Speakers

Oliver Röpke,
EESC President

Oliver Röpke was elected as the president of the EESC in April 2023. Member of EESC since 2009, Mr Röpke was the president of the EESC Workers' Group, a member of the EESC Bureau aLisää

Oliver Röpke was elected as the president of the EESC in April 2023. Member of EESC since 2009, Mr Röpke was the president of the EESC Workers' Group, a member of the EESC Bureau and rapporteur of many EESC resolutions and opinions on employment and social policy, single market and innovation.

Mr Röpke headed the Brussels office of the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB) and  took on several senior positions including as ÖGB representative to the EU institutions, the Executive Committee of the ETUC, and an advisory member of the ÖGB federal executive board. Mr Röpke has a legal background and holds a law degree from the University of Vienna.

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Věra Jourová,
Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency

Věra Jourová is currently Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency and deals with democracy, rule of law, media pluralism and fight against disinformatLisää

Věra Jourová is currently Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency and deals with democracy, rule of law, media pluralism and fight against disinformation. From 2014 to 2019, she served as EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. In 2014, before arriving to the European Commission, Ms Jourová held the position of Minister for Regional Development in the Czech Republic. Previous to this, from 2006 to 2013, she worked in her own company as an international consultant on European Union funding, and was also involved in consultancy activities in the Western Balkans relating to the European Union Accession. She holds a Degree in Law (Mgr.) and a Master's degree (Mgr.) in the Theory of Culture from the Charles University, Prague.

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Gabriele Bischoff,
MEP

In May 2019, Gabriele Bischoff was elected as Member of the European Parliament and in December 2021 as Vice-President of the Socialist and Democrats Group (S&D). She serves asLisää

In May 2019, Gabriele Bischoff was elected as Member of the European Parliament and in December 2021 as Vice-President of the Socialist and Democrats Group (S&D). She serves as Vice-Chair of the Committee for Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) and as full member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL). She commits her parliamentary work to core social-democratic topics including a fair and functioning European labor market, decent minimum wages and more democracy at the workplace. In her role as AFCO Vice-Chair she is dedicated to improve the capacity of the European Union to act and to ensure a broad participation of citizens. Gabriele Bischoff started her career as a researcher at the Berlin Institute for Social Research and the FHW Berlin School of Economics. In 1990, she started to work for the German Metal Workers Union (IGM) as a Senior Advisor and subsequently as head of the department for equality. In 2000, she worked at the Permanent Representation of Germany to the EU as Social Attaché in Brussels. After that, she took up the position as a Senior Advisor for the EU Presidency in the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in Germany. Between 2008 and 2014, she was Head of the European Policy Department at the Federal Executive of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB). She served as President of the Workers' Group of the European Economic and Social Committee from 2015 until 2019. She is Vice-President of the German federalist organization “Europa-Union” in Germany, a member of the European Academy Berlin e.V., a member of the assembly of curators of the Institute for European Politics (IEP), a board member of the SPDqueer Berlin and a member of the SPD, IG Metall and ADFC. Gabriele Bischoff studied Political Science at the Universities of Marburg and Berlin and holds a diploma in political science from the Free University of Berlin

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Alin Mituța,
MEP, European Parliament shadow rapporteur for Implementing report on ECI

Alin Mituța is a Romanian Member of the European Parliament in the Renew Europe group, currently seating, among others in AFCO, ITRE, REGI & AGRI committees.

He was aLisää

Alin Mituța is a Romanian Member of the European Parliament in the Renew Europe group, currently seating, among others in AFCO, ITRE, REGI & AGRI committees.

He was also a member of the Conference on the Future of Europe, where one of his priorities was to create a permanent consultation mechanism for EU citizens, so that citizens are regularly consulted in EU decision making, and not just in elections time.

He was State Secretary and Head of Cabinet of the Prime Minister of Romania between 2016 and 2017.

Alin was also an executive director and founder of one of the largest Romanian platforms dedicated to strengthening citizens participation in public life, Platforma România 100, who counted some 40.000 members shortly after its creation.

He also founded Europuls, an NGO encouraging public debate on EU affairs in Romania.

