Alison Loat is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Samara. They seek to improve political leadership; the participation of citizens in public life; and public affairs journalism and have adopted a creative multi-communication strategy to do so. Samara is the winged helicopter seed that falls from maple, elm and ash trees. Here is Alison's answer to the question: What would you like to become more visible in 2011? You can also Download Becoming Visible - the complete collection of 58 essays.
My hope for 2011 (and beyond!) is to make the functioning of our democracy more visible.
We are blessed in Canada to live in a free and vibrant democracy, and it is important for all of us lucky enough to live here to do what we can to preserve and enhance it. This requires reflecting on how we live in our communities every day, not just what happens in our capital cities and during elections.
One way Samara seeks to contribute to our collective understanding is through the development of a Democracy Index that will measure the health of everyday democracy in Canada. This ʻreport cardʼ will be released annually and aims to be inspirational: to give praise and point out deficiencies, but above all to encourage focus and conversation on the continued improvement of our democracy.
Underlying this index is the belief that a healthy democracy requires having conversations about important issues in public and on purpose, rather than in private and by accident. The index will support decision makers and the public by measuring the function and resulting public perception of three essential components of our democracy: political leadership (including Parliament and political parties), media discourse on public issues and the participation of citizens in public life.
In 2011, we will seek input from a broad set of Canadians in defining what a "healthy democracy" means to them, and what the index should include. Information will be posted on our website, http://www.samaracanada.com. We hope you will visit and contribute to the discussion. With your help, we hope to make our democracy more visible to all of us!
Click for my previous post on Samara – The World's Older Profession.
Please share and distribute to your friends and through your various networks, websites etc. I think you will agree – these are too good to keep to ourselves.