Fórum dos Cidadãos

April 16, 2019 Scott Fletcher Bowlsby
September 30, 2018 Scott Fletcher Bowlsby
August 26, 2018 Scott Fletcher Bowlsby

Fórum dos Cidadãos is a non-profit organization based in Lisbon that regularly organizes citizens' assemblies to reinvigorate Portuguese democracy by making the informed voice of ordinary citizens heard on major issues.

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Mission and Purpose

With recent deliberative democratic innovations in America (Oregon), CanadaIceland and Australia in mind, the Fórum dos Cidadãos serves to regularly hold citizens' assemblies to give a Portuguese citizens a space to deliberate over issues and develop critical reports for concerned bodies..

Origins and Development 

Cognisant of the growing democratic deficit and the importance of "transformative" nature of deliberative democracy, the Fórum dos Cidadãos was established in 2017. 

Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding

Fórum dos Cidadãos is funded by the New University of Lisbon and the Gulbenkian Institute of Science and has the support of personalities such as former CDS-PP leader Adriano Moreira, State Councilor Eduardo Lourenço, the former Presidential candidate Henrique Neto, and former ministers David Justino, Margarida Mano, Manuel Maria Carrilho. Most of the organization's full time staff include academics from the University of New York, the University of Leeds, the Gulbenkian Institute of Science, and the Instituto Superior Tecnico. Their Advisory Board is made up of various professionals in the field of democratic innovation including the Jefferson Center's Kyle Bozentko and Kenneth Carty of the University of British Columbia and a lead architect behind British Columbia's Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform.   

Fórum dos Cidadãos works in partnership with other similar initiatives such as the Jefferson Centre, newDemocracy, and the Sortition Foundation. 

Specializations, Methods and Tools

The Fórum's events use the Citizens' Assembly methodolgoy, bringing together ordinary citizens with experts, facilitators, political analysts and other professionals. Once a deliberation is accomplished, the Fórum develops recommendations and disseminates them through online and offline services. These Citizens' Assemblies are regularly organized on diverse and timely issues so public debate can be properly informed and structured , making the pondered, informed voice of the public heard. 

Major Projects and Events

The first Citizens' Assembly organized by the Fórum was held in January 2017. Participants deliberated the question "how can we improve the communication between citizens and their representatives?" The conclusions were delivered directly to the President of Portugal and communicated to policy-makers and the wider public. 

Analysis and Lessons Learned

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The Fórum serves primarily to organize deliberative events and is not involved in research per se. It's only publication is the final report from its first Citizens' Assembly. 

See Also

Citizens Assembly

Jefferson Center


 "Quem Somos" (2016). Forum dos Cicados. 

External Links


Lead image: Paulo Pereira/YouTube