About us

Citizens’ Democracy is a networking organization for deliberative democracy in Switzerland. Together we are creating a new understanding of politics and democracy by promoting, designing and evaluating citizens’ assemblies.

Who we are

We are a dynamic and diverse group of people form all over Switzerland. We are driven by the urgent need of a less polarized, more sustainable and resilient society and we are working towards a society with a balanced deliberation and representation leading to an independent, transparent and long-term oriented decision-making process.

Our vision

We will contribute to creating a new understanding of politics and democracy through the establishment of citizens’ assemblies where all people, by cultivating trust and togetherness, will feel the agency and legitimacy to actively shape their long-term future, and in so doing create a less polarized, more sustainable and resilient society. Citizens’ Democracy launched a platform where all actors working on Citizens’ Assemblies can together strengthen democratic activities in Switzerland.

Our aim

Citizens’ Democracy aims to promote, design and evaluate citizens’ assemblies in Switzerland, from local to national levels, thereby fostering a dynamic independent participative democracy based on full transparency and balanced deliberation and representation. In cooperation with relevant societal and political actors, we shall serve as a think and act tank for citizens’ assemblies in order to enhance their legitimacy with a view of integrating this innovative democratic approach into the policy process.

Our objectives

  • Connect efforts on deliberative democracy in Switzerland.
  • Offer expertise in the design, implementation and evaluation of current and future experiments in deliberative democracy.
  • Make people aware of the core principles and values of a good deliberative process and their power in politics.

Our team

We are a small but constantly growing team. Below is a short introduction of some of our members :

Alexandra Gavilano

Alexandra Gavilano is a passionate catalyst for social transformation. Next to her activities as a climate and food justice activist, she has been working as environmental scientist and campaigner. She co-launched several initiatives and associations with social and ecological linkages. As Swiss-Peruvian she appreciated from very early on the democratic system we have in Switzerland. However, when facing the planetary crisis’ she started to search for new options to strengthen the democratic system. After first explorative activities since 2019 about the potential of Citizens Assemblies in Switzerland in the Nova Helvetia journey and the Catalyst lab, she co-launched the Swiss Citizens Assembly platform Citizens’ Democracy.

  • Activities
    • Roles: Co-founder and strategist, expertise on CA design development and implementation, facilitation design, networking
    • Projects: DIA Tool development, Lobbying project, Process design Citizen Assemblies (Common Food Policy), CA research 

Bettina Duerr

Bettina Duerr developed a deep appreciation for how well our democratic system works while living and studying abroad. She sees citizens’ assemblies as the next step to advance Swiss democracy and make sure Swiss society has the necessary instruments to face the upcoming complex political challenges.

  • Activities
    • Roles: Expertise on CA research, fundraising, networking
    • Projects: DIA Tool development, CA research 

Brigitte Portner

Brigitte Portner is a land system scientist with a background in geography and sustainable development. She works to support creative and pluralistic learning spaces that enable people to connect and contribute to collective imaginaries and meaningful actions for a transforming world.

  • Activities
    • Roles: Expertise on CA research
    • Projects: DIA Tool development, CA research 

Caterina Toffoletto

A child nurse and soon a naturotherapist, for Caterina Toffoletto, democracy means, to recognize the dignity of every human. She believes in Citizen’s assemblies because it brings people together, where the collective intelligence is used for fair and just proposals in times of crisis. Because she has hope in humanity, especially those who are part of the 99%.

Célia Doloir

Translator, idealist, Célia Doloir has joined this group hoping to contribute to the development of citizens’ assemblies in Switzerland; they are the key to dealing with the political impasse around the issue of the climate crisis.

  • Activities
    • Roles: Translation

Niklas Schuler

Coming from the civil engineering sector and emerging to the sustainability development of companies, Niklas Schuler is passionate about problem solving and how we can change from the status we are in, to a healthy and sustainable one. Deliberative democracy is for him the key to overcome the biggest problems of our time together as a society.

  • Activities
    • Roles: website design and communication support

Paolo Jacomelli

It is time to give all people a bigger role in decision making. Paolo Jacomelli believes citizens’ assemblies can achieve this and can also help find solutions to the many environmental problems facing us. He comes from a teaching background and his roles in citizens’ democracy include networking and website content. Paolo is a pensioner with plenty of time on his hands for the moment.

  • Activities
    • Roles: Translation, link to international network

Rafael Widmer

Rafael Widmer strongly believes that including deliberative elements in our democratic system will lead to better & more accepted policies and eventually to a more viable, inclusive and resilient society. He has an interdisciplinary background in economics, political sciences, and communications.

  • Activities
    • Roles: lobbying strategy development, networking, assistant facilitator at the Common Food Policy
    • Projects: Lobbying project

Riaan Kämpfer

Born and raised with plenty of international background and experienced in automotive engineering and repair, Riaan Kämpfer has done organizational and strategical work in different environmental movements since 2019. He is now finalizing his studies in Mobile Robotics with the aim of gaining as much knowledge as possible and to have a sustainable impact on our future.

  • Activities
    • Roles: Onboarding

Rodan Bury

Rodan Bury is an occupational therapist passionate with community and bottom-up democratic approaches.
He is trained to facilitate people assemblies and coordinate citizens assemblies. He is a public speaker for democracy and regularly presents Citizens Assemblies.

  • Activities
    • Roles:  Consultant on Citizens Assembly design and deliberative process, public speaker at events and press conferences


Our Network

Citizens’ assemblies are gaining more and more importance all over the world and in Switzerland. We are in steady exchange with multiple organisations and projects on a national as well as international level:

  • Discover our network
  • Learn more about other Citizen Assemblies in Switzerland and abroad.



Citizens’ Democracy

Connecting Swiss deliberative democracy
initiatives & promoting Citizens’ assemblies
Subscribe to our Newsletter
@Citizens' Democracy