Below you can find the initial programme for the 2023 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy.


An informative tour of Mexico City, trailing the democratic history of Mexico, and zooming in on case studies of direct democracy in the country. Visits to democracy practitioners and democratically important locations in Mexico City region.

It is mandatory to register separately for the Pre-tour here.

(organised by Mexican NGOs and the Instituto Electoral de la Ciudad Mexico)

08:00: ​​Departure bus from Alameda Square in front of the Hilton hotel

09:30-11:00: ​​Visit to Ciudad Universitaria (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México-UNAM)

      Talk on the mechanisms of direct democracy, social movements and experiences of activism.  


11:00-12:00: ​​Route: Emblematic consultations (Second Floor of the Periferico – Chapultepec Avenue)


12:00-13:00: ​​Stop at the Estela de Luz.  Chapultepec - Zona Rosa Cultural Corridor project: Citizen consultation

      Talk on the mechanisms of direct democracy, social movements and experiences of activism.  


13:30-15:30: ​​Lunch break


16:00-17:00: Visit to the Mexico City Congress

      Talk on the Constituent Assembly and the 2019 Law of Citizen Participation of Mexico City.  




An informative tour of Mexico City, trailing the democratic history of Mexico, and zooming in on case studies of direct democracy in the country. Visits to democracy practitioners and democratically important locations in Mexico City region.

It is mandatory to register separately for the Pre-tour here.

(organised by Mexican NGOs and the Instituto Electoral de la Ciudad Mexico)

07:30: ​​Departure bus from Alameda Square in front of the Hilton hotel

10:30-12:00: ​​Visit to Santa Ana Tzacuala, Acaxochitlán, Hidalgo (TBC)

      Talk on the participatory budgeting experience in the voice of the Santa Ana Tzacuala community inhabitants and the civil society organization that supported them.


14:00-14:45: ​​Visit to International Airport Felipe Ángeles (AIFA)

      Talk on the National Consultation on Mexico City’s New International Airport.


16:00: ​​Return to Mexico City


17:15: ​​Bus boarding at the meeting point for departure to the Swiss Ambassador's Residence from the Alameda square in front of the Hilton hotel.


18:00-21:00: ​​Reception - Switzerland & Mexico: The unlikely global twins of modern direct democracy (invitation only)



15:00-20:00: Official Global Forum Opening Evening: What is Direct Democracy Now?

Location: National Anthropology Museum


15:00: Departure buses in front of the Fiesta Inn Centro Histórico, One Alameda, Fiesta Americana Reforma hotels


15:00-17:00: Registration

16:00-16:20: Democracy Yoga with Elisabeth Erlandsson

17:00-18:00: Welcome remarks (EN/ES)

A welcome to the 2023 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, the largest gathering in the world dedicated to direct democracy and citizen participation, from the organizing partners.

  • Welcome: Joe Mathews, Global Forum co-president and democracy editor, Zócalo Public Square, USA
  • Introduction: Bruno Kaufmann, Global Forum co-president, Swiss Democracy Foundation, and global democracy correspondent, swissinfo, Sweden/Switzerland
  • Carla Humphrey, INE, México
  • Patricia Avendaño Durán, President of Mexico City Electoral Institute, Mexico
  • Mario De Leo Winkler, Director of Knowledge Comunication at Autonomus Metropolitan University
  • Reyes Rodríguez Mondragón: President of the TEPJF, Mexico
  • Dulce Vasquez, assistant vice president Arizona State University, USA
  • Arturo Sánchez Gutiérrez, Tec de Monterrey, Mexico
  • Claudia Guzmán, IDDECO Internacional, Mexico
  • Carola García Calderón, Directora de la Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales de la UNAM, México
  • Reyes Rodríguez Mondragón: President of the TEPJF
  • Lorenzo Córdova Vianello, Consejero Presidente del INE, Mexico


18:00-18:20: Keynote interview (EN/ES)

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on how Direct Democracy Can Be Used for Youth, Political Reform, and Climate Action (Remote)

Interviewer: Joe Mathews, Co-president Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, and author, The People’s Machine: Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy


18:20-18:40: Stories from around the world (EN/ES)

  • Nathan Gardels, editor in chief NOEMA magazine, co-founder Berggruen Institute, USA
  • A Note from North Korea, Marjan Ehsassi, Future of Democracy fellow, Berggruen Institute; scholar at Johns Hopkins University, USA
  • Dhani Gilbert, Wiradjuri, student and activist, Australia
  • Francis KW Loh, Professor of Politics and Senior Advisor, Forum of Federations, Malaysia
  • Livingstone Sewanyana, Founder and Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Uganda


18:40-19:40: Opening Panel: Will Direct Democracy Really Save Democracy? Experiences From Around the World (EN/ES)

A reflection on the present and future of direct democracy at the global, transnational, regional and local level from the point of view of thinkers, observers and people with experience in the subject from various regions of the world, based on the review of interconnected cases with an international vision, especially in Latin America.

