The first edition of the Deliberative Democracy Days was held on March 13, 14, and 15, 2023, at the InfoHub of the European Parliament in Brussels, as part of the two-year EU-funded Citizen Z project, which aims to apply deliberative methods to strengthen young people's participation in civic and democratic life and involve them in decision-making.
The main objective of the event was to enhance the understanding of deliberative democracy and the use of its methods to strengthen the civic and democratic participation of young people in EU countries. It was designed for civil society organizations, researchers in democratic studies, practitioners, young people, youth associations and representatives, teachers and youth workers, policymakers, and public authorities representatives.
The three-day event gathered a total of 126 unique participants from at least 14 countries, including 12 European countries (Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, Hungary, Croatia, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom), Kazakhstan, and Canada.
The event featured a total of 42 speakers and facilitators who shared their insights and expertise on various topics related to deliberative democracy. The participants had the opportunity to attend seven panels, roundtables and conferences with several keynote speeches and presentations, five testimonies, and six interactive workshops. The Deliberative Democracy Days event provided a great opportunity for participants to learn from experts in the field, engage in constructive dialogue on important issues related to democracy, exchange knowledge and experiences, and network with attendees coming from different parts of the world. The diversity of speakers and participants ensured the richness and variety of the discussions, presenting a wide range of perspectives relevant to local and regional realities in the field of deliberative democracy and citizen deliberation.
The feedback received from over 45 participants who attended the event was overwhelmingly positive, with the majority expressing high levels of satisfaction with the organization of the event. The vast majority of the attendees reported attending more than half of the program, which is a testament to the fact that the event was engaging and of great interest to them. The attendees found the program to be useful in helping them understand various aspects of deliberative democracy, participatory tools, and other components related to democratic innovations. The workshops and testimonial sessions were particularly appreciated by the attendees, who also expressed a desire for more interaction time, especially for Q&A after the keynote speeches.
The EP InfoHub has certainly left a lasting impression on the participants of the event. According to their feedback, not only was the venue easy to reach, but it was also welcoming and cozy, providing a comfortable and inviting atmosphere for all attendees. The facilities were deemed excellent, with everything needed to make the event run smoothly. Attendees found the EP InfoHub to be well-equipped with the latest technology and resources, making it an ideal venue for the three-day event.
The first edition of the Deliberative Democracy Days was a great success, and it is sure to become a regular fixture on the calendar of anyone interested in the future of democracy.