Tag Archive for #SharedSocieties

Shared Societies Project Ideas at World Humanitarian Summit

WHS

 

Over 65 Heads of State and other influential personnel are gathering in Istanbul, Turkey from May 23-24, 2016 for the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, organized by the United Nations and hosted by the Presidency of Turkey, to address the reforming humanitarian system as it relates to the current, migration crisis. The aim of the conference is to come up with a more comprehensive framework, aimed to tackle the needs of millions of people who have been displaced from their homes due to conflict or climate disasters, and are consequently more prone to hunger, poverty and overall human misery. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made an emotional plea to the participants of the conference in his opening remarks, saying: “Today, we declare: We are one humanity with a shared responsibility. Let us resolve here and now not only to keep people alive, but to give people a chance at a life in dignity.”

The concept of human dignity, as mentioned by Ban-Ki moon and later on in the summit by participants of the conference in various workshops and seminars, is also embedded in the definition of a ´shared society, as defined by Club de Madrid´s Shared Society Project (SSP). In order to form a stable, safe, cohesive society respect for everyone´s dignity and human rights is essential. Migrants should be treated as equal members of the society who are in distress. Political leaders of each country thus are responsible for shaping their politics in such a way that will delegitimize the often racism-driven intercommunity conflicts. During the round table meeting held the first day of the Summit on Political Leadership to End and Prevent Conflict, many leaders committed to the responsibility to steer their country´s politics in a direction which will protect human rights, dignity without use of force, in turn creating a more stable society[1].

SSP`s Commitment VII[2] , which addresses the need for an inclusive education system committed to the concept of shared society, was addressed at the summit as it relates to the inclusivity of the education. If education is made available to refugee children, it will be pivotal in reducing the vulnerability and increasing self reliance of refugees in the future, which is on the Agenda of the Summit. What adds to the saliency of this issue is the demographics of the refugees. In 2014, 51% of the refugee population were children and about half of them were not attending primary school[3]. Securing education for these children should not be viewed as a cost, but rather an investment in the future.

At a time when 125 million people face humanitarian crisis, tangible political action from the international community is needed and must arrive promptly. SSP recognizes this conference as a step towards such action, especially given that the leaders present at the summit will tackle the responsibilities to which they committed in turn creating a more stable, safer world. The uniqueness of the summit lies in its “top down” approach of addressing challenges of human suffering caused primarily due to migration crisis, as it is the leaders themselves, rather than grassroots organizations, that have gathered to address this challenge. As UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson expressed during the Summit, instead of fearing or fighting this change, “We need to stand up for the beauty of diversity in our societies.”

 

 

[1] From the Report of the Secretary-General for the World Humanitarian Summit titled “One Humanity: shared responsibility.” https://consultations.worldhumanitariansummit.org

[2] Commitment VII: Ensure an education system that offers equal opportunity for developing the knowledge, skills, capacities and networks necessary for children to become productive, engaged members of society and that demonstrates a commitment to a shared society and educates children to understand and respect others.

[3] From the Report of the Secretary-General for the World Humanitarian Summit titled “One Humanity: shared responsibility.” https://consultations.worldhumanitariansummit.org

Chicago Police Recruits More Minorities

Protesters Continue to Demonstrate Against Police Killings

At a time when interactions In the United States of America between police and minority communities it is important not to forget the efforts that are being made to address the problems. In Chicago, the police are emphasizing the recruitment and hiring of minority police officers.

Research shows that having minority cops in minority neighborhoods has a strong symbolic and physiological effects of fostering more intimate, more trusting bonds between the community and the police which at times helps to prevent needless violence. As stated by Fox News, currently, about 70% of the 14,000 officer applicants are black, Hispanic and Asian, which constitutes a 13% jump in minority applicants. Recruiters visited churches, schools, community events and advertised in Spanish to bolster interest among minorities to apply. The goal is to ¨build a police force that represents the diversity of the entire city¨ and change the ¨culture¨ of policing.[1]

The aims of the Chicago police align closely with those of the Club de Madrid´s Shared Society Project (SSP), which seeks to build an inclusive and safe society that respects diversity and protects human dignity. More specifically, the current efforts of the Chicago police department are tied with SSP´s Commitment X, which calls for measures to reduce intercommunity tensions and hostility and ensure that members from all communities are protected from abuse, intimidation and violence.