  • Moderator: Joe Mathews, co-president Global Forum, USA
  • Pai-ku Wei, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, Taiwan
  • Tess Bacalla, Asian Democracy Chronicles editor, Philippines
  • Ann Ravel, former Federal Election Commission chair, USA
  • Miguel Ángel Lara Otaola, IDEA Internacional
  • Daniel Schily, co-founder, Democracy International and Mehr Demokratie, Germany
  • Fernando Pindado, Barcelona, Spain


19:40-20:40: Welcome Reception


Location: Palacio de la Escuela de Medicina


07:00: Departure buses in front of the Fiesta Inn Centro Histórico, One Alameda, Fiesta Americana Reforma hotels


09:00-12:00: Registration for the Forum open at the Palacio de la Escuela de Medicina


09:00-11:15: Special meetings with democratic leaders in Mexico (subject to pre-registration)

Participants can join one of three excursions - registration is mandatory.

- Senate

- Chamber of Deputies

- Guided tour of the Palacio de la Escuela de Medicina


11:55-12:00: Imagine Belfast! Founder Peter O’Neill on how to celebrate democracy (EN/ES)

Location: Auditorio Dr Gustavo Baz (Asia)


12:00-12:10: Short stories of democracy from around the world (EN/ES)

Location: Auditorio Dr Gustavo Baz (Asia)

  • Story of Democracy From Around the World: Youth political participation in Biobio, Chile. By Alejandro May Guillén
  • Story of Democracy From Around the World: A vaccine to protect democracy from extremism, Taipei, Taiwan. By Sam Chang
  • Story of Democracy From Around the World: Phnom Penh, Cambodia. By Sam Serey


12:10-13:10: Plenary Conference 1: What are the mechanisms of direct democracy, and how do they work in reality? (EN/ES)

Location: Auditorio Dr Gustavo Baz (Asia)

What does modern direct democracy look like in Latin America and in the world? What can we learn from the past and how can we use direct democracy to make our democracies more resilient for the future.

  • Moderator: Bruno Kaufmann, Co-President of the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy
  • John Matsusaka, University of Southern California, Initiative & Referendum Institute of the United States
  • Marie Jünemann, Mehr Demokratie, Germany
  • Yanina Welp, Graduate Institute, Switzerland
  • Víctor Alarcón Olguín,  Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico
  • Margarita Sierra, Secretaria de Participación Ciudadana de Jalisco, Mexico (Remote)
  • Doong Sy-Chi, Taiwan Think Tank, Taiwan
  • Riccardo Fraccaro, first direct democracy minister of Italy


13:20-13:35: Coffee break


13:35-14:50:  Panel 1: Direct Democracy in Latin America: Cases from the Western Hemisphere (EN/ES)

Location: Auditorio Dr Gustavo Baz (Asia)

The revocation of the President’s mandate in Mexico, the constitutional referendum in Chile, the plebiscite on the peace accords in Colombia, Uruguay’s long history with stable referenda and Peru’s local recalls and referendums. In this panel we’ll inspect some recent key cases of direct democracy in Latin America, identifying lessons learned.

  • Moderator: Iván Mendoza, Mexico City Electoral Institute, Mexico
  • Armando Rendón Corona,  Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico
  • David Altman, Catholic University Santiago de Chile, Chile/Uruguay
  • Adriana Favela Herrera, Consejera Electoral del INE, México
  • Rafael Rodríguez Campos, Universidad de San Martín de Porres de Perú (remote)


13:35-14:50:  Participation Slot 1: Workshop - The ABCs of participatory budgeting: sustainable cities and communities (EN)

Location: Aula H (Oceania)

Hosted by Ollin

Do you want to build more inclusive and participatory cities? Learn about this tool that offers a voice and empowers citizens. We will cover participatory budgeting, as well as pathways, the best practices and how to start implementing a PB process in your community.

  • Alejandra Traslosheros, Ollin, México
  • Alejandra Ortiz, Ollin, México
  • Karla Luna, Ollin México
  • Patricia Santamaría, Ollin, México


13:35-14:50:  Panel 2: Is direct democracy a tool that empowers autocrats or rather a weapon the people can use against authoritarians? (EN)

Location: Paraninfo (Africa)

Direct democracy mechanisms and their role in anti-political discourses and authoritarian leaderships.

  • Moderator: Micah Weinberg, California Forward
  • Francis KW Loh, Forum of Federations, Malaysia
  • Andrzej Jackiewicz, University of Bialystok, Poland
  • Csaba Madarasz, aHang, Hungary (remote)
  • Maria Mezentseva, Member of Parliament, Ukraine (remote)
  • Jaime Rivera Velázquez, Consejero del INE, México
  • Du Kwan Kim, Member of National Assembly, the Minju, Korea


13:35-14:50 Participation Slot 2: Workshop - Making direct democracy deliberative: Reimagining citizens’ initiatives, with Healthy Democracy (EN)

Location: Guillermo Soberón Acevedo (America)

Hosted by Healthy Democracy

Direct and deliberative democracy have a unique and powerful potential to intersect through reforms to US state initiative systems. Explore this opportunity with Healthy Democracy as its team members unpack the organization’s long history with deliberation-based initiative reform – the Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) – while unveiling their newest concept – the Initiative Convention System (ICS). Then, in an interactive workshop, help shape the future of this cutting-edge, democratic reform that centers everyday people in policy making.

