Invitation to the 2022 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy

The 2022 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy will take place from 21-25 September in Lucerne, Switzerland. Read the message from our co-presidents here:

Dear Democracy-Minded People All Over the World,

What’s the best way to come back from great difficulty? By going forward.

The 2022 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy is being organized along the same principle: let’s come back from the pandemic by going forward into the future of democracy.

That’s right. The Global Forum, the world’s largest gathering devoted to participatory and direct democracy, is back, and will be held from September 21 to 25, 2022, in the beautiful lakeside city of Lucerne, Switzerland. This letter is an official invitation to you, your friends, and the earth’s other seven billion humans to join us at the 2022 Global Forum—in person or online. You can already pre-register your interest in taking part in the 2022 Global Forum now at this link, and contact us directly if you need an academic invitation or would like to speak at the forum.

By returning the forum to the nation where it all began in 2008 (at that time in Aarau), we are going backwards and forward at the same time. We will re-examine the long history and evolution of Swiss direct democracy. Then we will also look back at all the progress that the Global Forum has inspired since its Swiss beginning—including nine successful world conferences on direct democracy (held in cities from Tunis to Taichung); the establishment of the leading NGO, Democracy International; the build-up of the Direct Democracy Navigator (now hosted at the Liechtenstein Institute); the creation of a Swiss Democracy Foundation; the launch of the International League of Democracy Cities, and the publication of local, national and transnational Democracy Passports.

But, even more important, this Global Forum will look forward, with a broad and inspiring five-day program to which activists, academics, journalists, officials, and citizens worldwide can contribute their knowledge and experiences. We will dig deeply into innovations that combine tools of direct and participatory democracy. We will examine the possibilities for how direct democracy might be used, locally and globally, to protect our planet from climate change. And we will investigate best practices and new ideas for youth democracy—a fitting focus for a forum in Lucerne, a global leader, with two successful youth parliaments.

As you make your plans, please take note that the forum’s final day, Sunday, September 25, 2022, is also a Swiss national voting day with several initiatives and referendums at the ballot. After days of conversation, we will witness modern direct democracy in true action!

In 1835, philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville reflected on how democracy pushes us forward. “Democratic nations care but little for what has been, but they are haunted by visions of what will be; in this direction their unbounded imagination grows and dilates beyond all measure,” he wrote. “Democracy, which shuts the past against the poet, opens the future before him.”

We look forward to imagining a poetic and democratic future together with you, in Lucerne, Switzerland from where Mayor Beat Züsli has sent us this video message.

Democratically yours,


Joe Mathews and Bruno Kaufmann, Co-Presidents of the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy