On Monday 18 November 2013, we (the group of five bloggers of Society 3.0 for the World Forum for Democracy) were able to conduct our first interview in advance to the World Forum for Democracy. Irena Guidikova, head of division at the Council of Europe and main organiser of the World Forum for Democracy shared with us her opinion on topics such as democracy in the Digital Age, crowdsourcing, Wikileaks, and of course: the World Forum for Democracy which will start this week (Nov 27-29).

There is no denying the fact that the Internet is changing tremendously the way our society interacts. But interestingly enough, the changes the Internet brought are affecting politics less slowly. This is in line with Amanda Clark‘s findings that on a global scale voter turnout rates are dropping, party memberships are declining, and citizens trust and satisfaction in their political leaders shockingly decreases. But then, we are confronted with “Twitter revolutions”, online petitions, and crowdfunding inititatives on a daily basis. How does that go together?

For Irena Guidikova the World Forum for Democracy will pivot around this big question: What will happen? What impact will the Internet and the new technologies have regarding democracy?


The World Forum for Democracy will be a heterogenous meetup

The World Forum for Democracy is just taking place for the second time but that does not mean that there are no gatherings dealing with this topic. It is rather that most of the former gatherings were highly homogenous. There were academics discussing that topic in one city, Internet activists discussing it somewhere else, and politicians also in another place. The World Forum for Democracy, though, tries to be hetereogenous and bring all those people together. The intention behind that is that the forum is a platform to debate not only on the opportunities the new technologies bring with them, but also to increase awareness of the risks. Moreover, it shall trigger discussions and debates about in what kind of a society we actually want to live because if you want it or not: the rules for the game are changing!


Fighting the old paradigm, finding new trends

How did the relation between money, politics, and businesses change? Will there be a fight between different trends on how to design our future? Or is this fight already fought and we just didn’t realise it yet? When talking and evaluating new initiatives, models, and systems, don’t we do that on the basis of the old paradigms still present in our heads? So do we need a whole new paradigm to change it all or are slight changes and adaptions actually enough? The World Forum for Democracy spotlights a lot of new initiatives, some just a few months old. Are there any underlying trends to discover?

All these questions arose in our minds during the Interview with Irena Guidikova. Now, we are curiously looking forward to our next interviews and to actually visit the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg. Over 100 different organisations and networks submitted their proposals to take part in this event. The most interesting and forward-looking were chosen by the organisation team to eventually present their projects in Strasbourg. In the upcoming week, we will try to capture the essence of some of those projects in order to be part of the change and make it accessible to a wider audience.