The 1st Inuit Circumpolar Youth Symposium on the Inuit Language was a four-day conference during which twenty Inuit youths representing four territories (Canada, Alaska, Greenland, and Russia) arrived in Iqaluit, Nunavut to deliberate on issues surrounding the idea of a common language among all Inuit peoples across the world in order to promote a unified Inuit community. Due to the vast regions that the Inuit call home, representatives from each region discussed issues occurring within their own community, whether it is in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, or Russia.
In April 2001, the Canadian government established the Romanow Commission to deliberate with citizens on the future of healthcare in Canada. However, the commission overlooked the serious issue of engaging marginalised groups such as Aboriginal people, and did not provide separate participatory spaces for such groups. While some Aboriginal people participated in the dialogues, the outcomes did not fully reflect Aboriginal health issues.
Since 2002, the city of Grenoble, France, has engaged citizens in public decision-making through participatory committees and town meetings. Residents have been able to express their opinions and make recommendations on city planning, education, cultural life, and other municipal issues. Over the years, this program has strengthened local democracy and empowered public participation in important civic projects.
The financial and economic crisis, of which we have heard so much discussion since 2007-8, is only one aspect of a whole series of underlying political trends which have been apparent for much longer: a crisis of (in)equality and of increased precarity of the workforce, a human rights crisis, a demographic crisis, an ecological crisis, a crisis in civil liberties, and above all a crisis in democracy.
Burning Man is an annual artistic festival which is held in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert and whose central premise involves extensive community participation. Far from being a standard art festival, Burning Man embraces the idea of radical inclusion and aims to instill a set of core values in its many participants. In order to achieve this objective, the week-long event features a variety of fascinating participatory frameworks, from consensus decision-making and a culture of volunteerism to interactive artwork and even the collaborative construction of a city!