18:00 - 18:30
Lobbying for Good

Short thesis

A guide on why and how citizens should become ‘citizen lobbyists’ to help revive our fragile civic life and restore their own citizen role in society. Virtually all contemporary democracy theories suggest that only a revitalized citizenry may fix the democratic impasse, but nobody provides a solution to actually do that. What if citizen lobbying could provide that solution while revitalizing democracy? This presentation provides an accessible theoretical framework of a new form of active citizenship by providing inspirational illustrations and a how-to guide to new, unconventional forms of citizen engagement.


Lobbying for good

How often do you make a difference in life? Well, not often enough. For the most part, it is the political system and marketers that decide things for you. We are too busy living our lives to engage with what lies beyond our daily routine. Yet outsourcing the solution of small and big problems to our elected political representatives and big corporations turns out to be a frequent source of frustration. Elected officials and the market largely ignore citizens’ opinion in favor of affluent, well-connected and organized actors lobbies. As a result, your voice - the voice of people just like you and me - is often sidelined, dismissed, or even silenced. It is no surprise that we increasingly feel powerless, hopeless and that we lose interest in public life.

If you are concerned about this state of affairs and want to have a say, this talk suggests a seemingly counterintuitive and provocative solution: turn yourself into a citizen lobbyist. Thanks to the information revolution, technology and the emergence of the ‘do-it-yourself’ ethos, lobbying is no longer the prerogative of well-funded groups with huge memberships and countless political connections. You, the individual, can just as easily write to your officials, post a provocative blog piece online, mobilize your fellow citizens to protest, or apply civic pressure in one way or another. You can also help an existing organization by volunteering your expertise in the public interest. Whether you are a young student or a senior professional, whether you work for an NGO or in the private sector, you have got power. This book will tell you how to unleash it. 

By building upon the speaker's personal experience as educator and civic advocate, this presentation offers you an inspiring, how-to-guide on how to become an effective citizen lobbyist in your daily life. A blend of the most recent debates about the future of democracy with the latest research in cognitive psychology and happiness, Lobbying for Good invites you to join a small, yet rapidly growing group of citizens who measure their success not only by the attainment of their personal, immediate interests, but also by the extent of their impact on society and the natural environment. 

Becoming a citizen lobbyist will help you not only to revive our fragile civic life but also to regain control of - and give meaning to - your own personal life.