We are living in turbulent times for electoral democracy. But it didn’t start with the Brexit referendum and the election of Trump. Over the period 2006 – 2016 the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index recorded a decline in democratic health for more than half the 167 countries it monitors.

Join the P2P Foundation’s Michel Bauwens and many others for this special day of Democracy, as part of the Imagine! festival of ideas and politics, celebrated in Belfast from the 12th to the 18th of March. The text below is taken from the Festival’s page on Democracy Day.

We are living in turbulent times for electoral democracy. But it didn’t start with the Brexit referendum and the election of Trump. Over the period 2006 – 2016 the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index recorded a decline in democratic health for more than half the 167 countries it monitors.

In many parts of the world citizens are losing faith in the electoral system that had been considered the consensus vehicle of human progress over much of the last century. Northern Ireland is no exception to this trend.

Whilst populist demagogues would have us believe ‘strong’ leadership and a return to authoritarianism is the answer, proponents of deliberative democracy believe quite the reverse – that a key part of the solution to this malaise is a deeper involvement of citizens in decision-making.

Democracy Day is a Building Change Trust event and is back for its second year at Imagine 2018. It’s a full dawn to dusk programme exploring the health of democracy, the role of citizens and the latest local and international thinking about what needs to be done to reinvigorate democracy and make it fit for purpose in the 21st Century.

Attendees will get a hands-on exploration of innovations like Citizens’ Assemblies and Participatory Budgeting, as well as hearing from inspiring international speakers including Michel Bauwens from the Peer to Peer Foundation and our evening keynote Carmen Perez, co-organiser of the Women’s March on Washington.

With the exception of the Michel Bauwens event ‘Commoning Our Democracy’, all of the daytime events for Democracy Day are covered by a single registration – simply register once on any of the Democracy Day daytime event pages to attend as many events as you wish. The evening events on the Good Friday Agreement and Carmen Perez’s talk also require separate registration. All events are free – here’s the lineup for the day.

Programme

the people’s breakfast

Kick off Democracy Day with a hearty free breakfast and a short drama performance to set the scene.

putting people at the heart of decision making

How will a Citizens’ Assembly for Northern Ireland work?

commoning our democracy

Michel Bauwens leads a workshop on the emerging crisis in democratic nation-states

the end of facts? taking on fake news

FactCheckNI introduces fact-checking champions from Methodist College Belfast.

debate, deliberate, decide: community conversations about education

A workshop exploring the emotive issue of the loss of primary schools within communities.

participatory budgeting works: a practical introduction

Find out about Participatory Budgeting and how you can decide!

the good friday agreement: is it still fit for purpose?

Twenty years on, participants in this session will examine the constitutional arrangements bequeathed by the Good Friday Agreement.

keynote speaker: carmen perez

Democracy Day’s keynote speaker is Carmen Perez, National Co-Chair of the Women’s March on Washington.

 

 

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