Webinar Series: Democratic Resilience in Europe During a Pandemic

Participants take part in an Election Day simulation exercise to identify potential problems during Ukraine's 2020 local elections.

Much like other organizations, entities and communities around the world, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and its beneficiaries have been deeply impacted by the novel coronavirus crisis.

With most in-person events and activities canceled or postponed due to restrictions on travel and large gatherings of people, IFES swiftly embraced this challenge and opportunity within its “Regional Elections Administration and Political Processes Strengthening” (REAPPS) program. In response to the new environment, IFES’ Regional Europe Office in Prague, Czech Republic, quickly adapted in-person events to online webinars and meetings to continue programming and ensure continued engagement of key electoral stakeholders across the Europe and Eurasia region.

At the onset of the pandemic, the REAPPS team developed and launched a dedicated webinar series for international election practitioners, observers and donors. To date, Democratic Resilience in Europe During a Pandemic (formerly Administering Elections in Europe During a Pandemic) has held multiple dedicated webinars, each focusing on salient issues, such as:

The webinar series has received broad interest and high-level participation from more than 35 countries, due in part to its revolving relevant topics and expert panelists who address key issues developing across electoral environments during the pandemic. This feature is complemented by the webinar’s greater engagement of non-English speakers as each webinar is simultaneously translated into multiple languages. The webinar series has delivered an array of international good practices and recommendations from experts on protecting electoral integrity during the pandemic. These insights have provided integral input to the actions of election management bodies, observers and advocacy groups, especially those poised to conduct elections in the period following webinar participation.

Upcoming Events

IFES is planning further installments of the webinar series about European electoral processes and democratic resilience during the pandemic. During the spring of 2021, webinars will focus on gender equality and disinformation in elections, money in politics and electoral justice. To register for the February 24 event, please click the link below.

Gender Dimensions of Disinformation in Elections, Politics and the Digital Information Space

February 24 at 8:00-9:30 a.m. EST/14:00-15:30 CET

Around the world, prominent women and other individuals who challenge traditional gender roles by speaking out in male-dominated spaces are regularly subjected to biased media reporting, character assaults, harassment, abuse and threats. Women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people who hold or seek positions of public leadership often face criticism that has little to do with their abilities or experience and instead face commentary on their character, morality, appearance and conformity – or lack thereof – to traditional gender roles and norms. Their representation in the digital information environment is often defined by sexist tropes, stereotypes and sexualized content and is fodder for disinformation, hate speech and viral misinformation.

An increasing body of research and analysis explores the role of gender in disinformation campaigns, including the impacts on individuals, communities and democracies. However, more research and activities are necessary to address the gender dimensions of information integrity challenges and counter-disinformation efforts. To effectively mitigate the threat of disinformation, it’s crucial to analyze information integrity challenges through a gender lens and implement initiatives that not only recognize but also challenge gender inequalities and power relations, transforming gender roles, norms and stereotypes across society.

Please join IFES and experts from the region to discuss “Gender Dimensions of Disinformation in Elections, Politics and the Digital Information Space.”

In line with the previous installments of the webinar series, the event will be held live via Zoom and feature simultaneous interpretation from English into Albanian, Armenian, Georgian, Macedonian, Russian, South Slavic language and Ukrainian.

The event will be moderated by IFES Senior Program Officer for Europe and Eurasia Daria Azarjew and feature the following speakers:

  • Victoria Scott, Senior Research Officer, IFES
  • Irena Hadžiabdić, Member of the Central Election Commission, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Liubov Tsibulska, Head of Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group, Ukraine Crisis Media Center
  • Nina Jankowicz, Disinformation Fellow, Wilson Center
  • Lucina Di Meco, Women’s Political Participation Expert

Learn More and RSVP

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Illustration of a voter wearing latex gloves and casting a ballot

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