I’ve been busy these past few months working at the new Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. So I’m very happy to announce what we’ve been working on: the upcoming conference “When Citizens Decide: The Challenges of Large Scale Public Engagement,” to be held Thursday May 1 and Friday May 2, 2008 in Vancouver, BC.
The conference will bring together outstanding researchers and practitioners from North America and Europe to explore the challenges of large scale public engagement in policy making. Panel topics include how large scale citizen engagement exercises can connect with the general public, how they might be used in a range of different policy areas, and how they can be connected to the institutions of representative democracy. The conference will also feature new comparative research on the Dutch, Ontario and BC Citizens’ Assemblies on Electoral Reform, a round table on leadership with the distinguished chairs of each Citizens’ Assembly, and a launch reception for Mark E. Warren and Hilary Pearse’s Designing Deliberative Democracy, the first comprehensive book on the BC Citizens’ Assembly, published this spring by Cambridge University Press.
The Conference poster, preliminary program and registration form are available on at http://democracy.ubc.ca under the link “Conferences and Workshops.” Please direct any questions to Rebecca Monnerat-McPartlin, CSDI Project Manager at or 604-827-4390. Space is limited; we’re urging people to register early to reserve a place in what we anticipate will be a highly informative and stimulating event.