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Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy

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Caroline Vernaillen

Caroline Vernaillen, PR and Community Building


+49 221 669 665 30

Democracy International is one of the main organisers of The Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, the largest gathering devoted to direct democracy worldwide. The conference favours a multidisciplinary approach, welcoming participants from academic, political and civil society perspectives. It is attended by activists, organisations and academics from all over the world. 

More and more political communities – all levels, from the local to the regional, national and transnational – are adopting citizens’ rights to make decisions directly via tools such as initiatives and referenda. The Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy was launched in 2008 to better understand this extraordinary development in democracy. The Forum, the first conference on citizens’ democratic rights worldwide, has taken place 11 times in the last 15 years, on five continents. And it has spawned a global network of scholars, journalists, and government and political practitioners that work to strengthen global knowledge about direct democracy and improve the procedures and practices of citizens’ rights.

The goal is to bring together people with different experiences and backgrounds, so as to give activists and organisations the opportunity to share their insights and connect with others working on the same issues.

The conference was founded by the California journalist Joe Mathews and the Swedish-Swiss journalist Bruno Kaufmann and is now coordinated by an international consortium under the leadership of Democracy International, along with permanent partners such as the Swiss Democracy Foundation and Mehr Demokratie. The Global Forum is always co-organised by a local organising committee in the host city. Each Forum ends with a final declaration drawn up and adopted by the participants, which summarises the content of the conference and defines proposals for further cooperation.

A Brief History of the Global Conference on Citizens’ Rights
Participants at the 2019 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy in Taiwan
News from the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy


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