First Austrian Democracy Congress Organized

More+More+ ♦ Published: November 27, 2022; 19:21 ♦ (Vindobona)

Democracy is experiencing a crisis of confidence globally and is under threat, also in Austria the last years showed the breach of trust between people and democracy. The Central European University, SORA and the Wiener Zeitung are jointly organizing the first Austrian Democracy Congress on Thursday, December 1, 2022. Experts from science and practice will discuss how to promote trust and strengthen democracy.

The first 1st Austrian Democracy Day 2022 will be held at the Central European University (CEU). / Picture: © CEU - Central European University

The Austrian Democracy Congress sees itself as a forum and motor for democratic discourse. It brings science and practice into a conversation to discuss solutions and raise democracy awareness in Austria as a whole.

For the first Austrian Democracy Congress, Central European University (CEU), SORA and Wiener Zeitung will organize 3-panel discussions, followed by a panel discussion. Well-known guests from the fields of politics, science and journalism will be represented, including Sigrid Maurer (head of the Green Party), Günther Ogris (managing director of SORA) and Walter Hämmerle (editor-in-chief of Wiener Zeitung).

Carsten Schneider, Prorector for External Relations of the CEU and political scientist notes the importance of the first Democracy Day/Congress in Austria by the fact that it needs a common basic understanding in the population, "that the democratic form of government is a value in itself, which not only most likely brings prosperity and prosperity, but also protects human dignity and promises its citizens a self-determined life." This consensus can never work sufficiently in democracy, Schneider said. "Governments must be able to cushion economic crises to prevent a lasting loss of trust as well as further social division," Schneider explained.

The first panel poses the question "Local trust? Cities as Democratic Innovators." In cities, social diversity is condensed and crises affecting society as a whole occur directly at the local level. But cities are also spaces of opportunity for social innovation and democratic fields of experimentation, according to the corresponding press release. The panel will focus on where urban crises of trust are currently emerging, and where is trust being strengthened? What positive and negative experiences do cities have with new forms of participation? And what is needed for a vibrant urban democracy of the future?

The second panel deals with the topic "Trustworthy for all? Inequality as a democratic challenge" and makes clear that surveys such as the Austrian Democracy Monitor show that trust in the system and democracy is highly unequally distributed - as is the feeling of being represented by politics, of having a place in society and of being able to participate. The question "What does it take to close this gap and how can different institutions contribute to it?" will be initiated in this panel.

The third panel will focus on "Youth in a crisis of confidence? Democracy of the Next Generation." At the latest since the multiple crises of recent years, youth trust is in the basement, whereby the affectedness is distinctly different depending on social status and educational background, explains the press release of the event. Questions such as "Where are the biggest challenges in order not to lose the next generation for democracy?" or "And what can different institutions contribute?" will be discussed here.

At the end of the first Democracy Day/Congress, there will be a high-caliber panel discussion with Sigrid Maurer (member of the Green Party), Barbara Teiber (Chairwoman of the GPA Trade Union of Private Employees), Günther Ogris (Managing Director of SORA, Austrian Democracy Monitor) and as moderator Walter Hämmerle (Editor-in-Chief, Wiener Zeitung).


The Central European University has been operating in Vienna's 10th district since 2019 and conducts research here in a wide range of disciplines. CEU is one of the most international universities in the world - students and faculty from 140 nations make their academic home here. This international composition provides an ideal environment to explore the question of how democracies can be designed to uphold principles of the rule of law, pluralism, human rights and media freedom.

The SORA Institute was founded in 1996 by Christoph Hofinger and Günther Ogris and is one of the leading private social science institutes in Europe. As a renowned authority in political and social research, SORA cooperates with top European institutes. SORA researches on behalf of the European Commission, federal, state and local governments as well as renowned private companies.

The Wiener Zeitung was founded in 1703 as the Wiennerisches Diarium. The first issue appeared on August 8, 1703, making it the oldest daily newspaper still published in the world. The newspaper is 100 percent owned by the Republic of Austria.

CEU PU - Central European University

Wiener Zeitung

SORA Institute