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Florence School of Transnational Governance

STG's Democratic Odyssey revives the ancient Peoples' Assembly in Athens

The Democratic Odyssey project, coordinated by the EUI School of Transnational Governance, brings together citizens, activists, scholars, and democracy enthusiasts from across Europe and beyond in Athens on 26 September 2023.

25 September 2023

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The event marks the official launch of the project and a revival of the ancient Peoples’ Assembly on the slopes of the Acropolis, at the Pnyx.

Earlier this year, the STG’s Transnational Democracy Programme secured funding to develop a campaign for a permanent citizens’ assembly in the European Union. Global challenges and rapidly changing technologies have placed democracy under unprecedented strain. The rise of partisan hyper-polarisation, authoritarian influences, disinformation campaigns, and electoral interference threaten the very foundations of democracy. Within this context, the European Union faces immense pressures on all fronts.

The question looms: How can Europe respond more effectively to critical global issues while empowering its diverse population? The Democratic Odyssey project embarks on a transnational collective journey to address this challenge, welcoming all who wish to join the flotilla.

At the heart of this initiative lies the belief that part of the solution to restore faith in European democracy is the creation of a standing Peoples’ Assembly for Europe. This assembly, composed of individuals selected by lot, serving on a rotating basis, will deliberate on topics of its choosing and those suggested by EU institutions and civil society. The assembly aims to become a visible and popular force by convening across the continent.

The upcoming launch event brings together a diverse group of civil society organisations, cultural actors, students, and citizens of Athens. Participants are welcome to register family and friends to make this gathering a true reflection of democratic inclusivity. While the primary language of the event will be English, informal translation options will be available to ensure accessibility.

The discussion aims to inspire fresh ideas and engagement, encouraging attendees to join the Democratic Odyssey project’s constituent network. This campaign will unfold throughout 2023-2024, with the Assembly convening in various configurations during and after the 2024 European elections, leading up to the State of the Union address by the new European Commission in 2024.

The launch event will be followed by a series of in-person events coinciding with the Athens Democracy Forum 2023, taking place from 26 to 29 September 2023. These events aim to establish a constituent network that will actively support the project and facilitate the gathering of ideas from local civil society and members of the public to shape the project's agenda-setting process. The culminating event in this series is scheduled for 29 September, when the project will host the first hybrid meeting of the constituent network. For further information, check out the full programme of the event and the project’s website.

Alongside the STG and the European University Institute, the consortium of partner institutions includes the Berggruen Institute, Particip-Action, European Alternatives, Citizens Take Over Europe, The Democracy and Culture Foundation, Democracy Next, Eliamep, Real Deal, PHOENIX, and Salvia Foundation.

Visit the project's social media channels Instagram and X (formerly known as Twitter) for more information on their upcoming events and activities.

Last update: 25 September 2023

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