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Join us for the 2018 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy

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2018 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy

Join us for the 2018 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy


To anyone on earth who is interested in democracy:

It’s not every day that you get an invitation to Rome to discuss the democratic future of the world. But today is not every day.

So we have the great privilege to invite you to join us in Rome, September 26-29  for the 2018 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy. The Global Forum will take place very near The Forum, in the Campidoglio, the town hall on Capitoline, one of the seven hills of Rome.

The forum is a free and public event. Registration is now open at, where you will be able to find more details on academic presentations, logistics, schedule, and lodging in the weeks and months ahead.

If you are interested in participation and democracy but have not come to a forum previously, this is the one to attend. What excuse do you have? Famously, all roads lead to Rome. And in democracy, all roads lead to our local governments.

The goal of this year’s forum is to make our democracies more democratic – by connecting all the towns and cities along those roads.

Since today’s biggest challenges – from climate to inequality to democratic governance – require actions on a global scale, human beings are often instructed on the need to be global citizens. But very few of us spend our days traveling across the globe or even around our own countries. We make our lives in specific neighborhoods within municipalities. So being a global citizen starts with democratic participation in our home communities and cities.

This raises the fundamental question: what do we need to do in our cities to make sure they are both democratic – meaning they are representative and participatory – and global (so that they can address great problems that cross all borders)? And answering that question poses other questions. How do cities make decisions for their own citizens – and for people around the world? What do cities, states and local governments need to host effective democratic decision-making at all times – and not just on election days?  And how can cities connect with each other to enhance democracy and the reach of their best work?

At the Global Forum in Rome, we will do more than just discuss these questions. We will work to define the particular characteristics of what makes a city global and democratic—and then enshrine those definitions in a charter for the world’s “democracy cities.” This Democracy Charter will then travel out from the Eternal City, offering an invitation to our communities and cities to contribute ideas to the charger and to sign onto it formally.

2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Global Forum process in Aarau, Switzerland. In that decade, the Global Forum has established the online Democracy Navigator – permitting the sharing and comparing of participatory democracy, in rules and practices. We have been deeply involved in creating citizens media opportunities in cooperation with our partners at Swissinfo, Zocalo Public Square and people2power. Our support activities include Democracy Passports at the European and global level as well as creating a worldwide activist network in cooperation with Democracy International.  And the forum has visited all six continents, and convened major global conferences in Korea, California, Uruguay, Tunisia, and the Basque Country.

And next to the Eternal City.


Joe Mathews and Bruno Kaufmann, co-presidents, Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy

For any request regarding the practicalities on participation, sponsorship and more please contact the International Secretariate of the Global Forum at

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