Archive for SSP related News and Videos

Toys to promote diversity

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Although 25 million of Mexican considered themselves as part of indigenous groups, a group of educational researchers noticed that kids could not find toys or games in any of the 68 indigenous languages spoken in Mexico by more than 7 million of people. As stated by the National Institute of Geography and Statistics (INE) the number of indigenous languages speakers has fallen from 16% of the population in 1930 to barely 6% today.

In an article published on July 27th, the Spanish journal El País highlighted a research project developed in Mexico aimed to teach Mexican kids indigenous languages.

The project developed by a research group of the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE) alongside the Higher Center of Social Anthropology (CIESAS) is aimed to promote among kids the languages spoken by their parents and grandparents. A couple of dolls, “Paquita” and “Paquito”, have been designed wearing indigenous clothing as a model of social identification for minors, says Aurelio López, research at the INAOE. Paquitos are recommended for children aged between 2 and 4 years old including various types of interactive games. The doll can speak, saying the parts of the body in the specific language when the child presses it.
The project, entitled “Development of tangible educational and pedagogical robots for the learning and revaluation of indigenous languages” is being tested by the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) as part of Mexico’s recent efforts to promote endangered languages.
An educational policy that promotes pluralism, diversity and mutual understanding is part of the Shared Societies Commitments to ensure an education system that offers equal opportunity and educates children to understand and respect others. In addition to this, the bilingualism and the promotion of indigenous languages also “endow children with other abilities in their reasoning”, emphasizes Lopez.
Watch a video in Spanish with additional information about this initiative:

“Indigenous people have been the more organic framers of what a Shared Society should be”

Today we celebrate International Day of the World’s Indigenous People.
According to the UN, there are 370 million indigenous people in the world across 90 countries, representing 5,000 different cultures and speaking around 7,000 languages. They represent unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment.
During Club de Madrid’s Working Group on Shared Societies and environmental sustainability, the role of indigenous people was one of the major topics discussed. Dalee Sambo Dorough, Former Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, was part of the group. We asked her about the role of indigenous people and Shared societies, what are the challenges when it comes to inclusion and more.

Question: The role of indigenous people and Shared Societies? How Indigenous population themselves can overcome environmental obstacles that we are facing now?
Answer:

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Q: What is the role of the Forum on Indigenous Issues at the UN?
A: The Forum on Indigenous Issues at the UN is a mechanism for indigenous peoples with the mandate of saturating the UN system with the perspectives of indigenous peoples across the globe.
It is a unique entity within the United Nations because 8 elected experts on indigenous issues from State governments and 8 nominated indigenous peoples representatives compose it. The nominations come from indigenous organizations from around the globe.

Q: What are the challenges that indigenous people face regarding inclusion?
A: The key challenge here is getting member states of the UN to pay attention to the outcome document and breed life into de aspirations and into the call to action of Club de Madrid’s outcome documents.
Very much so like the fact that though in 2007 the UN General Assembly adopted the UN declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, the key problem and the frustration is the lack of implementation of this declaration in order for indigenous people to effectively enjoy and exercise the human rights that are firmed in that instrument.
World leaders should realize that it is in their best interest and in the interest of their citizens to begin the implementation of that UN declaration. If the implementation of the rights and standards are effectively and genuinely put in place, it would be less pressure upon national governments and societies as a whole, because then indigenous people would become more effective participants in the design and implementation of national agendas for sustainable development, for appropriate sustainable and equitable economic development, for example.

 

Read the final outcome document of the working group on sustainability and Shared Societies here.

Election Times in Nepal

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The recent holding of the first phase of local elections in Nepal and the imminent holding of the second round on June 14th are a positive sign and an important landmark in the democratic transition of the country. Nearly 50,000 candidates stood for 13,556 positions as mayor, deputy mayor, ward chairman and ward member in 283 local municipalities.

Since the stablishing of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, after the 1996-2006 Maoist insurgency and the overthrow of the Nepalese monarchy, constant issues have happened trying to ensure a peaceful transition that promotes greater inclusion of the country’s different identity groups. In this context, the elections are seen as the engagement between different parties and the electorate.

The frequent changes in government in recent years have been detrimental to the country’s development and economic growth. Political uncertainty has made foreign investors reluctant to get involved in the area, and domestic industries have suffered the consequences of the lack of funds, deteriorating even more the situation of the most disadvantaged people.

Inclusion in the country is strongly linked to social justice and identity, and both issues greatly affect the complex Nepalese ethnic mosaic. On top of it, inclusion is linked to demands for federalism.

Local governments have an important role in the participation of all identity groups and sections of society by creating a sense of belonging. This idea was already highlighted by the Shared Societies Project in its publication on Local Government and Shared Societies.

Although vote counting results are still trickling in, the Kathmandu Post reports that the CPN-UML is leading the nationwide vote count, followed by the Nepali Congress, with the CPN-Maoist Centre in third place. The final results will be revealed in the next few days and the second round of local polls will be held in the four remaining southern provinces on June 14th. The outcome of this election will be crucial in determining the future direction of democratic Nepal.

