South, Kim made Georgia home over a decade ago. After graduating from Furman University, Kim volunteered as an EMT and led her colleagues at Emory's Candler School of Theology to advocate for Criminal Justice Reform in Georgia. Upon receiving her Master of Divinity, Kim commenced her vocation as an Episcopal priest. Over the past 11 years of ministry, she has served as a college chaplain, a nationally renowned consultant and preacher, and a parish priest. As the Vicar of the Church of the Common Ground, Kim co-creates church with people who are experiencing homelessness in downtown Atlanta.

Kim serves on the Board of Trustees of Virginia Theological Seminary, where she is a proud alum, and on the Board of the American Association of Adapted Sports which was founded 25 years ago in District 41 to create opportunities for children with physical disabilities to participate in team sports. 

Kim lives with her spouse, Trina, at the Herb’n Soul Sanctuary, an Afrofuristic urban farm in Stone Mountain, where they raise food, goats, chickens, ducks, and bees.

​​​Day 2 Keynote 1 – The Ukraine War: Lessons for Democracy and Diplomacy​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Speakers and Biographies:​​​​​​ 

Michael McFaul

Michael McFaul is the Ken Olivier and Angela Nomellini Professor of International Studies in Political Science, Director and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, all at Stanford University. He was also the Distinguished Mingde Faculty Fellow at the Stanford Center at Peking University from June to August of 2015. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1995. He is also an analyst for NBC News and a contributing columnist to The Washington Post. McFaul served for five years in the Obama administration, first as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House (2009-2012), and then as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation (2012-2014). He has authored several books, most recently the New York Times bestseller,  “From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia.”  Earlier books include Advancing Democracy Abroad: Why We Should, How We Can; Transitions To Democracy: A Comparative Perspective  (eds. with Kathryn Stoner); Power and Purpose: American Policy toward Russia after the Cold War (with James Goldgeier); and Russia’s Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin. His current research interests include American foreign policy, great power relations between China, Russia, and the United States, and the relationship between democracy and development. 

Prof. McFaul was born and raised in Montana. He received his B.A. in International Relations and Slavic Languages and his M.A. in Soviet and East European Studies from Stanford University in 1986. As a Rhodes Scholar, he completed his D. Phil. in International Relations at Oxford University in 1991.


Day 2 Panel 1 – Global Public Health, Diplomacy and Democracy​​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Speakers and Biographies:​​​​​​ 

Raj Shah

Raj C. Shah, MD, has been a geriatrician at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, for over 20 years. He is a Professor in the Department of Family & Preventive Medicine and the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center ( He completed his Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering at Northwestern University and then attended the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. After completing a family practice residency at West Suburban Hospital and Medical Center in Oak Park, Illinois, he received further geriatrics training at Rush. Dr. Shah’s academic career interest is the design and conduct of clinical trials for the prevention and treatment of age-related conditions including, but not limited to, dementia and disability-free survival.  He is also the Co-Director for the Center for Community Health Equity (, a collaboration led by Rush University and DePaul University.


John Mazzeo is Associate Professor in the Master of Public Health Program at DePaul University and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from University of Arizona in Anthropology. His research approaches global health from the position that syndemics drive population health outcomes and that advancing food security is fundamental to achieving gains. His work combines research with practice by engaging with civil society groups and international NGOs on public health interventions and community development. In Haiti, his work with HOPEHaiti Outreach Pwoje Espwa) ranges from food systems to cholera prevention. His work in Zimbabwe with CARE International evaluated emergency food programming for households impacted by HIV/AIDS during severe droughts. His work extends to the United States where he explores food security in Chicago following the COVID-19 pandemic and its connections to urban health equity. Most recently, he works with BUILD(Broader Urban Involvement & Leadership Development) and Rush University Medical Center to use electronic health data to advance violence prevention among youth. He is a co-editor of Community Health Equity: A Chicago Reader(University of Chicago Press, 2019) and HIV/AIDS and Food Insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges and Solutions(Wiley, 2011).