Hopefully the recent steps aimed at bolstering minority representation in the police force will adhere to the aims of Commitment X, especially as it emphasizes the importance of police in acting as community leaders who respect the diverse structure and ethnic nuances of areas which they guard. Having a responsible, respectful police force which is representative of its community and does not rely exclusively on force to mediate conflicts will be a step towards building a much more wholesome shared society.

 


[1] “To Rebuild Trust, Chicago Police Recruit More Minorities.” Fox2now. Fox News, 23 Feb. 2016. Web.

<http://fox2now.com/2016/02/23/to-rebuild-trust-chicago-police-recruit-more-minorities/>.

Shared Societies at the Oscars

Oscars

The Oscar´s gala celebrated yesterday in Los Angeles left, besides awards, serious critics for its lack of diversity among the nominees. “If they nominated hosts, I wouldn´t even get the job”, said Chris Rock, host of the gala. None of the nominees were black, a fact that ignited complaints that ended in a boycott from various artists, and the representation of Hispanic nominees relies on Alejandro González Iñarritu and his team.
Although the film industry is not ideal when it comes to promote social inclusion (since 2000 only 3% of nominations have gone to Hispanic people when they represent 16% of the population, just 1% to Asians; and women make 20% less than their male colleagues), perhaps things are changing.

The Screen Actors Guild awards (SAG) celebrated last January 30th is a small proof. Idris Elba proclaimed the ceremony “diverse TV” when he went on stage to collect his award for best supporting actor for Beasts of No Nation. Jeffrey Tambor won best actor for his role in Transparent, Queen Latifah and Viola Davis were among the winners for their roles in Bessie and How to get away with murder respectively, and Uzo Aduba was crowned again as best supporting actress for her role as Crazy Eyes in the series Orange is the New Black, which also won best comedy. Orange is the New Black is a TV show that narrates the daily life in a women´s penitentiary, where people from very different backgrounds and with different nationalities and races have to live together. The show has been praised for touching on sensitive and usually hidden topics such as the transgender world thanks to the role of Laverne Cox (Sophia Burset on the show), who is a transgender in real life. Laura Prepon, from this same comedy, claimed that diversity is necessary in the industry and said regarding the SAG awards: “This is what we talk about when we talk about diversity”.

According to The Economist, numbers suggest that the black population is not underrepresented in the awards; instead, the white population is overrepresented. Black actors get 9% of top roles and 10% of them get a nomination. The problem is actually behind the camera, where there are only 6% of black directors, and black women are almost non-existent. When it comes to Hispanic and Asian actors in top roles, the problem is much bigger. Some point out that the problem is not the nominations, but the lack of training and opportunities for minorities in the film industry. Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science president and African-American, is trying to change the situation. She announced a five-year plan to expand executive´s thinking when hiring new talent.
If discrimination occurs in such a high profile profession and among highly rated film stars, it must be much worse among the poor. Club de Madrid and the Shared Societies Project applaud that events and professions of such magnitude are conscious of the importance of diversity, and invites the film industry to a self-critique and evaluation of the way the industry works. Although change will take time to happen, the most important thing, as mentioned by Lea Delaria, is that at least we are having this conversation and raising concerns.

Shared Societies Approach in Kenya

ENPP_booklaunch_Kenya

Member of the Shared Societies Project Expert Advisory Panel, the Kenyan lawyer and academic, Yash Pal Ghai, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Hong-Kong and an expert when it comes to constitutional law and human rights.

With a life-time of study, scholarship, and experience, Ghai reports on past and current events regarding the themes of diversity and peace in his new book entitled Ethnicity, Nationhood, and Pluralism: Kenyan Perspectives.

This book marks the culmination of ten years of research and assessment of national sentiments on the acceptance of various cultural groups in Kenya. All of this occurs within the context of the country’s new constitutional commitment to becoming an inclusive society. An intriguing comparison and analysis of Canada is made in order to demonstrate 1) that achieving a pluralistic society is possible, and 2) how a country can bring diverse communities together to ultimately create a peaceful and prosperous society. According to Ghai, “a commitment to pluralism requires systematic effort across all sectors of society” and “there is no one-size-fits-all approach to pluralism.” With all of this in mind, he demonstrates that the 2010 constitution is an indicator that Kenya wants to embrace meaningful social inclusion, however it needs to do more.

