The DEKK Institute is the Slovak representative in the World Values Survey Association (WVSA), the largest survey organization studying values in the world, on whose social science data a large part of the decision-making of the UN, OSCE and the World Bank is based, and in the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR), the international professional association in the field of collection and design of public opinion polls.
We design our own public opinion polls and analytical tools. Expert partners from all over the world, project guarantors and the Scientific Advisory Board of the DEKK Institute help us uphold the highest quality.
But we don't want to do science for science's sake. We have decided to share our outputs and analytical tools, just as others selflessly shared with us in the past, and thus make life easier for analysts from the civil service, scientists, journalists and the general public, who will be able to use the easily accessible databases that we gradually publish.
We want to contribute to the improvement of the public debate and at the same time draw attention to the issue of cohesion.
Our goal is long-term. We realize that understanding and subsequent intervention in the field of social cohesion is the work that will span for about two generations. Well, we like Slovakia, all the more because we spent several years abroad - in a better, but also significantly worse environment. Therefore, we know what heights we could reach as a society, but also how deep we can fall. We believe that every individual can contribute to the improvement of the country. DEKK and its work is our contribution.
"Social cohesion" is a term scientists have coined to describe the social forces that keep human groups together. Cohesion has two primary dimensions – interpersonal one, and the ties between people and institutions.
As a research institute, DEKK participates in various research activities, from the design of questionnaires and how best to measure various phenomena so that the answers are not distorted, to field researches of modern "tribes" in a tribalized society, but since the beginning, our main interest has been social cohesion.
Many European countries have a problem with cohesion. In many, it has been stagnant or even declining for a long time. This is a serious problem, as human societies with low cohesion function significantly worse and have a greater number of undesirable social effects than societies with healthy cohesion. In the worst case scenario, low cohesion can end tragically.
Dorrit Dekk (born as Dorothea Karoline Fuhrmann in 1917) was a native of Czechoslovakia (Brno) and during the Second World War of the war collaborated on deciphering the Enigma. The name DEKK Institute is inspired by the idea that Dorrit Dekk worked on a serious problem of her era, which at the time few people knew about and considered important.
Social Cohesion is today the equivalent of what Enigma once was. It is a key problem concerning the whole society, but few people register it in its complexity and even fewer people study it. Dorrit Dekk was thus an ordinary person who contributed to solving an extraordinary challenge, but after the war she returned to a normal life and made a living as a designer.
We, too, are ordinary people who put our energies into solving an extraordinary problem. At the beginning of 2020, when our institute was created, we, inspired by Dorrit Dekk, started working on the study of cohesion in addition to our ordinary jobs and lives - but with the aim of maximum professionalism and joining forces with leading specialists in research and development.
Filip is in charge of working with psychological resources at DEKK.
He has obtained a bachelor's degree in psychology at the Comenius University, while he is also a graduate of the Anton Neuwirth College's two-year program. It was there that he first encountered Aristotle and his idea that everything alive in the world has a natural goal towards which it is moving: prosperity.
So he began to ask the question: if all beings have a purpose deeply rooted in their nature, why do people go against it and engage in destructive behavior? In DEKK, he sees hope for investigating part of this question, that is, why societies fall apart. In addition, he is also interested in the individual dimension of this question: why do the lives of some individuals fall apart? For this reason, he participates in social assistance to homeless people in a low-threshold daily center.
In the past, he organized several discussions with public figures, journalists and statesmen, and also won the Slovakian ŠVOK competition in the Psychology category with his research.
In his free time, he likes to read the newspaper, listen to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers or hang out in the city with a good cup of coffee.
Paulína is studying at the Bratislava International School of Liberal Studies (BISLA) for a bachelor's degree and in the Nexteria Leadership Academy 3-year development program, where she develops her soft skills and organizes community activities.
In the past, she worked on projects for Microsoft, Tatra banka, Slido and the city of Trenčín.
She likes to think about why society is the way it is. Her passion is psychology, informal education and self-development.
Ján Pastorek is one of the founding members of the DEKK Institute.
He graduated from the bachelor's program in computer science at the Comenius University in Bratislava and liberal arts at the Anton Neuwirth College. During his studies, he completed a research internship at the Slovak Academy of Sciences, where he devoted himself to the application of reinforcement learning and genetic algorithms in solving non-local games, i.e. games where connected pairs of qubits are used in order to maximize the winnings of the given game, for which he received the Dean's Prize.
