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School on Participatory Democracy

The third edition of the Council of Europe's School on Participatory Democracy was organized in Türkiye in collaboration with Argüden Governance Academy and Istanbul Citizens' Assembly.

School on Participatory Democracy

İstanbul, 18 – 22 September 2023

The first phase of the School on Participatory Democracy has been completed, and the standards and tools related to participatory democracy from the Council of Europe have been shared with the participants. During the training, an interactive learning environment was provided, along with best practice examples, sharing of knowledge and experiences, and opportunities for effectively involving citizens in local political decision-making processes, as well as interaction with other experts and practitioners.

Applications from interested candidates were accepted until August 4, 2023, and the results of the applications were communicated on August 7, 2023. Participants who have taken on responsibilities in local governments and civil society came together in an online introductory meeting on August 21, 2023. The training, in which 23 participants graduated, was hosted on Büyükada by İstanbul City Council (with the support of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality) from September 18 to 22, 2023. The training was conducted by international and Turkish experts with extensive experience in the field.

Anna Ditta, participants while accompanying them in group work.


The training cycle was led by Anna Ditta (ALDA+) and Natalya Chernogub (NGO "Open Data Association").

Anna Ditta is an instructor and practitioner with over 15 years of experience. She specializes in capacity-building initiatives for NGOs and local governments and mobilizing citizens, using the Council of Europe Civil Participation Handbook as a methodological reference. She has previously moderated the local civil participation academy for the Council of Europe in Sarajevo (2021) and Belgrade (2022) and has conducted presentations on standards and tools for LA and NGOs to support collaboration among participants in their local realities.

Natalya Chernogub is a Council of Europe Expert and the President of the "Open Data Association". Her research areas include public participation in urban planning, democratic innovations, and open data. Natalya serves as the Chair of the Open Data Committee of the Public Council under the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine. She has been an expert and civil participation trainer for the Council of Europe for a long time and has accompanied the Participatory Democracy School in Georgia and Croatia.

During the training, Dr. İnan İzci, a member of the Academic Board of the Argüden Governance Academy, gave a presentation on the Turkish context. Melis Türker, Project Leader at the Argüden Governance Academy, introduced and played the UChange game, one of the participation tools of the Council of Europe. In addition, trainers from the Council of Europe shared various tools: Dako Muradashvili introduced CivicLab and CPT tools, Marcin Gerwin introduced Citizen Assemblies, Pavle Tvaliashvili introduced School Participatory Budgeting, and Natalya Chernogub introduced Participatory Public Space Planning.

The opening speeches of the training were given by Cornelia Perle, Senior Program Advisor for Elections and Participatory Democracy Division at the Council of Europe, Ali Galip Yükseltmek, Head of the Strategic Planning Department of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Tülin Hadi, President of Istanbul Kent Council, and Dr. Yılmaz Argüden, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Argüden Governance Academy.

The institutions represented by the participants who completed the first phase of the Participatory Democracy School are as follows: Gebze Municipality, Kadıköy Municipality, Küçükçekmece Municipality, Istanbul Planning Agency, Sultanbeyli Municipality, Türkiye Europe Foundation, Red Pepper Association, Adana City Council, Türkiye Family Planning Association, Argüden Governance Academy, Istanbul City Council, Roof Coliving, Empower with Nature, Citizens Assembly, Life Youth Academy Association, and Vote and Beyond Association.

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