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OAS Participates in Workshop on the Role of Diplomacy and Democratic Growth

  March 10, 2011

The Organization of American States (OAS), through its Department of External Relations, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile; the Council for a Community of Democracies; the Corporation “Participa” and the Democratic Network “Activa,” today inaugurated the workshop “Dialogue on the Role of Diplomats and the Strengthening of Democracy through the Support of Civil Society” at the Diplomatic Academy “Andres Bello” in Santiago, Chile.

The objective of the meeting, which will continue until tomorrow, March 11, is to create a space for dialogue and exchange of experiences between diplomats and representatives of civil society organizations on their role in the consolidation of democracy and the sharing of available resources and instruments.

During the inaugural session, the Director of the Department of International Affairs of the OAS, Irene Klinger, asserted that the workshop “gives us the opportunity to exchange experiences and discuss how we can strengthen cooperation partnerships between diplomats and civil society in the promotion and consolidation of a democratic culture in the hemisphere.”

Klinger highlighted that the OAS “has a great patrimony in the inclusion of civil society,” emphasizing that in 1971 the Member States adopted provisions to regulate relations of cooperation between the hemispheric organization and non-governmental organizations. She added that “in 1999 the guidelines that govern citizen participation in the Organization and put it at the forefront of multilateral organizations were approved. Since then, this commitment has been reaffirmed and extended in several resolutions and declarations of the General Assembly and Summits of Heads of State and Government of the Americas.”

“Today, there exists a consensus that the strengthening of our democracies is the responsibility not only of our governments but also of all social actors, including civil society,” Klinger continued. She added that the meeting “serves to emphasize the relevance and significance of the Inter-American Democratic Charter as the principle regional tool to provides an integral vision of democratic governance,” a document that states in its Article 6 that “citizen participation in decisions relating to their own development is a right and a responsibility.”

The Director General of International Politics of the Ministry of International Relations of Chile, Ambassador Alfonso Silva, was also present at the event and said the workshop “will enhance civil society in revealing the experiences of inspirational partnerships between diplomats and civil society in the hemisphere, and regional and sub-regional mechanisms that exist to defend democracy, such as the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and those of UNASUR and Mercosur.”

The Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Chile, Ambassador Pablo Cabrera, mentioned the importance of regional tools like the Inter-American Democratic Charter in the defense of democracy.

The two-day workshop is part of events in celebration of the Tenth Anniversary of the OAS Democratic Charter and is being attended by representatives of the diplomatic corps from 24 countries of the Americas, as well as representatives of organizations and civil society.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-561/11