We are excited to convene these leading academics, political leaders, and practitioners for this conference:
Thierry Beaudet has been President of the CESE since May 2021. With a background in teaching and community organizing, Thierry Beaudet has held elected office in the national mutualist movement since 2003. He served as the President of the Fédération nationale de la mutualité française from 2016 to 2021, and founded and chaired the Groupe VYV from 2017 to 2021. He chaired the MGEN (Mutuelle Générale de l’Éducation Nationale) from 2009 to 2017. He chairs the international union of French-speaking economic and social councils (UCESIF).
Nathalie Berriau has been the general coordinator of the Ascodocpsy network since June 2002. She holds a master’s degree in sociology and a DESS in documentation and advanced technologies. In 2022, she was selected by lot to take part in the Citizens’ Convention on End of Life (CCEL). She is co-president of the association “les 184”, which was created at the end of the CCEL (www.les184.com).
Claudia Chwalisz is an author, activist, and entrepreneur. She is the Founder and CEO of DemocracyNext, an international research and action institute working to shift political and legislative power to everyday people through Citizens’ Assemblies. She co-leads the Tech-Enhanced Citizens’ Assembly Lab, a joint initiative of DemocracyNext and the MIT Center for Constructive Communication. Before founding DemocracyNext, Claudia set up and led the OECD’s work on innovative citizen participation — establishing an evidence base of ~600 examples of citizens’ assemblies, setting standards for implementation, and establishing guidelines for institutionalization. She co-authored the OECD’s flagship report Innovative Citizen Participation and New Democratic Institutions: Catching the Deliberative Wave and led the development of the OECD Good Practice Principles for Deliberative Processes. She also oversaw the development of the OECD Evaluation Guidelines for Representative Deliberative Processes (2021) and wrote the seminal OECD paper on Eight Ways to Institutionalise Deliberative Democracy (2021). Claudia is an Obama Leader Europe 2023 and is on the Global Advisory Council of The Data Tank.
Ali Cirone is an assistant professor in the Government department at Cornell University, and for the academic year 23-24 is a Faculty Fellow in the Yale ISPS Democratic Innovations Program and visiting assistant professor in the Yale Political Science Department. Her research focuses on political selection and institutional design in democracies, lottocratic governance and policy, historical political economy, social media and democracy, and European politics. Her recent work has been published in the American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, World Politics, Political Science Research and Methods, Journal of Historical Political Economy, and the Annual Review of Political Science. She also teaches and publishes work on causal inference, data collection, and digitization for historical data. She is currently working on a book manuscript for Cambridge University Press on “Lotteries in Democracy,” that studies the use of lottery-based procedures and deliberative democracy in legislative institutions.
Marjan H. Ehsassi is a Berggruen Institute Future of Democracy Fellow and IDEA’s Senior Innovation Fellow, focusing on democratic innovations in the U.S. as well as overseas. She is a strategic policy advisor, practitioner, and a movement builder and has worked extensively on citizens assemblies worldwide. She is a fierce believer in the integrity of citizens’ voice: the potential of citizen engagement, inclusiveness, and impactful government-led deliberative innovations to promote democratic renewal. She completed a Doctorate in International Affairs (DIA) at Johns Hopkins University’s SAIS with a concentration in democratic innovations and works on the design and implementation of deliberative platforms. She recently served as one of four guarantors of the French Citizens’ Convention on the End of Life and was on the Oversight Committee of the G1000 We Need to Talk Citizens’ Panels. Marjan is working on her first book on citizens’ assemblies (to be published summer 2024) and is leading the North American efforts of the Federation for Innovation in Democracy (fide.eu). You can find her Noema article on Putting the Public back in Public Policy as well as as a San Francisco Chronicle article on the Democratic Action Fund. She is also the Executive Director of Federation for Innovation in Democracy North America (FIDE North America).
