Full Text Sharing

We work to design and establish new institutions for government and to transform the governance of organisations that influence public life, rooted in three principles:

  1. Giving people agency and dignity through participation;
  2. Distributing equal political power through representation by lot (sortition), and
  3. Channeling collective wisdom and enabling people to find common ground through deliberation.

The goal of DemocracyNext is to see such institutions have real political power, rather than just an advisory role, so that they could eventually become the heart of a new democratic system.


PARIS, 13 September 2022 –– While we hear endlessly about the crisis of democracy, something remarkable and hopeful has been happening right under our noses: a new kind of democracy is taking root.


A deliberative democracy with everyday citizens rising to the occasion to help one another and face global, national, and local challenges - from the climate emergency to constitutional amendments on abortion and same-sex marriage, long-term infrastructure investment decisions, and so much more. DemocracyNext, a new non-profit, non-partisan research and action institute, which announces its foundation this International Democracy Day, 15 September 2022 – aims to actively help this new democratic paradigm take shape and take hold.


“We believe that another democratic future is possible. We want to design and build new institutions where citizens can hold real decision making power,” said Claudia Chwalisz, chief executive of DemocracyNext. “Our point of departure is that the current electoral system is broken beyond repair. An entirely new framework must be based on full participation, citizen representation by lot, and real deliberation.”


Anyone interested in learning about a new way countries could be run is welcome to join DemocracyNext’s virtual launch event here on 15 September from 17:00-18:30 CET (11am-12.30pm EST). At the event, Chwalisz will introduce the team, strategic advisors and members of the Advisory Board. She will also lay out some early plans: engagement with President Joe Biden’s Spring 2023 Summit for Democracy, projects to democratise the governance of economic institutions, university research collaborations, and the creation of a Citizen Confidence Index.


At the heart of DemocracyNext’s vision is modern inspiration from the ancient Athenian ideal of sortition: the random selection of equal citizens taking turns to legislate, judge, and act in the name of the community.



As a research and action institute, it will aim to inform and empower the growing wave of global interest in such democracy by lot over the past decade, notably the flourishing of Citizens’ Assemblies, almost 600 examples of which have successfully tackled tough issues from Iceland to France, and from Ireland to the Philippines.


“We want to create a more just, joyful and collaborative future. Sortition does this by giving people agency, dignity, and equality, and by giving the community solutions based on collective wisdom and finding Press release Page 2/2 common ground,” said Dr. Hélène Landemore, a strategic adviser to DemocracyNext, professor of political science at Yale University and author of Open Democracy: Reinventing Popular Rule for the Twenty-First Century.


Also joining DemocracyNext’s strategic advisers are Jon Alexander, author of Citizens and Co-Founder of the New Citizenship Project and Mark Cridge, CEO of the National Parks City Foundation and former CEO of mySociety. DemocracyNext’s global board of advisers and democratic innovation pioneers includes Nicole Curato, Panthea Lee, Brenda Ogembo, Art O’Leary, Hugh Pope, Alice Rawsthorn, Felipe Rey, Robbie Stamp, Olúfémi O. Táíwò, Ece Temelkuran and David Van Reybrouck. “Democracy is at a crossroads: we might lose it, we might reinforce it.


I feel honoured and privileged to join the ranks of those fighting for its next chapter,” said van Reybrouck, the pioneering author of Against Elections and founder of Belgium’s G1000 platform for democratic innovation. “DemNext is all about empowering everyday citizens: people have so much to say. Let us give them a meaningful role in shaping their communities.” Popular demand for a democratic reboot is deep. A 2021 Pew Research Center report found “overwhelmingly popular” support for the creation of randomly selected citizens assemblies across several democratic countries.


In the US, 79 per cent of citizens think that it is either very (43 per cent) or somewhat (36 per cent) important that the government create such assemblies. In France, after the end of the Convention for Climate, a poll measured that three out of five French people who knew about this citizens’ assembly – around 70 per cent of the French population by the end of the experiment – thought it had enough legitimacy to make proposals on behalf of the larger population.


