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Philippa Neave's Democracy Talk is About Language

By: Joey Haar - Dec 20, 2016
References: ted & youtube
Citizens of industrialized Western nations tend to think of the basic tenets of the political system as self-evident, but Philippa Neave's democracy talk shows that this is far from the case. Neave, who is a public outreach officer for the United Nations, has worked with developing nations to help them institute their first democratic elections, and she noticed some unexpected challenges.

To be sure, one of the hardest barriers to democracy in a nation is gathering the political will from the regime that is currently in power. However, once that will is there, Neave has found that simple logistical issues can be overwhelming.

In her democracy talk, Neave outlines the problem that nations for which democracy is new don't even have the words to describe basic aspects of democracy: words like "ballot" or "polling station," for example. Solving these communication problems is essential for a fair democratic system -- and the lessons learned can be transferred to all areas of society.