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Institute for 21st Century Agoras

The Institute for 21st Century Agoras is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to vigorous democracy on the model of that practiced in the agoras of ancient Greece. It employs Co-Laboratories of Democracy that enable civil dialogue in complex situations. The Institute's method of dialogue is known as Structured Dialogic Design.

How can we hear perspectives of all the stakeholders, dialogue about them, and still reach decisions and act on pressing issues? The approach that overcomes this dilemma and multiple other hindrances to dialogic democracy is called the Structured Design Process (SDP) that the Agoras Institute calls "Co-Laboratories of Democracy." This process is a refinement of Interactive Management, which was developed over the last 30 years by John Warfield and Aleco Christakis. A book, Co-Laboratories of Democracy: How People Harness Their Collective Wisdom and Power to Create the Future (2006, Information Age), explains this process in detail including its origins and the science behind it.

Using Co-Laboratories, the Institute for 21st Century Agoras works to establish islands of democratic communities (agoras). We intend to plant agoras around the world that will spread like crabgrass as people exercise their newly discovered wisdom and power. Our efforts are in their early stages, but progress such as that pioneered by the Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO) is spreading in the global Indigenous world.

The Institute acquires funds in two ways:

  • Conducting Co-Laboratories for paying clients and using the income derived to fund or subsidize other Co-Laboratories for organizations that would otherwise lack sufficient funds.
  • Soliciting funds from foundations and individuals that will enable the Institute to accomplish its ambitious goals.

What were Agoras?

The agoras were the vital centers of the Greek cities. Their outdoor markets and convention halls where gossip mixed with politics. The agora of Athens was the birthplace of democracy. Here the town's citizens discussed pressing issues and made decisions on the basis of popular vote.

Resource Link: globalagoras.org

Alexander Christakis, President



International Office, 8213 Highway 85, #901




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