  • Kacey Bull, Healthy Democracy,  USA/Mexico
  • Linn Davis, Healthy Democracy, USA (remote)
  • Alex Renirie, Healthy Democracy, USA (remote)
  • With Response from Nathan Gardels, NOEMA magazine, Berggruen Institute, USA


13:35 - 14:50: Panel 3: Direct democracy without limits? The  scope of direct democracy in public policy, legislation, and constitutions

Location: Eméritos (Europe)

What can direct democracy achieve and what not? How does direct democracy influence other forms of decision making? How is direct democracy itself changing to incorporate new and some - very - old forms of political participation?

  • Moderator: Dulce Vasquez, Arizona State University, USA
  • J.H. Snider, The State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse, USA
  • Guk Joo  Moon, Solidarity for People's Sovereignty, Korea
  • Uuc-kib Espadas Ancona, Consejero Electoral INE, Mexico  
  • Eduardo Núñez Vargas, National Democratic Institute, Guatemala/El Salvador
  • Sonia Pérez Pérez, Mexico City Electoral Institute, Mexico
  • Daniel González Pérez, IDDECO, Ecuador


14:50-16:00: Lunch Break 

15:30-16:00: Democracy Yoga with Elisabeth Erlandsson

15:25:  Open Space (EN/ES)

Location: Patio

    Opening        15:25 - 15:45
    Session I.       15:45 - 16:30
    Session II       16:35 - 17-20
    Insights      17:20 - 17:40

Moderator: Raban Fuhrmann, Academy for a Learning Democracy, Germany

A Forum for Democracy should give everyone a chance to participate! That's why offer this grass-root democratic arena for innovators and co-creators of democracy—in the language they prefer. In this Participatory Space, especially those participants who don't have an official slot in the program, now have the opportunity to offer a pop-up workshop.


16:00-16:10: Short stories of democracy from around the world (EN/ES)

Location: Auditorio Dr Gustavo Baz (Asia)

16:00 - 16:03. Story of Democracy From Around the World: Andy Doong, Taiwan
16:03-16:06: Story of Democracy From Around the World: Canberra, Australia. By Emma  Fletcher (video)


16:10-17:40: Panel 4 - How good is direct democracy for sustainability? (EN/ES)

Location: Auditorio Dr Gustavo Baz (Asia)

Direct democracy has been used to force climate action. But powerful interests can also use the process to block efforts to address climate change and improve sustainability. How can we make direct democratic processes more climate-friendly?


16:10-17:40: Participation slot 4: Panel - How digital technology is giving people power today (EN)

Location: Guillermo Soberón (América)

Hosted by Roslyn Fuller, Solonian Democracy Foundation

Digital technologies have revolutionized many aspects of our societies - they now enable us to significantly increase participation of people and meaningfully deepen democracy, from Participatory Budgeting to interactive public consultations, from digital deliberation to online voting and petitions.

On this panel, four winners of the SDI Digital Democracy Awards, which recognise key innovation and achievement in the field of online participation, will present their software, discuss the state of digital democracy today and take questions from the audience.

  • Moderator: Sam Chang, Negative Vote Association, Taiwan
  • John Richardson, Ethelo, Canada
  • Assaf Frances, ZenCity, United States
  • Colleen Hardwick, PlaceSpeak, Canada
  • Roberto Spagna, Multicast Srl / SkyVote, Italy


16:10-17:40: Participation slot 5: Workshop - Towards a democracy beyond elections: Citizen participation in the promotion of transparency and the fight against corruption (EN)

Location: Eméritos (Europe)

The benefits of direct and participatory democracy exercises are undeniable: they increase citizen confidence, reduce polarization and contribute to the sustainability of the democratic system. Beyond voting, there are many ways in which citizens can express their opinion and influence public affairs: referendums and plebiscites, popular initiatives, courts and popular assemblies, deliberative committees, among others. Even today, technology has made it possible to involve a greater number of citizens in these decision-making spaces, exercising their rights in a different way. In this panel we will talk about successful experiences of direct/participatory democracy implemented in various countries and the benefits they have generated.

  • Moderator:  Andreas Müller, Democracy International, Germany
  • Marie Jünemann, Mehr Demokratie, Germany.
  • Ann Ravel, former chair, Federal Election Commission (US) and Fair Political Practices Commission, USA
  • Liliana Alvarado, Ethos Innovation in Public Policy, Mexico


16:10-17:40: Participation slot  6: Workshop - Direct Democracy 101 (EN)

Location: Aula G (Antarctica)

Hosted by Democracy International, Mehr Demokratie, Ollin

Referendums, Plebiscites, Citizens’ Intiatives - What are the different direct democracy tools? And How does the set-up of direct democratic instruments influence how they are used?

