Academy for the Development of a Democratic Environment - AZAD

Academy for the Development of a Democratic Environment - AZAD


History
AZAD was founded in 1976, at a time when democracy in Malta was approaching the brink. The Academy was founded with the aim of being an autonomous think-tank and centre of adult education, inspired by Christian Democrat principles. In Malta it took a lead in promoting the ideal of European integration, a dialogue society and the rights of future generations. The Academy and its associates have wide interests but AZAD is currently focused on Euro- Mediterranean issues and maritime affairs. Among its past chairmen and board members, there feature four future Presidents of the Republic, a future prime minister and two future ministers of foreign affairs, a future Speaker of the House of Representatives and a future judge on the European Court of Human Rights. AZAD is a member of the following organizations and networks: European Centre for Workers’ Questions (EZA), European Network of Political Foundations (ENOP, founding member), the European Ideas Network and EPP‘s Centre for European Studies.
Activities
As a think tank, AZAD organizes policy roundtable discussions with Maltese and international leaders in the public and private sector, and public lectures, debates and discussions. Its activities in this area over the last year have included a panel discussion on the significance of the result of the French presidential elections for the Mediterranean area (where the panelists included the socialist Leader of the Opposition), international seminars on immigration and on maritime affairs for workers organizations from all over Europe, co-organisation of a conference on the Middle East in Athens (with the Karamanlis Institute for Democracy and Fondation Pour l’Innovation Politique), and coorganisation of two seminars on immigration in Brussels (one with the Costantinos Karamanlis Institute for Democracy, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the Hanns Seidel Stiftung, Fondation Pour l’Innovation Politique and FAES, the other with the Hanns Seidel Stiftung). As a centre for adult education, AZAD organizes some 20-25 courses per year, embracing a variety of subjects to do with politics, culture and civilization, and personal skills. AZAD sees these courses as preparing for, and contributing to, a globalised, multicultural society of life-long learning. As a cultural centre, AZAD’s activities have had a very popular following over the years since its inception. Its most notable success in recent years has been the establishment of a festival of satire as an annual event that plays to full houses.
Publications
AZAD has issued several publications since 1976, from academic books to journals. AZAD is currently developing an electronic review with a focus on European and Mediterranean questions.