Skip to content
Main menu hidden.

International Democracy Days

Time Thursday 11 November until Friday 12 November, 2021 at 11:30 - 15:30
Place Umeå and Skellefteå

At the 2021 International Democracy Days—hosted and co-organized by Umeå University, the City of Skellefteå, the Swiss Embassy in Sweden and the European Democracy Foundation—we will assess the Global State of Democracy and how local communities and cities can become engines of democratization worldwide. The North of Sweden, where this onsite conference takes place, is one of the most dynamic regions in Europe, with green energy and industrial developments that protect the climate and attract people from all over the world.

We look forward to discuss big dreams, and specific implementations, in the two cities and multiple venues hosting these International Democracy Days

Practical information:

The 2021 International Democracy Days in Umeå and Skellefteå are an open and free on-site (no webstreaming) to everybody. However: pre-registration is essential due to limited capacity.


  1. For Day 1 and/or Day 2 with Bus transfer to Skellefteå: Per Nilsson
  2. For Day 2 only without bus transfer: https://www.simplesignup.se/event/185433 

The Democracy Days are mainly hold in english but it is possible ask in Swedish, German, French and Italian. For any other information on content please contact Bruno Kaufmann at


Day 1, November 11

Venue: Ljusgården, Lärarutbildningshuset, Universitetstorget 4, Umeå Universitet, Umeå

Global Democracy at Risk

Lunch Hearing

How do we meet the global challenges to democracy?


The Global State of Democracy

A new worlwide assessment introduced and presented by Kevin Casas-Zamora, Secretary General at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). Nils Seye-Larsen Deputy Mayor at the Swedish Green Party


Hearing hosted by Umeå Association of International Affairs and Nordpol

Panelists include Kevin Casas [International IDEA], Giada Gianola [University of Bern] and Kelly Morrison [Varieties of Democracy]

Questions for the panel are offered via an open process. The discussion is followed by a voting process involving all participants in the discussion.

13.00-14.15 Lunch

In-Depth Afternoon Conference 

Moderated by Bruno Kaufmann, Global Democracy Correspondent, Swiss Broadcasting Company

21th Century Democracy Prospects: Assessments and Opportunities

14.00 Opening remarks by Umeå University Vice Chancellor Hans Adolfsson

Keynote by Umeå University Professor Malin Rönnblom “Can democracy survive neoliberal forms of governing?” 

Part One: The Exciting World of Modern Democracy


Inputs by and conversation with political scientists Anders Lidström (on the “Swedish Experiences”) of Umeå University, and Giada Gianola (on the “Swiss Experiences”) of Bern University.

15.30 Coffee

Part Two: Living Democracy in Umeå, Västerbotten, Sapmi and Sweden


Panel discussion with

Camilla Sandström, professor, Political Science Department at Umeå University, Jessika Wide, Associate professor at Umeå University and  Erik-Oscar Oscarsson, Chairman for the Commission on Culture at the Sami Parliament,


Let’s Vote! Wrap-up with public voting on key take-aways identified by Umeå students

Reception introduced and offered by Francois Voeffray-Peyro, Swiss Ambassador to Sweden, featuring a brief description of the exhibition “Den Moderna Direkta Demokratin – schweiziska impulser, svenska möjligheter, globala utmaningar”.

Day 2, November 12

Venue: Sara kulturhus, Scen 5, Torggatan 9, Skellefteå.

Morning: transfer by Bus from Umeå to Skellefteå. Departure at 7.30 from Clarion Uman Hotel (7.20 from University)

Developing the Democracy City of the Future

09.30 – 10.00

Arrival and coffee

How Do We Develop the Democracy City?


Welcome remarks by Umeå University Deputy Vice Chancellor Dieter Müller.

Democracy promotion in the sports movement and other similar non-profit sectors. Jonny Hjelm, Professor of History at Umeå University.


Sara Lidman - Sparkling and Exasperating. A Remembrance.  

Ellenor Lindgren, cultural worker and performing artist in Skellefteå with extensive knowledge of Sara Lidman who was one of Västerbotten's foremost writers and activists. Ellenor shares the speeches and knowledge of this important and creative thinker, whose name was given to the new cultural centre in which we are gathering.


Jörn—A Creative Place in the Middle of the World!

What happens when people get to tell their stories? What happens when people use art as a means of expression? What happens when there is someone listening? Ann-Sofi Burström

Is a proud resident of the Jörn village (50 km NW of Skellefteå) who is committed to the community and passionate about keeping it alive. Rose-Marie Lindfors is a cultural worker with a strong commitment to people's opportunities to express themselves and be heard.

11.00-11.15 Break

11.15-12.15 Global Cities as Engines for Democratization

Across the world, cities have become engines of democratic participatory innovation and resilience. In this session, we assess global and national developments on local democratizations and share practical experiences from Helsinki, Copenhagen, and Bern. Moderated by Bruno Kaufmann.

Inputs and conversation with                                       

Stefanie Schüpbach [Director of Bern Democracy Center], Zakia Elvang [Director of the Copenhagen Demokratigarage], Kelly Morrison [Varieties of Democracy at Gothenburg University] and Anders Nordh [Swedish Association on Municipalities and Regions]

12.30 Lunch


Urban Planning at its Most Exciting and Democratic

Enar Nordvik, head of building permits in Skellefteå, talks about democracy in the planning and building permit process, with examples from the establishment of the battery factory, the cultural centre, and the new bridge over the river. Brief city walk. Back at Sara Kulturhus at 14.15.

14.30 - 15.15 Guided tour at Sara Kulturhus of Sara Vide’s art exhibit. Guide: Johanna Ahnqvist.

Bus Transfer back from Skellefteå from Sara Kulturhus at 15.30

Organizer: Planning Office
Event type: Conference
Per Nilsson
Read about Per Nilsson