“Right now, we live in what is at best a consumerised democracy, where politicians are forced to pretend they have all the answers, and a citizen’s only agency is an occasional opportunity to choose the best from what are all too often a bad set of options,” said Jon Alexander.


“We all know we are living in deeply uncertain times, but no one can acknowledge it. We need a new democracy built around collective agency, and tapping into the ideas, energy and resources of everyone. Another democratic future is possible, and DemocracyNext is here to build it.” With Ieva Cesnulaityte, now DemocracyNext’s Founding Head of Research & Learning, Chwalisz previously led the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development’s work on democratic innovation.


They developed the OECD’s Good Practice Principles and Evaluation Guidelines for Deliberative Processes. Chwalisz also co-designed the permanent Paris Citizens’ Assembly and the world’s first permanent Citizens’ Council in Ostbelgien, Belgium, and she wrote the seminal OECD paper on institutionalising deliberative democracy.


To follow DemocracyNext’s future work and be notified of events where Claudia Chwalisz and other supporters will be speaking – including Chwalisz’s opening address to the New York Times Athens Democracy Forum on 28 September – sign up for the mailing list here, follow @Demnext_ on Twitter and on LinkedIn, and visit our growing website


Claudia Chwalisz is the Founder and CEO and Ieva Cesnulaityte is the Founding Head of Research & Learning.

Claudia and Ieva established the OECD’s evidence base with almost 600 examples around the world of sortition-based citizens’ assemblies. We developed the OECD’s Good Practice Principles and Evaluation Guidelines for Deliberative Processes. And we have established and convened an international network of pioneers at the forefront of democratic innovation.

Claudia Chwalisz also co-designed the permanent Paris Citizens’ Assembly and the world’s first permanent Citizens’ Council in Ostbelgien, Belgium, and she wrote the seminal OECD paper on institutionalising deliberative democracy.

Fionna Saintraint is completing an internship at DemocracyNext. She previously worked with Magali Plovie, the President of the Francophone Brussels Parliament that has implemented Mixed Deliberative Committees.



  • Jon Alexander, Co-Founder of the New Citizenship Project and author of Citizens, which has been highly influential in reframing people as citizens not consumers
  • Hélène Landemore, Yale Professor and author if
    Open Democracy, the most acclaimed political theory underpinning the idea of a sortition-based democracy without elections at its heart
  • Mark Cridge, CEO of the National Parks City Foundation and former CEO of mySociety, a UK-based social enterprise that helps people be active citizens

Advisory Board

  • Nicole Curato, Professor of Political Sociology at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra and Editor of the Journal of Deliberative Democracy
  • Panthea Lee, Executive Director and Founder of Reboot, Practitioner Fellow at Stanford University’s Digital Civil Society Lab, and an Applied Imagination Fellow at Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination
  • Brenda Ogembo, Principal Clerk Assistant, Senate Legislative and Procedural Services – Parliament of Kenya
  • Art O’Leary, Secretary General to the President of Ireland, former Secretary to the Constitutional Convention
  • Hugh Pope, Author, a former director at The International Crisis Group and ex-Turkey & Middle East staff writer for The Wall Street Journal
  • Alice Rawsthorn, Award-winning design critic and author, Co-Founder of the Design Emergency project to investigate design’s role as a force for positive change
  • Felipe Rey, Professor of Public Law at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and Founding Partner of iDeemos, a Colombian democratic innovation lab
  • Robbie Stamp, Chief Executive of Bioss International and Senior Fellow at the Cambridge University Resilience and Sustainable Development Programme
  • Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University and author of Elite Capture
  • Ece Temelkuran, Award-winning Turkish novelist and political commentator, author of How to Lose a Country and Together – 10 Choices for a Better Now
  • David Van Reybrouck, author of Against Elections: The Case for Democracy, Founder of G1000, Chair of the Federation for Innovation in Democracy – Europe (FIDE), Senior Fellow at the Hannah Arendt Centre for Politics and Humanities, Bard College, NY.


Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.