20082008 in Aarau, Switzerland
The first Global Forum in Aarau in autumn 2008 established the premier global network around these issues – by taking stock of the world’s most established polity when it comes to modern direct democracy–Switzerland.
The 2008 Forum gathered more than 100 activists and professionals from 20 countries across the globe and was co-organized with the Aarau-based Center for Democracy at Zurich University. At the Forum, participants focused on emerging opportunities to establish and develop direct democratic tools like the citizens’ initiative at the transnational level of the European Union. Ever since then, the Global Forum has examined various political contexts and the options and limits they present when it comes to make citizens’ participant in government more accessible and efficient. To remain relevant and flexible, the Global Forum process does not have a central, formal organization with a headquarters; it remains a vibrant, changing network of active citizens and organizations that together take responsibility for this open and free event.。
20092009 in Seoul, Korea
The 2009GFMDD was the 2nd forum, which was co-organized with Korea Democracy Foundation in September 2009 in Korea. As the consequence of 2008-2009 global financial crisis, the Forum set its focal point on the sustainability challenge worldwide and the key question of how direct democracy can make economies stronger. Thus, one of the topics in the forum was how to sustainably manage the conflict between the modern market mechanisms and major societal needs, such as environment, peace and security, solidarity, and migration, political frameworks on all levels.
In addition, the Forum had shown Seoul’s ability in linking the modern opportunities of the internet age with the needs of reformed and transparent government structures.
20102010 in San Francisco, U.S.A
On its journey around the world, the Forum reached the American West and California in the summer of 2010. The San Francisco Forum, held in a hotspot for initiative and referendum activities over the past century, gathered a record-number of almost 500 participants from across the state, the US and the world. The Forum, hosted by the University of California Hastings College of the Law, not only triggered a great deal of reform debate within California but also offered many other recommendations on transparency, open access and deliberation. It became clear however that more direct democracy is not always beneficial to the culture of dialogue and cohesion in a society as diverse as California.
20122012 in Montevideo, Uruguay
The 2012GFMDD reached south of the equator in 2012, meeting in another worldwide hotspot of modern direct democracy: Uruguay. With its strong political parties, the country have fashioned a potent mix of indirect and direct democracy and a rich culture of citizens participation that survived the military dictatorship of 1973-1984.
The Forum, which gathered more than 250 worldwide democracy supporters worked hard on questions of how to develop a participatory infrastructure that can support the comprehensive involvement of all peoples, especially minorities and the underprivileged. In a Montevideo statement issued at the forum’s conclusion, the participants, referring to Art. 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the Forum, concluded: “We firmly believe that the power of citizens to make their own laws (and not merely pick representatives) is both a basic human right we all have– and a responsibility we all must bear. We are committed to advancing this right and responsibility– and we believe that, in doing so, we can change the world.”
20152015 in Tunis, Tunisia
Since the Arab region showed great promise towards for democracy in political revolutionary movements – Arab Spring, the Forum in 2015 finally reached to Tunisia, which was the most advanced success story of Arab Spring at that time. The 2015 Forum gathered more than 500 participants from Tunisia and across the world in its capital, Tunis.
For the challenge that Tunisia would be faced in the following reform, the focal point of the Forum was “Decentralisation by Participation,” which was a key issue not only in host country Tunisia, but also in many other societies around the globe.
20162016 in Donostia-San Sebastian, Basque
After the long travelling across Asia, North- and South-America, and Africa, the Forum landed in Europe again in November 2016. The Forum was hosted in Donostia-San Sebastian, which is not only the municipality located in the Basque Autonomous Community but also the fabulous spot on the Atlantic Ocean.
At the Forum, not only hosts shared their own experiences about the Donostia-San Sebastian’s road democracy, but also all of the participants were immersed themselves into the discussion on how to make participatory politics and direct democracy widely used in the world nowadays over the whole conference. In the end of the 3-Day conversation, the participants raised a declaration, named Donostia Declaration on Modern Direct Democracy, to present their conclusion: “We want to make clear: our representative democracies need to become much more direct now, by allowing citizens to become authors of direct legislation, agenda-setters and decision-makers. Initiative and referendum rights must be incorporated in all political jurisdictions via rules that are decided by the people themselves and that do not impede their use by the citizens. Such rules must be well-designed and balanced to make our representative democracies truly representative.”
20182018 in Rome, Italy
The 2018 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy was hosted in September in Italy. The Forum focused on local democracy and the role of cities in addressing today’s challenges. At the Forum in Rome, a global charter of democratic cities was presented. We invited cities all over the world to sign on to this charter and join a network of cities who committed to practicing and promoting democracy and citizen participation at the local level.
20192019 in Taichung, Taiwan
Taichung, Taiwan will be the next host of the Global Forum.
We sincerely invite you to join us in 2019.