This workshop offers a basic introduction to direct democracy using the typology of the Direct Democracy Navigator, looking at case studies from around the world and identifying best practices.

  • Ina Poppelreuter, Mehr Demokratie, Germany
  • Caroline Vernaillen, Democracy International, Belgium
  • Greta Rios, Ollin, Mexico


16:10-17:40: CANCELLED Participation slot 7: Workshop - Direct Democracy in Germany, Switzerland and Mexico (EN)

Location: Aula H (Oceania)

Hosted by OMNIBUS for Direct Democracy

For many years, the democracy movement in Germany has been calling for a right to vote that would allow people to vote on substantive issues not only at the municipal and state levels, but also across Germany.

The draft law proposes a three-stage procedure: Popular Initiative, Popular Petition, Referendum. In our workshop we want to take a closer look at this procedure and discuss the quality of these three stages. In doing so, we also want to take a closer look at the issue of direct democracy in Mexico.

Moderator: Andrea Adamopoulos, OMNIBUS for Direct Democracy, Germany


16:10-17:40: Participation slot 8: Panel - Routes for the citizen’s empowerment through the construction of direct democracy

Location: Paraninfo (Africa)

The tools of direct democracy can be powerful instruments to improve democracy itself. In this session, we examine how citizens can make use of the mechanisms of direct democracy to get a bigger say in decision making.  

  • Moderator: Matt Leighninger, National Conference on Citizenship, USA
  • María del Mar Trejo Pérez, Electoral and Participation Institute Yucatán, Mexico
  • Eduardo Bohorquez, Ley 3 de 3, Mexico
  • Ernesto Ramos, Mexico City Electoral Institute, México
  • María Del Carmen Nava Polina, Institute of Transparency, Protection of Personal Data and Accountability of Mexico City, Mexico
  • Édgar Tafoya, UNAM, Mexico
  • Mayor José Manuel Ribeiro, Vallongo, Portugal
  • Johanna Cilano Pérez, Activist and Scholar, Veracruz, México & Cuba


17:40-18:00: Short walk to La Casa de la Primera Imprenta en América


18:00-18:45:  Welcome Reception hosted by Zócalo Public Square

18:45-20:00: Evening discussion "Are Elected Presidents Bad for Democracy?"

Location: La Casa de la Primera Imprenta en América

Hosted by Zócalo Public Square

Presented in partnership with Democracy International and Metropolitan Autonomous University for the Global Forum for Modern Direct Democracy 2023

Separate registration is necessary for this event, please sign up here.

In Mexico, the United States, and other nations, presidential elections have long been described as the essence of democracy. And elected presidents are lauded as unifying figures who represent all citizens, ensuring that a country’s popular will is not thwarted by special interests and locally elected lawmakers.  But, from Caracas to Ankara to Washington, recent presidents have abused their considerable powers in ways that threaten democracy, or, as in Managua and Moscow, destroy it all together. Do the well-documented democratic problems of presidencies reflect the failures of particular leaders? Or are presidential systems simply too risky for democracy? And what models of executive power are most likely to protect democracy, or make nations and cities more democratic?

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile political scientist David Altman, Asia Democracy Chronicles editor-in-chief Tess Bacalla, former Taiwan minister  and Democracy International European program manager Daniela Vancic visit Zócalo to examine the promise and peril of the world’s presidencies.




Location: TEC de Monterrey Campus


08:00: Departure buses in front of the Fiesta Inn Centro Histórico, One Alameda, Fiesta Americana Reforma hotels


09:30-09:40: Short stories of democracy from around the world (EN/ES)

Location: TEC de Monterrey, La Carpa (Asia)

  • Story of Direct Democracy From Around the World: Fredericksburg, Virginia, by Paul Jacob (video)
  • Story of Direct Democracy From Around  the World: by Daniel Schugurensky
  • Story of Direct Democracy From Around the World: Mexico City, by María de Lourdes Marquina Sánchez


09:40-11:00: Plenary Conference 2 - How should direct democracy fit with participatory and representative democracy? (EN/ES)

Location: TEC de Monterrey, La Carpa (Asia)

Direct democracy and representative democracy are often pitted against each other, presented as alternative, but competing systems. In this panel we will have a look at how they can be integrated to complement each other. 

