CSU, Year of Democracy

2023-2024 is the Year of Democracy and Civic Engagement

We are very excited to launch the 2023-2024 Thematic Year (TY) centered around the theme of Democracy and Civic Engagement. The Thematic Year is a central university initiative that serves to highlight the incredible research, programs, academic initiatives, students, faculty and staff who are accomplishing extraordinary things at CSU.  Having a rotating annual theme provides the opportunity for the university to focus on major world initiatives that cross through and between all departments and colleges which, in turn, assists in stimulating additional multidisciplinary work at Colorado State.


What is Democracy?

Democracy - from the Greek words "demos" meaning people and "kratos" meaning power

Democracy can be thought of as “power of the people”; a way of governing, which depends on the will of the people.

American philosopher John Dewey said, “democracy is more than a form of government; it is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint, communicated experience.”

Principles of Democracy poster

Principles of Democracy

  1. Citizen Participation
  2. Equality
  3. Accountability
  4. Transparency
  5. Political Tolerance
  6. Multi-Party System
  7. Rule of Law
  8. Freedom of Economy
  9. Bill of Rights
  10. Human Rights
  11. Free and Fair Elections
  12. Impartial Judiciary
  13. Peaceful Transfer of Power
Types of Democracy poster

Types of Democracy


  • People are the source of political power and citizens elect political representatives to act on their behalf and make decisions in their best interests.

  • Fosters a pluralistic society, where groups with multiple values and ideologies work collaboratively to influence government policy and process.

  • Most representative democracies also incorporate dimensions of direct democracy, such as encouraging citizens to express their opinions through political debate, referendums and public consultations.

  • Example: United Kingdom, Germany, France, United States, Switzerland.
  • The constitution is regarded as the supreme law of the land and takes precedence over all other laws. It can be amended with referendums.

  • Example: United States, Australia, Germany, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, India.
  • Citizens are directly responsible for making policy decisions.

  • Emphasizes the involvement of citizens in the deliberative stage of law-making, giving people the opportunity to express their views and opinions before a consensus is reached.

  • Benefits = Improved transparence and cooperation, citizens are accountable for the outcomes of their choices, good and bad.
  • The government is formed by the party wining the most seats and the prime minister is the leader of the majority party.

  • While there is a separation of powers, there is a strong connection between executive branch and legislature. The legislature makes laws and can vote ‘No Confidence’ that leads to new elections.

  • Example: United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Latvia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada.
  • The president is elected by the public to head the Executive Branch of the government. Typically, the president is responsible for implementing and enforcing laws, foreign affair relations, appointing officials to the Executive Branch, as well as serving as Commander-in-Chief of the Military.

  • Separation of powers between branches is essential.

  • The President does not feed the support of legislature to stay in power.

  • Example: United States, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, The Philippines.

Contact us

Email thematicyear@colostate.edu for inquiries about promoting a program, event, research, or initiative.