Archive for November 29, 2011

Whither Nomadic Communities?

The plight of traditional nomadic communities, Irish Travellers, Gypsies, Bedouins, Roma, has been long etched into public consciousness. An Al Jazeera exposé casts fresh light upon the perennial debate, confronting the latest round of migration issues across Europe.

From Israel to Essex: Travellers not welcome


Bravo the Scandinavians and the Dutch!

The Centre for Global Development has published its annual Commitment to Development Index, ranking the 22 richest donor countries that belong to the OECD Development Committee. Assessing variables such as aid, trade, investment, migration, environment, security and technology, the CGD initiative scrutinises and evaluates how much these nations’ policies help or hinder the world’s poorest countries.

Yet again, the Scandinavian nations and the Netherlands have scored admirably for their munificence, financing generous aid programmes and adopting progressive policies on the environment (especially, limiting greenhouse gas emissions) and migration (welcoming legal immigrants from developing countries).

How does your home nation measure up on the Commitment to Development Index? Is your government demonstrating a hard-minded ambition for change?

Commitment to Development Index 2011



Check out Berkeley’s Dr. Irene Bloemraad’s stance on the ever-raging multiculturalism debate:

The Debate Over Multiculturalism: Philosophy, Politics, and Policy

In light of British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel casting aspersions upon the health of multiculturalism at the outset of 2011, Dr. Bloemraad’s cutting analysis seeks to debunk such over-rehearsed and over-simplified arguments, and provide for us a clearer understanding of where our societies lie in terms of multiculturalism and social cohesion.



In Praise of Professor Richard Wilkinson

Please check out the link published below of yet another pertinent and engaging TED Talk, delivered by British academic, Professor Richard Wilkinson, this July. The author of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, outlines why societies with more equal distribution of incomes have better health, fewer social problems and are more cohesive than ones in which the gap between the rich and poor is greater – definitely an idea worth spreading!

Renewed Collaboration between the Club de Madrid & OECD for 2012

Upon invitation, the Club de Madrid has co-launched the OECD’s report on Perspectives on Global Development 2012: Social Cohesion in a Shifting World on November 21st in Paris.

President of the Club de Madrid, Wim Kok, initiated proceedings, delivering the summit’s opening remarks alongside Pier Carlo Padoan, Deputy Secretary-General and Chief Economist of the OECD, where both acknowledged the mutual interest of this collaboration.

Member and former President of the Club de Madrid Ricardo Lagos (Former President of Chile)

Member Ricardo Lagos was a key discussant in the first session where, Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre, officially presented the Perspectives on Global Development 2012. Alan Hirsch, Deputy Director General of Economic Policy at the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation (Presidency of South Africa) and François Bourguignon, Director of the Paris School of Economics participated in the panel as well.

The afternoon session dealt with experiences and good practices in overcoming resistance to public policy making towards reinforcing social cohesion and the notion of Shared Societies.

President of the Club de Madrid Wim Kok (Former Prime Minister of the Netherlands) & Member António Mascarenhas Monteiro (Former President of Cape Verde)

Discussion between members Wim Kok and António Mascarenhas Monteiro, and Sarah Cook, Director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), centred upon policy reforms for strengthening social cohesion, in addition to evaluating the conditions for and bottlenecks to policy implementation.

The Club de Madrid members contributed insightfully to this debate, drawing upon their wealth of experience in office in The Netherlands and Cape Verde respectively, analyzing past successes and failures in managing social cohesion.




Welcome to the Blog of the Shared Societies Project!

مرحبا – 招呼语 – Welcome! – Bienvenue! –

добро́ пожа́ловать! – ¡Bienvenido!

Welcome to the blog of the Shared Societies Project, one of the Club of Madrid’s most important projects to help foster social cohesion in today’s societies.

Do you think we live in homogeneous societies and that social diversity is unusual? Well the fact of the matter is that social diversity is the norm. Over 90% of the countries we live in have minorities which make up at least 10% of the population – and often much more. Do we need an alternative kind of political framework to properly and equally debate our manifold differences? If so, how can we begin to construct this framework and then successfully implement it?

Our various posts explore the problematic legacies of diverse communities whether that is the result of the way our states emerged in the past or as a consequence of globalisation and increased migration that is happening right now. We will also tackle the relationship between economic development and social cohesion and the debates surrounding the public expression of identity, multiculturalism, ethnic differences, movements of people, religious diversity and a myriad of other related issues.

Our blog will help navigate you through these complex yet pertinent questions concerning contemporary societies.

As you glance through our posts, you will see that we have divided them into several categories. SSP in Action refers to Shared Societies Project activities and missions that we are currently implementing around the world, through the convening power and experience of the Club de Madrid’s distinguished Members – more than 80 former Presidents and Prime Ministers hailing from 56 countries worldwide – who are dedicated to democratic leadership. Keep consulting the blog for the latest updates regarding their progress.

For the opinions of our various experts, you will find posts under the SSP Expert Comments category. SSP Related Analysis posts supply readers with substantive scholarly reports on relevant issues, and finally SSP News and Video entries consist of recently published newspaper articles and videos that remind us how these issues of social cohesion are still very relevant today.

We hope you enjoy our newest initiative to continue building Shared Societies!




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