The Institute of Democracy and Cooperation is a think-tank based in Paris. It aims to be part of the debate about the relationship between state sovereignty and human rights; about East-West relations and the place of Russia in Europe; about the role of non-governmental organisations in political life; about the interpretation of human rights and the way they are applied in different counties; and about the way in which historical memory is used in contemporary politics.
The Institute broadly defends a conservative outlook on human rights and international relations. It believes that the nation-state is the best framework for the realisation of human rights and that "humanitarian intervention" is often counter-productive. It is attached to the classical understanding of international law based on sovereignty and non-interference. At the same time, it believes that the political order should be underpinned by a moral perspective, and specifically by the Judeo-Christian ethic which unites both the Eastern and Western parts of the European continent.
The Institute aims to promote debate on these issues by inviting speakers to give their opinion and to share their expertise. At its meetings, it always encourages all sides of the argument to be put.
NATALIA NAROCHNITSKAYA is a Russian historian and widely known public figure. A frequent commentator in the Russian mass media on international affairs, Natalia Narochnitskaya was a member of the State Duma of the Russian Federation from 2003 to 2007, where she represented the Rodina (Motherland) Party. She was Vice-Chairman of the Dumas Foreign Affairs Committee; Chairman of the Committee for the Study of the Practice and Implementation of Human Rights and Civil Liberties; and a member of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. From 1982 to 1989 she worked at the Secretariat-General of the United Nations in New York.
She is president of the Foundation for Historical Outlook in Moscow. This prominent think-tank publishes an on-line newspaper, www.stoletie.ru and a scholarly journal, "Links". She has a doctorate in history and is a graduate of the State Institute of International Relations in Moscow. For many years she worked at the Institute of World Economics and International Relations in the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The daughter of an academician, Natalia Narochnitskaya is herself the author of numerous works on history and the role of historical memory in contemporary politics, as well as the author of hundreds of articles in the Russian press. Her major work, "Russia and Russians in World History", has gone into six editions. She specialises in diplomatic history, international law, the history of international relations, and the philosophy of Western liberalism. Her books have been translated into French (Que reste-t-il de notre victoire? Paris: Editions des Syrtes, 2008), Czech and Serbian.
Natalia Narochnitskaya is active in the Russian Orthodox Church and is known for her strong defence both of Russian national interests and also of good relations between Russia and Europe. She speaks English, German, French and Spanish.
JOHN LAUGHLAND, the Institute's Director of Studies, is a British philosopher and historian. He is the author of A History of Political Trials from Charles I to Saddam Hussein (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2008); Schelling versus Hegel: from German Idealism to Christian Metaphysics (London: Ashgate, 2007); Travesty: the Trial of Slobodan Milosevic and the Corruption of International Justice (London: Pluto Books, 2007); Le tribunal pnal international: gardien du nouvel ordre international (Paris: Guibert, 2003); The Tainted Source: the Undemocratic Origins of the European Idea (London: Little; Brown, 1997) and The Death of Politics: France under Mitterrand (London: Michael Joseph / Penguin, 1994). His books have been translated into French, Russian, Spanish, Czech, Polish, Serbian and Croatian.
For many years he worked as an independent commentator writing on international affairs for the British and international press, including The Spectator, The Guardian, The Mail on Sunday, The Times, Die Welt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He has a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford and was awarded the post-doctoral degree habilitation in France in 2003. He has taught philosophy and politics at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris and at the University St Pius V in Rome. He speaks English, French, German, Italian and Russian.