Jean-Michel Fourniau is a sociologist and emeritus research director at the Gustave Eiffel University (France). His research focuses on environmental conflicts, public debate, participation and citizen experimentation for the ecological transition. He founded the CNRS Scientific Interest Group (Gis) Democracy and Participation, which he chaired until the end of 2022. He led the research program Cit’in (2017-2021) Les expérimentations citoyennes pour la transition écologique. He served on the governance committee of the 2019-20 French Citizens’ Convention for the Climate. He is the co-author of Pour une 6e République écologique, published by Odile Jacob in 2011, and La Démocratie du XXIe siècle. L’Assemblée citoyenne du futur, published by Les Liens qui libèrent in 2017. He also directed La Démocratie écologique: Une pensée indisciplinée, published by Hermann in 2022. and, with Hélène Landemore, Les assemblées citoyennes, une nouvelle forme de représentation démocratique ?, published by De Boeck in 2023 (Participations n° 34 (2022/3)).
Antonin Lacelle-Webster is a postdoctoral associate with the Democratic Innovations Program at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS) at Yale University. He received a Ph.D. in political science from the University of British Columbia in 2023. His research focuses primarily on democratic theory, with a particular interest in democratic innovations, political agency, and the politics of hope and disappointment. His current book project theorizes a political, collective, and open-ended conception of hope embedded in democratic practices and spaces and its implications on the study of democracy and political agency. He is also involved with Participedia as a member of the Democratic Representation research cluster and the Editorial Board. His research has been published in books and journals including the European Journal of Political Theory.
Cristina Lafont is Harold H. and Virginia Anderson Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University. She is the author of Democracy without Shortcuts. A Participatory Conception of Deliberative Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2020); Global Governance and Human Rights (Spinoza Lecture Series, van Gorcum, 2012); Heidegger, Language, and World-disclosure (Cambridge University Press, 2000), The Linguistic Turn in Hermeneutic Philosophy (MIT Press, 1999). With Nadia Urbinati she is completing a book manuscript titled The Lottocratic Mentality: Defending Democracy against Lottocracy (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).
Hélène Landemore is a professor of political science at Yale University with a specialization in political theory and a faculty fellow with Yale’s Institute for Social and Policy Studies, where she leads a research agenda on citizens’ assemblies within Democratic Innovations (a new ISPS program designed to identify and test ideas for improving the quality of democratic representation and governance). She is also a fellow at the Ethics in AI Institute at the University of Oxford and an advisor to the “Democratic Inputs to AI” program at OpenAI. She served on the Governance Committee of the 2022-23 French Citizens’ Convention on end-of-life issues. Her research and teaching interests include, among other things, democratic theory, political epistemology, and the ethics and politics of artificial intelligence. She is currently undertaking work on the ethics and politics of AI supported by Schmidt Futures through the AI2050 program.
Claire Mellier is a facilitator, process designer and researcher with expertise in participatory and deliberative democracy. She is knowledge and practice lead at Iswe Foundation where she recently co-authored an article “Getting real about Citizens’ Assemblies” exploring a new theory of change for citizens’ assemblies. She is a co-founder of the Global Assembly on the climate and ecological crisis for COP26, which received the backing from UN Secretary General, António Guterres. Over the past few years, she has delivered more than fifteen citizens’ assemblies on climate change and other topics, at all levels: from the local to the global. She was part of the facilitation team at Climate Assembly UK and Scotland’s Climate Assembly and one of the accredited researchers who observed the French Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat. Most recently, she helped design the Convention of the Future Armenian, an independent bottom-up deliberative assembly involving members from the Armenian diaspora. Claire has a particular interest in systems change and how deliberation can be used to address polarisation and trauma. She is an associate researcher at the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformation (CAST) at Cardiff University, where she published a comparative analysis of the French and UK assemblies and a research briefing on systems change and citizens’ assemblies. She is on the Advisory Board of the International Panel on Social Progress.
Théophile Pénigaud is a postdoctoral associate in political science at Yale. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, where he also led a junior laboratory studying the evolutions in democratic practices and theories (2019-2022). His research area is democratic theory, with a special emphasis on democratic innovations such as citizens’ asse mblies. He was an observer of the French Conventions for Climate and on End of Life. His first single-authored book, Les délibérations du people. Contexte et concepts de la philosophie politique de Rousseau (“The People’s Deliberations: Context and Concepts of Rousseau’s Political Thought”), is forthcoming at Classiques Garnier.
