Strategies for Strengthening Democracy: The Crisis of Representation

The Bulgarian Fulbright Commission is pleased to invite PhD, MA and BA students (juniors or seniors), academics, as well as representatives of the NGO sector and young professionals interested in the topic to apply for participation in the second edition of the Fulbright International Seminar on “Strategies for Strengthening Democracy: The Crisis of Representation”.

This hybrid event will take place on September 24, 25, and 26, 2021 in Launchee Space in Sofia, Bulgaria, and on Zoom. It will be open to participants from all over the world, and the keynote speeches and panel discussions will be streamed online. Applying as a participant will give you access not just to speeches, but to workshops as well. Participants will be required to attend the entire event, work with Seminar presenters on individual/group projects, and will receive certificates for their attendance. Up to 25 people will be selected for full participation based on their motivation and interest in the field. They will have the opportunity to join online or in person if the epidemiological situation allows it. Participation is free of charge, and if preference is for in-person attendance the Bulgarian Fulbright Commission may offer partial funding for travel/accommodation on a case-by-case basis.

The Topic

The topic addresses the effects of challenges like the COVID pandemic, the digital revolution, the transfer of power from local to global players on the very core of democracy: citizens’ participation and the crisis of representation. In a number of discussions focused on “The Territory of Democracy: The Blurred Locus of Power”, “The Body of Democracy: The Excluded Citizen”, “Opaque Institutions: The Erosion of Legitimacy; The Excluded Opinion”, we will be discussing the following questions:

Where is power located in contemporary democracies: national, supranational and global perspectives? What are the effects of flawed representation and limited participation for the health of democracies? Could exclusion from the democratic process of large populations be the reason for mistrust and conspiracy theories, disinformation, demoralization, apathy, frustration and violence? Could the lack of democratic legitimacy result in damage for state sovereignty? What is the role of forming and manipulating public opinion in democracies?

The Purpose

The purpose of the seminar is to provide context to and awareness of the current democratic crisis. It aims to equip the participants with knowledge, skills and practical tools to tackle the pressing challenges to citizens’ participation, fair governance and freedom of speech, as well as to outline trajectories for the development of strong democratic communities. It boosts participants’ professional and academic profiles by offering certification and an opportunity for international publication. FIS 2021 enables lecturers and students to establish international connections, create institutional linkages and form professional networks.

Where is power located in contemporary democracies: national, supranational and global perspectives? What are the effects of flawed representation and limited participation for the health of democracies? Could exclusion from the democratic process of large populations be the reason for mistrust and conspiracy theories, disinformation, demoralization, apathy, frustration and violence? Could the lack of democratic legitimacy result in damage for state sovereignty? What is the role of forming and manipulating public opinion in democracies?

Participation

If you would like to apply for full participation, and receive certificate of attendance, please fill out the application form.

Deadline for participant applications is September 15, 2021