Katherine Knobloch is an assistant professor at Colorado State University, in the USA. She is the associate director of the Center for Public Deliberation in the Department of Communication Studies. Her research focuses on political communication and civic engagement. Specifically, she explores how deliberative public processes can create a more informed and engaged citizenry.
Yves Cabannes is an urban specialist, activist and scholar. Over the past forty years he has been involved in the research and development of solutions for urban issues, people-led initiatives and local democracy in different regions of the world. He also supports, researches, teaches and advocates for participatory budgeting, urban agriculture and housing rights. He became Emeritus Professor of development planning at the University College London in 2015.
Shariza Kamarudin is the Programme Manager for the Gender Responsive and Participatory Budgeting (GRPB) of Penang Women’s Development Corporation (PWDC) in Penang, Malaysia. She and her team assist the state and the local councils to institutionalise GRPB in Penang.
Mandione Laye Kebe is a photographer from Senegal. Since 2017, he leads the citizens' initiative Save Dakar, which aims to conscienciate the population about the need to respect public spaces and raise their awareness about environmental problems and individual responsibility for the group interest, among others.
Jillian Johnson is the Mayor Pro Tempore of the city of Durham, in the USA, a long-time community organizer and activist. She is currently on the coordinating team for Durham for All, an organization working to build a multi-racial, cross-class, political vehicle in Durham. She is also a board game designer working on a cooperative game that imagines the development of a future communitarian society in Appalachia after 100 years of climate change.
Kumar Rao is Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Popular Democracy in New York. At the organization, he helps manage its racial justice policy work and supports partner organizations. He is also co-author of the report Freedom to Thrive: Redefining Safety and Security in our Communities. Throughout his career, Kumar has advocated on the full gambit of progressive legal matters in the public interest, including practicing as a public defender and civil rights attorney. He has also advised NGOs in strategic planning, designing creative technology solutions and crafting communication and branding strategies.
David Altman works as a professor of Political Science at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He is also associate researcher at the Agencia Nacional Uruguaya de Investigación e Innovación and he has won two times the Uruguayan national award of Political Science. In his main research line, he focuses on direct democracy mechanisms and he is nowadays studying the political consequences of citizens’ participation through popular initiatives and referendums.
John Gastil is a professor of Communication Arts & Sciences and Political Science at Penn State University (USA), where he studies public deliberation and group decision making. His current research focuses on the Oregon Citizen Initiative Review. Established by state law in 2010, this unique process uses a random sample of citizens to analyze ballot initiatives, then share their findings with voters to help them make informed decisions during the election.
Gala Pin is alderman at the City Council of Barcelona and responsible for the Ciutat Vella district. She is also responsible for participation and territory. She is an specialist in digital communication linked to the defense of online rights and freedoms. She has been involved in the right to housing and the city for more than 10 years. Among others, she is part of the neighbourhood movement of La Barceloneta, in which she has participated for the recovery of the cooperative memory and a citizen harbour.
Pascal Clouaire is deputy major of the city of Grenoble, in France. He is the delegate of local democracy, economy of proximity and Europe. He is also a metropolitan alderman and member of the Commission Nationale du Débat Public. His political career started in 1998 with Go-Citoyenneté, a local movement focused on citizens’ demands. He is also co-founder of Réseau-Citoyen, a new party of Grenoble, actor of citizens’ alliances, left-wing and ecologist, chosen in the municipal elections of 2014.
Alice el-Wakil is a PhD researcher at the University of Zurich and at the Center for Democracy Studies of Aarau. Within the political theory field, her investigation focuses on democratic institutional design and innovation from a normative perspective. In her current research project, she studies popular vote processes (initiative and referendums) and argues for a reassessment of the democratic credentials of these procedures.
Bruno Kaufmann is the Global Democracy Correspondent of the Swiss Broadcasting Company, which releases democracy news in 10 languages. He is also the Director of International Cooperation at the European Democracy Foundation and co-chairs the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy. Until 2017, he was member of the city government in Falun (Sweden), where he chaired the Election and Democracy Commission. Bruno is the author of the European Passport to Active Citizenship, available in 22 languages, and of the Global Passport on Modern Direct Democracy.
Pauline Véron is deputy mayor of Paris. She is in charge of local democracy, citizens’ participation, community life and youth. She is also the vice-president of the general council of the city and she has been elected for the 9th district of the French capital. Among her responsibilities, she has to face challenges such as the implementation of the participatory budget or the improvement and support to the Parisian community life.
Sandra Hincapié was a professor and researcher at Mexican and Colombian universities, and an advisor for cooperation agencies and NGOs. She is a member of the Sistema Nacional de Investigadores del Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) of Mexico. She is a specialist in the study of social conflicts, human rights and democratization processes. Nowadays, she studies the participation and mobilization processes in support of rights in the socio-environmental conflicts of Latin America.
Weronika Smigielska is a political and social activist based in Kraków, Poland. In 2014, along with other activists she managed to organise a local referendum through the Kraków Against Olympics initiative. Its aim was to mobilise people to vote against the city's application for the Winter Olympic Games 2022. Since January 2017, she is vice-president of the Miasto Wspólne association, created to continue the city-focused struggles. Besides that, she is a member of Ogniwo cooperative, an independent cultural centre/café/bookstore.
Donatella Della Porta is director of the Centre of Social Movement Studies (Cosmos) and dean of the Department of Political Sciences at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence. Among the main topics of her research are social movements, political violence, terrorism, corruption, police and protest policing. She is Honorary Doctor of the universities of Lausanne, Bucharest and Göteborg.
Gabriella Gomez-Mont is the founder and director of the Laboratorio para la Ciudad, in Mexico City. The Lab team is transdisciplinary and it intends to design creative experiments and methodologies to face new citizen participation models. It’s a space for speculation and testing and it’s continuously thinking of new ways to approach relevant topics of the biggest and more complex cities in the world.
Ada Colau Ballano is Barcelona's first-ever woman mayor. Part of her professional life has been devoted to researching and championing human rights, with special emphasis on housing rights. She has spent the last twenty years building up her professional and political skills, through her academic studies, her work in civil organisations and her participation in social movements.
Beth Noveck is the director of the Governance Lab of New York and professor of technology, culture and society at the New York Tandon School of Engineering. In the past, she has worked for the USA and UK governments. Her main line of research focuses on the ability of communities and institutions to work together in order to solve problems in a more effective and legitimate way.
Yanina Yelp is the main researcher of the Centre for Democracy Studies and codirector of the Centro Latinoamericano de Zúrich, both affiliated to the University of Zurich. Also, she is a founding member of the Red de Politólogas platform. Her main line of research focuses on the political, non-electoral participation, especially on the comparative analysis of the direct democracy and participatory mechanisms, as well as on the use of digital channels for political activity.
Vitalie Sprînceană is a sociologist, blogger, journalist and urban activist based in Chișinău, Moldova. He is also a co-editor at PLATZFORMA.MD, a website for social, economic and political critique. He is interested in and argues for inclusive democratic public spaces, social justice, free knowledge, plurality of worldviews and practices.