28 November from 10.30 to 12.30 - Room 10 - Palais de l'Europe

Interpretation: FR/EN


Sponsored by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe


As people, especially the young, tend to privilege the Internet as a source of information and space for exchange, is it possible to find ways of creating a virtual Agora or town hall to debate matters of public interest?

Networked Networks, The Democratic Society, United Kingdom

Every place is a network of interconnected networks. This laboratory will consider how we can use existing free tools to create connections and democratic conversations between government, campaigners and influential active citizens such as school association chairs, bloggers and parish councillors. It will revolve around the work of the Democratic Society and Lewes District Council (UK) in a mixed urban-rural district of about 100,000 people, comprising 41 towns and villages.

Website: http://www.demsoc.org/


Ms Catherine HOWE, United Kingdom, Expert in Digital Media and eDemocracy 

Catherine Howe is an expert in digital media and eDemocracy, with a background in technology delivery.  Initially developing learning applications at the London Business School, she was founder director of Etribes.com – an online community consultancy which specialised in working with large third sector organisations.  Since 2001 Catherine has worked with Local Government across the UK and Europe, looking at how new technologies can deliver innovative democracy and engagement solutions for the Networked Society, helping clients understand the strategic and organisational implications.


Ms Jennifer ROWLANDS, United Kingdom, Chief Executive of Lewes District Council

Jenny Rowlands is the Chief Executive of Lewes District Council. She was Director of Environment for Brighton and Hove City Council. Her professional career combines senior management experience across housing, policy, communications, equalities and the environment. She has transformed ‘failing services' and delivered significant savings whilst retaining high staff morale and loyalty. Jenny has worked on diversity and inclusion throughout her career – including working at national level on homelessness, Family Intervention projects and targeted intervention for young people.

Mr Anthony ZACHARZEWSKI, United Kingdom, Co-founder of The Democratic Society

Anthony Zacharzewski runs the Democratic Society which he founded with four friends in 2006. His background is in central and local government in the UK, where he worked as a senior official in the Cabinet Office, the Treasury and the Department of Health in London, and as Head of Policy and Director of Strategy & Governance in a city council. With the Democratic Society, he has run the participatory innovation event CityCamp Brighton for three years, is working with the Cabinet Office on their Open Policymaking commitment, and leading the work in the Lewes District.


Your Priorities, Citizens Foundation, Iceland

Citizens Foundation Iceland believes improved democracy is the path to a more equal world. The Internet offers an unique opportunity to reinvent democracy. It gives people more influence on policy that affects them which leads to better decisions. Citizens Foundation open source e-Democracy web application is called Your Priorities and is running Better Reykjavik where over 70.000 people from a population of 120.000 have participated. Now they are launching a Balkan e-Democracy startup project with twelve partners in seven Balkan countries. The Citizens Foundation won the European e-Democracy Awards in 2011 and has won numerous Icelandic awards for innovation and participation. Their mission is to connect citizens with their representatives and increase trust and participation in democracy, especially by young people.

Website: https://www.yrpri.org/


Mr Gunnar GRIMSSON, Iceland, Co-Founder of the Citizens Foundation

Gunnar Grímsson is CEO and Co-Founder of the Citizens Foundation of Iceland. Gunnar has been working in webdesign since '94, was Icelands first commercial webmaster and taught webdesign in many Icelandic universities and colleges. Until starting the Citizens Foundation he worked as a freelance project manager and consultant for, amongst others, the University of Iceland, Icelandair, the Icelandic Parliament and the Central Bank of Iceland. He's especially proud of being chosen Geek of the year 2011 in Iceland along with his associate Robert Bjarnason.


Mr Robert BJARNASON, Iceland, President and Co-Founder of the Citizens Foundation

Robert Bjarnson is President and Co-Founder of the Citizens Foundation of Iceland, which provides open-source civic engagement platforms and won the panEuropean edemocracy award at the 2011 World eGov Forum. An experienced entrepreneur, Robert started his first business (a software company) at the age of 12. As President of Miðheimar ehf, Iceland's first commercial internet service provider in 1993, he introduced the Web to Iceland and Denmark. Before the Citizens Foundation he worked extensively in the online gaming industry where he received several industry awards including two BAFTA awards for mobile games.



Discussants are invited to make critical comments during the lab on the impact, transferrability, sustainability and risk of the initiative.

Ms Hille HINSBERG, Estonia, Expert, Governance and Civil Society Programme, Praxis Center for Policy Studies

Hille Hinsberg is working at Praxis, a non-partisan think tank in Estonia.  Hille has led several initiatives  to promote Open Government and citizen-to government dialogue.  Hille is active in International networks  of Open Data and Open Spending and is an independent rapporteur on the implementation of  Open Government Partnership  in Estonia. Hille was among leaders of a unique deliberation process  People´s Assembly that was crowdsourcing citizens proposals to  amend financing  practices  of political parties.


Mr Andranik MELIK-TANGYAN, Germany, Head of unit 'Policy modelling' at the Institute for Economic and Social Research of the Hans-Böckler-Foundation

Andranik Melik-Tangyan is head of the unit 'Policy modelling' at the Institute for Economic and Social Research (WSI) in the Hans-Böckler-Foundation and Professor of economics at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. He is the author and editor of eight books and of over 240 articles in mathematical social sciences, economics, cognitive science, and mathematical music theory. He also serves as an expert for the European Parliament, the European Commission, the European Training Foundation, UNESCO, the European Trade Union Confederation, and is coordinator of and contributor to two EU-projects.

Mr Vincenzo SANTANGELO, Member of Parliament, Italy, Vice-President of the Italian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Vincenzo Santangelo graduated in Architecture in 1998 and started his career as an Architect in 2000. In 2007, he joined the Movimento 5 Stelle (The Five Stars Movement) in the Trapani local group and after the Italian general elections of 2013 he has been elected as a member of the Senate of Italian Republic in the parliamentary group of the Five Stars Movement. He is also a member of the Internal Regulation Council, the 10th Permanent Commission (Industry, Commerce and Tourism) . Since October 2013 he holds the office of Vice-President of the Italian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Rapporteur to the plenary session

Ms Monica NICA, Youth Representative, Social Sciences Student Union (Lund University) board member & Bringing Europeans Together Association member

Monica Nica is an elected board member of the Social Sciences Student Union at Lund University, where she studies the MSc in European Affairs and the MA in Asian Studies programmes. Within the Student Union she works on increasing the inclusiveness of international students, achieving a more democratic decision-making process, and organising faculty career fairs. As a member of BETA, a young, politically independent, non-profit, student-led association, she is currently part of the organising team of the Model European Union 2014 Conference. Monica strongly supports youth empowerment through active youth participation, underpinned by a trustful and empowering role of adults and a legal structure that offers space and impulses for participation, mobility and self-realization of youth.


Mr Andreas KIEFER, Secretary General of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe



Your opinion

Does/Do the following initiative(s) increase significantly citizens' influence in the policy-making process and/or make democratic institutions more transparent, responsive and accountable? 

For the "Your priorities" initiative:
% Stimmen
73% 84
a. Yes
27% 31
b. No

Gesamtstimmen: 115

Die Abstimmung endete am 29.11.13 12:00 und ist daher gesperrt.

For the Networked Networks initiative:
% Stimmen
71% 87
a. Yes
29% 35
b. No

Gesamtstimmen: 122

Die Abstimmung endete am 29.11.13 12:00 und ist daher gesperrt.