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Biden Holds Virtual Democracy Summit [07:20]

Biden Holds Virtual Democracy Summit [07:20]
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U.S. President Joe Biden Thursday opened a two-day virtual "Summit on Democracy" Thursday with many nations worldwide attending - but notably, not many African participants. VOA's Jackson Mvunganyi discussed the summit with a Michigan State University political analyst.

The Summit on Democracy comes at a time when many in the world are worried that America’s democracy is facing a historic crisis of its own.

In his opening remarks at the Summit President Joe Biden acknowledged that the stakes were high, calling it the "defining challenge" of our time. Biden warned that globally freedoms were under threat from autocrats seeking to expand power, export influence and justify repression. He called on the attendees to support and safeguard rights and freedoms of their people in the face of this rising authoritarianism.


President Biden speaking at the opening of the virtual summit for Democracy.

Erica Franz is a Professor in Political Science at Michigan State University. She is the author of numerous books and published studies on authoritarian politics, with a focus on democratization, conflict, and development. She tells me that the conference is a test of Biden’s administrations commitment and ability to inspire confidence in a world that is still grappling with a global pandemic, and one in which many autocratic governments have used it as an excuse step up repressive measures and impose new restrictions on civil liberties.

Erica Franz is a Professor in Political Science at Michigan State University. We will bring you the second part of our conversation next week.