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Violeta Jelić,
EESC member, Chair of the Ad Hod Group on ECI

Olga Kikou,
Representative of the ECI "End the Cage Age"

Olga Kikou is substitute representative of the Citizens’ Committee for the End The Cage Age ECI. She is Head of the EU offiLisää

Olga Kikou is substitute representative of the Citizens’ Committee for the End The Cage Age ECI. She is Head of the EU office of Compassion in World Farming, an international organisation with offices and representatives in many European countries, the US, China and South Africa, dedicated to improving farm animal welfare, ending industrial animal agriculture and achieving sustainable food and farming. Holding a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts and having worked in international organisations in the non-profit sector, in research and planning, she became involved in raising awareness of the importance of citizen participation. Having managed the Volunteer Programme for the Athens 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games, she steered her efforts to advocacy work. Olga has a long-time involvement in animal advocacy and is currently informing the EU Institutions on key EU interests concerning the interlinked areas of farm animal welfare, food and farming, raising the profile of these issues on the policy making agenda. She also engages with civil society organisations and other stakeholders, exploring synergies and developing joint strategies to influence policy in the interest of citizens in the above areas.

 

 

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Virginia Fiume,
Coordinator of EUMANS and of the European Network of the European Citizens Initiative StopGlobalWarming.eu

Virginia Fiume is the coordinator of EUMANS and of the European Network of the European Citizens Initiative StopGlobalWarming.eu. She left London in 2019 to launch EUMANS, theLisää

Virginia Fiume is the coordinator of EUMANS and of the European Network of the European Citizens Initiative StopGlobalWarming.eu. She left London in 2019 to launch EUMANS, the pan-European citizens movement for democracy and sustainability. Now based in Bruxelles, she coordinates European-level participatory democracy initiatives for sustainability and democracy, combining advocacy, networking and citizens empowerment and community engagement activities. She is also the representative of EUMANS within the coalition Citizens Take Over Europe and the coordinator of the European initiatives of Science for Democracy. She holds a degree at Universitá degli Studi di Milano in Critic and Theory of Contemporary Literature, and a MA in Anthropology of Media at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Virginia Fiume has over 15 years of experience in the field of journalism and communication and tech startup in North America, the Middle East and different European Countries.

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Christian Hempel,
Stop Finning – Stop the trade

Christian Hempel is a passionate diver and marine conservationist. He is Vice President of StopFinningEU e.V. and is responsible for the organizational issues of the European CitizLisää

Christian Hempel is a passionate diver and marine conservationist. He is Vice President of StopFinningEU e.V. and is responsible for the organizational issues of the European Citizens' Initiative STOP FINNING - STOP THE TRADE. Christian Hempel is a passionate diver and marine conservationist. He is Vice President of StopFinningEU e.V. and is responsible for the organizational issues of the European Citizens' Initiative STOP FINNING - STOP THE TRADE. 

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Almog Yoana Sade,
ECI The Green Garden Roof Tops

Almog Yoana Sade is a PhD student in Environment and Politics at the University of York, United Kingdom. She holds a Master's Degree in Fiscal Economics from the University of MaasLisää

Almog Yoana Sade is a PhD student in Environment and Politics at the University of York, United Kingdom. She holds a Master's Degree in Fiscal Economics from the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands, and a Double Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Accounting from the College of Management Academic Studies in Israel. She gained professional experience in various roles, including working as an Intercompany and Cash Accountant at Intel in the accounting department. She was selected as an internship candidate in the Budgetary Control Department as part of a project between the University and the Israeli Parliament, the 'Knesset'. She was chosen as a Schuman Trainee in the Budgetary Policies Unit of the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services at the European Parliament. Additionally, she further expanded her expertise as a Tax Associate in the US Tax Compliance Department at PwC. Notably, Almog Yoana is recognized as the representative and founder of the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) - "Green Garden Roof Tops”.

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Rudiger Boogert,
Head of unit for Policy Priorities and Commission Work Programme, European Commission Secretariat General

Rudiger Boogert is Head of Unit for Policy Priorities and Commission Work Programme in the Secretariat-General of the European Commission, which includes the Commission’s responsibLisää

Rudiger Boogert is Head of Unit for Policy Priorities and Commission Work Programme in the Secretariat-General of the European Commission, which includes the Commission’s responsibilities for the European citizens’ initiative. He previously headed the unit responsible for strategic financial management in DG NEAR, and before that worked in two Cabinets of Members of the Commission. Before joining the Commission, Rudiger Boogert served in the Dutch national administration including in the Finance Ministry, the Prime Minister’s office and the Dutch Permanent Representation to the European Union.

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Assya Kavrakova,
Executive Director of the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) 

Ms. Assya Kavrakova is the Executive Director of the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) - http://www.ecas.org/ - an international non-profit association, based in Brussels, witLisää

Ms. Assya Kavrakova is the Executive Director of the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) - http://www.ecas.org/ - an international non-profit association, based in Brussels, with a pan-European membership and more than 30 years of experience in empowering citizens to exercise their rights and campaigning for an inclusive, transparent and democratic Europe. 

