Deliberation paving the way for democratization: Southeast Europe in focus

This lunch time seminar series is aimed at exploring the expanding world of deliberative research.
  • Event time:
    18th October 2023 13:00 – 14:00
  • Format:

In Southeast European countries, there has been a notable rise in social movements and local civic initiatives, signalling dissatisfaction with unresponsive and authoritarian institutions. They aim to challenge conventional politics, and advocate for democratic governance – at a time when this is seen as being under threat from autocratization. In order to this, they are increasingly using deliberative mini publics as a means of engaging the general public.

The discussion focused on the connection between democratic innovation and the emergence of new social actors as potential catalysts for positive change. It aimed to contribute to the ongoing discourse on democratization through deliberation by drawing from the experiences of social movements and civil society experimentation in Southeast European countries.

We were delighted to have had three excellent speakers, Gazela Pudar Drasko (University of Belgrade, Serbia), Eva Bordos (DemNet, Hungary) and Damir Kapidžić (University of Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina), who offered an important perspective on where and how deliberation can play a role in contexts of autocracy.


  • Eva Bordos
    Director DemNet
    Eva is currently the director of DemNet, one of the largest and oldest development NGOs in Hungary. She is a member of the board of the Hungarian Association of NGOs for Development and Humanitarian Aid (HAND), and is actively involved in numerous pan-European development networks, such as CONCORD (European Confederation of Relief and Development NGOs) and Eurodad (European Network on Debt and Development). She has also worked for the British Embassy in Budapest, OSCE, UNICEF and the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC). She holds a master’s degree in political science from the Central European University (CEU) and a master’s degree in law from Eötvös Lorand University of Budapest (ELTE).
  • Gazela Pudar Drasko
    Director Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade
    Gazela Pudar Draško is a political sociologist, a Director at the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade, unique engaged thinking institute with international reputation. She is appointed coordinator of Rectors’ Forum of Southeast Europe on behalf of the Rector of University of Belgrade. She serves as a member of President Biden’s Summit for Democracy Cohort for Deliberative Democracy and Citizens Assemblies and an Executive Board Member of the Institute for Democratic Engagement Southeast Europe. She has been engaged as consultant and researcher in numerous projects with international organizations. She writes on deliberative democracy, participatory democratic innovations, social movements and gender.
  • Damir Kapidzic
    Associate Professor University of Sarajevo
    Damir Kapidžić is an Associate Professor of comparative politics at the University of Sarajevo and currently a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University on a Fulbright Scholarship. He is a consultant on deliberative processes for the Council of Europe, a member of the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group, and editor of the book 'Illiberal Politics in Southeast Europe' published by Routledge in 2022.


  • Ceri Davies
    Director of the Centre for Deliberation National Centre for Social Research
    View full profile

    Ceri is interested in how the public has a voice in the decisions that shape their lives – be that through democratic means, in policy development, understanding the implications of science and technology and influencing or contributing to the questions that researchers ask. 

    She has been working at the intersection of evidence and practice in public participation for over 15 years, through roles in community development, in social research and on not-for-profit boards. The creation and her leadership of the Centre for Delberation continues this general theme – with a focus on bringing social science rigour to an innovative range of research on public attitudes and policy making in the context of democratic innovation.

    The Centre's current work tackles large scale societal issues, such as Brexit, the environment and inequalities, bringing diverse perspectives into conversation with evidence at local and national scales, to explore complex or contentious social issues that impact policy, support the articulation of social attitudes and make a difference to society. Alongside this, the Centre is a national leader in methodological developments, particularly the use of online methods - and provides fresh thinking on how deliberative research can respond to big societal questions now and in the future.    This includes experimental work such as our ground-breaking online Deliberative Polls on post-Brexit policy making and participating in the Rethinking Public Dialogue programme to explore how deliberation might be scaled through creating rapid and accessible formats. 

    With a background in academia and civil society, Ceri previously led the University of Brighton’s Community Knowledge Exchange (2008-2018) and completed her doctorate exploring knowledge and power in participatory research on issues of social justice. She is a volunteer at Sussex Nightstop (a small charity developing community-based responses to homelessness), an associate editor of Research For All and an advisory board member of the Citizens Convention on UK Democracy.

  • Suzanne Hall
    Director of Engagement at Policy Institute King’s College London
    Suzanne is a highly skilled qualitative researcher with 20 years of public policy research experience. She led the qualitative research team at Ipsos MORI, an independent research agency, from 2013, and in that role was responsible for skills development, growing the business and embedding new and innovative approaches to solving policy problems with a focus on deliberative, participatory, ethnographic and digital methodologies.