About the Program
Sortition (noun) - The action of selecting or determining something by the casting or drawing of lots.
The Bard Institute for the Revival of Democracy through Sortition is conceived as a critical platform to assemble the diverse research and resources that are emerging around deliberative democracy and sortition. We are a project of the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College, and place much importance in the association with her legacy of thought. We believe sortition satisfies Hannah Arendt’s ideal of political freedom and that it would have figured in her writing, had it not been buried in the history books. As investigators of the practical possibilities of this ancient and reviving model of democratic decision-making, we are based in Germany, the United States, and wherever else our research may take us.
WHAT BIRDS IS DOING
Because Hans and Jonas are both from Germany, B.I.R.D.S. activities have largely migrated to Europe. Still, we would like to share them here.
BIRDS has joined Denkzemtrum|Demokratie and Demokratie Innovation e.V., two non-profit Think Tanks in Germany.
- went on a fact finding mission to Ireland and learned about the Citizens Assembly and Constitutional Convention first hand, made a report and helped peripherally to realise the first nationwide CA on citizen political participation in Germany this year.
- gave multiple talks on Sortition and Citizen Assemblies (CA), including at Bard College Berlin, a number of theaters and to a subgroup of the German parliament.
- took part in negotiations for a Germany-wide CA on climate policy.
Additionally, B.I.R.D.S. published its little yellow book “G.P.S. - Guide to the People’s Senate.” If you want one, send us an email.
Jonas also has co-founded the Governance Lab @GoogleBerlin, in which he is exploring deliberation and debate techniques to create more balanced and fair decision making processes.
Hans has written, illustrated & published a new book of global warming solutions, titled Global Swarming. The book seeks to popularise the idea that Citizens’ Assemblies are an essential tool for effectively grappling with the challenge of climate change.
The Institute was cofounded by Bard College graduates Jonas Kunz and Hans Kern. Check back with us soon for updated content, links to sortition in the news, and much more. Sign up by email to receive updates on the Institute's activities.