Tuesday 04 October and Wednesday 05 October 2022 (lunch-to-lunch meeting). This meeting will take place in Stockholm (Sweden)
For this RAN meeting of the Families, Communities & Social Care Working Group, we are looking for practitioners who are working on initiatives aimed at bringing communities together, initiatives focused on community dialogue and/or the prevention of polarisation. This includes local coordinators, community representatives, religious leaders, social workers, youth workers, or practitioners working for organisations specialised in community dialogue or mapping of polarising tendencies.
Practitioners who can provide concrete examples from daily practices, or who experience challenges with this topic, are invited to respond to this call for participants.
- Stockholm, Sweden
- RAN FC&SStockholm, Sweden
- RAN Practitioners Staff
Background and aim of the meeting
Polarisation in society is an increasingly pressing issue, heightened by the spread of conspiracy narratives online and the rise in discrimination against different communities. Events and crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, can have a significant polarising effect on communities right across Europe. They give opportunities for terrorist and extremist groups to spread polarising narratives, conspiracy narratives and disinformation, that aim to exacerbate underlying and existing grievances and tensions, and in doing so, sow division among these communities. These polarising tendencies can fuel the breeding ground for radicalisation.
By contrast, increased social cohesion in communities builds relationships and reduces the marginalisation that can be a potential driver of violent extremism (Mitchell, 2018). Community dialogue is one of the instruments to improve social cohesion and foster mutual understanding. When setting up a dialogue initiative, it is crucial to understand the situations and experiences of the targeted communities you focus on. In this meeting we will 1) explore initiatives that focus on the mapping of polarising tendencies and cohesion across communities, 2) explore community dialogue initiatives with a preventative or restorative function that facilitate encounters on a local level, build trust and increase understanding among different members and sub-groups in communities and prevent radicalisation, and 3) formulate lessons learned and recommendations on how to put these methods into practice.
This meeting will build on previous RAN meetings, such as the RAN FC&S meeting on ‘Preventing Polarisation and Building Resilience by Creating a Shared Identity’, the RAN LOCAL and FC&S meeting on ‘Engaging with communities. Collaboration between local authorities and communities’ and the RAN YF&C meeting on ‘Strengthening community resilience to polarisation and radicalisation’.
Practitioners and initiatives we are looking for are:
- Community leaders, religious leaders, local coordinators, social and youth workers, and practitioners working for organisations specialised in community dialogue or the mapping of polarising tendencies/community cohesion.
- Participants should have experience in bringing different communities together on a local level.
In order to find the best suited participants, we would like to ask you if you could answer the following questions:
- What is your experience with:
- bringing together communities with different backgrounds?
- community dialogue?
- mapping polarising tendencies/community cohesion on a local level?
- What are your biggest challenges you would like to discuss during this meeting?
- How are recent events in Ukraine (or other developments) influencing the social cohesion on a community level in your city? Have you noticed similarities/differences with the polarisation related to COVID 19?
- Could you share a specific challenging case you would like input on?
If you are interested in attending this meeting, please register here and answer these questions. We will invite participants based on this information. Please keep in mind that we only have a limited number of spots available for this meeting, so participation is not guaranteed.
Please note, the meeting will be held in English.
If you have any further questions, please don´t hesitate to contact Esther Zuiderveld, Mirjam Konings and Fenna Keijzer.