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Vitalizing Democracy through Participation

Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011

By Bertelsmann Stiftung

Preserving and strengthening democracy is one of the most important issues of our time. Democratic societies face many pressing challenges, including

• Social inequality and exclusion

Migration and the growing gap between rich and poor mean that fewer citizens are able to participate in political decisionmaking processes and represent their own interests.

• New expectations for political participation

Citizens feel increasingly alienated from the political process due to the fact that traditional forms of political participation are insufficiently relevant to actual needs. Thus there is a growing preference for more direct forms of participation that address specific issues.

• Insufficient problem-solving capacities

Society is becoming more diverse and complex, while the pace of life is accelerating. This makes it harder to react to changes appropriately and in a timely manner, to implement effective reforms, and to inform the public about current issues.

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