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We podcast in English but I could summarise a French interview too.
What was it all about? We’re drawing to the end of the second day. I decided to follow the Building Bridges, Restoring Trust strand but as I look back on these two days there are some themes which kept recurring:
This was a theme heard most often in relation to the southern shores of the Mediterranean but what I heard nothing about and which I think is equally worrying is the massive declines in voter turnout in the North. The North may have the trappings of democracy but for how much longer if no-one takes part? Maybe the good news story here is that people are participating in other ways. But the only massive turnout I’ve heard about is for the Big Brother evictions.
Those with an interest in large group dynamics may suggest that more interaction is needed but I witnessed yesterday that simply the suggestion that the audience should discuss a topic in small groups caused a large percentage of the audience to get up and walk out! This was the session on social media and its role in promoting intercultural dialogue so getting the audience to talk to each other was entirely justified and contributed immediately to a blog post on the blog specially created for the forum.
So while many would advocate a more participative approach, it would seem that the participants are not ready for this.
The key questions to be addressed in this session were:
How can history narratives and heritage be developed as a tool for understanding conflictual issues in areas of diverse groups coexist.
How can individual and collective memories lead intercultural dialogues practices and therefore tools for conflict understanding and resolution.
Define reconciliation and how to develop a shared meaning and common understanding
Positive and constructive experiences from the Euro-Med zone and ways to transfer them as shared models for building co-existance and trust
The main aim is a transferable set of tools for the Anna Lindh Foundation which is both an NGO AND an intergovernmental organisation to assist in making the mediterranean area into a prosperous and stable region.
When I saw the set of questions I couldn’t help but think that this was a very ambitious agenda for such a short session with a group of people who are by and large not prepared for solving them even though they may each have very valuable experiences to contribute. Still a few principles emerged from the initiatives described.