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Logo: Reinhard Mohn-Preis 2011

Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011

The problem in brief

Democracy is facing significant challenges

Democracy is the core element of today’s society. It forms the basis for social harmony and self-determination and places actual human needs at center stage. Thus strengthening and preserving democracy is one of the most important issues of our time.

Over the past decades, democratic systems have continuously evolved and adapted to new conditions. The following are the most pressing challenges faced by today’s democracies:

  • Insufficient problem-solving capacities
    Society is becoming more diverse and complex, while the pace of life is accelerating. This is making it harder to react to changes appropriately and in a timely manner, to implement effective reforms and to inform the public about current issues.
  • New expectations for political participation
    Citizens feel increasingly alienated from the political process due to the fact that traditional forms of political participation are insufficiently relevant to actual needs. Thus there is a growing preference for more direct forms of participation that address specific issues.
  • Social inequality and exclusion
    Migration and the growing gap between rich and poor mean that fewer citizens are able to participate in political decision-making processes and represent their own interests.

The 2011 Reinhard Mohn Prize is dedicated to examining these challenges and generating answers to the following questions:

  1. How can increased participation on the part of the public improve the chances of developing usable solutions and increase the robustness of political processes?
  2. What might new forms of political participation look like that account for changing desires for getting involved and that help people feel heard?
  3. What is needed in order to integrate disadvantaged, underrepresented groups into political processes?

The €150,000 prize will be awarded to a governmental institution which, on its own or in collaboration with a non-governmental actor, has carried out successful activities designed to achieve the following: vitalizing democracy, integrating underrepresented groups into the political process, and establishing new democratic approaches to problem-solving by strengthening political participation. The activities must be adaptable to the German context, as the Bertelsmann Stiftung will be drawing on these examples of international best practice as inspiration for possible future projects in Germany.

Contact Person
Headshot of Frank Frick Frank Frick
+49 5241 81-81253
Headshot of Christina Tillmann Christina Tillmann
+49 5241 81-81335
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