The DemTech 2023 Conference and Hackathon on Democracy and Technologies, titled “Securing Democracy in the Digital Age,” was held in Chisinau on October 27th and 28th. Among the 120 attendees were the next generation of innovators and experts, DemTech entrepreneurs, devoted nonprofits and political parties, policymakers, international partners, and accomplished alumni of the EECMD programs from Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine.
The discussion was devoted to issues such as the intricate relationship between technology and democracy and the pivotal role of technology in preserving democracy and security.
Keynote speakers at the DemTech2023 Conference included:
- Nicu Popescu – Moldova’s Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration
- Ștefan Țibuleac – Chief of Service of the Supreme Security Council of Moldova
- Alexandru Musteata – Service for Information and Security Director
Cybersecurity took center stage as a critical concern during the discussions, highlighting its crucial role in maintaining the integrity of democratic systems. Participants shared perspectives on strategies to strengthen cybersecurity measures. The exploration extended to the adaptation of national security strategies for the digital era, considering the delicate balance between utilizing digital technologies for security and preserving civil liberties. Moreover, the panel discussions focused on addressing disinformation and improving transparency in the digital realm.
On the second day of the conference, alumni from the Moldova Democracy School presented projects that vividly demonstrated the intersection of technology and activism. Elena Bădărău’s “Breaking Barriers” project aimed to empower women in leadership roles, whilst Alexandru Topolenco’s initiative shed light on the inadequate infrastructure for youth in the region.
As part of the DemTech Conference, the Hackathon event unfolded, drawing in 40 participants. The collaboration between students and field professionals spanned various sectors and addressed national issues. The team “Marmoris” from Aristotle High School took first place in the Hackathon. Their innovative hybrid voting system, featuring a novel ballot-validating robot, earned them a $1,000 prize. Their work is set to be featured at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit in May 2024.
The DemTech conference in Moldova has evolved into an annual tradition, with the first event taking place in 2022. Through fostering innovation and facilitating knowledge exchange, EECMD advocates for the integration of technology in the development of democracy and the advancement of the swiftly expanding field of digital democracy.
The DemTech Conference and Hackathon 2023 were made possible with support of the Netherlands Embassy in Moldova and through partnerships with The Alliance of Democracies (AoD), and Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSS).