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Video: Francis Fukuyama reflects on the post-Berlin Wall era

Panel discussion focuses on lessons from 1989 for coping with current threats to liberal democracy.

Watch the discussion

At a public event on 8 November, the political scientist Francis Fukuyama spoke about the lessons of the post-Berlin Wall era, nearly thirty years to the day of its fall on 9 Nov 1989. Fukuyama, who is a professor at Stanford University is known for his book, The End of History and the Last Man, published in 1992 (Free Press) after end of the post-World War II division of Europe. 

In the lecture, followed by a panel discussion, Fukuyama spoke about the current internal and external threats to liberal democracy and the lessons to be drawn from the past 30 years. He outlined how fundamentally the world has changed since the fall of the wall, including a reorientation of world politics from economic ideology to identity, but ended on a high note: 

"The spirit of 1989 has not disappeared. From Ukraine to Hongkong, people are fed up with authoritarian regimes," Fukuyama said. 

The panel discussion included Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, Vice President and Director of the Berlin Office of The German Marshall Fund of the United States, and Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, Professor of Democracy Studies at the Hertie School in Berlin. It was moderated by Hertie School Master of International Affairs student Kristina Hatas. 

The event was part of the series “The Backlash Against Liberal Democracy” launched by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Villa Aurora/Thomas Mann House e.V., and the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The series brings together influential voices from Europe and the United States to shed light on different aspects of the challenges that liberal democracies face. Speakers so far have included historian Timothy Snyder from Yale University as well as political scientist Daniel Ziblatt from Harvard University. This event is organized in cooperation with and generously supported by the Hertie School.

Francis Fukuyama is the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), the Director of the Ford Dorsey Master's in International Policy, and the Mosbacher Director of FSI's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at Stanford University.  He is also a professor by courtesy in the Department of Political Science. He was previously at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University, where he was the Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy and director of SAIS' International Development program. His most recent book is Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy.