Active Democracy

Active Democracy


Democracy - such an appealing word. We hear about it all the time, we are often convinced that it’s the way we live today and that we actually get to decide. So, what is democracy really and where did it come from?

Democracy is a form of government in which the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation or to choose governing officials to do so for them. Sounds pretty simple and logical, doesn’t it? It even sounds like we are being asked for our opinion. But let’s go back a bit more.

The term ‘democracy’ first appeared in ancient Greece. That was a long time ago. Further on, in the Middle Ages, parts of Europe set up their own models of democracy. The first documented parliamentary body in Europe was the Cortes of León – where next to the nobility and the higher clergy who advised the king, a form of parliamentarian representatives was introduced by including the kingdom’s economically important and powerful individuals. Does it sound much different from today’s parliaments?

World wars significantly affected democratic changes in many countries. The last major wave, or as it is professionally called, the third wave of democracy, began in the late 1970s. Areas democratized in the years that followed were Latin America, Asia Pacific countries, Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. 

So what should we do nowadays, when everything is pretty tidy? We have institutions, we choose those who represent us in regular elections, and if we don't like how they work, we choose others. If we don't like them either, we choose some others again. And so it goes round and round.

But wait. Isn’t life a little too short to wait for those we elect to start doing their job the way they should?

This is where active democracy comes into play. It means improving public participation in decision-making, actually asking citizens questions about topics that are important to their lives, and encouraging people to really participate in decision-making. 

Interested in finding out more? Email us on for a link to watch a webinar on Active Democracy given in 2022.