Archive for SSP in Action

Kim Campbell: “To empower excluded people involves cultural change”

Kim Campbell at the UN Comission for Social Development

Kim Campbell, former Prime Minister of Canada (1993) and Member of the Club de Madrid participated last week in the UN Comission for Social Development. In her speech, she talked about The Shared Societies Project and its ten commitments and approaches, which she presented with examples of her own pollitical experience.

You can watch her full intervention, titled “Global Shared Societies Agenda: a model framework for promoting long-term inclusive and sustainable growth through economic empowerment”, in the video below.

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Economic reasons to build a shared society: The Maastricht Papers


The Shared Societies Project is designed in the belief that societies are most likely to be peaceful, democratic and prosperous when leaders and citizens recognize and integrate the value of diversity. But, also, there is another powerful argument: a shared society brings economic development too.

In this direction, the Club de Madrid hosted a Shared Societies International Workshop with the Maastricht School of Management in the month of March: “Can the Economics of Shared Societies Support more Resilient Economies and Global Sustainability?”.

To answer to this question, a group of academics and practitioners worked hard since the Maastricht event. Now, their work is compiled and available in our website. [You can read here all the Maastrich papers]

The papers, that will be also published in the book “Shared Societies: The Case for Inclusive Development”, face the subject from different angles: from theoretical approximations to real and located cases, like South Africa, Northern Ireland or China. Some of them also focus on one of the biggest reasons to build a shared society: to avoid the existence of conflicts, violence and war. [You can also check the podcast series that we released with the Maastrich experts here]

The Seventh Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy


The 7th Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy, a highly diverse and growing movement of activists, practitioners, scholars, donors forging the bonds of democratic solidarity around the world, took place in Lima between the 14th and 17th of October 2012.The theme of this year’s Assembly was “Democracy for All: Ensuring Political, Social and Economic Inclusion”.

The Club de Madrid was there and we had the opportunity to link with many of the more than 500 participants at the Movement, all of them working on Democracy related issues, with very interesting  and diverse backgrounds.

We were amazed by the impressive and courageous work some of them are doing to promote democracy in their countries, such as Tawakkol Karman, 2011 Nobel Laureate  from Yemen; Yevgeniy Zhovtis, Director of Kazhakstan International  Bureau of Human Rights and Rule of Law; and Glanis Changachirere,  Director of the Institute for Young Women Development in Zimbabwe. All of them spoke at the opening session alongside Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell -chair of the Steering Committee of the WMD and Club de Madrid Member.

We were able to share and discuss with participants about many of the Shared Societies materials, such as the books of the 10 Commitments and Approaches to build Shared Societies and the books on the Economics of Shared Societies in the Democracy Fair that was installed in the Forum.

During the Session “A Conversation on Democracy for all: ensuring political, social and economic inclusion”, Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell held an interesting debate with Beatriz Merino, former Prime Minister and Ombudsman of Peru Beatriz Merino, and also a member of the NetPLUSS (Network of Political Leaders United for Shared societies) of the Club de Madrid on inclusive policy frameworks, to which they both brought good practices on social inclusion from different perspectives.
From the Founding Statement of the World Movement for Democracy:

…the time has come for democrats thorough the world to develop new forms of cooperation to promote the development of democracy. Such cooperation is needed to strengthen democracy where it is weak, to reform and invigorate democracy even where it is longstanding, and to bolster pro-democracy groups in countries that have not yet entered into a process of democratic transition.

The different workshop panels focusing on the challenges to achieving full inclusion for women, youth , ethnic and religious groups, indigenous populations, sexual minorities, and other excluded groups in all societies were dynamic and produced plenty of constructive ideas for people working on Democracy issues.

We congratulate the World Movement for Democracy for convening such interesting forum!

World Forum for Democracy


Last week, we were at the World Forum for Democracy of the Council of Europe: “Bridging the gap. Democracy: between old models and new realities” that took place in Strasbourg from October 5 to 11, 2012. Our Member Kim Campbell, Prime Minister of Canada (1993) participated as a moderator in the session: “Virtual values? Democracy and new social networks”.

Furthermore, we co-organised a session in the framework of its Shared Societies Project called “One size fits all? Democracy and globalization. The crisis threat to social cohesion”, where Kim Campbell and Kinga Göncz, member of the European Parliament and member the Network of Political leaders United for Shared Societies spoke about the negative effects of the crisis on societies.

Regarding the question of the kind of threat that the current crisis creates for social cohesion, Campbell said that the actions of political leaders in response to that threat can be an even greater challenge. She shared the toolkit and the commitments and approaches that the Club de Madrid has developed in order to provide current leaders with good practices and policies for taking action on social cohesion. Ms. Campbell also expressed her concern about immigrants, the poor, and other minority groups having no support or political influence to protect their interests, and how they can be easier to scapegoat. These groups, she said, are also easier to target as they cannot avoid taxation as wealthier sectors of society are able to do. She finally shared some good examples of countries that have succeeded in avoiding division by fostering Shared Societies, such as Ireland, Iceland, Canada, Botswana and Ghana. She highlighted that countries should invest in creating resilient institutions so that they are able to face times of crisis.