  • Moderator: Matt Leighninger, National Conference on Citizenship, former leader of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, USA
  • Ariel Avilés Marín (remote)
  • Dr. Alejandro Monsiváis Carrillo, Colef, Mexico (remote)
  • Mauricio Merino Huerta, Centro Universitario de Ciencias Económico Administrativas Jalisco, Mexico
  • Edmundo Jacobo, INE, Mexico
  • Gema Morales, Red de Politólogas, Mexico
  • Johana Fandiño, RI en Colombia, formerly Registraduría, Colombia
  • Won O. Chong, mayor of Seongdong-gu, Seoul, Korea, Good Local Government Association, Korea


11:00-11:10:  Short stories of democracy from around the world (EN/ES)

Location: TEC de Monterrey, La Carpa (Asia)

  • 11:00-11:05 Short stories of democracy from around the world: Aaron Tiedemann, Albany, California, mayor,and ProRep, on a revolution in representation in the U.S.
  • 11:05-11:10: Short stories of democracy from around the world:  Roslyn Fuller, Solonian Democracy Foundation, Ireland. Why citizens assemblies aren't the solution. (video)
  • 11:10-11:13: Story of Direct Democracy From Around the World: Yumbo, Colombia. By:  Diana Dajer, manager of citizen participation, Fundación Corona, Colombia


11:00-11:30: Coffee Break 


11:20-11:30: Democracy Yoga with Elisabeth Erlandsson


11:30 - 13:00: Panel 5: Can direct democracy respond to the crisis of representative democracy? (EN/ES)

Location: TEC de Monterrey, La Carpa (Asia)

What are the problems and faults of representative democracy, and how can direct and participatory democracy be used to address those failings?

  • Moderator: Ina Poppelreuter, Mehr Demokratie, Germany
  • Maria Mezentseva, Ukraine parliament (remote)
  • Stephen Erickson, Citizens Rising, USA
  • Fernando Castañeda, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
  • Carlos Chávez Becker, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico
  • Jean Francois Prud´homme, Colmex, Mexico
  • Sofía Martinez de Castro, IEPC Chiapas, Mexico


11:30 - 13:00: Participation slot 9 - Workshop - Democratic leadership and deliberation: Lessons learned from the citizens of Brazilian cities (ES)

Location: TEC de Monterrey, (Oceania)

Hosted by Delibera Brasil

Leadership of recent Citizen Assemblies in Brasil will share, in a moderated conversation, learnings and perspectives on Citizen Deliberation and Democracy. The three experiences are part of Decidadania program of Delibera Brasil, in partnership with ICLEI and "Escola do Parlamento" and supported by NED (National Endowment for Democracy).

  • Renata Torres de Sene, Mayor of Francisco Morato, Brasil  (remote)
  • Carol Gonçalves, the youngest elected City Councilor of Toritama, Brasil
  • Thais Rebouças, representing the mandate of City Councilor Maria Marighella, Brasil  (remote)
  • Fernanda Império, Delibera Brasil (remote)
  • Karin Adams, Decidadania program, Brasil (remote)


11:30 - 13:00: Panel 6: How do we  transition to direct democracy? (ES/EN)

Location: TEC de Monterrey, (Europa)

In this panel we will look at how we can make direct democracy a part of our democratic infrastructure at all levels, from the local to the global.

  • Moderator: Anne Hardt, Democracy International, Germany
  • Chan Ho  KIM, Korea Democracy Foundation, Korea (remote)
  • Uffe     Hvidkaer,  Europe Dialogue, Denmark     
  • Clara Egger, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands/France  (remote)
  • Rosa Ynés Alacio, Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México, Switzerland/México
  • Eduardo Schindler, Switzerland/Chile (remote)
  • Juan Reyes del Campillo Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico
  • Raban Fuhrmann, Academy for a Learning Democracy, Germany  


11:30 - 13:00: Participation slot 10: Workshop - Democratic Action Fund: Accelerate & equalize deliberative platforms (EN)

Location: TEC de Monterrey, (Antarctica)

Hosted by Democracy Action Fund & Berggruen

Over the past few years, citizens' assemblies have moved from ad-hoc platforms to institutionalized bodies within city council and parliaments. How can we increase the number of these assemblies and level the playing field so that more citizens are able to participate? Join us for a discussion on Democratic Action Funds, the next big idea in deliberative democracy.

  • Marjan H. Ehsassi, Democratic Action Fund  & Future of Democracy Fellow at the Berggruen Institute, USA


11:30 - 13:00: Panel 7: Does direct democracy threaten human rights, or provide a way to protect them?  (EN/ES)

Location: TEC de Monterrey, (América)

Can direct democracy be used to expand human rights or does it constitute a threat to them? How can we ensure that the rights of minorities are protected? And how do we enshrine the protection of human rights in our democratic processes?

  • Moderator: Peter Hong, Capital & Main, USA
  • Alexandra Peca, Group of the European Youth for Change, Romania
  • Vicenzo Castelli, Expert on migration rights, Italy
  • José Thompson Jiménez, Instituto Interamericano de DH, Costa Rica (remote)
  • Fernando Barrientos del Monte, Universidad de Guanajuato, Mexico
  • Livingstone Sewanyana, UN Independent Expert on international order, Uganda
  • Hilda Tellez, National Commission on Human Rights, México



11:30-13:00: Panel 8: The silent manipulation of direct democracy (ES)

Location: TEC de Monterrey, (África)

With the widespread use of social media, citizens find and consume information differently. Does this constitute a democratization of knowledge or is it a hazard for the spread of harmful desinformation? How has the digital age disrupted our democratic processes?

