Family picture of the Future4Citizens presentation event in Barcelona

Future4Citizens: Building new narratives to reimagine our world

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Economic crisis, global instability, rising inequality, climate disasters… All around the world, negative emotions are increasing social and political polarization, and damaging citizen’s trust in democratic institutions. People’s discontent and protests, amplified by social media, build into an increasing social fragmentation and political stalemate that impedes addressing the big challenges of society. Breaking this Cycle of Distrust to be able to reimagine a shared vision for the future is the ambitious aim of the Future4Citizens initiative, presented by Re-Imagine Europa’s CEO Erika Stäel von Holstein as part of the Barcelona, European Capital of Democracy (ECoD) official program.

European Commission’s Vice-President Dubravka Suica, Barcelona’s Major Jaume Collboni Cuadrado and ECoD Founder Helfried Carl were some of the prominent speakers who participated in the event held at Barcelona’s City Hall. Vice-President Suica highlighted the relevant role played by cities in social and democratic innovation, pointing out that “Cities like Barcelona are a hive of innovation” and “the European Capital of Democracy will create a vibrant stage for innovation in democracy and best practices in action”. Major Collboni also expressed his anticipation for Barcelona becoming a central hub for democratic discourse and innovation with the celebration of dozens of events and activities focused on fostering democratic values and civic engagement.



Promoting citizen’s engagement in the democratic process through open, healthy and non-polarized dialogues is one of the key objectives of the think tank Re-Imagine Europa. “This is why RIE, together with the European League of Economic Cooperation and Fundación La Caixa, have designed and launched Future4Citizens, an innovative citizens’ engagement initiative that will gather around 60 participants from different backgrounds and experiences to move beyond polarizing narratives and reimagine together a better future for all of us”, said RIE’s CEO. The event, that will be held at CaixaForum Macaya on October 19th, is part of the ECoD Program and also of the European Orbis Project, co-funded by the EC to provide an ambitious online solution for participatory democracy at all scales. Among the institutions supporting the Future4Citizens initiative are also the European Parliament Former Members Association and Barcelona City Council, among others. 

“Our world is changing so much and so fast, that our institutions and systems cannot keep up”, explained the RIE’s executive. “Is not that our systems were designed to fault us. They were just designed for another word. A world that doesn’t exist anymore. We all live in different realities, dictated by our personal experiences and situations, we use the same words but often we mean different things. What our narrative analysis shows is that, beyond all these supperficial differences, our basic objectives and challenges are very similar”, she added. To be able to reimagine a shared vision for the future, “we need to stop tiltling at windmills. Let’s stop tilting at windmills and reimagine our future together”, she concluded.