New Delhi, Jul 7 : The 2019 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy (2019-GFMDD) will take place in the industrial city of Taichung, on the western side of central Taiwan, during October 2-5, according to the Forum's organisers.
The forum, hosted by Taichung city, will be attended by activists, journalists, organisations and academics from all over the world. The 2018-GFMDD was held in Rome, Italy, in September.Bruno Kaufmann and Joe Mathews, co-presidents of the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, electronically told UNI that the gateway for exploring Taiwan's mountainous interior has been chosen for this year's forum meetings because Taiwan has taken historic steps to move towards more democracy, unlike several other countries where democracy was stagnant and direct democracy was suffering from lack of support.
"The island nation is considered a global model for initiative and referendum. But how is it working in practice? What are the lessons of the first years of modern direct democracy in the new powerhouse of citizens participation? What is happening across East and South Asia and the West Pacific? To know all this, the GFMDD is heading to the beautiful island or ´Formosa´ as called by the Portuguese," said the duo.
According to Kaufmann and Mathews, several topics like: How to move from people power movements to direct democracy institutions; lessons learned regarding Taiwan's renewed referendum experience; best practices in direct democracy and citizen participation will be taken up for discussion at the 2019-GFMDD panels, sessions and workshops.
"The GFMDD is the largest gathering devoted to direct democracy worldwide. It favours a multidisciplinary approach, welcoming participants from academic, political and civil society perspectives," added Kaufmann.
The goal is to bring together people with different experiences and backgrounds, so as to give activists and organisations the opportunity to share their insights and connect with others working on the same issues.
Ahead of the 2019-GFMDD, there will be an optional pre-forum briefing tour from 30 September till 2 October for interested participants of the forum.
This briefing tour will feature a train between Taipei and Kaohsiung especially arranged for the participants. The train will make several stops along the Taiwanese West coast in places key to democracy: Wanhua, Jongli, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi and Tainan.
The Taiwan Democracy Train will be a special train reserved uniquely for the forum participants and will bring together both Taiwanese democracy supporters and international participants of the forum.
At the various stops, there will be short input statements by international participants, walking tours on local democracy issues and opportunities to meet with local activists and democracy experts. (UNi)