He also joined the Comenius College selection program, where he and other students meet and discuss issues related to science and philosophy. He graduated from St. John's College in the USA, Master of Arts in Liberal Arts, majoring in mathematics, science, philosophy and theology. He is currently finishing the international interdisciplinary Joint Master's program in cognitive science MEi:CogSci at the Comenius University in Bratislava and the University of Vienna, starting his PhD. in neural networks soon.
He is devoted to philosophy, data science, artificial intelligence (especially machine learning) and quantum computing. He works as a data scientist at CulturePulse, Inc., where he mainly develops an agent-based model of information dissemination based on scientific theories.
He likes to ask questions. In order to share this passion, he taught computer science at the St. Uršula high school in Bratislava and led seminars on art as part of the Academy of Great Works program.
Michal Gačko is a graduate of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics at the Slovak Technical University in the field of applied informatics. He studied for one semester in Norway at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology as part of the Erasmus program. He also spent some time studying psychology, before definitely opting for information technology. He has experience in the design, implementation and management of various types of database systems, as well as in the design and implementation of architectural patterns and structures in software systems. In addition, it deals with data analysis and data visualization.
Veronika Cigáneková works as an analyst focusing on public policies, translating the DEKK team research into practice.
She graduated from King's College London, BA in philosophy, where at the end of her studies she explored the links between philosophy and public policy. She is currently studying for a master's degree in public policy at Sciences Po in Paris (Institut d'études politiques de Paris).
Her experience is primarily from the non-profit sector, where she founded or led several projects and organizations. Thematically, she was interested in youth civic participation, the development of social entrepreneurship or the topic of Slovak brain drain abroad. Her last experience is from the Nexteria Global HUB project, which she founded and led for two years. She previously worked as a project manager and later as a salesperson at SuperScale.
Her passion is topics related to society and a positive impact on it. This is what she looks for in all the activities in which she is involved.
At DEKK Hugo Gloss is responsible for the preparation and successful implementation of projects. He serves as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) responsible for the smooth running of the organization and its research.
He studied international relations and diplomacy at the University of Bologna and Roma Tre University in Rome and completed a one-year training course at the Anton Neuwirth College. He interned at the Representative Office of the Slovak Republic at the Holy See and at the Department of Communication and Prevention of the Presidium of the Slovak Police Force. He worked at Accenture and coordinated humanitarian projects of Caritas Slovakia in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Ukraine. As part of his work, he visited countries where social cohesion has been severely damaged, which is the reason why he cares that Slovakia does not follow a similar path.
He currently works as a researcher at Charles University in Prague and is preparing for his PhD. study, which will be focused on the development of a system for measuring and strengthening social cohesion in Slovakia according to the successful models in other states, with focus on Estonia. He is married, has four children.
Pavol Kosnáč holds the position of scientific director of the institute and leading researcher (PI) of the World Value Survey (WVS) program in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, which is covered by DEKK. He is the author of the program “Slovakia in data”, the goal of which is to accumulate and make available a database of complex social scientific data to the general and professional public.
As part of the DEKK Institute's cooperation with Charles University in the CEDMO project, he leads a team of 9 scientists studying the impact of social changes on the generational shift in values and social cohesion, applied for example in the analysis of the information environment, the growing (un)willingness to defend the country or the impact of war on Ukrainian culture.
He studied comparative religious studies in Bratislava, Islam and philosophy of science at Oxford, and completed scientific internships at the London School of Economics in London and Mahidol University in Bangkok. He is currently completing his PhD. in political science at Masaryk University in Brno.
It deals with the possibilities of interdisciplinary research and the integration of field research methods, psychological and cognitive research tools, public opinion polls and big data. He specializes in the overlap between ideology, religion, violence and war. Experience from humanitarian and research work in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and India led him to try to understand the issues of complex systems, social cohesion and social stability.
He works as a consultant for humanitarian organizations and universities in Great Britain, Ukraine, Iraq and Thailand. He is a registered expert witness in the field of Social Sciences and Humanities in matters of religion at the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic and is a representative of Slovakia with voting rights in the World Value Survey Association (WVSA) and the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR). He is a member of the Slovak Society for the Study of Religions in Bratislava, the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) of Great Britain, a member of the advisory board of the Inform Institute at King's College London and the advisory board of the Forgiveness project at the Woolf Institute at the University of Cambridge.
He has received Peter B. Clarke Memorial Prize in 2013 from British Sociological Association and is co-author and editor of two books studying cohesion and development of belief systems.