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Liberal democracies across the globe are in serious decline, while far-right groups and authoritarian leaders—populists—are on the rise. Keynote speaker Yascha Mounk is a Johns Hopkins professor and go-to authority on why democracy is in perilous danger (or the forces behind “democratic deconsolidation”—his own term). His third book, titled The People vs. Democracy: Why Democracy Is in Danger & How to Save It offers a critically important rationale for this seismic change, weaving together historical, economic, and cultural analysis. While offering a grim diagnosis, Mounk is also hopeful—in engaging talks, he offers practical methods for everyday citizens to combat this trend, and rediscover why our rights, freedoms, and protections are worth fighting for.
Writing regularly for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, CNN, The Nation, and Die Zeit—and appearing on radio and television in over ten countries—Mounk also writes “The Good Fight” column: articles on populism, resistance, activism, and the changing face of democracy for Slate magazine. He’s also the host of a new podcast, also called “The Good Fight,” which interviews political luminaries such as George Packer, Mark Blythe, Brian Klaas, and more.
Mounk’s second book, The Age of Responsibility: Luck, Choice, and the Welfare State, was published by Harvard University Press. It explores how our conservative embrace of ‘personal responsibility’ has actually prevented us from empowering individuals—and achieving greater equity. His first, Stranger in My Own Country: A Jewish Family in Modern Germany, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. To The New York Times, it was a book that “started as a memoir of his experiences growing up as a Jew in Germany, but became a broader investigation of how contemporary European nations were struggling to construct new, multicultural national identities.” It was reviewed in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and the Times Literary Supplement, among many other publications, and was translated, fittingly, into German.
Mounk is an Associate Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at Johns Hopkins University and a Senior Fellow at the Agora Institute. Mounk formerly lectured on Political Theory at Harvard University’s Government Department. He received his BA in History from Trinity College, Cambridge and his PhD in Government from Harvard University.