Ideas / Thurs 21st March / 6.30 - 8:30 pm
Doors open at 6.30pm - Speaker will start at 7pm.
The public election of representative decision-makers is now our most established system of governance in the West. But it faces a growing crisis of legitimacy, trust and efficacy. As a result it is being challenged on one hand by a surge of support for more authoritarian rule, and on the other by innovation, adaptation and an evolution of the fundamental idea and practice of what democracy should be,
Sortition, the defining feature of ancient Athenian democracy, is now back on the table as one answer to improving representation, citizen engagement and decision-making. Its most popular format, the citizens' assembly, has seen a logarithmic rise in use since the first one 20 years ago and more than 800 have now been convened. In a citizens' assembly, randomly selected groups from a community meet to be informed, deliberate and reach a consensus on the best way forward on a question of public policy, usually one that has defied solution by elected governments.
How will our democracies adapt to the challenges ahead? Will these democratic innovations prove to be sticking plasters or long term fixes?
Discuss the theory and practice with people who know…
Hugh Pope is a writer and advocate for sortition-based democracy, most recently co-editing his late father Maurice Pope’s The Keys to Democracy: Sortition as a New Model for Citizen Power (Imprint Academic, 2023).
Between 2007-22 he worked in Istanbul and then Brussels for International Crisis Group, the conflict-prevention organization. Pope was previously a foreign correspondent for 25 years, most recently spending a decade as a Turkey, Middle East and Central Asia Correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.
Eva Rovers is a writer and co-founder of Bureau Burgerberaad. In her most recent book "Now it's up to us, Call for Real Democracy," she makes an impassioned plea not to leave politics solely to politicians. Indeed, the multi-headed problems of the 21st century call for a multi-headed approach; citizens' councils are ideal for this.
Since 2017, Eva has been writing about ways in which ordinary people create extraordinary social change. She is a sought-after expert on democratic renewal and regularly performs in the media, at conferences and at festivals such as Lowlands and Brainwash.
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