US President Joe Biden will convene a virtual “Summit for Democracy” on December 9 and 10, the White House says.
Invitees to the summit will include heads of state, members of civil society, philanthropists, and representatives from the private sector, the White House said in an announcement on Wednesday.
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The summit will serve “as an opportunity for world leaders to listen to one another and to their citizens, share successes, drive international collaboration, and speak honestly about the challenges facing democracy so as to collectively strengthen the foundation for democratic renewal,” the White House said in a statement.
The summit will focus on three principal themes: “defending against authoritarianism, fighting corruption, and promoting respect for human rights”.
The Biden administration plans to host a second summit of world leaders a year after the first, to “showcase progress made against their commitments”.
The White House did not give details of the list of countries invited to the summit, which is viewed by some as an alternative to the G20 forum and an implicit challenge to Beijing.
Members of the G20 are determined by economic weight and include the authoritarian governments of China and Saudi Arabia. The group is next set to meet at the end of October in Italy.
Biden has said that “the challenge of our time is to demonstrate that democracies can deliver by improving the lives of their own people and by addressing the greatest problems facing the wider world,” according to the White House statement on Wednesday.
The US president has repeatedly signalled his desire to once again assume the role of “leader of the free world” traditionally assigned to the occupant of the White House. His predecessor Donald Trump, in contrast, emphasised an “America First” approach to world affairs.