As a newly re-elected President Barack Obama promises that the best is yet to come, ethnic minorities in the US hope that this will include fulfilling president’s promise to adopt new immigration policy and to create a framework for legalizing existing long term present immigrants. The message of this presidential election is that both camps;
In conversation with Al Jazeera, Qatari author Amal Almalki discusses the shortcomings of the Arab Awakening, and its failure to secure a legacy for women and deliver more freedom and equal rights for them. Whilst the struggle for greater equality has borne little fruit for women across the MENA, in her scepticism, Ms Almalki does note that
One of the main topics at the upcoming European Development Days (Brussels, October 16 &17) is Inclusive Growth. Meeting at a critical time, participants will experience a unique opportunity to meet a wide range of stakeholders from around the world and debate, take stock, and make recommendations. Six panels will tackle the issue of how
Remember: Club de Madrid Proposes a “Shared Societies Global Agenda” During IMF-WB Spring Meetings. Check out the summary of the Civil Society Policy Forum! The Civil Society Program Policy Forum (CS Forum) was held from Wednesday, April 18 to Saturday, April 21, prior to, and during the 2012 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World
French Marxist philosopher Étienne Balibar discusses European identity amid the financial crisis. Using ideas explored in his latest book Politics and the Other Scene, he argues that the continent still has some way to go to rid itself of xenophobia. As one of Louis Althusser’s most brilliant students in the 1960s, Étienne Balibar contributed to the
The recent election in Germany brings us a new Shared Societies Champion: Karamba Diaby, who has won a seat in the Bundestag. This 51-year-old chemist writes a new page in the History of the country by becoming its second Black parliamentarian. Diaby, representing the Social Democrats, was born in a small farming town in Senegal. He finished his studies in Eastern Germany in 1986, and he decided to stay in the country. Since then, he has lived in Halle. And now, the city wants him as their representative.
Halle’s scenario adds a special value to Mr.Diaby’s election. Because it can help to fight the image of racism that sometimes is associated with Eastern Germany. It’s a positive milestone to overcome negative aspects, like the success of the extreme right in Halle (in 2011 regional elections; the neo-nazi party NPD obtained 10% of the votes).
“I feel accepted”, said Mr.Diaby after the victory. And this acceptance is very meaningful. Because, due to the colour of his skin, Mr.Diaby has received many offensive letters, death threats and he was even beaten in 1990 by a group of right-wing extremists. But he has always maintained his commitment to Halle, being active in local politics since he moved to the city. One of his greatest successes in the 90s was to stop investors from bulldozing private garden plots. His neighbours first recognized his efforts by electing him for the city council in 2009, and now taking him to the Bundestag.
His election campaign was followed closely by the international media. A hype that, as he told to Newsweek, has something to do with “the fact that the public has realized what a deficit [Germany have] in terms of political participation of people with immigrant backgrounds”. About 10 percent of the country’s population is foreign-born, but their political representation is not proportional with this number.
Anyway, Mr.Diaby refuses to be regarded only as an example of good integration or a model for other immingrants. “I want to be recognized for being good, not for the colour of my skin”, he claims. And also jokes about his integration in Germany: “I’m only 95 percent integrated. When it comes to food, I’m probably not as integrated, because I love African food with spicy, flavourful sauces. I love to have that with rice and okra.”
“Inclusion can be advanced in myriad ways, many countries have moved forward and change is within our reach”. This is one of the main messages that the Shared Societies Project has been spreading during the last six years, and now, a new report of the World Bank uses evidence to bring home this same message.
This report puts boundaries around an abstract idea and tells us what we can do to further the agenda. Social inclusion is embedded in the World Bank’s twin goals – it matters to ending extreme poverty because some groups are over-represented among the extreme poor, and it matters to creating shared prosperity because growth can leave some people behind.
The report Inclusion Matters: The Foundation for Shared Prosperity was launched at a round-table discussion during the past World Bank Group/IMF Annual Meetings. With social inclusion being a central tenet in the World Bank’s twin goals, this Davos-style round-table discussion brought together policy makers, activists, academics and World Bank managers for a discourse about what inclusion means in the context of development, why it matters, and what can we do to achieve it. You can watch the web cast of the event here:
An accompanying art exhibit put a human touch on the conversation by bringing voices of the excluded through art, videos, and testimonials.
Additionally, the World Bank is hosting an online space, Striking Poverty, designed for discussion and debate on innovation and development by a global community of stakeholders — bringing the perspectives of thought-leaders, decision-makers, experts, practitioners, policy-makers and other community members — to inform dialogue, focus debate, shape strategy, and provide a basis for action. The Shared Societies Project is participating in the discussions.
We will be coming back to the report Inclusion Matters: The Foundation for Shared Prosperity in future posts.
We encourage you to join the discussions and share why inclusion matters to you!
Following the news about the Lampedusa tragedy, the spanish public television (TVE) interviewed Carlos Westendorp, Secretary General of the Club de Madrid, and showed the work of the Shared Societies Project and its call to avoid xenophobia by dealing efficiently with the differences in a society.
Chandrika Kumaratunga, President of Sri Lanka (1994-2005) and Member of the Club de Madrid, also talked with TVE about the project and her own experience. “When we took the Government we worked with the majority community, which I belong to, to convince them that the other groups should have the same rights. Because this is the duty of governments: change attitudes, and not only think about votes”, she told.
