Can citizen deliberation and empowered citizens’ assemblies act as an antidote to authoritarianism, and if so, in what ways? To what extent are citizens’ assemblies resilient to potential influence and manipulation (from within or external)? What kind of pushback do they receive from opposing forces, which arguably will increase in the future as they gain more and more power? These are the questions Ieva Česnulaitytė aims to tackle with the goal of drawing lessons for the future use of new deliberative institutions in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond.
Ieva Česnulaitytė is the founding head of research and learning at DemocracyNext, an international nonprofit, nonpartisan research and action institute with a mission to build new democratic institutions for the next democratic paradigm of citizen participation and deliberation. Previously, she was a policy analyst at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, working on innovative citizen participation. She co-authored the organization’s flagship report Catching the Deliberative Wave and the Citizen Participation Guidelines, authored its Evaluation Guidelines for Representative Deliberative Processes, and edited a series on New Democratic Institutions for Participo. She also worked in the office of Lithuania’s prime minister, leading the country’s participation in the Open Government Partnership Initiative.