The ECI’s Promise in Peril

Why the European Citizens’ Initiative merits radical reform On the 1st of April 2014, the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) turned two — its unfortunate birthdate determined by EU translation services. … Continue Reading


What didn’t happen with the European Citizens’ Initiative…and what did

This article is from the upcoming publication “An ECI That Works!” to be released on 15 April 2014 by The ECI Campaign. In 2010-2011, I campaigned for a citizen-friendly ECI … Continue Reading


Engaging on the Edges: Creative Street and Online Engagement

Face-to-face events like public meetings and consultations are, with good reason, at the heart of much public engagement. They provide a dedicated block of time and a common space to … Continue Reading


The Revolution is Being Protested

Occupy Targets Participatory Budgeting in Chicago My first thought was “how clever of the conference organizers to welcome us with street theater”.  At the entrance to the Second North American … Continue Reading


Surveying the D&D Territory of a City: Lessons from Chicago

I honestly didn’t realize just how ambitious trying to understand the use of dialogue & deliberation for civic engagement in Chicago actually was until a veteran facilitator exclaimed “wow, you’ve … Continue Reading


Americans envision a civic infrastructure for public dialogue and deliberation

Over a long and rainy weekend in Seattle, I joined members of the US-based National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD) in a trendy downtown eco hotel for their semi-annual … Continue Reading


You’ll miss Europe if we kill it: the EU benefits the world more than people appreciate

Several years ago, after a lifetime in the heartland of America, I moved to the heart of the European Union. Having heard Brussels described as the Washington, D.C. of Europe, … Continue Reading


The troublesome child could be a shining star: lessons in direct democracy from the American West

Direct democracy can seem at times like a troublesome, unloved child in the family of democratic tools. A major reason may be press accounts of the American state of California … Continue Reading


North-Westward ho! Oregon embeds public participation in lawmaking

The eyes of the American public participation community are riveted on the Pacific Northwest state of Oregon. It recently became the first American state to institutionalise a citizens jury-style process … Continue Reading


Putting EU citizens before lobbyists: is the ECI the tool?

A friend recently asked me to sign a petition opposing a soon-to-be-implemented EU directive which will effectively ban many herbal medicines. Putting aside the merits of the topic, my first … Continue Reading