About the network
We are an international network of organizations, associations, and individuals helping decision makers take hard decisions and build public trust.
We collaboratively develop, implement, and promote ways to improve democracy, from the local to the global level.
We envision democracies that incorporate everyday people in major public decisions which our present structures struggle to address – through processes that are representative, deliberative, free from manipulation, informed, and influential.
How we are funded
We form groups of everyday people using random selection in order to ensure a diversity of views. Selecting participants in this way also limits conflicts of influence and partisan pressures.
We give these groups time, wide-ranging information, and the opportunity to talk through differences. This facilitated process results in a weighing of trade-offs and sound policy suggestions.
We express no position on any policy outside of the need for democratic innovation, and we work hard to make our processes as fair and unbiased as possible.
We negotiate authority with decision makers in advance to increase the likelihood of action. Everyday people are unimpressed by tokenism and their efforts should have an impact on decision making.
- Latin America
- North America
|Laura W. Black||Researcher||United States||Laura Black is a professor of communication studies and the past editor of the Journal of Public Deliberation. She also helped found the Public Dialogue and Deliberation Division at the National Communication Association.||ResearchGate Profile|
|Patrick Chalmers||Journalist, film maker and activist||France||Patrick is a lifelong journalist who discovered, over the years, that the quality of political structures themselves was a more important issue to tackle than any other single topic that he might work on. That realization made him a reporter and advocate.||All Hands On
|Graham Smith||Researcher||United Kingdom||Graham is the Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster, and Chair of the Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development. He is a specialist in democratic theory and politics, with particular expertise in participatory democratic institutions. He is a recognized authority on citizens’ assemblies and other deliberative processes and was one of the organizers of the Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit.||Faculty Page
Centre for the Study of Democracy
Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development
|Dimitri Courant||Researcher||France & Switzerland||Dimitri is a researcher in political science at the Universities of Lausanne & Paris 8. His fieldwork compares case-studies: Citizens’ Assemblies (Ireland), High Council of the Military, Citizens’ group at CESE, Grand Débat, Citizens’ Convention for Climate (France), & Demoscan (Switzerland)||Professonal Page|
|Marcin Gerwin||Practitioner||Poland||Marcin Gerwin, PhD – designs and coordinates citizens’ assemblies. He is a specialist in sustainable development and deliberative democracy. A graduate of political science. Author of the guide to citizens’ assemblies.||climateassemblies.org|
|John Gastil||Researcher||United States||John Gastil’s is a professor of Communication Arts & Sciences at Penn State University. His research focuses on the theory and practice of deliberative democracy, especially how small groups of people make decisions on public issues.||Faculty Page|
|Stephen Elstub||Researcher||United Kingdom||Stephen is a researcher at Newcastle University and has two Parliamentary Fellowships at the UK and Scottish parliaments on linking mini-publics with parliamentary committees. He is part of the official research teams for the Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland and the Climate Assembly UK.||Faculty Page|
|Doreen Grove||Public Servant||Scotland||Doreen leads Scottish Government’s involvement in the Open Government Partnership at both a National and International level. In Scotland, Open Government supports the reform of public services, the renewal of democracy, promotes openness and transparency|
|Terrill Bouricius||Political Theorist, Politician (Retired)||United States||Terrill Bouricius is a political theorist and recovering politician. From 1981- 2001 he served as a City Councilor and then as a member of the Vermont House of Representatives. After working on election reform on a national level, his focus shifted to sortition around 2004. He works with FairVote, The Center for Voting and Democracy, and the Sortition Foundation US.|
|Claudia Chwalisz||Public Servant||France||Claudia leads the OECD's work on innovative citizen participation and co-edits the OECD publication Participo. She is the co-author of Catching the Deliberative Wave (2020) and the author of The People's Verdict (2017) and The Populist Signal (2015).||About Participo
|Niamh Webster||Public Servant||Scotland||Niamh leads on public engagement using digital technology as Digital Engagement manager. Her work is closely linked to the governments the role in the international Open Government Partnership. She is working to embed deliberative democracy and explore the potential of digital. ||Twitter
|Arantxa Mendiharat||Practitioner||Spain||Arantxa has co-founded and lead several collectives that promote sortition and deliberation since 2012. From 2017 to 2019, she has been involved in the design and implementation of Madrid's Observatory of the City. She has also developed the website Democracia Por Sorteo.||deliberativa.org
|Miriam Levin||Public Servant||UK||Miriam leads national community empowerment programs, including Innovation in Democracy using citizens' assemblies to open up local government decision-making. As a consultant she ran community engagement work around regeneration, and was Head of Outreach at English Heritage.|
|Patricia Benn||Advocate||United States||Pat Benn was one of the 4 founders of the Citizens Initiative Review in Oregon and has worked on many aspects of the Citizens Jury and democracy in the workplace and participatory stakeholder management in schools and school districts.|
|Tin Gazivoda||Program Officer||Croatia||From the last 90's until 2010 Tin was engaged on human rights work, civil society initiatives (including as an activist) and developing democratic standards. In the last few years Tin has worked to support several citizens assemblies (Gdansk, Eupen, Belfast and now Budapest).|
|Carolyn M. Hendriks||Researcher||Australia||Carolyn is a researcher and educator at the Australian National University. She has published widely on public deliberation in contemporary governance. Her latest book (with Ercan & Boswell, OUP), Mending Democracy looks at how to strengthen connections in our democratic fabric.||Faculty Page
|Oliver Escobar||Researcher and practitioner||Scotland / UK||Oliver Escobar is Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Edinburgh, Academic Lead on Democratic Innovation at the Edinburgh Futures Institute, and former co-director of What Works Scotland. He co-edited the new Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance.||Faculty Page|
|Mark Warren||Researcher||Canada||A democratic theorist interested in democratic innovations, Warren is currently working with an international team on The Participedia Project, which uses a web-based platform to collect data about democratic innovation and participatory governance around the world.||Participedia
|Yago Bermejo Abati||Practitioner||Spain||Yago Bermejo Abati works as an independent consultant in the field of democratic innovation involving new architectures with digital participation and deliberative democracy. He is co-founder of deliberativa.org. From 2016 to 19 he has been working in Madrid City Council.||deliberativa.org|
|Jane "Jenny" Mansbridge||Researcher||United States||Jane Mansbridge has been active in social movements since the mid-sixties. As a scholar at the Harvard Kennedy School, she specializes in democratic theory, particularly participatory democracy, deliberation, and representation. She is the author of Beyond Adversary Democracy and other works.||Faculty Page|
|Wendy Willis||Practitioner, Writer, Network Director||United States||Wendy Willis is the founder and director of Oregon’s Kitchen Table at Portland State University and the Executive Director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium. Wendy is also a poet and essayist. Her most recent book of essays is These are Strange Times, My Dear.|
|Ned Crosby||Advocate||United States||Ned Crosby invented the Citizens Jury process in 1971 and conducted the first CJ in the US in 1974. He is the founder and former Executive Director of the Jefferson Center, a co-developer of the Citizen Initiative Review, a co-founder of Healthy Democracy, and the designer of several models of alternative democratic systems. Crosby is a major supporter of the Democracy R&D network.|