8 NovembeR 2016 - 10.00-12.00 - palais de l'Europe - Room 1 - Interpretation: FR/EN/RU

The lab will explore innovative approaches to participatory school governance which have been implemented as a means to fostering ownership of the educational process and learning democracy by practicing it.

initiative 1

Student-Powered Democratic Experimentation, Democracy In Practice/Democracia En Práctica, USA/Bolivia

This initiative is transforming schools approach to civic education by facilitating student experimentation with innovative ways to structure student government. Elections, full-year terms, and hierarchy have been replaced with random selection, rotation, and horizontal teams, making student government more inclusive, representative, and engaging. Through experimentation, students also begin to think critically and creatively about fundamentally better ways to approach democracy. Now in its third year in Bolivia, this initiative provides an alternative to the exclusion and disengagement that typically characterize student government, and a way to develop active citizens with strong civic skills and democratic values.





Co-founder of Democracy in Practice


Adam cofounded Democracy In Practice in 2013 while volunteering with the Foundation Abril in Cochabamba, Bolivia. His passion for democracy has led to a broad base of experience, which includes an independent study of the jury system; dialoguing with members of the 2011 Icelandic Constituent Council; co-facilitating two NYC General Assemblies; co-writing the Spokes-Council Proposal at Occupy Wall Street; and teaching and learning at the democratically-run Brooklyn Free School. Adam grew up in a town outside of Syracuse, NY (US) and earned a degree in both Economics and Global Development Studies at Queen's University (Canada).

PEK simon

Simon PEK

Co-founder of Democracy In Practice


Simon co-founded Democracy In Practice in 2013. He is currently completing his PhD in Business Administration at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, where he researchers questions relating to sustainability, organization democracy, organizational culture, and organizational change. At Democracy In Practice, Simon is involved in a variety of projects regarding research, management, and governance. He is passionate about social change and identifying novel ways of approaching pressing social and environmental problems.

initiative 2

Democratic School, European Democratic Education Community (Eudec), Europe

EUDEC’s aim is to promote democratic education throughout Europe: the idea of respecting children as emancipated persons who are able to make choices for themselves, not only concerning their education but all areas of everyday life; the idea that they should hold an equal share of the power to participate in decisions concerning their communities. EUDEC is currently gaining momentum in Europe, and especially in France, with a current estimation of ~100 schools throughout the continent. How could these schools serve as flagships to promote a crucially needed evolution of conventional schools?





Founder of Ecole Dynamique


Ramin founded Ecole Dynamique in Paris in 2015, inspired from the 50 years of experience of Sudbury Valley School, where children are free to live their own lives and have an equal share of the power to debate and vote on school rules, sanctions and management decisions. Ecole Dynamique is currently inspiring a boom in democratic education in France, especially thanks to Ramin’s TED Talks : Pourquoi j’ai créé une école où les enfants font ce qu’ils veulent (EN subtitles available); Transforming schools into democratic communities.

initiative 3

Learn to collaborate and collaborate to learn, Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Andorra

Following the reform of the Andorran Educational System for introducing teaching skills, the country changed the programs, the evaluation and the methodology and organization of the learning spaces. It should be noted that the didactic sequences are developed primarily in globalized learning spaces where students address real problems. The didactic sequence leads students to make assumptions, propose solving schemes to finally propose solutions. On the other hand, the didactic sequence introduces systematically the work in cooperative teams, which involves a parallel during which the student learns to cooperate by learning from others.


ROTLLAN Estefania

Estefania ROTLLAN

Education inspector


Estefania Rotllan’s professional career has been in the world of education in the Andorran School. Throughout this journey, she had the opportunity to be trained as a teacher, but also as a technician specializing in curriculum and teaching technique. In addition, she coordinated different pedagogical actions arising from the reform of the Andorran education system with a competency-based approach. She also accompanied the schools on all matters related to the methodology of skills. She is currently educational inspector and continues to perform the evaluation of competency-based education.


Discussants are invited to take part in the Labs in order to share their experience with the presented democratic initiatives and try to bring broader perspectives to the following discussions.

ALLEN Ansgar

Ansgar ALLEN

Lecturer on Education at University of Sheffield

United Kingdom

Ansgar is a Lecturer in Education at the University of Sheffield, UK. His research investigates the unquestionable ‘goods’ of education and remains open to the possibility that education in all its forms, even where it appears most benign, is a form of violence. His work offers a history of its ‘good’ intentions.

Lightning talk - Cynical about Education



Dean of Shure University


Kageki Asakura has worked in both areas, the practices and the study of democratic education. Asakura has worked at the oldest free democratic school in Japan and founded the first Japanese democratic university, Shure University. Asakura is Dean there. Asakura visited schools in the world and is also keen to network free democratic schools internationally. He has been an active member of International Democratic Education Conference for two decades. Asakura studies and writes about democratic education, history of education and ethnography of youth. Asakura is an also leading scholar of “self-ology”, a study about the self and by the self.



Member of Parliament and Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, General Rapporteur on Combating Racism and Intolerance


Milena Santerini is Full professor of Pedagogy and Director of the Centre for Research on Intercultural Relations at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan. She has promoted research and training activities on plurilingualism, intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, and social projects on racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and anti-gypsyism. In 2013 she was elected member of the Italian Parliament and joined the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Since April 2015, as General rapporteur on combating racism and intolerance of the Parliamentary Assembly, she coordinates the activities of the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance.

Lab 1 - Reinventing school governance
palais de l'Europe - Room 1 8 November 2016 - 10.00-12.00
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Themes 2016