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The Challenges of Democracy


The Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics operates on a unique academic model, focusing on a six-year in-depth exploration of interdisciplinary themes related to ethics and their impact on different aspects of society. Recognizing the significant influence of law in shaping and enforcing ethical standards, there exists a natural synergy between the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and the Buchmann Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University.


The theme for the six-year period between 2023–2029 is "The Challenges of Democracy." Liberal democracies are founded on two key pillars: rights and institutions. These pillars work hand in hand to uphold the essential components of democracy, including popular sovereignty, majority rule, political equality, and the protection of minorities. Rights, established through legal rules and principles, serve to safeguard liberal-democratic norms and values, ensuring equal representation, participation in government, freedom of expression, and more. Institutions, both private and public, play a crucial role in promoting and upholding these norms and values, encompassing financial markets, media organizations, educational systems, civil society groups, and different levels of government. In order to address the complex challenges of our time, interdisciplinary research is required, bridging law, social sciences, and humanities. The Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics aims to bring together scholars specializing in rights and norms, as well as those focusing on institutions, fostering a comprehensive understanding of the interconnected dimensions of democracy.


Our new theme will position the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics as a local and global focal point for scholars from all disciplines who study the ethical, political, social, and economic aspects of democratic challenges. To promote its objectives, the Center facilitates interdisciplinary research groups and international conferences, creating opportunities for the exchange of ideas and collaboration among scholars. It also provides support through scholarships, grants, and various academic activities. A notable initiative is the Fellows Program, which enables researchers to delve into in-depth studies and contribute to the center's mission. Through these initiatives, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics strives to advance interdisciplinary scholarship and foster a vibrant intellectual community focused on ethics and its applications in various fields.

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