Changemaker Europe initiative for the future of Europe
Citizens increasingly demand to be actively involved in decision-making processes affecting their lives and communities. However, systemic barriers are preventing them from participating.
Capitalizing on the momentum generated by the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), the first transnational experiment of deliberative democracy, Ashoka launched its Changemaker Europe initiative to shape a new vision of democracy and civic participation where every person can actively contribute to positive social change.
Within the framework of this initiative, Ashoka has designed, together with The Good Lobby, an innovative collaborative process to advance participatory democracy in the EU.
Pioneering an Ideas Lab for the future of participatory democracy
The future of Europe will depend, to a great extent, on its ability to establish a pluralist and participatory democracy where everyone uses their power to drive social change and shape policy. In 2022, Ashoka in collaboration with The Good Lobby launched its first Ideas Lab to transform the field of participatory democracy. The process involved a group of 22 changemakers in this field who embarked on a collective thinking journey to:
- Identify and assess the root causes behind the lack of participatory democracy in Europe;
- Tackle the systemic barriers that hinder the participation of citizens in political decision-making;
- Co-design solutions to create an enabling ecosystem that gives individuals and communities a voice, and empowers them to shape the systems that better serve their needs.
The Changemaker Europe Manifesto
For decades, Ashoka’s social entrepreneurs have been solving deep-rooted social issues through their innovations. However, a gap persists between the realms of policy and social innovation. Bridging this gap would facilitate the development of solutions necessary for a better future.
Changemaking is a way of untapping the potential of communities and individuals to shape the societies they live in by taking creative action to solve social problems. The foundations for a widespread changemaking movement are currently lacking in our society. To make such a movement a reality, changemaking must be a skill learned and practiced early in life and encouraged throughout society.
Deep dive and how to join
Many of today’s innovative solutions arise from the civic and youth communities. We believe that it is not enough for citizens and agents of change to have a say; we must also acquire the skills that enable us to use our agency to positively transform the world for the good of all.
Changemaking should be recognized as a human right; the absence of this right creates a new form of inequality, restricting access to and participation in addressing societal issues and making contributions.
Ashoka’s Changemaker Europe initiative envisions a future where everyone uses their power to drive social change and influence policy, by connecting leading social innovators with pioneering policymakers on a European level. Our vision is to redefine the practice of citizenship, creating pathways of empowerment that level the playing field and invite widespread participation.
Meet the Initiative Leads
Changemaker Europe Lead
Laura Batalla Adam has many years of experience working in a number of European institutions. She has worked as a senior policy advisor to different members of the European Parliament and established her own initiatives, such as the European Parliament-Turkey Forum.
She speaks and publishes regularly on a variety of international topics. Laura graduated from Pompeu Fabra University with a double bachelor's degree in Political Science and Journalism and specialized in European Affairs at the College of Europe.
Laura Batalla Adam joined Ashoka in the summer of 2019 to bridge the gap between social entrepreneurship and policymaking in the field of migration and integration as Hello Europe’s Policy Representative in Brussels, a position that she combines with an advisory role to a Member of the European Parliament on foreign policy.
Changemaker Europe co-Lead
After completing his M.Sc. in Global Governance and Ethics, Yannick has been continuously working in the field of social innovation and entrepreneurship. First for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the German agency for international development and cooperation, supporting the secretariat of an intrapreneurship accelerator and now at Ashoka as the Venture and Partnerships manager.
At Ashoka, Yannick has managed an accelerator program for social entrepreneurs on the topic of integration and inclusion and is currently managing a new edition on climate change and circularity. Additionally, he is responsible for the search and selection of new Ashoka Fellows in Belgium and supports on a European level other Ashoka staff members in the due diligence process.