Democracy and Inequality: Why a Strong Civil Society is Needed for a Strong Democracy

Harvard Lecture Theatre Room 223 Alan Walters Building
Friday 26th May 2017 (10:00-13:00)
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Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Saul Becker and Citizens UK are delighted to welcome internationally renowned speaker, community change maker and Co-Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation, Ernesto Cortes Jnr. to the University of Birmingham.

Mr Cortes has worked with disadvantaged communities across the South West of America for many years, bringing together pastors, teachers, nurses, schools and families to build some of the best known and longest standing Community Organisations in America. They have fought for and won billions of dollars of investment into their communities and trained thousands of community leaders to take power by using the tools of democracy and relationship building.

During his presentation Mr Cortes will argue why a strong and active Civil Society is so important to the way democracy is both learned and practiced. He will share stories from 50 years of building civic power across the USA. His experience has taught him of how important it is for the key institutions of civil society like faith and education to challenge the growth in inequality for many reasons but particularly for its corrosive effect on the human condition and the quality of family and community life.

As the UK prepares for a General Election on 8 June it is anticipated that Mr Cortes' words and experience will prove highly relevant at such an important time, and a reminder of the central role Civil Society must play in a healthy democracy - and not just at Election time.

This important event brings together a diverse audience of key stakeholders in the City as well as leading Academics and a panel of thought leaders and experienced practitioners relevant to the subject matter.


You can regsiter for this event via our eventbrite page.


10:00 -10:30 - Welcome : tea & coffee

10:30 - 10:45 – Welcome & Introductions – Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Saul Becker & Neil Jameson Executive Director, Citizens UK

10:45 - 11:30 - Presentation Ernesto Cortes Jnr – 'Democracy and Inequality: Why a Strong Civil Society is Needed for a Strong Democracy'.

11:30 - 12:00/12:15 - Panel discussion and questions around topic

12:00/12:15 – 13:00 – Buffet lunch and networking