Building Blocks for Democracy

Finding new ways to make democracies more resilient in a rapidly changing world

For several years now, grave concerns have been raised about the dangers faced by democracy in the emerging new world. 

During the 2021 Athens Democracy Forum it became clear that there is now a need to identify the specific ways in which democracy will need to evolve in order to meet these dangers. We need to move beyond the analysis of the dangers and provide specific answers on how to make democracy more resilient to the dangers of inequalities, climate change, digitalization, migration, health pandemics. 

This is no easy task. Democracy may rest on just two fundamental principles – human rights and the rule of law—but its workings are intricate, its institutions relatively feeble, people’s trust in it easily undermined. Democracy can quickly move in several directions: tyranny, populism, authoritarianism.

The Foundation's project on “Re-imagining the Building Blocks of Democracy” aims to start a global debate on how democracy ought to evolve. 

The project

This is a 4-year Democracy & Culture Foundation (DCF) project carried out with a large group of partners and encompassing the Global North and the Global South. It aims to come up with specific and practical policy recommendations regarding the functioning-operational parts (blocks) of democracy, that will make it better able to meet the challenges of the 21 st century as well as its own internal and external enemies. The project is now in its third year following a methodology initially delineated by a group of mainly academic advisers to DCF. Each year all partners gather in London to present and discuss the year’s activities, and the results are then presented at that year’s Athens Democracy Forum (ADF), which also serves as the launching pad for the following year’s activities.


The Building Blocks

After extensive discussion, it was decided to concentrate on policy proposals that concern the following functions of liberal democracy:

  • The Power of the Peoplepeople and their interaction with democratic institutions
  • The Power of Votingvoting, obstacles and absenteeism
  • The Power of the Executive - the executive vs. the legislature and the desired balance thereof
  • The Power of Partiesmoney & parties and their influence on policies
  • The Power of Informationinformation and its impact on democracy
  • The Power of Business - the business world and its role in democracy and combating inequality
  • The Power of AI & Ethics - AI & the need for universal ethical standards

Learn more

Re-imagining the Building Blocks of Democracy

Policy Recommendations

Now in its third year, this is a four-year DCF project that emanated from ADF 2021, encompassing the global north and the global south, and aims to design practical policy recommendations (Reform Package) and to advocate for their approval and implementation by decision makers. We have created a summary of the main policy recommendations from the current (third year) state of affairs regarding the Reform Package.

Read the summary here

Some of our Building Blocks

The Power of the People

Sydney, Australia

Curated by the newDemocracy Foundation



The Power of Voting

Tel Aviv, Israel 

Curated by IDEA


The Power of the Executive

Seoul, South Korea

Curated by the Taejae Academy


The Power of Information

Washington DC, USA 

Curated by the Bertelsmann Foundation


The Power of Influence

Berlin, Germany 

Curated by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation


Wrap up session

London, England

The Power of the People

The Power of Influence

Curated by:

Supported & Hosted by: 

Work with us

If you'd like to work or partner with us, please get in touch with a member of the team.

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