Min Reuchamps is Professor of Political Science at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. He holds political science degrees from the Université de Liège (Belgium) and Boston University (USA). He is professor of political science at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain) where he analyzes federalism and multi-level governance, democracy and its transformations and innovations, participatory and deliberative methods, as well as relations between language(s) and politics and in particular the role of metaphors in political discourse. He is regularly invited to observe and assess democratic processes as well as to appear in the media and in the public debate. In Belgium, he actively contributed to the design of the Permanent Citizens’ Dialogue of the Parliament of the German-speaking Community and of the mixed parliamentary committees for the Parliament of the Region of Brussels, the French-speaking Parliament in Brussels and the Walloon Parliament.
Sandrine Rui is an Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Bordeaux. Her research focuses on political sociology (participative processes and systems) and the sociology of public action. She has authored (with Olivier Cousin) L’intervention sociologique. Histoire(s) et actualité d’une méthode (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2010); La démocratie en débat. Les citoyens face à l’action publique (Paris: ArmandColin, 2004). She was a member of the governance committee of the Citizens Convention on End of Life.
Dr. Colin Scicluna joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malta in 1994 and has been posted to Brussels, Dublin, Helsinki & the United Nations (NY). He has also served in the EU Negotiations Secretariat in the Office of the Prime Minister, the Policy Unit of the EU High Representative for Common Foreign & Security Policy, Javier Solana and as Political Advisor to the EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process. He has served as Ambassador of Malta to Austria, Hungary, Slovakia & Kosovo, as well as Permanent Representative to the OSCE & the multilateral bodies in Vienna. He has served as Middle East & North Africa Adviser to EU High Representative for CFSP & Vice President of the European Commission, Catherine Ashton, Adviser on the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood to Commissioner for the European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement, Johannes Hahn and Director for the Middle East, North Africa & Gulf in the European External Action Service. Since December 2019, he has served as Head of Cabinet to the Vice President of the European Commission for Democracy & Demography, Dubravka Šuica. He was Co-Head of the Common Secretariat for the Conference on the Future of Europe. Ambassador Scicluna, who was born on 5 February 1967, is a graduate in Law (University of Malta) and International Politics (Université Libre de Bruxelles).
After obtaining a law degree and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Paris X Nanterre, Myriam Souami worked for 4 years at the French National Assembly, where she worked with Congressmans on various issues such as budget, sustainable development, mobilities and European policies. Following a year at the Senate as political and technical advisor on social affairs, Myriam Soumi was appointed to the Ministry of Urban Affairs as ministerial advisor in charge of parliament. On the strength of this parliamentary experience, she decided to use her skills to promote an innovative sustainable mobility solution, and was appointed Director for Public and European Affairs of an electric vehicle conversion start-up. As for that, she participated in the definition of the French Government ambitious plan for Retrofitting. It was also during this period that she was drawn to participate in the Citizens’ Convention on End of Life.
Jane Suiter is a Professor in the School of Communications at Dublin City University where her research focus is on the information environment of the public sphere, in particular on scaling up deliberation and tackling disinformation. Jane is the director of DCU’s Institute for Future Media, Democracy and Society. She has been involved in various research and oversight capacities on the Irish Citizens’ Assembly (2012-2022) and was a founding member of We the Citizens (2011), Ireland’s first deliberative experiment. She is a member of the OECD’s FutureDemocracy network and is on the advisory board of the Federation of Innovation in Democracy Europe (FIDE). She has also advised in Scotland and elsewhere on citizens’ assemblies.
Claire Thoury is the President of the ‘Mouvement associatif’, a national representation of French associations that unites around 700,000 organizations. She joined the CESE as a member of the Associations Group since May 2021. Her academic background, including a thesis on civic engagement, complements her practical involvement in promoting active citizenship and participatory democracy. In her capacity as the president of the Governance Committee, Thoury played a pivotal role in steering the Convention on End of Life.
Antoine Vergne focuses on exploring governance for the 21st Century. He works at Missions Publiques on the design, implementation and evaluation of innovative processes of collective decision making. He has been in the core team of two Global Citizens’ Dialogues, the Conference on the Future of Europe, the French Citizens’ Assembly on climate, and more recently the first Citizens’ Assembly in the Web3 space.