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Making Democratic Debates a Tool for Citizens

Time Thursday 18 November, 2021 at 17:00 - 19:00
Place ZOOM - sign-up required

November 18, 2021, at 17.00–19.00 CET


Please join us for a panel about how democracy is changing with an international group of technologists and academics! This meeting brings together authorities covering a range of perspectives: James Vernon of Berkeley, who specializes in the history of politician participation in Britain, and who will comment broadly on the deep history of measures to exclude people from voting and means of challenging them – political and otherwise; Deborah Tien and Paula Berman, researchers fellows of the Radical Xchange Foundation who will be spending the next year documenting the results of Taiwan's experiments with government transparency; David Ernst, CEO of Liquid Democracy, which builds secure apps for voting; and Elisa Lironi of the Belgian NGO European Citizen Action Services, which facilitates exchanges about grassroots and startup projects to support transparent democracy across Europe (pending). After each presentation there will be a discussion moderated by Matt Prewitt of Radical Xchange.


James Vernon, “What is Democracy and can it be Realised”

James Vernon is the Helen Fawcett Distinguished Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley.  He is a historian of Britain and its empire with broad comparative and theoretical interests in the relationships between the political and the social as well as the nation and the world. His books include Politics and the People (1993), Hunger. A Modern History (2007), Distant Strangers. How Britain Became Modern (2014), and the last volume of the Cambridge History of Britain, Britain since 1750 to the Present (2017).   His work has been supported by the British Academy, the ESRC, the ACLS, the NEH and the Guggenheim Foundation.  He is currently writing a book about the racialized and globalized formation of neoliberalism in Britain after empire told though Heathrow Airport.  He is co-chair of the Berkeley Faculty Association and trying to avoid twitter @James11Vernon


David Ernst, “A Bright Future For Information-Age Representative Democracy"

David Ernst is founder of Liquid Democracy Technologies, Secure Internet Voting, and Secure ID.  David has been working at the forefront of democracy technologies for the last half decade.  He has led a number of pilots with tens of thousands of citizens in all fifty US states to enable new forms of representative democracy that are far more inclusive, accountable, and intelligent.  David was also a digital democracy candidate for the California State Assembly in 2018, offering millions of people a practical path to adopt better democratic methods.


Elise Lironi, “Potential and Challenges of E-Democracy in Europe”

Elisa Lironi is the Senior Manager European Democracy, working at the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) since 2015. She develops and leads ECAS’ European Democracy focus area by implementing EU projects and research studies related to Digital Democracy, Understanding Populism and Civic Engagement.  She conducts research specifically on e-participation practices in Europe and has recently published a book chapter on “Crowdsourcing EU Legislation: Harnessing the Power of Digital Democracy” (2021).


Deborah Tien and Paula Berman, “Not All Civic Tech is Made Equal: A Comparison Between Taiwan and the United States"

Paula Berman is a civic tech practitioner, a researcher of digital identity and Managing Director of RadicalxChange, a non-profit committed to advancing plurality, equality, community, and decentralization through upgrades in democracy, markets and the commons. Deborah Tien works at the intersection of technology-for-impact and participatory governance. She used to live and work in Tanzania, co-creating an inclusive innovation ecosystem. Now she lives in the States, supporting Block Stewards to cultivate more social cohesion in their neighborhoods.



Organizer: Humlab
Event type: Lecture
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