Monday 23 October, 1145 – 1245

Photo: Getty Images

Trust is fundamental for human progress – in governments, in institutions and between communities. Public trust enables citizens to engage with and build political communities beyond their tribe or class. But, recently, trust in political systems has eroded. This trend is not limited to the West – as attested by the scandals and political turmoil in Brazil, support for the Duterte presidency in the Philippines and the attempted coup and government response in Turkey. And in many countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, trust in the political process and accompanying institutions is intensely fragile. At the same time, technology has changed traditional means of political communication, enabling new forms of activism and creating opportunities for greater individual engagement.

Is this loss of trust cyclical, as the predominant systems of government age, or is this a more acute crisis? How do we build (or re-build) trust – and in what? Is this possible in a world of instant and often untrustworthy information? How can technology enhance political discourse, as well as enabling greater engagement?