With more than twenty years’ experience in senior management positions leading national and international teams of experts and NGOs, Assya has thorough knowledge of the European Citizenship, EU law, EU structural and Cohesion Policy, Schengen regulatory framework, EU external policy decision-making, EU enlargement policy and leverage, European Rights framework, EU civic participation formal and informal mechanisms. She has an extensive knowledge of SEE civil society and regional development issues and in-depth knowledge of the post-accession state of affairs in the ten new member states from CEE. 

Keen promoter of digital empowerment of citizens, with a forward-looking attitude towards digital democracy and digital management, Assya has a Certificate of the Solvay Brussels school of Economics and Management for a QiLeader (Leading authentically in digital times) and is acknowledged as one of the 21 Digital4Development influencers to be followed in 2021 by the European Digital Development Alliance. She is a member of the Chancellery of the European Citizen's Prize of the European Parliament 2020 - 2024. 

Assya Kavrakova is also a member of the Board of EUobserver - https://euobserver.com/ - a not-for-profit, independent online newspaper. 

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Attila Dabis,
Cohesion Policy 

Attila Dabis is a political scientist and civil-society actor, holding a PhD in international relations, based in Budapest, Hungary.  He has served as the Szekler NationaLisää

Attila Dabis is a political scientist and civil-society actor, holding a PhD in international relations, based in Budapest, Hungary.  He has served as the Szekler National Council's Foreign Affairs Commissioner since 2012. Between 2016 - 2022 he was the International Coordinator of the Institute for the Protection of Minority Rights. As of 2022, he started working as an academic writing consultant at the Corvinus University of Budapest. Additionally, he is the founder and co-editor-in-chief of the academic journal Minority Protection.

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>Daniela Vancic,
European Programme Manager at Democracy International

Daniela Vancic is the European Programme Manager at Democracy International since 2017 and responsible Lisää

Daniela Vancic is the European Programme Manager at Democracy International since 2017 and responsible for all activities related to the European Citizens’ Initiative. She collaborates with ECAS under the Secretariat-General of the European Commission on developing and implementing the ECI Forum, consults ECI related stakeholders, and offers tailor-made campaigning and fundraising advice to ECI organisers.

Daniela develops the European projects and campaigns of Democracy International and manages European wide efforts to strengthen direct democracy and citizens’ participation in the EU. She monitors democratic trends and developments such as the Conference on the Future of Europe and advocates for better democratic implementation including in advocating for a strong follow up. Daniela maintains Democracy International’s extensive network of European organisations, partners, and stakeholders.

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Vasiliki Mustakis,
Participatory Democracy Coordinator at ECAS 

Vasiliki Mustakis is the Participatory Democracy Coordinator of the European Democracy team at the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS). Vasiliki maintains and monitors the EuropLisää

Vasiliki Mustakis is the Participatory Democracy Coordinator of the European Democracy team at the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS). Vasiliki maintains and monitors the European Citizens’ Initiative Forum on behalf of and under contract with the European Commission. Before joining ECAS, Vasiliki was an intern for ECAS’s European Democracy team. During her studies, Vasiliki has conducted research on European civic identity, specifically the effect of the Euro on this identity. She holds a Master’s Degree in European Politics and Policy (University Collection London, London) and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Government and Economics (Smith College, USA). 

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Ioana-Virginia Motoc,
Associate, Freshfields Bruckhause Deringer 

Ioana-Virginia Motoc is an associate in the Freshfields antitrust, competition and trade group, based in the Brussels office. Ioana is one of the legal experts working pro bono on Lisää

Ioana-Virginia Motoc is an associate in the Freshfields antitrust, competition and trade group, based in the Brussels office. Ioana is one of the legal experts working pro bono on the legal enquiries submitted on the Seek Advice by potential and current ECI organizers. Her practice covers all aspects of European and international competition law, with a particular focus on cross-border merger control. She also advises on antitrust investigations, the design and implementation of cross-border compliance programmes and state aid issues.  Her past experience has led her to act for clients active in various sectors, including financial sponsors and industrials. Ioana obtained her law degree from King’s College London and Master’s Degree from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva, Switzerland).

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Stéphanie Poppe,
ECI "Ensuring a dignified reception of migrants in Europe"

Stéphanie Poppe is a representative and one of the organisers of the European citizens’ initiative ‘Ensuring a dignified reception of migrants in Europe’. This ECI calls for the deLisää

Stéphanie Poppe is a representative and one of the organisers of the European citizens’ initiative ‘Ensuring a dignified reception of migrants in Europe’. This ECI calls for the development of a common asylum policy.  Stéphanie is currently the senior policy officer at the International and Europe Department of the City of Renne, as well as the project leader for Labo Europe Rennes. Stéphanie also holds a PhD in European Law from Université de Rennes.

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Carsten Berg,
The ECI Campaign and EUI Florence 

Carsten Berg is the Director of ECI e.V. and The ECI Campaign. In 2002/03 he successfully campaigned for the introduction of the ECI into EU primary law during the Constitutional CLisää

Carsten Berg is the Director of ECI e.V. and The ECI Campaign. In 2002/03 he successfully campaigned for the introduction of the ECI into EU primary law during the Constitutional Convention on the Future of Europe. Today he advises ongoing and future ECIs through the independent ECI Help Desk provided by The ECI Campaign. At the same time, he co-ordinates advocacy work on ECI reform and publishes regularly on the future of transnational democracy. He has worked as an advisor to the European Parliament on ECI issues, as campaigner in successful ECIs and wrote his doctoral thesis on the impact of the ECI on EU democratization between 2012 and 2022. Moreover, he has been co-designing the world’s first permanent randomly selected citizens’ assembly in East Belgium. In parallel to his long-standing involvement with The ECI Campaign, he works at the European University Institute in Florence on the whole field of transnational democratic innovations, including randomly selected citizens' assemblies, citizens-initiated vote processes and the ECI. 

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Elise Fleury,
supporter of the initiatives "End the cage age", "Save cruelty-free cosmetics" and organiser of the initiative "Fur free Europe"

With a background in Communications and European politics, Elise Fleury has been working at Eurogroup for Animals for the last 10 years. She is leading pan-EuropLisää

With a background in Communications and European politics, Elise Fleury has been working at Eurogroup for Animals for the last 10 years. She is leading pan-European Campaigns involving Eurogroup for Animals' 84 member organisations to improve the well-being of as many animals as possible and defend their interests. The organisation has succeeded in encouraging the EU to adopt higher legal standards for animal protection. Eurogroup for Animals reflects public opinion through its members and has both the scientific and technical expertise to provide authoritative advice on issues relating to animal protection.

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Arno Brandlhuber,
ECI HouseEurope!

Arno Brandlhuber (DE, 1964) is an architect and urban planner at bplus.xyz (Berlin), a collaborative practice that emerged from Brandlhuber+ (2006-2021). In his architectural produLisää

Arno Brandlhuber (DE, 1964) is an architect and urban planner at bplus.xyz (Berlin), a collaborative practice that emerged from Brandlhuber+ (2006-2021). In his architectural production, from buildings to research to media, he deals with the existing building stock with a focus on legislation. He understands the given not as a restriction but rather as an active design tool to challenge the norms. This approach resulted in several buildings such as Brunnenstrasse 9, Antivilla or St. Agnes, and three films: Legislating Architecture (2016), The Property Drama (2017), and Architecting after Politics (2018), together with director Christopher Roth. Brandlhuber's engagement with the medium of film and its political and spatial potential led to the founding of station+ at ETH Zurich in 2017, a collaboration that resulted in 2038 - The New Serenity, the German Pavilion at the 17th Venice Biennale, together with Olaf Grawert, Nikolaus Hirsch, and Christopher Roth

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Lorenzo Mineo,
ECI on Democracy

Lorenzo Mineo is graduated in Political Science and specialized in Urban Strategies with a Master's degree in SciencesPo in 2018. He worked on EU projects at the Secretariat of UrbLisää

Lorenzo Mineo is graduated in Political Science and specialized in Urban Strategies with a Master's degree in SciencesPo in 2018. He worked on EU projects at the Secretariat of Urban Innovative Actions and at the International Directorate of the Birmingham City Council.
Since 2020, he is member of the Eumans paneuropean movement, coordinating the Italian activities and European initiatives on democratic innovation.

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Adriana Mungiu,
Policy officer, European Commission's Secretariat General

Adriana Mungiu is policy officer in the team managing the European Citizens’ Initiative at the European Commission’s Secretariat General. She has been coordinating the development Lisää

Adriana Mungiu is policy officer in the team managing the European Citizens’ Initiative at the European Commission’s Secretariat General. She has been coordinating the development of a toolkit for high schools built around the ECI and enabling young people to become active EU citizens. She has also been steering the communication campaign on the ECI, aiming at making the European Citizens’ Initiative better known among citizens and at empowering multipliers to bring the ECI close to citizens. Previously she held coordinating roles in the area of communication at the EU level and in Romania, dealing with citizen engagement in EU policy-making, EU enlargement and structural funds. 