Educated at Oxford and Harvard, Yash Ghai, has served as an advocate of the High Court of Tanzania. His primary interests now are constitutions arising out of conflict and political and constitutional issues of autonomy in the context of China. Some of his principal writings have been published in non-legal journals. He has been consulted on constitutional matters by a number of countries, including Tanzania, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Seychelles, Afghanistan, Maldives, Cambodia, and East Timor. He chaired Kenya’s constitutional review from 2001-04 and facilitated various consultations in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, and advised the Tibetan Government in Exile. In September 2006, he became UN Special Representative for Human Rights to Cambodia.

The Project values Professor Ghai’s support and wise counsel, as these issues are critical in building Shared Societies

Positive Peace and Shared Societies

GPI

The Shared Societies Project was represented at “From Theory to Practice: Inaugural Positive Peace Conference” held by the Institute for Economics and Peace at Standford University, California, USA, on October 5, 2015.

The Institute for Economics and Peace has sought to better understand the drivers of peaceful societies through the development of an empirical framework that identifies the optimum environment in which peace can flourish. This is termed Positive Peace. The main contribution has been the development of a framework of inter-related factors or Pillars of Peace, identified by analyzing over 4,700 different indices, datasets and attitudinal surveys. Countries with higher levels of Positive Peace are less likely to slip into major conflicts, are more likely to experience less violence, and are better equipped to bounce back from internal or external shocks caused by economic conditions, societal disagreements and natural disasters.

During the Conference’s session “Positive Peace and Systems Thinking”, aimed to examine positive peace through the lens of systems thinking, Necla Tshirgi, Professor of Practice, Human Security and Peacebuilding at the University of San Diego and and member of their Project Expert Advisory Panel, participated on behalf of the Shared Societies Project.

Necla Tshirgi spoke about the fundamental interrelationships between positive peace factors and Shared Societies. See copy of her presentation here

Cities Against Racism

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The International Coalition of Cities against Racism is an initiative launched by UNESCO in 2004 to establish a network of cities interested in sharing experiences in order to improve their policies to fight racism, discrimination and xenophobia.

In times of growing globalisation and urbanization, municipalities are a key factor in ensuring that all their citizens, regardless of their nationality, ethnic, cultural, religious or social origin can live in dignity, security and justice. The initiative is expressly supported by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the world’s largest organisation of municipalities, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).

On December 10th 2004, the “European Coalition of Cities against Racism” was established in Nuremberg, and a “Ten-Point-Plan of Action” was adopted. In order to take into account the special conditions and priorities of different regions of the world, further regional coalitions have been established in the two following years and have worked out their own action plans.

The “Welcoming Cities – Keys for an anti-racist culture” General Conference was held in Karlsruhe, Germany, October 8-9, organized by the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism. In these intense two days, representatives of European Cities identified and shared good practices to fight against racism, promote social inclusion and improve the efficiency of the public services offered to migrant and refugee’s population.

The Club de Madrid Shared Societies Project has decided that involvement with local activities has a number of advantages; promoting social inclusion at this level may be possible when national governments are not ready to engage with issues of inter-group relations at the level of national policy. To develop this area of work, the Club de Madrid has developed a publication to emphasize the role of Shared Societies at the local level with dedicated materials based on the existing Shared Societies Project documents and made specifically relevant to local contexts. The English and French versions of the publication, “Local Government for Shared Societies”, was disseminated during the Conference in Karlsruhe.

Benedetto Zacchiroli, ECCAR President and representative of the City of Bologna, gave the keynote speech focused on the challenges of the recent refugee crisis in Europe. He stressed that “the Mayors of European cities are in the forefront of receiving the requests of help for immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers, to facilitate their acceptance and their integration.”

Turning to the issue of migration, Frank Mentrup, Mayor of Karlsruhe, stressed that “the exchange of best practices is the best tool to combat racism and discrimination.” The Mayor also explained how the City of Karlsruhe is undertaking special measures to promote a culture of anti-racism through cooperation with civil society organizations and actions in public spaces of the city.

Club de Madrid staff officer, Rafael Moreno, and representatives of the ECCAR Secretariat and UNESCO held bilateral meetings in order to discuss further cooperation on initiatives to promote social inclusion and diversity at the local level.

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