European Civic Academy 2023

Building collective empowerment towards just and inclusive societies

For decades, rising social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities combined with weakened social protections have fuelled anger, distrust and polarisation. This in turn has contributed to political disenfranchisement and apathy.

It is urgent that we rebuild collective agency to reverse these trends in politics and society through civic and democratic perspectives at all levels: local, national and European.

The upcoming European elections are taking place in 2024 and can provide a crucial moment for Europe’s political life to collectively decide what shared European future we want. As the social, political and environmental challenges of our times require a global and European approach to local and national actions, this question is relevant for all those activists invested in making possible effective access to rights, social, racial and environmental justice.

ECA 2023 will take place on 19-20 September in Brussels, bringing together practitioners and activists from very diverse organisations and movements with academics to deepen their understanding on the challenges and opportunities ahead. They will have the opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences and gain a holistic understanding of the topic to inspire a renewal of our collective social and political action.

We will explore how to create synergies between the various forms of activism developed by organised civil society, citizen assemblies and other types of action, and electoral democracy, in order to explore the diverse pathways to democratic renewal and empowerment and the ways to upscale them at the European level.

We will discuss and share experiences on how to create people’s power and agency to shape the collective imagination in a progressive direction.

We will develop capacities to promote narratives that are capable of influencing the political agenda and activating people for a shared, hopeful vision for the future based on equality, solidarity and inclusiveness in the context of the European elections and beyond.

Note: We are no longer accepting applications for sponsorship.

Selection Process

Participants to this year’s European Civic Academy were selected from our call for applications by the ECA Committee.

Meet the members of the committee below!

ECA Task Force

ECF members

Jean Marc Roirant

La ligue de l'enseignement

Raffaella Bolini


Frank Heuberger

Bundesnetzwerk Bürgerschaftliches Engagement

Vera Mora

Ökotárs Alapítvány

Jan Robert Suesser

Ligue des droits de l'Homme

Karolina Dreszer-Smalec


Filip Pazderski

Instytut Spraw Publicznych

Thais Bonilla


Academic partners

Kalypso Nicolaïdis

European University Institute, University of Oxford

Albena Azmanova

University of Kent

About the European Civic Academy

The European Civic Academy was launched by the European Civic Forum in 2016 to connect and build bridges between civil society and academic agendas, to provide space for civil society actors to discuss with academics and identify priorities and possibilities for collaborations related to the role of CSOs in enhancing civic and democratic spaces in Europe.The objectives of the European Civic Academy are threefold: (1) mapping civil society needs in terms of research priorities; (2) enable civic actors to gain knowledge about existing research, methodology and approaches to inspire a strengthening and a renewal action framework; (3) increase awareness among academic researchers about civil society needs and priorities and identify collaborative opportunities for future research. Five editions have been organised so far: in 2016 in La Rochelle (France); in 2017 in Brussels; in 2019 in Slubice (Poland); in 2021, online; and finally in 2022 in Florence (Italy).