Diversity in Citizen Assemblies
Why does it matter and how can it be achieved

Monday the 4th of March 2024

15:00 (Paris)

Citizen assemblies offer an alternative way for making political decisions by bringing together a broadly representative selection of citizens, chosen by lottery, that deliberates on a specific topic. One key promise of citizen assemblies is that the diversity of perspectives in the population is represented in the composition of the assembly. In this meet-up we will hear about and discuss why this diverse range of perspectives matters and how it can be achieved in practice.

Professor of Political Science
(Yale University

In this talk I rehearse the advantages presented by deliberation among a randomly selected group of citizens (as opposed to deliberation among, say, an elected or self-selected group). I explain why the diversity of perspectives brought in by a random group presents instrumental benefits in terms of information aggregation and knowledge production, despite the additional sources of value disagreement that this diversity also entails. I also defend the more intrinsic benefits of deliberation among randomly selected people, including the emergence of civic friendship, solidarity, and even love, emotions that seem in vanishing supply in our increasingly segregated and polarized political systems.

Co-Founder and Director
(Sortition Foundation

If sortition is a great way to bring diverse voices together in a deliberative forum, how is it actually achieved and where has it been used recently? I will get into the mechanics of how representative samples of people are selected and brought together by democratic lottery, and will introduce some of the recent examples of where this has happened: in Ireland to talk about drug policy, in Germany to talk about food and nutrition, and in France to talk about assisted dying. And who knows: perhaps Sortition Foundation's campaign to replace the House of Lords in the UK with a sortition-selected House of Citizens will be given a boost by the elections in the UK later this year?