Halifax International Security Forum public panel discussion - Populism Peaked: The Future of Democracy

Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences welcomes the public to attend this panel event.

Dalhousie University is delighted to welcome distinguished delegates from the 11th Halifax International Security Forum for a panel discussion on global security.

This year, the theme of the panel is Populism Peaked: The Future of Democracy.

In the second decade of the 21st century, democracies across the Western world became subject to open revolt by significant sections of their own populations. Populist parties and demagogues made deep inroads in the political mainstream. What awaits us in the 2020s? Has populism peaked? Or is this just the beginning? Dalhousie University is delighted to welcome distinguished delegates from the 11th Halifax International Security Forum for a panel discussion on the future of our democracies.

Confirmed panelists include:

Emily Lau

Emily Lau Wai-hing, JP is a politician in Hong Kong who champions press freedom and human rights. A former journalist, she became the first woman directly elected on the Legislative Council of Hong Kong in the 1991 LegCo elections.

Ms. Lau was a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council from 1991 to 1997 and 1998 to 2016 and was the first woman directly elected to LegCo. She was Chairperson of the Democratic Party from 2012 to 2016. Ms. Lau is currently Chairperson of the Democratic Party’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

Ms. Lau is a member of the Board of Directors, China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group and the Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education.

Ms. Lau received an Honorary Doctorate from the London School of Economics and Political Science on 23 July 2019. She received her B.A. degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Southern California in 1976 and her M. Sc. degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1982. She worked as a print and television journalist and university lecturer from 1976 to 1991. She was chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association from 1989 to 1991.

Ms. Lau received the Bruno Kreisky Human Rights Award from the Bruno Kreisky Foundation in Vienna in 1998, the Monismanien Prize on Freedom of Speech from the University of Uppsala in Sweden in 2003, and the Political Leader Award from The Hong Kong Women’s Foundation in 2009.

Janice Stein

Dr. Janice Gross Stein is the Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management in the Department of Political Science and the Founding Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was the Massey Lecturer in 2001 and a Trudeau Fellow. She was awarded the Molson Prize by the Canada Council for an outstanding contribution by a social scientist to public debate. She has received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from four universities and is a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario. She is a frequent contributor to CBC, TVO, and the BBC and writes regularly for the Globe and Mail.

Tolu Ogunlesi

Tolu Ogunlesi is the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria on Digital and New Media, and Head of the Presidency Office of Digital Engagement (PODE). Prior to this, he worked as Strategic Communications Adviser to Nigeria’s current Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment. Between 2009 and 2015 he worked as a Journalist, Columnist, and Contributor to Nigerian and international newspapers, including the Financial Times, New York Times, Financial Mail (South Africa), Forbes Africa, the London Guardian, CNN.com, and several others. He’s a two-time winner of the CNN Multichoice African Journalism Award; a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellow (2013); a Nordic Africa Institute Guest Writer (2008); and a 2016 Winner of Nigeria’s DAME Prize for Informed Commentary. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmacy from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, UK. In 2016 he set up the Presidency Office of Digital Engagement, to serve as an in-house Digital Agency for the Nigerian Presidency and the Government of Nigeria.

Roderich Kiesewetter

Mr. Roderich Kiesewetter is a member of the German Bundestag. He first became a member in 2009, and was re-elected in 2017. Since 2014, he has been the special representative for foreign affairs of the CDU/CSU group. Before he was a member of the Bundestag, he was Head of the Chief of Staff’s office (Executive Officer) at NATO Headquarters ACO SHAPE from 2006 to 2009. He has also served in various command and staff positions, including the EU Council, NATO HQ (Brussels and Mons), the German Federal Ministry of Defence, the position of battalion commander, and several operations abroad. Mr. Kiesewetter underwent general staff officers’ training from 1995 to 1997 and received the General Heusinger Award. He studied economics in Munich (Germany) and Austin/Texas (USA), from 1983 to 1986. He is married with two children.


The panel will be moderated by:

Robin Shepherd 

Mr. Robin Shepherd is Vice President at Halifax International Security Forum. A British citizen, Robin has been a senior journalist and think tank analyst for many years. Among the highlights of his career, he has been the head of the Europe Programme at Chatham House, Moscow Bureau Chief for the Times of London, and the author of two previous books, A State Beyond the Pale: Europe’s Problem with Israel; and Czechoslovakia: The Velvet Revolution and Beyond.



McInnes Room, Dalhousie Student Union Building, 6136 University Avenue, Halifax, NS

This venue is wheelchair accessible



Additional Information

Please RSVP for this event by registering at THIS LINK.

Further details about  the HISF can be found at halifaxtheforum.org/

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This event is co-hosted by the Halifax International Security Forum, Dalhousie University and Saint Mary's University.