  • Moderator: Roberto Ruz, Electoral and Participation Institute Yucatán, Mexico
  • Roberto Cardiel, INE, Mexico
  • Alexander Vega Rocha, National Registrar of Colombia, Colombia
  • Julia Manske, Deutsche Welle, Mexico
  • Glenda Michel Gutérrez, Facebook, Mexico
  • Roberto Javier Gutiérrez López, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico (remote)
  • Andrés Araya Moctezuma, Instituto para el Desarrollo Democrático y la Competitividad Internacional, Costa Rica
  • José Luis Vargas Valdés - Tribunal Electoral del Poder Judicial de la Federación, Mexico
  • Carola García Calderón, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico



13:00-14:30: Lunch Break - The South Korean Lunch: Evolutionary Process of Participatory and Direct Democracy Through Cooperation—with Mayor Won O. Chong and National Assembly Mayor Du Kwan Kim.

Please grab your lunch and join the conversation in the main conference space. Desert will also be provided. With Korean-English and Korean-Spanish translation.


 14:00-14:30: Democracy Yoga with Elisabeth Erlandsson


14:30-16:00: Participation slot 11: Panel - Can direct democracy provide youth a path to decision-making power? (EN/EN)

Location: TEC de Monterrey, (Europa)

Almost all direct democracy processes on earth exclude youth and children. How do we change that?

  • Moderator: Adrian Schmid, Swiss Democracy Foundation, Switzerland
  • Jose Manuel Ribeiro, Mayor of Valongo, Portugal
  • Soufiyan Saaoudi, Youth Empowerment Society, Morocco
  • Rocío Frutos, Cabinet of the Presidency of the Superior Court of Electoral Justice of Paraguay
  • Khadija Amahal, Generation Democracy Global Member Advisory Board , Morocco
  • Gabriel Brezoiu, Group of the European Youth for Change, Romania
  • Emma Borrayo, Student at TEC de Monterrey, Mexico
  • Ted Lempert, former California State Assembly member and Children Now, USA


14:30-16:00: Participation slot 12:  Panel - Performance of electoral bodies in direct democracy exercises (EN/EN)

Location: TEC de Monterrey, La Carpa (Asia)

Electoral bodies are an important part of our democratic infrastructure. In this session we will examine the role they play specifically in direct and participatory democracy exercises.

  • Moderator: Bruno Kaufmann, Co-President Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, Sweden/Switzerland
  • Juan Carlos Galindo, Arbitration and Conciliation Center, Colombia
  • Ricardo de la Peña, Applied Social Research in Mexico, Mexico
  • Brenda Judith Serafín Morfín, IEPC Jalisco, México
  • Seung Ryol Kim, AWEB, Republic of Korea


14:30-16:00: Participation slot 13: Panel - Mechanisms for Citizen Participation in Key Sectors (health, security, construction and food) (ES only)

Location: TEC de Monterrey, (Oceanía)

Hosted by IDDECO Internacional and ALDA

  • Claudia Guzmán, IDDECO, Mexico
  • Percy Medina, IDDECO, Perú
  • Daniel Ivoskus, IDDECO, Argentina
  • Nadia Di Iulio, ALDA, Italy


14:30-16:00: Participation slot 14:  Panel - What has Mexico seen of Direct Democracy?   Mexican testimonies of direct democracy exercises (ES)

Location: TEC de Monterrey, (África)

This panel will take a look at the limited history of direct democracy in Mexico, and to examine possibilities for a more robust participatory democracy in the country.

  • Moderator: Héctor Duarte, INE, Mexico
  • Ximena Peredo, Citizen Participation of Nuevo León, Mexico
  • Moisés Pérez Vega, Electoral and Participation Institute Jalisco, Mexico
  • Moisés Bates Aguilar, Electoral and Participation Institute Yucatán, Mexico
  • Mauricio Huesca Rodríguez, Electoral Institute of Mexico City, Mexico
  • Luz Fabiola Matildes, Electoral and Participation Institute Guerrero, Mexico
  • Patricia Santamaría, Ollin, Mexico
  • ​​Zelandia Bórquez Estrada, Red Cívica MX, México
  • Miguel ÁngelVasquez de la Rosa, Educa, Mexico
  • Patricia Torres Sandoval, Red Abogadas Indigenas Michoacán, Mexico


14:30-16:00: Participation slot 15: Panel - How can direct democracy better include those who have been underrepresented and discriminated against? (EN/ES)

Location: TEC de Monterrey, (America)

Join us for a thought-provoking panel on inclusion and participation in a Global Forum on Direct Democracy! Our panel of experts will delve into the challenges and opportunities for increasing participation and ensuring inclusivity in direct democracy initiatives on a global scale. The discussion will cover topics such as accessibility, diversity, and the role of minorities in fostering a more inclusive democratic process. With diverse perspectives and a focus on practical solutions, this panel will be a must-attend event for anyone interested in promoting meaningful participation and inclusivity in the democratic process.

