Gütersloh, Germany-based Bertelsmann Stiftung, one of Germany’s largest foundations, just launched vitalizing-democracy.org, the theme site for their 2011 Reinhard Mohn Prize.
From the welcome post: Welcome to our platform!
On 23 June 2010, the Bertelsmann Stiftung launched this website in order to search for prize-worthy projects for the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011.With the forthcoming prize in 2011, the Bertelsmann Stiftung will focus on the crucial issue of ‘Vitalizing Democracy through Participation’. The prize will be awarded to a governmental institution – possibly in cooperation with a non-governmental actor – which has initiated successful projects (or programs) to vitalize democracy, to integrate underrepresented citizens and to establish new forms of democratic problem-solving capacities through participation. […]
The about page has more details:
The Focus of the Reinhard Mohn-Prize 2011
Democracy is the core of our modern society. It forms the basis for peaceful and self-determined cohabitation and places emphasis on human needs. Strengthening and preserving democracy is one of the most important priorities of our time. During the past decades, our democratic systems have continuously evolved and adapted to new conditions. Growing complexity, heterogeneity and rapid social developments place new demands on democracies. The following three challenges are the most crucial aspects of this development:
- Growing demands for problem-solving capacities – social developments are complex, heterogeneous and rapid, making it hard to react timely and appropriately to implement reforms effectively and to inform the public successfully about current political issues.
- New expectations for political participation – classical forms of political participation such as elections, membership of political parties and political associations no longer meet the needs and demands of modern societies. People increasingly prefer issue-based and more direct forms of participation. Therefore, more and more citizens are alienated by the existing political system.
- Under-representation of disadvantaged groups – migration and the growing gap between rich and poor lead to fewer people being able to participate in political decisions and represent their interests.
The site will be open for applications through August 22, 2010. Registered users will be able to rate and comment on the projects that have been submitted. A jury will pick the winners.
I don’t see it being mentioned specifically, but one would hope that the innovative use of information and communication technology (e.g. the internet) will play at least some role in this contest.