7 November 2023 - 9.00-11.00  / Room 11 Palais de l'Europe

Interpretation FR/EN

Sponsored by the North - South Centre 

Whereas conflicts often arise out of competition for resources, they become aggravated by our inability to understand the position of the other party. This in turn limits our capacity to find a compromise solution and can contribute to the vicious circle of escalation.

In earlier ages, the face-to-face contact and honest conversation were often enough to help parties of the conflict understand each other better. Our age brought a new set of challenges in communication, which became increasingly depersonalised by our interactions through social media. How can we foster empathy skills? Is active listening the missing piece of the puzzle we need to bring about a positive change? Which innovative ways for teaching these skills are at our disposal?


Lab 1: The art of dialogue

Full screen: ENFR / ORIGINAL

Palais de l'Europe, Room 11 7 November 2023 (09.00-11.00 )
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Interview with Kathrine KRONE LAURENT, Co-founder, The Democracy Fitness Movement

Interview with Ignacio RODRIGUEZ HERNANDEZ, Co-Founder and Director, EPIX, Venezuela

initiative 1

Global Youth Stories Initiative – EPIX


Epix is a social venture aiming to advance more empathetic and inclusive societies. They uncover, produce, and publish life stories through film, photography, and testimonies to create a more humane world connected through empathy. Their unique storytelling methodology combines an interview (Epix experience) and the publishing of a life story. They have published over 400 stories from 49 communities within Venezuela and 53 nationalities abroad. Trained with their storytelling methodology, 74 young artists (filmmakers, photographers, writers, and designers) are the creators of the stories. The purpose is to uncover the life stories of hundreds of young social entrepreneurs, activists, and researchers and give voice to those who will be in charge of sustaining international peace for the coming decades.




Co-Founder and Director, EPIX


Ignacio is a social entrepreneur, filmmaker and global development expert with 12 years of experience working on Philanthropy, Technology, Education, Conflict Resolution, and Poverty Relief. He is the founder of a communications studio for impact-driven organizations and a peace-building NGO EPIX that uses storytelling and empathy to create social cohesion. He has been awarded 11 Global Fellowships and a business accolade from MIT. His work and film portfolio spans 30 countries.

initiative 2

GNATIRA (Sages débateurs) - Sud Solidarité


The aim of the organisation is to encourage people to cultivate a spirit of solidarity and mutual aid, to promote the resilience of the poor and disadvantaged, and to help strengthen justice and democracy in Togo and Africa. The "Gnatira" cultural, civic and citizenship project is a public speaking competition in the local language (Tém) on the themes of democracy, peace, inclusion, tolerance and living together. The project includes 2 major mass activities: the "peace jogging" and the "Grande assise" debate evening. The exercise promotes the ascendancy of the debate of ideas over physical and violent confrontation through community debates on problems and possible solutions, in order to demonstrate that discussion and dialogue, in our sensitive and polarised socio-political context, can bring us to the harmonious functioning of society rather than violence.




Head of Sud Solidarité - Togo


Méyerh Senyikey, head of Sud Solidarité - Togo, is a defender of peace. To help the society in which he lives to resist and fight against all forms of violence and obscurantism, he is developing a platform for social dialogue that invites communities to express themselves freely and openly, with the sole aim of ensuring that the strength of the great supports the weakness of the small and that the gentleness of the weak tempers the ardour of the powerful. Winner of Togo's 2019 Citizen Prize, he is a tireless champion of the power of dialogue, tolerance and solidarity.

initiative 3

Democracy Fitness: train your democracy muscles - The Democracy Fitness Movement


Democracy is something we must train, practice, and evaluate – also, in our day-to-day living. That is why Democracy Fitness has currently identified ten crucial ‘democracy muscles’ and developed training programs, that will make us more fit to take part in the everyday democracy and to live in a democratic society. Democracy Fitness offers a language and experience of the values and competences of democratic participation and the method and design of 30-minutes trainings are tried, tested in qualified in various contexts. The movement has educated more than 400 Democracy fitness trainers from 12 countries since 2018 (Denmark, Estonia, Sweden, Latvia, Japan, Switzerland and South Korea). Since 2021 more than 10.000 has participated in a 30-minutes trainings program of one of the 10 democracy muscles – mainly young people but also board members, politicians and participants in democracy festivals of all ages.