  • Moderator: Daniela Vancic, Democracy International, USA
  • Patricia Brogna, Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
  • Martha Singer Sochet Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
  • Erika Granados Aguilar, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico
  • Jung-Ok Lee, Former Minister of Gender Equality and Family, Korea
  • Carolina del Ángel Cruz, Electoral Institute of Mexico City, Mexico
  • Josh Lerner, People Powered, USA
  • Chikara Yanome Toda,  State Electoral Institute Baja California Sur, México
  • Gloria Alcocer Olmos, Fuerza Ciudadana, México


14:30-16:00: Participation slot 16: Workshop - Living democracy: beyond the electoral moment (ES)

Location: TEC de Monterrey, (Antartica)

Hosted by TEC de Monterrey

In this workshop we will identify forms of personal and community development to promote democracy as a way of life in Mexico. Through the design of participation strategies and the use of citizen tools from the university sphere.

  • Xochitl Pimienta, TEC de Monterrey, Mexico
  • Laura Cervantes, TEC de Monterrey, Mexico
  • Itzel Ortíz Zaragoza, INE, Mexico


16:00-16:30: Coffee Break 


16:30 - 16:40: A father’s vision and the future of democracy

Location: TEC de Monterrey, La Carpa (Asia)

Hugh Pope and S. Quentin Pope, Belgium


16:40 - 18:10: Plenary Conference 3: Are The Courts Tough Enough for Direct Democracy? (EN/ES)

Location: TEC de Monterrey, La Carpa (Asia)

A rare conversation on how judges and courts can best handle newer tools of direct and participatory democracy.

  • Rick Hasen, professor of election law, University of California, Los Angeles, USA (Remote)
  • Anna Rytel-Warzocha, University of Gdansk, Poland
  • Nancy Gutiérrez Salas, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, Bolivia
  • Luis Diego Brenes, TSE, Costa Rica


19:30 - 21:00: Evening reception hosted by the US Embassy and ASU (invitation only)



Location: INE National Electoral Institute Headquarters


09:00: Departure buses in front of the Fiesta Inn Centro Histórico, One Alameda, Fiesta Americana Reforma hotels


10:00–10:05 Story of Democracy From Around the World: Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles

10:00-11:30: Plenary Conference 4: What do electoral bodies need in order to facilitate direct democracy exercises? (EN/ES)

Location: Auditorio INE

Electoral bodies can be key allies in the exercise of direct democracy. What is the institutional infrastructure we need to build to enable this?

  • Moderator: Bruno Kaufmann, former election chair, city of Falun, Sweden
  • Ann Ravel, former chair, U.S. Federal Election Commission, USA
  • Claudia Zavala, INE, México
  • Jorge Enrique Bogarín González, Tribunal Superior de Justicia Electoral Paraguay
  • Stephanie Lindquist, ASU, USA
  • Néstor Solís, Center for Digital Studies and Monitoring of the Electoral Tribunal of Panama
  • Erika Estrada Ruiz, Electoral Institute of Mexico City, Mexico


11:30-11:40: Short stories of democracy from around the world (EN/ES)

  • 11.30-11.33: Story of Democracy From Around the World: New York, USA. Ready Solutions Advanced in NYC for Direct Democracy's Modernization By Olaf Bertram-Nothnagel
  • 11.36 - 11:39 Story of Democracy From Around the World: Canberra, Australia, Emma Fletcher (video)


11:40 - 12:40: Plenary Conference 5: Democratic resilience in the 21st century: how can we make participation a tool for strengthening democracy? (EN/ES)

Location: Auditorio INE

With the arrival of widely accessible digital tools, an array of new democratic instruments has become available. How can we make the best use of these new participatory and direct democracy tools? How can they be integrated in our existing democratic systems and how can they empower citizens to make their democracies more resilient?

  • Moderator: Caroline Vernaillen, Democracy International, Belgium
  • Erwin Mayer, Mehr Demokratie, Austria
  • Livingstone Sewanyana, the UN independent expert on an equitable and democratic international order, Uganda
  • Kacey Bull, Healthy Democracy, USA
  • Daniela Ciaffi, Labsus, Professor in Urban Sociology, Italy
  • José Martín Faz Mora, INE, Mexico
  • Bernardo Valle, Electoral Institute of Mexico City, Mexico


12:35 - 13:10: 2023 Global Forum Declaration (EN/ES)

Location: Auditorio INE


13:10-13:30: Closing of 2023 Global Forum and invitation to 2024/25 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy (EN/ES)

Location: Auditorio INE



13:30 -14:00: Briefing tour of the National Electoral Institute (subject to pre-registration)


13:30 -15:10: Closing event - Lunch and networking



Democracy City Summit in Merida, Yucatan

Participants are expected to organise their own transportation to Merida. There are direct inland flights from Mexico City.

Please let us know if you plan on joining the Summit here.


