What is CORD?
The Collaboration for Research on Democracy (CORD) is a global research network that brings together researchers and practitioners from around the world to explore the ways that citizen-centric strategies for development have the potential to deepen democracy and secure rights for poor and marginalized groups from all sections of the world.
The mission of the organisation is “to contribute to inclusive citizenship and democratic governance through collaborative, applied research.”
The priorities of the collaboration were initially sparked by the work of previous learning networks, such as the Development Research Centre on Citizenship, Participation and Accountability (CDRC), which has demonstrated the need for increased research on the quality and direction of the differences that citizen participation can make, and how these changes can be attained. While the work of the CDRC ended in 2010, many of its research contributors continue to recognize both the value of the work that was being done, as well as the importance of global collaboration for developing a “full picture” understanding of challenges for citizen participation and democracy.
Thus, in 2011, CORD was created to address many of these gaps in the current body of research.
CORD is currently composed of approximately 25 researchers and practitioners from countries including South Africa, Brazil, Egypt, Bangladesh, India, the UK and Canada. Recently, our membership has expanded to include participants from Sri Lanka, Ecuador and Uganda. The governing structure of the organization is very fluid, as we try to make all decision-making as democratic as possible. Thus, CORD currently has a rotating steering committee, which meets virtually to discuss upcoming projects and events associated with the network.
Along with regular annual meetings with the entire group, CORD also has five current working groups, each with their own specific tasks, meeting times and priority areas. These groups include:
A previous CORD working group, called “Mediated Citizenship,” sought to explore the role of mediators in bringing about viable change through citizen engagement. This group is very excited to release its first, collaborative publication, entitled Mediated Citizenship: The Informal Politics of Speaking for Citizens in the Global South.