Direct democracy can be, under certain conditions, a way of dealing with the citizen’s disengagement from representative politics. A range of other ways of involving citizens in governance has emerged, fuelled by web and social media applications: participatory budgeting and crowdfunding for government projects, for example, give community members a voice in the fiscal decision‑making processes and invite them to deliberate on the local authorities’ financial decisions. Are these phenomena confined to a few pioneering cities or are they heralding a shift towards participatory democracy?

Making global citizenship education possible for refugees, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

UNRWA promotes global citizenship through its Human Rights Education Progamme in a very challenging context: in war torn Syria, the occupied Palestinian territory, Jordan, and Lebanon. The organization has successfully incorporated human rights concepts and practices into its teaching and learning practices for over half a million children in its nearly 700 schools. Through practical activities and discussions UNRWA students learn about human rights values, diversity and the global world, although as Palestine refugees most have never set foot outside their places of birth. UNRWA also promotes youth participation and active citizenship at different levels, from local to global through its elected student bodies, and innovative approaches which connect Palestine refugee youth with each other, and with youth from other parts of the globe.

Prison Education in Denmark and Greenland and the influence of the Internet

The storm on education created by the internet is changing the foundation of education known for centuries. The time of the chalk and blackboard is over – also for prisoners. The presentation shows results in developing education conditions and tools for prisoners suitable in a restricted environment using science from social media re-created in a compromise with security in two different education setups in Denmark and in Greenland. Changes do not only involve use of technical equipment, but also a change of pedagogy, management and consideration of other school forms with a specific leadership and involvement of staff, as distance education sets different standards than traditional forms of education. A vital and vibrant learning environment is especially important for prison education as issues as radicalisation, inclusion and development of a strong democratic mind-set are important factors to handle for the Prison Services of the world.

Intercultural Practice of Hamamatsu City, Japan

In Japan, immigrants of Japanese descent increased rapidly after a revision to the law was introduced in 1990. Hamamatsu became the city with the most Brazilian residents in Japan. The Mayor of Hamamatsu will discuss the situation, its development, various challenges, and the response. Foreign residents now settle for longer and education for children is most crucial. Hamamatsu has defined the Hamamatsu Intercultural City Vision to effectively develop policy. Furthermore, the Mayor will introduce the Council of Municipalities with Large Migrant Populations, where local governments facing similar challenges can share information and suggest improvements to laws and systems to the national government.

Turning a political education instrument (Voting Advice Application) in a new election method, Hans-Böckler-Foundation, Germany

Voting advice applications imply an alternative election method. Instead of casting votes for parties, the voters answer questions on policy issues, and the parties, who had answered the questions before the election, are given the parliament seats proportionally to the degree of matching of their policy profiles with that of the electorate. Thereby, the question “for whom to vote” is replaced with “for what to vote.” This method enhances policy representation and bridges representative and direct democracies. We test it within the election of the student parliament of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (22,000 eligible voters) on July 4-8, 2016.

Self-Organized Learning Enviroments in humble neighbourhoods, Democracia en Red – DemocracyOS, Argentina

SOLE (Self organized Learning environment) is a new way of approaching education.   During a "SOLE" session, the teacher asks a Challenging (big) Question and the students self-organize themselves in groups around one computer. They use the internet to find sources, discuss them and then share their answers with the other students under the teacher´s guidance. Students are encouraged to share knowledge, ideas and hypothesis with other groups. They can change groups as many times as they like. Our goals were: To reach low resources community schools with this new way of thinking  education, and to integrate ICT use  in a sector of society that usually doesn’t have access   to innovations in education, often only available to upper middle class schools.