Archive for Experts comment on SSP

President Chandrika Kumaratunga: “The continued existence of inequality gives rise to terrorism”


“Perceptions of discrimination arise from denial of access to resources and public facilities such as education, jobs, land, government portions and so on. They are heightened by the realization or perception that one’s identity-individual and collective is threatened, generating the fear that one’s existence, the sense of who one is, is in danger of destruction. The most potent source of violent conflict today is identity“.

Chandrika Kumaratunga, Member of the Club de Madrid and former President of Sri Lanka (1994-2005), delivered a lecture in the King’s College of London last december about the subject “terrorism and state”. There, she talked about the relation between inequality and intra-national conflicts that are the origin of terrorism.

So, Madam Kumaratunga analyzed the problem of terrorism with the Shared Societies vision, explaining the concept of our project and how can it help to make a peaceful society. “Violence in multi-religious and multi-ethnic Nations is not caused by the presence of diversity or by the ‘clash of civilizations’, but is due to the exclusion of the less powerful groups.  The marginalized groups then mobilize around their group identity”.

President Kumaratunga talked about some examples of “horizontal inequalities”, inequalities between communities of equal social and cultural status that engender numerous conflicts: economic and social inequalities, cultural, languaje, racial and religious discrimination, political inequality…

Then, she offered her personal experience as Head of State of Sri Lanka: “Hence we adopted a strategy of honest, public discourse to inform the people that the only viable solution was to choose the path of dialogue, negotiations and peace achieved by means of sharing political power through a federal constitution and by building a Cohesive Nation and an Inclusive State. We won three major elections within eighteen months, with an increased majority vote at each one”

Read the full lecture of Chandrika Kumaratunga, “State and terrorism”

Trust in Rwanda’s future

By Jan Hofmeyr

Rwanda could very well be the poster child for the new wave of positive sentiment about sub-Saharan Africa’s economic future. By any measure its vital statistics are impressive. An emerging jagged skyline of high-rise glass buildings in Kigali, its capital city, testifies to the windfalls that have come with an economy that has expanded by an annual average of 7% over the past decade.

Although this growth has come from a low base, and it continues to be classified by the World Bank as a low income country, Rwanda aims to shed this tag and achieve middle-income status by 2020. Because it is not endowed with valuable natural resources, the country plans to leapfrog industrialisation and become a hub for services in the mould of Singapore, which its president, Paul Kagame, seeks to emulate. Towards this end, many kilometres of fibre optic cables have been laid across the small, densely populated country, and a concerted effort has been made to cut red tape for prospective investors.

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Let us dialogue

By Dr. Hlope Brigalia Bam

We as South Africans have a way to come together in creative ways when it really matters. We came in our millions to vote peacefully in all the recent elections. We united to transform this country from an apartheid state to a constitutional democracy.

We hosted and won the rugby world cup in 1995 and the African Cup of Nations in 1996. South Africans successfully hosted the Fifa World Cup and made Africa and the World proud. We have the capacity to embrace one another and our brothers and sisters from around the world. We proved the skeptics wrong, time and again.

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National Idea & Shared Societies in the Pacific – Beyond Colonialism, Tribalism and Racism


New expert comment on Shared Societies!! Today we have an intervention from the Asia Pacific Forum 2012, the Club de Madrid meeting held in Tahiti for building a more resilient Pacific in the 21st century world order.

The author, David Jackson, makes six points:

  1. The purpose of a country, its national idea, is man-made and politically constructed
  2. The national idea is separate from the machinery of the state – the ministries, the post office andother components of the state system
  3. A shared society requiresan inclusive national idea
  4. Current changes in the world requirethe reshaping of national ideas, learning from the past
  5. Leaders can help to build an inclusive national idea or can hinder it
  6. These concepts offer a potential for the Pacific to move beyond colonialism, tribalismand racism.

National ideas can be based on:

  • Citizenship, like the US or Brazil, where different ethnicities and / orcultures can be American or Brazilian but there is a more-or-less explicit setof American or Brazilian values or norms.
  • Ethnicity, like Israel where the national project is to build a nation-state forthe Jewish people and non Jews are discouraged from becoming citizens.
  • Culture, like France whose national idea emphasises a particular languageand culture open to all who embrace it, but with limited acceptance of othercultures or languages.
  • Unity in Diversity”, like Indonesia and India where the national liberationmovement itself was founded on an acceptance of the equality of differentlanguages, cultures, norms, religions and nations within a common territory.
  • Ideology, like North Korea where the furtherance of communist ideasprovides the premise for the state.
  • Theology, like some Islamic states where the pursuance of a religious idealis the essence of the national idea.
  • Fear, where fear of the “enemy” or even fear of authority is used to buildand maintain a national idea.

With a fixed territory and a single authority the state in turn needs a national idea to underpin its legitimacy to its citizens. Other identities are relegated below the national one. The construction of a national idea can be inclusive or exclusive and it can have a strong acceptance or be rejected by some or most of the population.

Some other  questions arising from the comment are: Does the national idea include all the population living in the country? Do they accept it? Or does it implicitly or explicitly exclude segments of the population?

  • The national idea is separate from the machinery of the state
  • A shared society requires an inclusive national idea
  • But the world has changed and national ideas, even inclusive ones, will need to change with it
  • To create the shared societies of the future. Leaders will need to stand ready to re-adjust their national ideas to fit this new reality

In conclusion, some food for thought: How inclusive is your national idea? How universal is your state system? How rules based is your state system? What are the words of your national anthem? Are they inclusive or exclusive? How does your local government system contribute? What can you do as a leader to build a Shared Society?

Read here the full article – download the PDF: David Jackson – Shared Societies in the Pacific. Beyond colonialism, tribalism and racism

Shedding Our ‘Skins’ and Sharing our Wealth


Guest author: Claire Slatter*

A Contribution to the Panel on ‘Shared Societies in the Pacific – Beyond Colonialism, Tribalism and Racism’. Asia Pacific Forum, Club de Madrid, Tahiti, July 5, 2012.

Distinguished Club de Madrid members, fellow panelists and participants. ‘Ia Orana, Bula Vinaka/Namaste, Talofa lava, Maloleilei, warm greetings to you all. I would like to add my thanks to Club de Madrid and the government of French Polynesia, especially President Oscar Temaru, for holding this important Forum in Tahiti. The Forum provides an opportunity to discuss development challenges in Pacific societies and how Club de Madrid, with its wealth of experience in political leadership, might assist.

Our objective in this panel is to reflect on Club de Madrid’s ‘Shared Societies’ model, consider what it has to offer to the Pacific, and how it might help manage and transform tensions in the region.

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Securitization of Migration

Guest Author: Jaroslava Rudavska*

Recently, I attended a student conference on Migration, Human Rights and Security in Europe. Although I have a long standing interest in migration, refugee and asylum, the security part was a new area for me to explore.

As preparation for the conference I did a bit of research and some reading to understand the Security and Securitization of migration discourse. The more I read about Security and Securitization the more I thought of its absurdity, not because it was absurd, but because it revealed an unkind side of human nature.

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