The origin of the modern concept of citizen may be traced back to the late 18th century. At that time the philosophical propositions of the Enlightenment materialized in the independence of the United States of America and in the French Revolution.
Those philosophical propositions changed the concept of sovereignty. Up until then sovereignty was thought to reside in the King or Lord. There were subjects, not citizens. The legitimaty of political power was grounded on religion, dynasty or force. Instead, from that time on the dominant idea was that sovereignty resided on the people and that the legitimacy of power stemmed from the consent of the governed.
It has taken much time for this theoretical notion to take roots in practice. Throughout the 19th century the condition of citizen was slowly extended. First it was granted to all males (having the abolition of slavery being painfully obtained). During the first half of the 20th century citizenry was extended to women, a process still unfinished.
However, this expansion still meant that people confined their public participation to voting in elections for public office .
Nevertheless, after the Second World War there have been significant advances concerning the role of citizens. In the 60s a human rights nongovernmental movement was born; later, it spread all over the world. In the 70s the movement for the protection of the environment was added; it also spread to most countries and it attracted the interest of new generations.
In both cases it was a new phenomenon: common people rallied around public issues which concerned everybody. Thus, citizens took a more active role beyond just participating in public elections. This does not mean that the majority of people does take an active role as citizens. Yet, those who do contribute to define the public agenda and influence other people.
In the 90s, with the end of the Cold War, a new movement around an issue of public interest begun to shape up: transparency, public integrity and anticorruption. Just like the human rights movement and the environmental movement, anticorruption has attracted, increasingly, the attention of the public and the press.
However, this topic is still novel. Therefore, it is necessary to train new leaders and to educate the general public on anticorruption.
For this reason, we have decided to offer, in 2015, and open, free, online course on anticorruption. It would be given in Spanish with subtitles in English and possibly other languages.