Geoffrey Cameron is Director of the Office of Public Affairs of the Baha’i Community of Canada. He is also a research associate with the Global Migration Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto, and has previously been a senior policy advisor at Global Affairs Canada. He has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Toronto, where he was a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar.
Democracy According to Geoffrey Cameron
I believe that participation and dialogue are at the heart of democracy, and DemocracyXChange exists to foster a broader public conversation about the issues that affect our society. This conference is about more than just the involvement of people in political processes; it widens our view of democracy to include all of the ways in which individuals, communities, and institutions can assume their roles as protagonists of a better future.
I first started to care about democracy in high school. I felt disenchanted by our political and economic systems, and wanted to be part of a social movement that could address more fundamental structural issues in our society. I became involved in peace groups and anti-poverty initiatives, and these instilled in me a belief in the role of community groups as important places of deliberation and democratic energy. As a Baha’i, I care a lot about unifying processes that bring people together, and that is a core value I hold on to: democratic engagement should help people to discover points of agreement that can advance the public good and improve public policy.
The easy answer here is the podcast I have helped to produce, called The Public Discourse! But I’ve also been rewatching The Wire. Part of the brilliance of that show is that it shows how social reform is not a technical process. It requires the moral courage of individuals, changes at the level of communities, and structural reform to institutions.
I think young people who are starting to think about how they are going to contribute to the betterment of our society should attend this conference. They will be inspired by the many ways in which individuals and organizations are working creatively to promote democratic processes.