Our Events


Who Owns the Past?


Thursday, February 25, 2021 between 17.00 - 18.30 CET

Contested monuments and memorials have hit headlines around the world in recent years. These pillars of the public landscape can reinforce historical legacies and trauma, and are increasingly disputed by people working to end oppression and build just and equitable societies. Yet campaigns in public spaces have split opinion and created an easy target for politicization and media frenzy.  

Is rescripting the commemorative landscape essential to tackle underlying structural and historical injustices or could it divert attention from today’s inequities if seen as an end in itself? How can responsible leaders advance memory, healing and reconciliation in deeply-divided societies? Whose voices need to be heard, and what can we learn by sharing experience and innovation across borders?

This special webinar marked a major international collaboration and a landmark publication - Contested Histories in Public Spaces: Principles, Process, Best Practices – that brings together the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation, the International Bar Association and Salzburg Global Seminar (dedicated to conflict transformation since 1947).

This multi-year initiative addresses controversies over statues, memorials, street names and other representations of disputed legacies in public spaces and is creating practical tools for decision-makers, policy planners, educators, and other stakeholders.

Part of Salzburg Global’s Designs on the Future initiative, this debate brought together leaders on the frontline of community and systems change and explored case studies from South Africa and Korea. It was followed by open discussion with the virtual audience. 21st Century Trust was delighted to host this event in association with Salzburg Global.




Can Democracy Catch up with Technology?


Thursday 21 December 2020 between 5 pm and 6.15 pm GMT

In partnership with Salzburg Global Seminar, 21st Century Trust was delighted to present the latest Designs on the Future webinar featuring guest speaker Professor Stephen Stedman.

Kofi Annan once said, “Technology does not stand still; neither can democracy.” Is democracy in danger? Around the world polarization is increasing, trust is declining, traditional media is suspect, political parties are becoming more sectarian, and significant numbers of citizens appear to be ever more disengaged or hostile to democratic processes. Is social media the culprit or the scapegoat? Are technology and politics pulling in opposite directions? What can and should be done to uphold democracy?



This health check on global democracy took place one day after the US Presidential Inauguration, and one year after the Kofi Annan Commission’s seminal report on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age. While the stress test for America’s Constitution dominated 2020 headlines, Kofi Annan was particularly concerned about the threats to newer democracies – and interested in creative responses across the global south to some of the challenges and opportunities accelerated by new technologies.

The Kofi Annan Foundation set up the Kofi Annan Commission shortly before Annan died in 2018 to examine the rapidly changing role of technology in elections around the world and recommend ways to ensure that digital tools strengthen – not undercut – democracy. Please join us to debate the report’s key findings with the Kofi Annan Commission’s Secretary-General, Professor Stephen Stedman.

Prior to the Kofi Annan Commission, Stephen Stedman served as Assistant Secretary General and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General. He directed the UN High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change focused on international peace and security and is currently a Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.