‘Festival Of Democracy’ To Take Place In Tonga

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‘Festival Of Democracy’ To Take Place In Tonga 2-week event to help country prepare for elections

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 21, 2014) – ‘Atenisi University will hold a"festival of democracy" next month, starting on June 17. The two-week event will include various speakers and panel discussions on democracy in Tonga as the country prepares for upcoming general elections in November this year.

Speakers to the festival will include Tongan Historian Ian Campbell whose topic is "Why doesn’t democracy always work".

Professor Malakai Koloamatangi (University of Massey) will speak on "Democracy in the real world: building a ‘Tongan’ democracy."

Other speakers include former Prime Minister Dr Feleti Sevele, MP Sitiveni Halapua, Hon. Lupepau’u Taione, Dr Cecylia Dziewiecka and Mark Burton.

Dean of ‘Atenisi University, Opeti Taliai, said "The aim of the festival is not to engage in partisan politics, by endorsing one set of election candidates over another, but to encourage greater understanding of and involvement with democracy in Tonga. We want to reach out to Tongans who are disengaged from the democratic process, and urge them to understand and exercise their rights."

"In the lead up to the very first democratic elections of November 2010 we held a conference on democracy inviting local speakers. This year we have enlisted some financial support to assist us with the work of assisting the people of Tonga to be more informed and to purposely make their choice in the hope of better future for all," he said.

The festival is held in association with the European Union.

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