International Day of Parliamentarism | Access to Culture

International Day of Parliamentarism


By Sharon Schweitzer


Parliamentary diplomacy is a way to build relationships and promote cooperation between national parliaments. Many parliaments encourage their members to participate in inter-parliamentary organizations, bilateral exchanges, and other parliamentary diplomacy initiatives. In this way Parliamentarians can represent their countries’ interests, foster dialogue and cooperation with counterparts from other nations, and work towards building consensus on international issues.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), established in 1889, holds the distinction of being the first political multilateral organization aimed at fostering international cooperation and resolving conflicts through dialogue rather than warfare. It was founded through the collaborative efforts of two visionary individuals, William Randal Cremer from England and Frederic Passy from France. Despite their different social backgrounds, both shared a common belief in resolving international conflicts through peaceful negotiation.

Throughout its history, the IPU has been a pivotal platform for parliamentary diplomacy, enabling nations to engage in meaningful conversations and mediation. The organization’s impact is underscored by the fact that its founders and numerous other prominent members have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, highlighting their contributions to global peace efforts.

A parliamentary democracy is one in which citizens elect representatives to a legislative parliament. It’s this legislative parliament that makes the necessary laws and decisions for the country. The goal of a parliament is to represent the people directly. Parliaments work to make sure that policies benefit all people. This includes those who are the most vulnerable. Other advantages of a parliamentary system include accountability, adaptability, and equal distribution of power.

There are two categories of parliamentary systems – bicameral and unicameral. A bicameral parliamentary system consists of two chambers of parliament. A unicameral system has only one chamber.

Some of the countries that have a parliamentary democracy include:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • India
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom

The Icelandic Parliament, founded in 930, is the oldest parliament in the world. The head of this type of government is called the Prime Minister. 

Interestingly enough, Russia is one of the initiators of the establishment of the International Day of Parliamentarism. The idea belongs to Valentina Matvienko, Chairwoman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. It was first voiced and approved at a session of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly, where an appeal to the Inter-Parliamentary Union was drafted.

In October 2017, at a regular session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union held in Tavrichesky Palace in St Petersburg – the headquarters of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly – the IPU approved the initiative and drafted an appeal to the UN General Assembly which adopted a corresponding resolution on May 23, 2018. The date of June 30th was chosen to reflect the establishment of the IPU in 1889. 

Today, the IPU consists of 179 Member Parliaments. Their slogan is “For democracy. For everyone.” It is their vision to have a world where every voice counts.


Photo by www.news18.com/news/

Sharon Schweitzer JD, is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Sharon served as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business,  Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.

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