International Student Forum “The Future of Democracy”


There is a clear need to reform existing models of democracy. Party disaffection, declining voter turnout, and especially the growing attractiveness of alternative models are serious symptoms. However, we at the Gesellschaft zur Erforschung der Demokratie-Geschichte (Society for the Study of the History of Democracy) are convinced that democracy, with all its weaknesses, remains superior to the alternatives. And this is precisely because it is capable of reform. Democracy has grown historically. It has been fought for, established, shaped, reformed, defended, lost and won again. It will continue to be changeable in the future. We believe firmly that the participation of as many citizens as possible within the framework of orderly procedures is still the best way to guarantee human dignity for all over the long term, and to keep finding the appropriate forms in which the political process should take place.

Today, politics often takes place in transnational bodies. The future of democracy must therefore be conceived and shaped at least on a European, if not a global, scale. And it must be conceived and lived in democratic forums from the very beginning.

In the context of the Wartburg–Festival of Democracy (15-19 October 2023), we are creating such a forum in at Wartburg Eisenach, Germany. We are establishing an annual meeting of young people who are concerned about the future of democracy and human dignity – and how to create such a future. To kick things off, we invite a small group of students from across Europe to set the cornerstones for the project itself. These are, among others:

  • How should the forum work?
  • Who should participate in the forum?
  • What topics should the forum deal with?
  • How should the forum reach out to the public?
We are looking for committed students from all over Europe to help us get this project off the ground.