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Democracy requires participation

The Council of Europe launches its annual report on democracy, there will be a rebus, webinars and podcasts during the Democracy and Election Week at UiA from 3 to 7 May. The student associations, STA and various disciplines at UiA organise the events.  A main goal is to increase participation in student elections.

Democracy and election week 3-7 May at UiA.

The Council of Europe is an international organisation in Strasbourg which comprises 47 countries of Europe. It was set up to promote democracy and protect human rights and the rule of law in Europe.

“Student democracy is incredibly important, and for many, this is one of the first times they cast a vote in a democratic election. We hope the Democracy and Election Week will contribute to increased participation in the student election and other elections at UiA”, says Olea Norset, leader of the Student Organisation in Agder.

Olea Norset, foto

Olea Norset

For the first time, the annual spring elections at UiA are being held at the same time. From 3 to 10 May, all students can vote for 80 permanent and deputy representatives to the Student Parliament, faculty and department boards, while close to 300 temporary employees in academic positions elect a new representative and two deputy representatives to the University Board.

The Student Organisation (STA) will be doing themed podcasts throughout the week. The student newspaper Unikum will publish a special issue on democracy and freedom of expression, and seven student associations and two student clubs will organise events and activities.

Impressed with the students

“I am really impressed by the students’ commitment and creativity. We know it is challenging to organise student activities during this time, and we hope as many people as possible will be tempted to take part in events throughout the week”, says Rector Sunniva Whittaker.

Sunniva Whittaker

Sunniva Whittaker

Several members of the academic staff will be involved in various parts of the programme; and on Tuesday, Eilerts Salong invites to a conversation about the space for expression among young people.

Cooperation with the Council of Europe through the European Conference

UiA is one of the partners behind the European Conference on Democracy and Human Rights on 5 May. The collaboration has strengthened and expanded UiA’s relationship with the Council of Europe.

“We are proud that the Council of Europe wants to launch its annual report on democracy, human rights and the rule of law at UiA, and we hope the launch will be an in-person event in 2022”, says Whittaker.

The report will be launched on 4 May by Matjaž Gruden, Director of Democratic Participation at the Council of Europe. More information and registration here

A new tradition at UiA

Like everything else, the events are mainly online. The goal is for Democracy and Election Week to become an annual tradition at UiA.

“Democracy and active citizenship is one of UiA’s 6 interdisciplinary priority areas. We want to make this an annual occasion, and next year we will invite even more people to help create events that promote democracy and freedom of expression in various ways”, says Whittaker.