ASU hosts fourth International Participatory Democracy conference

On December 3-5, 2015 the Participatory Governance Initiative of Arizona State University (ASU) hosted the 4th International Conference "By the People": Participatory democracy, civic engagement and citizenship education".  Previous editions of this conference were held in Toronto, Canada (2003 and 2008) and Rosario (Argentina). This forum is unique because it brings together academics and practitioners from three related fields that rarely have opportunities to share ideas and explore collaborations: participatory democracy, civic engagement, and citizenship education. The ASU conference gathered 200 participants from around the world. The conference included 55 sessions: two keynote plenaries, 37 panels, 12 roundtables, and 4 workshops. Among participants were students, professors, researchers, practitioners, teachers, journalists, elected officials, leaders of social movements, university administrators, and coordinators of international networks, among many others. Topics of discussion ranged from the legacy of the Magna Carta to dynamics of online participation, from youth engagement to deliberative processes, and from school participatory budgeting to legal frameworks for citizen participation and democratic innovations around the world. The conference was opened by Lattie Coor, former President of Arizona State University and Chair of The Center for the Future of Arizona and by Karen Mossberger, Director of the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University, and it was closed by Jonathan Koppell, Dean of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

Presenters included Emil Boc (former primer minister of Romania and current mayor of Cluj-Napoca), Judith Torney-Purta (who has has conducted interdisciplinary research on young people's political socialization and civic engagement since 1962 in over 30 countries), John Sudarsky (Senator from Colombia who worked on the National Law of Citizen Participation), Carole Hahn (who wrote the book 'Becoming Political: A Comparative Perspective on Citizenship Education' and  received the Distinguished Career Research Award from the National Council for the Social Studies), Nancy Thomas (Director of the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University and coordinator of the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement), Bruno Kaufmann (co-founder and co-president of the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy), Daniel Schily (co-founder and Executive Director of Democracy International), Carolyn Lukensmeyer (founder of America Speaks and Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse), Martha McCoy (Executive Director of Everyday Democracy and President of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation), Joel Westheimer, author of What Kind of Citizen? Educating Our Children for the Common Good) and Giovanni Allegretti (co-chair of the Independent Authority for the Guarantee and Promotion of Participation in Tuscany Region, Italy and international expert on participatory budgeting), Daniel Buda (Elected Member of the European Parliament and professor at Babes-Bolyai University), Patrick Scully (Project Manager of Participedia), Josh Lerner (Executive Director of Participatory Budgeting Project and author of Making Democracy Fun: How Game Design Can Empower Citizens and Transform Politics and Everyone Counts: Could Participatory Budgeting Change Democracy?, Brian Wampler (Chair of Political Sciences at Boise University and author of Activating Democracy in Brazil: Popular Participation, Social Justice and Interlocking Institutions, John Gastil (author of Democracy in Motion: Evaluating the Practice and Impact of Deliberative Civic Engagement) and Tina Nabatchi (co-author of
Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy and Collaborative Governance Regimes)

The Participatory Governance Initiative is housed in the School of Public Affairs, College of Public Service and Community Solutions.