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28/11/2019 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Thursday, November 28 at 19:00h
Fundación Diario de Madrid
(Larra 14, Madrid)

Aspen Institute España, the European Council on Foreign Relations (EFCR) Madrid, and the Harvard Club of Spain co-organized the conference “La luz que se apaga” in collaboration with Editorial Debate, a conversation between Ivan Krastev, political scientist and chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria, and José Ignacio Torreblanca, head of the Madrid office and senior policy fellow of the EFCR.  The session was moderated by Romana Sadurska, board member of Aspen Institute España, executive vice-president of Fundación Profesor Uría and partner emeritus at Uría Menéndez.  The conference celebrated the publication of Ivan Krastev’s book, co-authored with Stephen Holmes, in Spain, The Light that Failed: A Reckoning (Allen Lane, 2019) – La Luz que se apaga: Cómo Occidente ganó la Guerra Fría pero perdió la paz (Debate, 2019).

Why did the West lose its political equilibrium after the Cold War?  The early nineties witnessed what seemed like an unstoppable expansion of Western democratic values in the East.  Nevertheless, changing geo-political attitudes in Oriental Europe provoked a rejection of what was considered a neo-colonialism veiled as liberalism that swept as far as western Europe itself.

In their latest work, Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes defend that the foretold «End of History» was nothing more than the start of an «Era of Imitation».  Through an extensive study of the last thirty years of geo-political history, the authors try to demonstrate that the wave of populist xenophobia in countries attempting to establish liberal democracies finds its origin in the Occidentalizing imperative that followed the fall of the Berlin wall.

The event was held in English and could be followed on Linkedin and Twitter using the hashtag #Laluzqueseapaga.





Ivan Krastev is a political scientist, permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, and a widely regarded expert on Balkan and European affairs.  He is the chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria, a frequent collaborator at the New York Times and the author of the acclaimed book After Europe (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017).



José Ignacio Torreblanca is a senior policy fellow and the head of the Madrid office of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).  His areas of expertise include populism in Europe, Euroscepticism, common foreign security and defense policy, and EU domestic politics and institutional reforms.  He is a political science professor at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), where he teaches fundamentals of Political Science, the EU political system and democracy and legitimacy in the EU.  He is a member of the Instituto Juan March de Estudios e Investigaciones, writes the column “Café Steiner” for El Mundo, and is a frequent collaborator at RNE.  He has previously been a Fulbright scholar, a professor at George Washington University in Washington D.C., and a post-doc researched at the European University Institutein Florence.

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