Tag Archive for shared societies project

Diversity enters into the Spanish Parliament (Finally!)


The elections held in Spain on December 20th of 2015 brought about many changes in the Spanish political sphere. One of these changes came in the hands of Rita Bosaho, who became Spain’s first female black Member of Parliament . As The Guardian explains, the “election saw record number of women elected into lower parliament” while “immigrants still make up only 1,2% of country’s representatives,” and composeapproximately 10%of the population.[1]

Bosaho has received much attention from the media following the elections, which has caught her off guard, as she tells EFE News Agency. “Why is it so striking that a black woman could end up in parliament? What does that say about us all being integrated?”

Born with Spanish nationality in Equatorial Guinea, Spain’s former African colony, and after three decades living in Spain, she doesn’t consider herself an immigrant, but is happy to have become such a symbol. As she explains, immigrants remain somewhat invisible in Spanish institutions. “It’s a structural problem that needs to be put in context, looking at the social panorama of Spain.”

According to an ongoing study called “Pathways to Power” led by several European universities,[2] which compares immigrant political representation among seven European democracies, says “in Britain or the Netherlands, between 8% and 11% of national deputies are of immigrant origin, in France and Germany these rates fluctuate between 3% and 4%, and in Italy it is 1.5%.”It’s not only about immigrants making it into parliament, “but about reaching all the institutions”, as the French and political scientist and sociologist Sami Nair says.

Rita Bosaho’s achievement seems like a positive step forward in bringing about true social integration through political representation, as well bringing attention to the percentage of political representation of immigrants in Spain.

While speaking to El País, Vladimir Paspuel of the Ecuadorian association Rumiñahuispoke about the immigrant representatives in government saying “it’s providing a real struggle, but little by little we’re starting to achieve political participation.”

The Club of Madrid has developed the Shared Societies Project, committed to achieve an integrated society. In this framework, it has developed 10 Commitments as key policy areas for leaders and governments.

With the first black woman ever elected in Spain, comes the opportunity to “encourage the creation of a shared vision of society” both locally and nationally, as Commitment VIII promotes. Including bringing new ideas into the political arena to build a society in which the needs and rights of all citizens are met and protected.

As Bosaho jokingly said, it’s about time someone like her reached the Spanish Congress.


[1]According to the InstitutoNacional de Estadística (INE), http://www.ine.es/inebaseDYN/cp30321/cp_inicio.htm

[2]Study led by the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands), University of Bamberg (Germany), University of Leicester (United Kingdom), and SciencesPo (France).

Finding Ways to Walk Together dialogue initiative in South Africa

The Finding Ways to Walk Together initiative in South Africa which started last year 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 Letsema Circle, Dynamic Stability, the Harold Wolpe Memorial Trust, and the Africa Centre for Dispute Resolution of the Stellenbosch University School of Business.

The initiative aims to build a critical analysis of the quality and impact of current dialogue efforts; what the cumulative effect of these dialogue efforts is; and how dialogue can achieve system level impact. Where is dialogue working and not working and why? How can we improve the quality of conversations and interaction in order to jointly tackle the huge challenges such as inequality and improving the standard of education?

Initially designed as a one year initiative, the initiative set out to convene four regional dialogues and a national level dialogue which is planned for the 25-26 of July 2012.

The first of the series of dialogues was held in the Western Cape in October 2011 which was an open-ended dialogue about the quality of dialogue in South Africa. Our most recent was held in the Eastern Cape on the 2nd to the 3rd of March with a specific focus on education. The Eastern Cape dialogue brought together learners, teachers, principals, civil society, business, and academia. The highlight of this dialogue was bringing and amplifying the voices of the learners which are so often left out in mainstream dialogues.

The next series of regional dialogue will be held in Limpopo on the 29th of March which will focus on unemployment and poverty; and a Free State youth dialogue will be convened on 31st May – 1st June.

A national dialogue will be convened on the 25-26 July 2012 in Johannesburg to bring together the recommendations from the regional dialogues.



Luisa Diogo: “We need to do it right. Otherwise, we will disappear as a planet!”

The Club de Madrid in collaboration with the Friederich Ebert Stiftung staged a debate on the issues at stake at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development at the UN’s headquarters in NY, 10 November 2011.

Four Members of the Club de Madrid, Wim Kok (Prime Minister of The Netherlands, 1994-2002), Jennifer Mary Shipley (Prime Minister of New Zealand, 1997-1999), Ricardo Lagos (President of Chile , 2000-2006), and Luisa Diogo (Prime Minister of Mozambique, 2004-2010), offered their points of view on the key issues at stake at the UNCSD negotiation process.

Find here a summary of the event!

YouTube Preview Image

Please find additionally included Club de Madrid’s Recommendations, in its contribution to the Rio+20 process.

What is needed?

  • Not to renegotiate the principles of sustainable development but to find the political will to integrate the economic, social and environmental pillars already agreed to in an institutional framework putting human well-being at the center of concern, and that reinforces principles of intergenerational equity and common but differentiated responsibilities.

Great challenges:

  • Developed countries must shrink environmental footprints as fast and as far as possible while sustaining human development achievements.
  • Developing countries must continue to raise their people’s living standards while containing increases in their footprints, recognising that poverty eradication remains a priority.

¡Bienvenidos a Perú!

The Shared Societies Project has been operating on a global stage since 2005 and to date we have developed a host of initiatives that foster more commitments and political approaches towards achieving greater social cohesion in our societies.

Our challenge remains to keep striving to implement and put into practice such projects on a national, regional and local government level. We are presently operating in South Africa and Kyrgyzstan and in both countries social cohesion is a top priority for their respective governments. We are seeking to secure further commitments to achieve safe and prosperous societies for all.

Our programme officer, Carla Fernández-Durán, and Dr Werner Puschra, Executive Director of the New York Office of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, have recently been in Perú on a survey mission, exploring the possibility of taking the Shared Societies Project to South America.

Perú has a notably diverse society and we envisage that a new chapter to the SSP in this nation would represent a great opportunity to improve ties amongst and connect all sections of Peruvian society. During this mission our colleagues identified and consulted key partners for the SSP project, meeting both government officials and relevant civil society stakeholders.

The SSP team is optimistic of shortly securing funding for this initiative, and Alejandro Toledo, former President of Perú and a Club de Madrid member, has also lent his support and thrown his weight behind this project which we hope to kick start imminently! Please keep us posted with your thoughts on all Shared Societies Project and we look forward to updating you with our progress in our new South American chapter!


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: