Citizens' Summit

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A Citizens' Summit is a large, deliberative event on broad topic. Summits generally involve several hundred members of the public as well as public officials and stakeholders organizations. Summit organizers typically employ several methods of recruitment to ensure a wide variety of view points are represented. Experts and officials are almost always included and play a supporting role in answering questions of participants or facilitating discussions. 

Problems and Purpose

Summits are typically organized to inform citizens on an issue and to gather feedback or proposals. The outcomes of a Summit may be drawn up into a final report and submitted to public officials but any findings or conclusions are generally used for consultation purposes and officials are not bound to act on or implement any of the suggestions or proposals. 


According to a report by Julie Boivin, organizers of the Deux-Montagnes Citizens' Summit, the use of Citizens' Summits dates back to Medieval France when "it was customary for the king to invite hisrepresentatives, the clergy and the population to meet within the confines of one room for the purpose of discussing the kingdom’s financial difficulties. Between 1302 and 1789, when the last Citizen’s Summits (known locally as “États généraux”) were held in France, the king convened the population 16 times. Moreover, the convening of the last Citizen’s Summits coincided with the onset of the French revolution, proof positive that when the population takes part in governmental affairs, events of great magnitude can occur."[1]

Participant Recruitment and Selection


Deliberation, Decisions, and Public Interaction


Influence, Outcomes, and Effects


Analysis and Lessons Learned


Secondary Sources


External Links





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