Under the slogan “Future Needs Solidarity. Diversity Creates Chances.”, the BürgerForum 2011 did not address any specific problem or problems; it rather allowed participating citizens to identify problems as well as solutions they deem most pressing for German society. The purpose behind this approach is three-fold. Firstly, initiators hoped to inspire citizens to be more excited about politics and democracy and instill a sense of community within participants.
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.
On June 26th, 2010 AmericaSpeaks held a National Town Meeting in 58 cities around the United States called Our Budget, Our Economy, where 3,500 Americans discussed possible solutions to America’s long term fiscal challenges.