25 years after the first Global Assembly in Delhi, India in 1999, the World Movement for Democracy is excited to convene its global community of democracy advocates in Johannesburg, South Africa for the 12th Global Assembly. The World Movement for Democracy’s biennial Global Assembly is a unique place for democracy advocates around the world to come together to recognize and celebrate democratic resilience while building greater unity of effort to counter today’s challenges to democracy. At the 12th Global Assembly, nearly 500 civil society leaders, political actors, and thinkers from nearly 100 countries and territories will connect with each other, engage in peer-learning by sharing their knowledge and experiences, and inspire the world with their courage and determination.

Why is the Global Assembly to be Held in South Africa?

South Africa is an ideal location for the 12th Global Assembly as we look at important democratic gains of the past three decades. 2024 marks the 30th anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic elections. At the same time, the anti-apartheid movement has been a key inspiration for those who are today fighting for more free, just, and inclusive societies. The 12th Global Assembly will be a special occasion for the global community of democracy advocates to reflect on the historical achievements of the anti-apartheid movement and join the people of South Africa in celebrating South Africa’s democratic progress.

Despite facing significant challenges, such as deeply rooted corruption, failing infrastructure, and a growing gap between the rich and the poor, South African democracy remains strong today because of consolidated democratic institutions and independent judiciary. Vibrant civil society and independent media keep the society informed and engaged in the country’s democratic processes. Democracy advocates from other countries can learn from South Africa’s experience in defending and expanding freedom and civic engagement while building solidarity with the people of South Africa in tackling ongoing challenges to democracy by sharing expertise and innovating practical solutions.

Who will be at the Global Assembly?

Nearly 500 leaders from civil society, political society, labor unions, and the business sector will be invited to attend the Assembly. They are leading voices in:

  • expanding civic space through legal advocacy;
  • promoting inclusive governance by strengthening women and youth political participation;
  • defending information space through countering disinformation;
  • improving digital technologies based on democratic principles and human rights values; and,
  • cultivating the next generation of democracy champions.

Who are the Principal Organizers?

To make the Global Assembly successful, we are excited to partner with the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation (AKF), Defend Our Democracy (DOD), Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA), In Transformation Initiative (ITI), and Ronnie Mamoepa Foundation (RMF).