43 University Terrace, Athens, Ohio 45701

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The Contemporary History Institute will host the 2024 Baker Peace Conference, themed “Democracy in Decline? The Politics of Pluralism, Participation, and Populism” on Feb. 22-23.


The conference, a spring staple at Ohio University since the 1980s, returns with a keynote address by Leopoldo Lopez on Thursday Feb. 22 at 7:30PM in Galbreath Chapel. A Venezuelan political leader, pro-democracy activist, Sakharov prize laureate, and founder and national coordinator of the Voluntad Popular political party, Lopez was political prisoner from 2014 to 2020 after being sentenced to fourteen years in prison for leading non-violent street protests and civil resistance in 2014. After spending seven years in confinement, he managed to escape the autocratic regime of Nicolas Maduro in October of 2020 and was able to travel to Spain, where he lives with his family and serves as the co-founder of the World Liberty Congress.


On Friday the 23rd, the conference will feature two panels, each with four speakers, in the Friends of the Library Room, Alden Library room 319 (30 Park Place, Athens, Oh). The first panel will take place from 10am-12pm and feature experts on Brazil, Thailand, South Africa and the United Kingdom. The second panel will take place from 3-5pm and feature experts on France, Germany, Hungary, and Poland. We hope to see you there. Coffee and other refreshments will be available to attendees throughout the day on Friday.


2024 Baker Peace Conference Schedule:

Thursday, Feb 22 (Galbreath Chapel)

Keynote Address by Leopoldo Lopez, 7:30pm


Friday, Feb 23 (Freinds of the Library Room, Alden Library room 319)

Panel 1: Brazil, Thailand, South Africa and the United Kingdom, 10am-12pm


  • Dr. Filipe Campante: A political economist following Brazilian and Latin American politics, Dr. Campante is Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University (SAIS and Carey Business School).
  • Jeffrey Shane: An expert on contemporary Thai politics and history, Mr. Shane is Ohio University’s Southeast Asia Librarian.
  • Dr. Miles Taylor: Dr. Taylor is the Chair of British History and Society at Humboldt University’s Center for British Studies in Berlin.
  • Mr. Michael Walsh: An expert on South African politics, Mr. Walsh is a Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Africa Program.

Panel 2: France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, 3pm-5pm


  • Aaron G. Burnett: Mr. Burnett is a German-Canadian news journalist, communications strategist, and German-politics analyst based in Berlin.
  • Marie Jourdain: Ms. Jourdain is a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Europe Center, a position that she took up after working for the French Ministry of Defense.
  • Krisztina Koenen: Ms. Koenen is a Hungarian-born journalist, writer, and translator who writes primarily about Hungarian affairs.
  • Zofia Kostrzewa: Ms. Kostrzewa, a program coordinator for the Warsaw office at the European Council on Foreign Relations, writes primarily about Polish politics.


Event Details

  • Shawn Liming

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