The School on Participatory Democracy is organized in Türkiye for the first time through a collaborative effort between the Council of Europe, Arguden Governance Academy, and Istanbul Citizens’ Assembly.
Representatives of local governments and civil society organizations from different cities, including İstanbul Adana, and Balıkesir attended the School on Participative Democracy whose curriculum covers the Council of Europe's participatory democracy approach and standards. The discussions focused on the principles and tools for enhancing civil participation at the local level. Participants explored various civil participation tools, best practices, and experiences from different European countries. Topics such as public space design, participatory budgeting, youth engagement, and citizen panels were among the special topics discussed. The School on Participatory Democracy aims to strengthen civil participation at the local level.
The opening remarks of the program were delivered by Mr. Ali Galip Yukseltmek, Head of the Strategy Department of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Mrs. Cornelia Perle, Representative of the Council of Europe's Elections and Participatory Democracy Division, Mrs. Tulin Hadi, President of the Istanbul Citizens’ Assembly, and Dr. Yılmaz Arguden, Chair of Trustees of Arguden Governance Academy
In his speech, Mr. Ali Galip Yukseltmek highlighted the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality's emphasis on participatory democracy and civil engagement in its work. He emphasized the effective use of citizen and civil participation in decision-making processes, especially in activities such as preparing the strategic plan and conducting participatory budgeting.
In her speech, Mrs. Cornelia Perle from the Council of Europe emphasized the importance of the active efforts and participation of civil society as well as local governments in strengthening participatory democracy. She noted that former participants of the school continue to collaborate as a network, highlighting that this five-day exchange of knowledge and experiences will have an impact on the future.
Mrs. Tülin Hadi, President of the Istanbul Citizen Assembly, stated in her speech that strengthening participatory democracy and civil participation in cities are their top priorities. She explained that the purpose of organizing this school is to introduce standards, principles, tools, and best practice examples that municipalities and civil society organizations can use to enhance civil participation. She emphasized that as skills in using civil participation tools develop, practical work can be implemented more effectively. She underlined that participatory democracy is a culture, and sharing best practices is essential for its continuous development.
In his speech, Dr. Yılmaz Arguden, Chair of Trustees of Argüden Governance Academy, emphasized that “Trust is the essence of good governance, the foundation of sustainable development and quality of life. Building Trust and Reinforcing Democracy is a key priority for all OECD countries and informed, inclusive stakeholder engagement is key for building trust.”
He continued to explain that initiating the ‘School on Participative Democracy’ in Türkiye is a natural extension of the Academy’s work to improve the quality of governance, such as the Municipality Governance Scorecard©, Local Development Guides, training programs for public and NGO managers, and the awarding of the European Label of Governance Excellence (ELoGE) for identifying and promoting good governance examples among local governments.
Argüden Governance Academy is a non-profit foundation dedicated to improving the quality of governance in public, non‑profit, private, and international organizations. The Academy conducts impact research, develops content, prepares educational programs, and promotes best practices with a holistic and integrated view of governance to improve trust for institutions. The Academy forms partnerships with international organizations, universities, public institutions, companies, and NGOs for better deployment of good governance culture to improve the quality of life for current and future generations.
The Academy is recognized for its impact research studies such as Sustainability Governance Scorecard©, Municipality Governance Scorecard©, and publications such as Local Development Guide, Integrated and Inclusive Strategic Planning Guide, as well as its education programs for public, corporate, and NGO leaders.
It also has good governance training programs such as ‘Governance for Kids' and 'GOV 101' for university youth to develop a culture of living together for all segments of society from 7 to 77. The Academy has a vibrant Youth Network covering 40 universities in many provinces participating in these programs.
The Academy is accredited by the Council of Europe to lead the European Label of Governance Excellence (ELoGE) process for local governments in Türkiye and collaborates to implement the School on Participatory Democracy.
Arguden Governance Academy is the first organization to publish an Integrated Report in Türkiye and a global pioneer among the non-governmental organizations to publish its activities as Integrated Reports since its first year of operations. The Academy promotes the adoption of integrated thinking by the public, civil society, and private sector institutions for a sustainable future.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE
The Council of Europe is one of the oldest international organizations aimed at enhancing cooperation in Europe by improving law, human rights, and democracy The main objective of the Council of Europe is the establishment of a common democratic environment and legal system in Europe.
The Council aims to achieve its objectives through the European Convention on Human Rights and similar human rights instruments. The Council of Europe consists of 46 member states, including all members of the European Union. It has a comprehensive structure that envisages various levels of cooperation on issues covering almost all areas of life, as well as cooperation between member states at various levels at all stages, including norm-making, codification, and monitoring.
Istanbul City Assembly aims to realize the principles of good governance in urban life, development of urban vision and awareness of citizenship, protection of the rights and laws of the city, sustainable development, sensitivity to the environment, social assistance and solidarity, transparency, accountability, participation, strengthening civil society, and increasing the activities of those whose voices are less heard, especially children, youth, women and the disabled, in social life. Established in 2019, the Istanbul Citizen Assembly is the city's largest civil meeting arena, encompassing all kinds of diversity. The Assembly carries out various activities to ensure that the citizens of Istanbul have a say in the management and future of the city.