In this context, the Club de Madrid’s Shared Societies Project (SSP) strives to aid Nepal’s quest for inclusion by engaging with local partners to work towards the incorporation of all voices in the democratic transition of the country.

For a more detailed account of the provisional election results, click here.

Malinas: the epitome of inclusion

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In an article published on May 25th, El País highlights the vast multicultural mosaic of Malinas, a Belgian city situated just 25 kilometres away from Brussels whose citizenry is made up of 128 different nationalities and religions. In times of pressing terrorist threats and constant polarization, the official records show that this particular city has managed to keep its Muslim residents away from joining radicalized ISIS forces in Syria. This relative success can be explained by a “carrot and stick” approach that has focused on providing more resources to the police, more security cameras and, most importantly, comprehensive initiatives of inclusion. These initiatives include after-school centres for vulnerable youth, investments in public spaces and no-segregation policies for the development of living spaces.

The author includes the testimony of Alexander Van Leuven, an anthropologist specialized in anti-radicalization who claims that what makes Malinas different in terms of inclusiveness is the fact that everyone within the community is considered to be a valuable citizen, regardless of his or her background or financial means. The egalitarian strategy of the city ensures that anyone with talent and hard work can have a worthy future. In the words of its Mayor, Bart Somers, the key is to leave behind the clichés of seeing Muslims as either victims or criminals and moving forward with an inclusive vision where everyone has the opportunity of a prosperous life.

The Salaam Mechelen project, an initiative started in 1995, perfectly exemplifies this vision. The gist of the project is to use soccer as a means to unite the community: players of all nationalities and origins who are required to display exemplary academic performances in order to play and get together to enjoy the activity in an atmosphere of respect for the rival.

Malinas, the “city of hope”, demonstrates that having an integrated and cohesive society is not only possible under the right policies of inclusiveness, but also highly desirable.

To see the original article in Spanish, click here.

*Featured image by Demi Alvarez.

Professor Reddy On the True Nature of a Shared Society

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In a blog post written late last week, Professor Sanjay Reddy attempted to address the question, ¨What is a Shared Society?¨ His writing explores the limits of current approaches to human rights and stresses the importance of cultivating pervasive,common humanity in order to make progress in community building.
Attributing the advancement of the Shared Society concept directly to Club de Madrid, Reddy suggests that a Shared Society is composed of three themes: individual dignity, a recognition of social pluralism, and collective responsiblity. Reddy writes:

¨Understood in these terms, the idea, and ideal, of a Shared Society can be applied on any scale.¨

Reddy echoes a core principle of the Shared Societies Project, saying that

any successful initiative ¨must be grounded in an idea of shared responsibility that can motívate the campaigners and society at large.¨

Reddy is an Associate Professor of Economics at the New School for Social Research in New York. He also Works as a research associate for Columbia University´s Initiative for Policy Dialogue. He has worked as a Fellow at Harvard University´s Center for Ethics and Center for Population and Development Studies. Reddy is an independent adviser to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, and is a co-founder of the Global Consumption and Income Project.
His post came just two days after he joined Club de Madrid member Roza Otunbayeva, and others, as part of a high-level UN panel discussion on the role of Shared Societies in the fight against global poverty.
A link to Professor Reddy´s blog post is posted here.

“A lack of integration undermines the sense that there is such a thing as “the common life” in our cities”

Khan London

In an age when division and polarization seem to be the norm in globalization, London’s Sadiq Khan is passionately advocating for a more integrated society. Speaking at City Hall on November 14th at the Mayor of London’s Social Integration Conference, Khan commented in front of an audience of mayors from around the globe on the need for integration in society:

A lack of integration undermines the sense that there is such a thing as “the common life” in our cities; It breeds mistrust, it grows anxiety and the fear of crime, and it can fuel the development of division.

He warned his fellow mayors against a lax approach to solving the issues of division in cities, commenting “A hands-off approach to social integration simply doesn´t work.” He elaborated that:

Promoting social integration must mean assuring that people of different faiths, ethnicities, social backgrounds, and generations don’t just tolerate one another or live side by side, but actually meet and mix with one another on a genuine level and connect in meaningful ways. Perhaps as friends and neighbours as well as citizens.

More than just commenting on the moral need for integration within cities, Khan spoke on the tangible benefits of social integration. He commented on this, saying that social integration “can help reduce mental health issues, it can stop the vulnerable from becoming isolated, and it can enable people to contribute fully to their community, increasing social mobility and helping people develop new skills and fulfil their potential.”

As a first step the Mayor of London mentioned “spreading greater understanding of the problem within cities, administrations and communities” adding that “there is no one project that will fix this, it will require work and effort across the board”.
We are pleased to see Mr. Khan’s remarks align closely with those of the Club de Madrid´s Shared Society Project (SSP), which seeks to build an inclusive and safe society that respects diversity and protects human dignity, especially when he makes the important point that it is not enough to tolerate people living side by side.

 

Picture credit: http://www.newstatesman.com/

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