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Member Pastrana leads Shared Societies Project mission to Guatemala City

Member Pastrana leads Shared Societies Project mission to Guatemala City

November 28, 2013

Club de Madrid Member Andrés Pastrana, President of Colombia (1998-2002), led a Shared Societies Project / Council of Europe Intercultural Cities mission to Guatemala City. The delegation was hosted by Guatemala City Mayor Álvaro Arzú, also a Club de Madrid Member as President of Guatemala (1995-2000).

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During the mission the Delegation, which included Daniel de Torres, former Barcelona Immigration and Intercultural  Dialogue Commissioner representing the Council of Europe Intercultural Cities Project, focused on exploring how the local level could best contribute to the building of a Shared Society. Member Pastrana learnt about the efforts and challenges of having an inclusive city, and the preparations for 2015 when  Guatemala City will be the Iberoamerican Cultural Capital. The Delegation visited a number of local projects and initiatives like the Public Art Schools which is attended by dozens of children from all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.
 
Member Pastrana also discussed the importance of building a shared society with political representatives of the Guatemalan Congress including its Speaker H.E. Pedro Muadi Menéndez. In this context the Delegation was invited by the Parliament Indigenous People Commission to present the Shared Societies and the Intercultural Cities Project in an Extraordinary Session when the Club de Madrid contributions for the defense of the rights of indigenous people all around the world.

 

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 The Shared Societies Project has played a significant role at national and international levels in shaping the discourse on overcoming social exclusion and building Shared Societies. But the reality is that most activities to build shared societies takes place at the local level.  As stated in the original project materials: “the well-being of individuals and communities leads to the well-being of the nation, and among nations.”
 
The comparative advantage of the Club de Madrid is most clearly seen at the national and international level because the Members have functioned as national and international leaders and they continue to have access and convening power with current national and international leaders. But many Members have also been local officials during their career, serving in local authorities, trade unions, non-governmental organisations and activist movements. Therefore they are interested and available to work at the local level. Being this the case of Pres. Pastrana who, in 1988, was elected the first Popular Mayor of Bogotá.
 
 
Shared Societies are achieved when all parts of a community value and feel committed to their shared achievements. The most effective way is through a partnership between the state and political leaders, civil society, religious institutions and the private sector.
 
The Project has argued that leaders have a responsibility to create the enabling conditions in which good relations can flourish within diverse societies and has worked in places as diverse as Kyrgyzstan and South Africa to help national and local leaders to identify what that means in practice. Now is the moment to work in Guatemala, and in partnership with its capital, as well as with the Club de Madrid Partners from the Council of Europe, the Intercultural Cities Program.

 

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