Kinga Göncz spoke on behalf of the Shared Societies Project, of which she is an expert, concentrating first on the Economics of Shared Societies. She also raised a concern about the autocratic leaders who channel the frustration and anger that results from a severe crisis by blaming vulnerable groups. She specifically highlighted the examples of Hungary and Greece. In difficult times, people are more willing to exclude people. There are two ways in which leaders can react: the first is through solidarity via the strengthening of civil society. The second is a destructive solution: a weak State can foster the environment for extreme right-wing parties to replace the missing State by providing social assistance to the general population, but, at the same time, by excluding certain groups and attacking irregular migrants. National leaders should move on to a solidarity-based solution, building trust and ties within society that will bring more stability and therefore will pave the way for economic growth.

Keeping in mind these two ways mentioned by Kinga Göncz, how do you think leaders are reacting to the crisis in the Western Countries? Which country will you mention as a model?

More info about the Shared Socities Session here

Haifa – Between Reality and Vision for a Shared City


During the second Lebanese war in 2006, casualties and victims in Haifa were mourned regardless of their faith, gender, age or ethnicity. Some rockets also landed in Wadi Nisnas, which became one of the central Arab neighbourhoods of Haifa for the Arab population that could stay in their hometown after the Israeli-Arab war of 1948/1949.

Shatil is an organization founded to help build and strengthen civil society. It works for social change together with activists, organizations, networks, grass-roots groups and social movements in Israel and worldwide.  Shatil aspires toward a society based on equality of all citizens and residents of Israel – a society that believes in the principles of social, economic and environmental justice and works to achieve them; a society that promotes human and civil rights, respects religious and cultural differences, and recognizes the importance of shared society.

The war sparked Shatil to ponder about projects, how to increase the sense of togetherness in the diverse city. That is why Shatil launched the project “Haifa as a Model City of Joint Living”. This project comprised the study of best practice of shared living and its implication for Haifa. The results of this longterm activities were now summarized in a publication with the support of Hanns Seidel Foundation.

The book “Haifa – Between Reality and Vision for a Shared City” provides not only international case studies of a shared city, such as advocated since a long time by the Club de Madrid.  It also recounts the different narratives of the local population of Haifa, telling their experiences, joys and nuisances of living in such a diverse city.

Close to a hundred people participated Thursday, September 13th, in the festive book launch of Haifa – Between Reality and a Vision for a Shared City at the Haifa Museum of Art. During the launching event, attended by civil society leaders and citizens of Haifa, Club de Madrid Programs Coordinator Rubén Campos gave a presentation about “How to promote equitable development and Shared Societies” at the city level as part of an ongoing cooperation with Shatil and the Shared Societies Project.

The 500-page book, published by SHATIL, is the result of four years of research by SHATIL’s Haifa Shared City Project Steering Committee. It includes sections on the need for a truly shared society; international models for shared, egalitarian cities; as well as chapters specific to Haifa on planning, inter-community relations, employment and the economy, politics and protest, education, culture, and urban memory as well as photographs.

Final Dialogue of the Finding Ways to Walk together in South Africa


At a symbolic retreat in Liliesleaf, Rivonia, Most Reverend Thabo Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, convened South African political and social representatives from all sectors of society in the Club de Madrid final National Dialogue meeting of the South Africa Project “Finding Ways to Walk together” (25-26 July) that seeks to build Shared Societies in the country.

We enjoyed a significant contribution to the Dialogue from Club de Madrid Member President Masire from Botswana on how to celebrate and learn from other successful dialogue initiatives, in a Conference that gathered civil society, business and government representatives to continue finding ways to walk together through sustained collaboration and dialogue.

South Africans from all walks of life have been calling for some time now for creative ways to assist the country to overcome various challenges. We are convinced this national dialogue was one way of responding to these calls and build on the momentum created by previous dialogue initiatives, such as the Four Finding Ways to Walk Together regional dialogues, the National Social Cohesion Summit in Kliptown on 4-6 July 2012, the National Planning Commission’s consultations, and various other ongoing citizen-driven dialogue efforts at various levels. Other interesting examples are the Citizens Movement for Social Change, and Partnerships for Possibilities. We believe, these initiatives now need to be connected and woven into a national dialogue and cohesion infrastructure.

Anti-apartheid activist leader of The Citizen’s Movement for Social Change, Dr. Mamphela Ramphele; Dr. Brigalia Bam, the Secretary-General of the South African Council of Churches; Roelf Meyer, South African politician, were among the participants. They were joined by Club de Madrid Board Member Ketumile Masire, former President of Botswana (1980-1998) who actively supports South African efforts to promote shared societies.

We would like to acknowledge here the financial support from the European Union Delegation in the Republic of South Africa, which shall be pleased to know that participants present at the National Dialogue committed to continue taking the initiative forward in the future. Our congratulations to the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) and Idasa as local partners who joined the Shared Societies Project of the Club de Madrid in this endeavor more than a year ago.

Our most sincere thanks also to the core group comprising The Citizen’s Movement for Social Change, Dynamic Stability, the Harold Wolpe Memorial Trust, and the Africa Centre for Dispute Resolution of the Stellenbosch University School of Business


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