Is the Athenian model making a comeback? In this session we will look at how innovations like citizens’ assemblies, participatory budgets, and civic technologies are remaking the debate on democracy today — and possibly bringing it closer to its ancient roots.
Readings to prepare:
- Vox, “Study: Politicians listen to rich people, not you” (2015, article)
- Audrey Tang (Digital Minister, Taiwan): “The Frontier of Democracy” (2021, video)
- Bastien Berbner, ”The Unlikely Friendship that helped Legalize Gay Marriage in Ireland” (2020, article)
- World Bank, “Toward a More Inclusive Development in Kenya” (2018, video)
Some details: Whether in France or America, debate is central to healthy democracy. Critical Conversations encourages both disagreement and agreement through thinking, talking, reading, and actively participating in community. Since the series’ inception in 2020, we have tackled race in America, the climate crisis, migration, and technology. Across seasons, participants have challenged themselves, their peers, and the world in which we live.
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About Critical Conversations: Whether in France or America, debate is central to healthy democracy. Critical Conversations encourages both disagreement and agreement through thinking, talking, reading, and actively participating in community. Since the series’ inception in 2020, we have tackled race in America, the climate crisis, and migration. Across seasons, participants have challenged themselves, their peers, and the world in which we live.
About the Critical Conversations 2023-24 leaders:
Prof. Lex Paulson is Executive Director of the UM6P School of Collective Intelligence (Morocco) and lectures in advocacy at Sciences Po-Paris. Trained in classics and community organizing, he served as mobilization strategist for the campaigns of Barack Obama in 2008 and Emmanuel Macron in 2017. He served as legislative counsel in the 111th U.S. Congress (2009-2011), organized on six U.S. presidential campaigns, and has worked to advance democratic innovation at the European Commission and in India, Tunisia, Egypt, Uganda, Senegal, Czech Republic and Ukraine. He is author of Cicero and the People’s Will: Philosophy and Power at the End of the Roman Republic, from Cambridge University Press, and is co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Collective Intelligence for Democracy and Governance.
Prof. Mark Klein is a Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, serves as a professor and Senior Scientific Advisor at the UM6P School of Collective Intelligence, and Chief Scientist at HiveWise Inc, a startup in the collective intelligence space. His research draws from such fields as artificial intelligence, social computing, economics, operations research, and complexity science to develop and evaluate computer technologies that enable greater ‘collective intelligence’ in large groups faced with complex decisions. He has over 180 publications in these areas, and has served on the editorial boards of many prominent journals and conferences related to AI and social computing.
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