Chief Consultant, The Democracy Fitness Movement


Trine Demant is Educated as a social anthropologist working for 15 years with insight driven social innovation, change management and participation. She is a skilled facilitator and expert in several TV productions about romantic relationships and matchmaking. She is the founder of the concept Democracy Fitness, an active and fun training program based on the idea that we all play a daily role in democracy. Identifying ten skills called ’democracy muscles’ and offering 30-minute training for each muscle, is the core-method.  Awareness of strong and weak democracy muscles in our bodies will enable us to understand our potential in everyday democracy - empowering us to participate formally and informally.



Co-founder, The Democracy Fitness Movement


Kathrine Krone Laurent is a journalist who has been working for eight years as a radio- and television reporter and host. Since 2015 she is head of the local democracy house called ’Byens hus Roskilde’ (City House) in the municipality of Roskilde.  She works at facilitating participation and citizen engagement. Kathrine is a skilled moderator and motivator. She is the founder of the Democracy Fitness, an active and fun training program based on the idea that we all play a daily role in democracy. Identifying ten skills called ’democracy muscles’ and offering 30-minute training for each muscle, is the core-method.  Awareness of strong and weak democracy muscles in our bodies will enable us to understand our potential in everyday democracy - empowering us to participate formally and informally.

initiative 4

Pathways to Peace: Transforming Lives through NGO Initiatives - Chetana Empowerment Foundation (CEF)


The Mission of CEF is to empower youth and every class of the society through higher education, counselling, and training for children. CEF conducts various awareness & training programs for students, youth, teachers, women, parents. They already impacted students through the de-addiction and digital awareness programs, and the Mental Wellness programs. They are creating an awareness of the Mental Health in education sector through the Life Management Skills and Value Education training program designed for children. They also created a retreat center for mental wellness with the main purpose of growth and development which include physical, intellectual, moral and social enrichment and lasting peace and happiness.




Vice-President, Chetana Empowerment Foundation


Mrs. Mitali Lathi is a highly qualified and certified counselling practitioner with expertise in personal and couple counselling, stress management, and emotional intelligence training. With over 25 years of meditation practice, she empowers adults, adolescents, and families through workshops, corporate training, and her role as Vice-President of Chetana Empowerment Foundation. Mitali uses neuroscience-based models of change merged with spiritual wisdom to help re-wire minds. Her global journey enriches her holistic approach. She has conducted 450+ workshops, anchored a TV show, and served as a counsellor and psychotherapist, to create positive change. She speaks English, Hindi, Marathi, and Gujarati.

Randad 2023


Founder and President, Chetana Empowerment Foudation


Vivek practiced for more than 20 years as a Chartered Accountant by Profession. With a wish to expand broad philanthropic vision, he has laid the foundation in 2012 of ‘Chetana Empowerment Foundation’ in Aurangabad along with like-minded professional friends to make a valuable contribution to society. He has organized 858+ events and impacted 2,001,121+ individuals through Chetana’s welfare activities. Vivek established ‘Chetana Happy Village’ in 2019, dreamed vision of a Retreat Centre to impart Peace, Happiness and Love to society.  Under his leadership, the foundation achieved ‘National Level Award’ from ‘Salaam Mumbai Foundation, for outstanding work in de-addiction awareness. He has been awarded and honored by ‘Sewa Gaurav Puraskar 2018’ and ‘Mahesh Bhushan Award’ for his noble work towards society.


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.


Nondumiso HLOPHE

North-South Centre Trainer in the University of Youth and Development

Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland)



Chair of the Current Affairs Committee of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

United Kingdom

 Byrony Rudkin has been a local councillor for over 20 years, during which she has been the Chair of a county council and a board member of the East of England Development Agency. Rudkin has worked on the improvement and development of the Local Government Association of England and Wales, providing support and training to local authorities throughout the UK. She is currently the deputy leader of a district council, an active member of her political party at local, regional and national level and a member of the UK delegation to the Congress of the Council of Europe.  She has been elected as the new Chair of the Current Affairs Committee of the Congress of the Council of Europe. She is also the Congress Thematic Spokesperson on the European Local Democracy Week.



Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Malta to the Council of Europe



Grace “Gray” REED