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Martina Rubino,
Activity Coordinator, ECIT Foundation

Martina Rubino is Activity Coordinator at the ECIT Foundation, a think-tank working solely on European Citizenship. She is graduating with a Master’s Degree in European StudiesLisää

Martina Rubino is Activity Coordinator at the ECIT Foundation, a think-tank working solely on European Citizenship. She is graduating with a Master’s Degree in European Studies (Institut d'études européennes de l'ULB, Brussels) and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Diplomatic Affairs (University of Bologna). She has a varied international and working background, having studied and worked in Italy, Czechia, Estonia, France and Belgium, in the fields of advocacy, event organisation, research and youth. She is currently President of the association and magazine Eyes on Europe. Her studies and work focus on civil and political rights, gender equality and youth participation in European politics.  

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Dr Christian HUESMANN,
Project Manager Bertelsmann Stiftung   

Dr Christian Huesmann is project manager for the Bertelsmann Stiftung's Democracy and Participation in Europe project. The Bertelsmann Stiftung is an independent public foundation Lisää

Dr Christian Huesmann is project manager for the Bertelsmann Stiftung's Democracy and Participation in Europe project. The Bertelsmann Stiftung is an independent public foundation based in Gütersloh, Germany. Dr Huesmann has been working in the field of citizen participation for many years, both in the academic environment and in the private and civil society sectors. He has co-designed, implemented and evaluated various local, national and international participation processes. Dr Huesmann is a founding member of the Alliance for Diverse Democracy, a network that brings together participation practitioners and experts across Germany and develops solutions to concrete challenges in participation practice. Dr Huesmann is a political scientist with a strong focus on democratic theory/practice and environmental issues. 

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Alexander Trechsel,
University of Lucerne

Alexander Trechsel is Professor and Chair of Political Science (with specialization in Political Communication) and Vice Rector for Research at the University of Lucerne. Trechsel’Lisää

Alexander Trechsel is Professor and Chair of Political Science (with specialization in Political Communication) and Vice Rector for Research at the University of Lucerne. Trechsel’s research focuses on democracy and comparative politics, with an emphasis on new technologies and voting behavior, political communication, political parties, and direct forms of citizen participation. He has published widely on Swiss politics, the European Union, and digitalization and politics, as well as direct democracy. He is the author of several monographs, edited volumes, and research articles published by leading university presses and top journals in the United States and Europe.   

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Gaëtane Ricard-Nihoul,
Deputy Head of Unit - Senior Expert, European Commission

Former Deputy and Acting Head of the European Commission Representation in France, Gaëtane Ricard-Nihoul has held various positions as a European official. She has been part of theLisää

Former Deputy and Acting Head of the European Commission Representation in France, Gaëtane Ricard-Nihoul has held various positions as a European official. She has been part of the Common Secretariat for the Conference on the Future of Europe, more particularly in charge of the European Citizens’ Panels. She is now working on implementing a new phase of citizens' engagement as Deputy Head of Unit in DG Communication. She also worked for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as Deputy Secretary General for the Citizens Consultations on Europe and then Head of Department at the Mission Grand Débat. Earlier, she worked as Secretary General of the Jacques Delors Institute in Paris and for the Belgian Government, as advisor on European affairs. 

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Mehr Demokratie e.V. Mitarbeiter*innen Treffen bei Kassel 16., 17.6.2021

Sarah Händel,
Mehr Demokratie e.V.

Sarah Händel, born 1983, based in Stuttgart, Germany, Board member of Mehr Demokratie e.V. Sarah Händel studied politics & administration at the University of Konstanz and inteLisää

Sarah Händel, born 1983, based in Stuttgart, Germany, Board member of Mehr Demokratie e.V. Sarah Händel studied politics & administration at the University of Konstanz and international peace & conflict studies at the University of Tübingen and the University of Connecticut, USA. Since 2011 she works for the non-profit organisation Mehr Demokratie, where she is head of the Baden-Württemberg section and since 2016 member of the federal board. Mehr Demokratie wants to open up democracy for more creative citizen participation and direct democracy. Sarah is a public speaker, a campaigner for democratic evolution and advises citizen initiatives and administrations on smart democratic designs. 

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