Biennale Democrazia is a major bi-annual festival about democracy promoted by the Fondazione Cultura of the City of Torino, under the aegis of the President of the Republic of Italy, with an average participation of over 10,000 people. March 2021 will mark its seventh edition. The aim of this initiative is to create and spread a culture of democracy, which can be developed and put into practice. Biennale Democrazia encourages dialogue and is open to all, with a special welcome for young people. The project is divided into a series of preparatory steps and intermediary stages (workshops for schools, initiatives for young people, discussion sessions and other events) that culminate, every two years, in five days of public events that feature speeches, debates, readings, international forums, seminars and entertainment. Biennale Democrazia also runs an educational program for high school students in cooperation with over 100 schools in northern Italy.
Citizens for Europe (CFEU) is a community of engaged European citizens from NGOs, foundations, media, public authorities, willing to expand their networks, share resources and exchange good (and bad) practices. Citizens for Europe serves as a networking platform with hundreds of organisations and initiatives throughout Europe. Organizations at CFEU support each other to create a more participatory and democratic Europe.
CFEU aims to identify ways of funding and supporting civil society organizations which efficiently leverage resources and which build trustful long term relationships. To support civil society organizations (CSOs) in developing project structures, the CFEU Core Team specializes in 1) networking and thematic exchanges within the CSO community, as well as in 2) awarding of seed funding for projects with democratic innovation potential.
Unlike many other granting mechanisms, CFEU considers its support as an investment in the community. This is why the Core Team sees funding beneficiaries as strategic and long term partners, and expects them to actively contribute to the development of the community via content creation and resource sharing through the CFEU platform and their own networks.
Christian Miess is the Network Coordinator at Citizens For Europe. He connects the community and maintains and creates background coordination processes enabling all members of Citizens for Europe and the Core Team to work together effectively. His interests are the diverse connections between people, media and politics. The central prerequisites for Christian's work within the Core Team are transparency and accountability. He places a special emphasis on the development of effective communication and exchange channels between civil society organizations to support trusting and long-term cooperation on a translocal level.
Equipped with a library and a documental heritage of international importance, comprising nearly 1.5 million archival items, 250.000 volumes and 17.500 journals, the Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Foundation is a Milan-based non-profit institution whose activity has always focused on history, on equality and on the analysis and proposal of models of interaction among citizens, their rights and their organizational representatives.
The Feltrinelli Foundation has several research clusters who organize public events, workshops, and edit very well-respected publications. Among such clusters, the Observatory on democracy deals with the themes of representation and participation by fostering a dialogue between academic fields, associations, politics and different geopolitical areas.
Ismael Peña-López is Director General of Citizen Participation and Electoral Processes at the Government of Catalonia. Formerly, for nearly 13 years, he was professor at the School of Law and Political Science of the Open University of Catalonia. He has also been a senior researcher at Open Evidence and fellow director of Open Innovation at Fundació Jaume Bofill.
Areas: His main areas of work are the impact of Information and Communication Technologiess in society (e-Readiness, the digital divide), especially in development (e-inclusion, ICT4D), and in educational (e-Learning, digital competence) and political (e-participation, e-democracy) institutions.
ProDemos is an organisation based in The Hague (Netherlands), also called the ‘House for Democracy and the Rule of Law’. Its mission is to help explain the systems that govern democracy and the rule of law, and to show what citizens themselves can do to exert political influence – at municipal, provincial, national and European level.
ProDemos is deeply implicated in student education, by organising political excursions, inviting guest teachers, staging role-plays and preparing lesson materials on relevant topics pertaining to democracy and the rule of law. The basis of their method is (1) learning by doing, (2) a variety in activities/learning formats and (3) on-site education.
ProDemos operates a Visitor Centre near the Dutch parliament where it provides educational programs and guided tours, and where it also organises debates and exhibitions. ProDemos also collaborates with regional authorities, district courts and education institutions to explain to different audiences the jurisdiction of the provinces, the procedures in a court case, or on how to become a member of the Municipal Executive.
Cees van Dijk has been an Education Project Officer at ProDemos since April 2018. He works on, among other things, educational programs based at the Binnenhof - the seat of the Dutch Parliament. Cees has been with ProDemos since 2016, prior to which he studied political science and also trained as a social science teacher. Cees also holds a position as a lecturer in political science and social studies.
The Sector for Policies for Citizen Participation and the Electoral Office and Observatory of the Region of Tuscany issue regular reports on regional, national and European elections and promotes institutional innovations for enhancing democratic participation, such as the Regional Law on Participation of 2007 that established for the first time in Italy the institution of public debates and deliberative processes about political and administrative decisions and local and regional policies.
Since 2005 Antonio Floridia is the Head of the Sector for Policies for Citizen Participation and of the Region Electoral Office and Observatory of the Tuscany Region. Antonio
has an extended experience in a social research unit dealing with public policy analysis, political sociology and electoral studies. He also has had teaching assignments at the University of Florence and was President of Italian Society of Electoral Studies (2014-2017).
todayIvote is a new Civic Tech enterprise that aims to create a platform engaging citizens and their elected representatives in exchanging opinions on the latest bills and legislative projects in preparation. Motivated by the belief that laws are life-changing factors for every citizen in between elections, its purpose is to bring democracy back into everyday life.
By focusing on the law-making process on a national scale, todayIvote offers citizens a chance to better understand bills and laws being prepared in legislative assemblies and to let their representatives know what they think about them. Representatives are given the opportunity to explain their choice whether or not to support a bill and to maintain regular contact with their electorate in between elections.
With technology and civic engagement as its key drivers, todayIvote is on its way to release the first version of its platform in France and Australia, before scaling up to other countries.