Location: Merida, Yucatan

 16:40: Departure of the transport from the Holiday Inn to the Parque de Jardines de Mérida. The bus will be available to board from 4:20 p.m.

17:00-18:00: Visit to "Las Flores" Park remodeled with the Participatory Design program, with the Mayor of Mérida Lic. Renán A. Barrera Concha. Objective: To know the citizen participation mechanism called "Participatory Design of Public Spaces".


18:20-19:20: Guided tour of the Government Palace and surroundings of the Plaza Grande. Objective: Learn about the history of the Mayan civilization and the city of Mérida, through the permanent exhibition of murals by plastic artist Fernando Castro Pacheco and emblematic buildings of the Historic Center.


19:20-21:00: Welcome cocktail at the top of the Municipal Palace with short welcome adresses by

  • Renán A. Barrera Concha, Mayor of Mérida Yucatán, Mexico
  • Jung-Ok Lee, Democracy International, South Korea

21:10: Transfer to the Holiday Inn Mérida headquarters hotel.
Av. Colón Nº 498 between 60 and Av. Paseo de Montejo
Phone: 52+ (999) 942 8800.


Location: Holiday Inn, Merida, Yucatan


09:00-09:30: Registration and welcome

09:30-09:50:  Inauguration of the event by the Secretary of the City of Mérida, Abog. Alejandro Iván Ruz Castro, representing Lic. Renán A. Barrera Concha, Municipal President of Mérida, as well as the Co-chairs of the Global Forum, Bruno Kaufmann and Joe Mathews.

09:50-11:50:  Development of local democracy

Moderator: Caroline Vernaillen, Democracy International

  1. Presentation by Volodymir Groysman, former Mayor of Vinitsia, Ukraine (VIDEO)
  2. Presentation by Carol Goncalves, Councilor of Toritama, Pernambuco, Brazil. Topic: National Networks, Delibera Brazil
  3. Arturo Flores Exhibition, Naucalpan, Edo. from Mexico. Theme: Mexico City neighborhood. Comparison of Cities (MX).
  4. Presentation by Graciela Ramírez García, Secretary of Education, Mexico City. Topic: Neighborhood democracy.
  5. Presentation by Roman Thieltges, Officer for International  Youth Policy Cooperation, International Youth Service of the Republic of Germany Association. Bonn, Germany. Theme: International Youth Work Strengthening Local Democracy.
  6. Presentation by Martina Fürrutter, Project Director of the European Capital of Democracy Network; Vienna, Austria. (REMOTE VIA)
  7. Presentation by Adria Duarte, Coordinator  of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG); Barcelona, Spain
  8. Exhibition by Carlos Gonzales, International IDEA; Panama, Panama. (REMOTE VIA)
  9. Presentation by Peggy Flynn, Administrator in Petaluma, California, United States; (REMOTE VIA)
  10. Presentation by Dong Hak Lee, Trash Center Representative, Seoul, Korea. Theme: Democracy and garbage in cities around the world
  11. Final comments and closing of the first panel

10:55-11:10: Coffee break

11:10-11:10: Panel: Democratic Cities in Europe, Africa, Asia and America

Moderator: Sofía Várguez Villanueva


  1. Presentation by Du Kwan Kim, member of the National Assembly, former Mayor and first elected Mayor in Namhae, South Korea
  2. Exhibition by Francis KW Loh, Scholar; Penang, Malaysia
  3. Presentation by Won Oh Chong, Mayor of Seongdong-gu, Seoul, South Korea)
  4. Presentation by Shingjeong Bae, Member of the Council; Seoul, South Korea)


  1. Statement by Niesco Dubbelboer, Advisor to the Vice Mayor; Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  2. Presentation by José Ribeiro, Mayor of Valongo, Portugal
  3. Presentation by Andreas Müller, Director of Democracy International, Lucerne, Switzerland.


  1. Presentation by Asrar Ben Jouira, Human Rights Expert; Tunis, Tunisia
  2. Presentation by Livingstone Sewanyana, Human Rights Lawyer; Kampala, Uganda.


  1. Exhibition by Daniel Schugurensky; Professor at the School of Public Affairs and at the School of Social Transformation; Phoenix, Arizona, United States.
  2. Presentation by Aaron Tiedeman, Mayor of Albany, United States.
  3. Presentation by María Alejandra Victorín Jiménez, Representative of the Demonstration Laboratory; Bogota Colombia
  4. Stephen Erickson exhibition; Founder of the American All Ground Alliance; Ponte Vedra, United States.
  5. Presentation by Rafael Montalvo, Mayor of Ticul, Yucatán, Mexico
  6. Statement by Lic. Renán A. Barrera Concha, Mayor of Mérida Yucatán, Mexico


13:20: Signing the Magna Charta For Democracy Cites

Participating cities: • Merida (MX) • SungDong Gu, Seoul (KR) • Penang (MY) • Albany (US) • Valongo (PT) • Amsterdam (NL) • Lucerne (CH) • Tunis (TN) • Kampala (UG) ) • Ticul (MEX)