The Finding Ways to Walk Together Project, part of the Shared Societies Project, has celebrated its National Meeting in Gauteng, South Africa, yesterday and today with financial support from the European Union Delegation in the Republic of South Africa.
The intention with the national event is to have a visionary and inclusive meeting where “differentvoices” come together to do the following:
- Receive and reflect on key themes emanating from the provincial dialogues
- Draw inspiration from positive case studies of societies that are successfully walking together,both in South Africa and beyond its borders
- Have conversations with the National Planning Commission
- Have conversations with (national and international) political actors and Club of Madrid Board Members
- Consider key practical proposals on how to sustain dialogue as an approach to maximise theopportunities for cohesion and development
- Contribute to shifts attitudes (from despair to hope; from apathy to taking responsibility forone’s own destiny) and behaviour (a willingness to engage and dialogue as opposed toaccepting divisions and separation) in the South African context
The purpose is to inspire a core group of South Africans to unite around a vision of a countrywhere dialogue is practiced and sustained at all levels and to commit to achieving that vision.
We would like to say thank you to our partners: Idasa and The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.
We’ll give you further information very soon, but we are so proud of this initiative that ensures a pacific and democratic future in a country like South Africa.
We are still finding the way to build a shared society in South Africa!
The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Reverend Thabo Makgoba is convening sixty South Africans from various sectors to renew their commitment to sustain and enhance meaningful dialogue in South Africa at a time when dialogue is often confused with debate.
This dialogue, which aims to strengthen existing efforts to help our nation succeed, takes place on 25-26 July 2012 at Liliesleaf, Rivonia, to discuss ways to ensure that civil society, business and government continue to find 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 our nation to overcome various challenges. The national dialogue is one way of responding to these calls and build on the momentum that has been created by various 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, such as the Citizens Movement for Social Change, Partnerships for Possibilities, and others. These initiatives now need to be connected and woven into a national dialogue and cohesion infrastructure.
Among the participants are Minister for Planning, Min. Trevor Manual, and Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, and participants from the regional dialogues. They will be joined by Club de Madrid Board Member President Ketumile Masire of Botswana who support South African efforts to promote shared societies.
The Finding Ways to Walk Together dialogue initiative is a partnership between the Shared Societies Project of the Club de Madrid, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) and Idasa as local partners, and a 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.
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:
- The purpose of a country, its national idea, is man-made and politically constructed
- The national idea is separate from the machinery of the state – the ministries, the post office andother components of the state system
- A shared society requiresan inclusive national idea
- Current changes in the world requirethe reshaping of national ideas, learning from the past
- Leaders can help to build an inclusive national idea or can hinder it
- 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
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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No, the Kyrgyz Republic doesn’t have a shared society, but it seems that the country is moving towards achieving one.
Since independence, Kyrgyzstan has weathered various periods of political upheaval. In 2005, the so-called ‘Tulip Revolution’ brought down the 15 year incumbency of President Askar Akaev who had been in power since independence. However, his successor, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, soon began manipulating the political system and amassing political power for himself. In April 2010, the government of President Bakiev was overthrown in a wave of popular discontent. Roza Otunbayeva, the former Foreign Minister, emerged as the head of a transitional government. In an effort to balance the distribution of powers, the provisional government re-drafted the constitution.
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By Ayanda Nyoka, from the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation
The Finding Ways to Walk Together dialogue initiative in South Africa hosted a youth dialogue, the last of the four regional dialogues on the 31st May to 1st June in the Free State province, in partnership with the International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social justice of the Free State University. The dialogue was set to coincide with youth month which begins the 1st of June each year to commemorate the youth of 1976 who came together on June 16 in Soweto and different parts of South Africa in resistance against Bantu education.
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