As Chair of RC 37/IPSA Dr. Zillur R. Khan accepted an invitation to take part in the second meeting of Global Policy Forum, titled “The Modern State: Standards of Democracy and Criteria of Efficiency” during September 9-10, 2010, which took place in the millenary city of Yaroslavl under the aegis of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev. Current and former Heads of State/Government from India, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Africa and South Korea spoke in the plenary sessions.

Dr. Khan participated in the section of the Forum on “Standards of Democracy and the Diversity of Democratic Experiences”, which dealt with the effectiveness of various practices of construction and functioning of a democratic state, and raised a tantalizing question of whether or not each state has the right to its path of democratic development.

In his oral presentation based on a paper he had prepared for the forum titled “Transforming leadership and Institution Building in the Democratizing Process”, Dr. Khan raised the issues of due process of law, anchored by justice as fairness and marked by checks and balances and judicial independence. From the perspective of justice as the basic principle of fairness in a workable democratizing process Khan argued that in order to break the vicious circle of poverty, lack of literacy-health care, unequal opportunities and greater chance of violence leaders of the developed and developing worlds need to close ranks and cooperatively bring about a reformed education-literacy-health security system applicable to all levels. Utilizing a combination of conceptual frameworks found in works of Plato, Kautilya, John Rawls and Amartya Sen, among others, together with his case experiences in South Asia and America, Dr. Khan evaluated the ways and means to reduce the gaps between political ideals and operational realities in democratic experimentations in selected countries in today’s rapidly changing world.