Maria Ferrera

Maria Joy Ferrera is an Associate Professor within DePaul University’s Department of Social Work and Co-Director for the Center for Community Health Equity, a partnership between DePaul and Rush University to promote health equity. She received her PhD and MA from the University of Chicago-Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice and her BS from Loyola University in Chicago. Having served for over 25 years as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the areas of child welfare and medical social work, Dr. Ferrera continues to do work in the Filipinx American and other immigrant communities. Her areas of practice and research involve decolonization methods, ethnic identity development; community-engaged, socially just practices and research with racial and ethnic minority youth; health and mental health disparities among racial and ethnic minority communities. She is the Co-Founding Co-Chair of the Coalition for Immigrant Mental Health(CIMH), a collaborative, community based and research informed initiative that is a partnership between immigrants regardless of status, mental health practitioners, community organizers, researchers, and allies. She is a Steering Committee Member of The Midwest Human Rights Consortium(MHRC) a referral network of multi-institutional and interdisciplinary professionals who perform trauma-informed forensic evaluations for individuals seeking asylum in the U.S. As a recent recipient of DePaul’s HumanitiesX Collaborative Fellowship, Dr. Ferrera has worked in partnership with MHRC and Filmmaker/DePaul Associate Professor Dr. Chi Jang Yin to engage digital media and documentary filmmaking to promote human rights. Her work has been published in Critical Public Health, Family and Community Health Journal, The Community Psychologist, Journal for Adolescent Research, and the Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work

​​​​Day 2 Keynote 2 – Diplomacy and the Struggle for Democracy in Modern Sudan​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Speakers and Biographies:​​​​​​ ​

Walaa Isam Elboushi

Walaa Isam Elboushi, Former Minister of Youth and Sports, Sudan's Transitional Government, Former Chairperson of the East African Advisory Board for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for young African Leaders. Have several years of experience in different fields and sectors, Public Sector, Private Sector, Civil Society, and as a Lecturer at Khartoum and Sudan Universities. Founded and Led several initiatives in Sudan and across the African content. Walaa is a mechanical Engineer with a MSc and DIC in Advanced Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College London. 

​​Day 2 Panel 2: Diplomacy and Democracy on the Ground: The Work of Global Citizen Diplomats​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Speakers and Biographies:​​​​​​ 


Nicholas Opiyo is a Ugandan human rights lawyer commonly known for campaigning civil rights and political freedoms in Uganda specifically electoral law, the restriction of freedom of assembly, and the clampdown on freedom of speech and freedom of the press.He is also known for representing LGBTQ+ people.He is the current Executive Director and Lead Attorney at Chapter Four Uganda. Mr. Opiyo received the German Africa Prize in 2017,Voices for Justice Award from Human Rights Watch in 2015 and the European Union Parliament Sakharov Fellows Prize in 2016. Mr. Opiyo was the 2015 recipient of the Alison Des Forges award for extraordinary activism.

Mr. Opiyo was the member of the Team of Expert to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Peaceful Assembly and Association until 2017.He is a visiting scholar at the Centre for African Studies, Stanford University, CA, USA and the Global Health Program at the University of San Francisco (UCSF), California, USA. Mr. Opiyo is the Board Chair of Action Aid Uganda, a member of the Human Rights Advisory Board BENETECH, a Silicon Valley human rights and tech company based in Palo Alto in California and African Middle Eastern Leadership Project (AMEL), a Washington, DC-based think and action group.


Dr. Anna Popkova is an Associate Professor at Western Michigan University School of Communication and an allied faculty member at the Global and International Studies program. Her research on international political and strategic communication explores the role of NGOs, transnational activist networks, domestic opposition groups, and citizen diplomats in public diplomacy. Dr. Popkova’s work has been published in the International Journal of Communication, International Communication Gazette, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, International Journal of Strategic Communication, New Media and Society, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, and elsewhere. Dr. Popkova also serves as the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Global Ties Kalamazoo citizen diplomacy organization based in Michigan, USA. 

Raquel Yrigoyen Fajardo

Raquel Yrigoyen Fajardo, Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Sociedad (IIDS) and PUCP, Lima, Peru. Raquel Yrigoyen Fajardo is the Vice President of the IIDS and professor of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP). She has worked as a consultant for the UN, ILO and other international organizations on issues of legal pluralism, Indigenous rights, human rights, women’s rights and community-based systems in Latin American and Asian countries. Yrigoyen Fajardo is the author of Pathways to Justice: Access to Justice in Cambodia with a Focus on the Poor, Women and Indigenous Peoples (UNDP 2005) and other publications.