COVID-19 (coronavirus) announcement

Due to the development of the situation related to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID -19), and in accordance with the decisions of the Prime Minister of Poland and the Mayor of the City of Gdańsk to cancel all events, Personal Democracy Forum CEE 2020 and Festival of Civic Tech for Democracy, scheduled for April 23-25, will not take place. We will inform you once we schedule a new date for PDF CEE.


Personal Democracy Forum CEE 2020

Freedom: 21 Demands for the 21st Century


Personal Democracy Forum CEE is a unique space where the enthusiasm for technology is supported with meaningful debates on its role in the contemporary world. Our tech-realism allows for openness on connecting surprising topics and diverse communities. During the event, cybersecurity intertwines with open culture, public participation with Internet of Things, hardware with software. What unites it all is the human-centric approach – it is our aim to show that people should govern technologies not be ruled by them.


On the 23rd-25th of April, 2020, the ePaństwo Foundation, together with the City of Gdańsk and the European Solidarity Centre, will organize the 8th edition of PDF CEE followed by the 4th edition of the Festival of Civic Tech for Democracy on April 25th. This year’s edition of the conference is inspired by the events which happened almost 40 years ago when, in the summer of 1980, strikers in the Gdańsk Shipyard proposed a list of rights and freedoms known as the 21 Demands. They became the defining point of the Solidarity movement, as well as the foundation of the 1989 (r)evolutions.

We share Solidarność activists’ belief that democracy and freedom are the best answers to the challenges of the XXI century, because people’s demands and dreams of democracy and freedom remain the same, even if the world has changed. We want to view the 21 Demands through the lenses of technologies, a changing nature of the contemporary state and the economic situation in the region. We reinterpret the Solidarity principles from the modern, increasingly digital perspective. This civic movement proved to be successful in the era of the Iron Curtain, therefore, with a due proportion, we are optimistic that reinterpretation of its principles can help us to discuss the challenges of today’s democracy such as the impact of disinformation or cybersecurity concerns. Solidarność, contrary to the popular understanding of its legacy that it was purely organised around fighting for freedom, it was focused around social and labour issues. With that in mind, we want to contribute to the global discussion on the impact of technologies on the emerging developments of the labour market. 


Around 500 democracy activists, civic tech enthusiasts, media, business and academia representatives, public administration officials, opinion makers, influencers, cultural activists, digital media specialists and activists from the CEE region – EU and non-EU countries (inc. the Balkans, Caucasus) and beyond, will debate on human and digital rights, transparency of governments, cybersecurity, civic technologies and countering disinformation under the overarching theme Freedom: 21 Demands for the 21st Century. 


The complexity of modern world forces us to ask questions without receiving easy answers. Black and white divisions are used to manipulate the public, complicated answers do not resonate, patience is the last virtue and attention is a scarce commodity. We want PDF CEE to be special space where long answers are encouraged and listened; where different perspectives can be exchanged without oversimplification. Apart from other topics like the impact of automatization on trust between people and institutions, we will also focus on freedom of expression in digital culture activities, trust between different stakeholders or how to balance cybersecurity measures to guarantee the right to privacy and freedom of information. 

We are not afraid of asking questions about fundamental values, and explore it in theory and practice through the means of presentations, workshops and cultural activities. We see PDF CEE as a ground of exchange of thoughts and experiences between people of the year 2020, and where all voices are welcome. What connects us is the belief that human rights are fundamental and that democracy is for all.   


On the first two days of PDF CEE 2020, we will offer expert presentations in two thematic streams: Inner Freedom and Outer Freedom, 20 practical workshops, interactive discussion panels, and other activities fostering networking and new collaborations. On the third day, The Festival of Civic Tech will gather international experts to discuss participatory governance of digital technology especially on the local level. We will showcase civic and gov technologies (including the variety of Internet of Things and apps) supporting freedom to information (open data), fresh air and healthy environment, community-driven smart city development.

PDF CEE is an inclusive and responsible space. Our community has to agree to follow the rules of the Code of Conduct which secure the safety and comfort of every each of them. We care about the gender balance, speeches are being simultaneously translated into sign language, we make sure that the venue is accessible and we limit the usage of plastic and print.