Why Democracies Fail

“Why Democracies Fail,” the theme of the 2022 Symposium on Democracy, will prompt a broad exploration of the challenges entailed in sustaining democracy, freedom and human rights in the United States and internationally. Some topics to consider in relation to this theme include: free and fair elections; the role of education in preparing citizens to participate in the democratic process; declining public trust of institutions; women and minorities being disenfranchised and how they are able to participate. These are just a few topics to consider.

Join us on February 23, 2022

Additional sessions to be announced soon.
Check back often for more updates.


The Fall of Democracy in Afghanistan: First-Hand Perspectives

Shaqaiq Birashk and Kerry McBride

February 23

Reading List

Articles in Periodicals and Journals


Democracy Challenged




Selected Books

Democracy Challenged

  • How Democracy Ends (2018) by David Runciman, Professor of Politics, University of Cambridge
  • The People Versus Democracy: Why Our Freedom is In Danger & How to Save It (2018) by Yascha Mounk, writer for Foreign Affairs and The Atlantic, and Associate Professor of Practice at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
  • How Democracies Die (2018) by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, political scientists at Harvard University.

History of Democracy

  • Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny (2018) by Edward J. Watts, Professor of History, University of California, San Diego


  • The Failure of the Arab Spring (2016) by Khalifa A. Alfadhel, Assistant Professor of International Law at the University of Bahrain.
  • Into The Hands of The Soldiers: Freedom and Chaos in Egypt and The Middle East (2019) by David Kirkpatrick, reporter for The New York Times.

Political Systems

  • The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies (2016) by Ryszard Legutko, politician in Poland and Professor of Political Science at Jagiellonian University in Kraków.


S Birashk

Shaqaiq Birashk

Kerry MicBride

Kerry McBride