Beatriz Merino, former Prime Minister of Peru, was interviewed too. She explained the issue of double discrimination (women that suffer discrimination to belong a social minority, but also to be women), that the Club de Madrid studied in a working group who met in madrid, leaded by President Kumaratunga.
Watch here the full interview (in spanish. It starts at time code 7:10)
An inclusive and Shared Society is in everyone’s interest and benefits everyone, as the Shared Societies Project has shown in its Economics of Shared Societies. Why then do people often not recognise this? There may be various factors but one recurring concern is the role played by the media. A recent study by the Migration Observatory in Oxford, United Kingdon, has shed some light on the contribution that the media may make to how groups perceive each other.
The study, entitled “Portrayals of Immigrants, Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees in National British Newspapers, 2010 to 2012” argues that Britain’s national newspapers play a critical role in framing the country’s discourse on immigration. They undertook a quantitative analysis of the language used by all 20 of Britain’s main national daily and Sunday newspapers. They considered tabloid or popular papers, those catering for the more affluent and educated or broadsheets papers and those in the middle of the market.
They looked at what words were most often associated with the words immigrants, migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.
They found that the most common descriptor for the word “inmigrants” across all newspaper types is “illegal“, which was used in 10% of mid market stories, 6.6% of tabloid stories and 5% of broadsheet stories.
“Failed” is the most common descriptor for “asylum seekers” across all newspaper types. “Illegal” is also a descriptor in both mid-market and broadsheet newspapers.
Words suggesting water as a metaphor for migration, such as “flood“, “influx” and “wave” are connected to both “migrants” and “inmigrants“. “Influx” was most widely used, but “wave” appeared as in conjunction with “inmigrants” in both tabloids and broadsheets and tabloids also used “flood” in conjunction with “migrants”.
Some words linked to “asylum seekers” in midmarket newspapers focused on illegality and permanence, including “illegal“, “criminals” and “stay“. Broadsheets also consistently used “illegal” and “criminals”, albeit at a lower frequency and among a larger set of c-collocates.
It was also noticeable that more positive words such as “skilled” were less often used and then often in the context of argued that skilled migrants should be attracted.
The authors of the study do not claim that they can show a relation between the words used in relation to migrants, immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees. However they note that “Portrayals of migrants and refugees are plentiful in today’s media-rich environment, whether encountered accidentally or deliberately. Either way, these portrayals may well have a powerful role in shaping how members of the British public understand migration and asylum.” They go on to say that “Britain’s national newspapers
in particular often set the agenda for the country’s political discourse, both informing their readers about issues of the day and at times guiding them toward certain ways of thinking about these issues.”
We would argue that the media has a responsibility to consider its impact on shaping attitudes and behaviors and it is a worrying trend if they associate migrants and asylum seekers with negative words and seldom associate them with positive words. It is not surprising if the host population then treat newcomers with suspicion and hostility when in fact they may be contributing to the common good. Some provide skills that are not available in the host community and others carry out essential, though menial, tasks that others are unwilling to perform.
The University of Manchester has launched a report about ethnic inequalities in England and Wales, based on one of its most relevant measures: employment. It studies Census data from 1991 and 2011, dividing seven ethnic groups and taking from them the cases of men and women from 25 to 49 years old.
The studio states that England and Wales have a history of employment inequality between the white majority and ethnic minority groups, and that in this 20 years the Department of Work and Pensions has put in place policies to address these inequalities. The evolution is very interesting to explore also in some aspects like how the labour market participation and unenployment have changed in every group, specially in the participation of women.
An inclusive labour market is one of the concerns of the Club de Madrid. It will be an important matter in our next Annual Conference, that will take place in Brisbane, Australia, between the 7th and 9th of next December. The Conference, titled “Societies that Work. Jobs for Inclusion. A call to the G20“, will try to find coordinated answers to address the world´s unemployment: focusing on stimulating aggregate demand, in particular through public investment while private investment is weak; addressing increasing labor market mismatch problems through training and re-skilling schemes and programmes; and taking action on youth joblessness.
Which factors can make a country a Shared Society? And what countries are the best examples? The Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Jacobs University in Bremen (Germany) have released a study that tries to answer this questions, based on a conception of social cohesion as the special quality of how members of a community live and work together. Their idea of a cohesive society is one with resilient social relationships, a positive emotional connectedness between its members and the community, and a pronounced focus on the common good.
According to this definition, Scandinavia is the champion of social cohesion.Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland have the highest levels, followed by Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand. On the other hand, the countries studied that suffer low social cohesion are Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Greece and Romania. In a middle ground are most Western Europe countries, that feature above-average to average social cohesion: Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, Germany, the UK, France and Spain.
Anyway, the study examines only 34 countries: the whole European Union member states and seven OECD countries (Australia, Canda, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Switerzland and the US).
Going back on how it defines a Shared Society. It breaks down the concept of social cohesion into three domains: social relations, connectedness, and focus on the common good. From these domains, it compiles a list of measurable dimensions: social networks, trust in people, acceptance of diversity, identification, trust in institutions, perception of fairness, solidarity and helpfulness, respect for social rules, and civic participation.
From this idea, the report finds the three most important economic factors jn greater social cohesion: First, a good national wealth. Second, a balanced income gap: less equal societies tend to be less cohesive. And third, good development towards a modern information society: the diffusion of modern communication technologies makes a country more likely to be socially cohesive.
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