This week we mark the anniversary of one of the Institute’s defining events: the 2003 Building Social Cohesion in the Midst of Diversity and Migration conference held in Manresa, Spain.  

At that Event, community leaders from over 20 cities gathered to explore best practices from their practical experiences building social cohesion. The Conference came together over the central questions of: 

  • How do we promote a positive view of difference and build a sense of social cohesion in the midst of diversity?
  • Where have people been effective at building relationships of trust, understanding and cooperation between diverse communities?
  • How can we best learn from those communities that have successfully built trust amongst their diverse communities? 

The collaborative learning, strategies and conversations at the Event provided tools for participants to bring solutions back to their respective cities. To find out more on how this was accomplished, view the full report on our findings of the conference.  here.

In the time since we held the Manresa Event, the issue of how communities in sizable cities overcome the division and tensions often caused by their diverse populations, remains as relevant as it was in 2003. In many ways, we were fortunate to make the connections with a group of talented and committed leaders willing to address the issue head-on, as it has proven to be prescient and set the tone for future project work. 

Which brings us to new events and the ways in which we continue to honor our mission, and honor those we work with dedicated to bringing social cohesion to their communities. This week, two of our associates from Chicago, Alexis Smyser and Srishtee Dear, are in attendance with our colleagues in Colombia at the Foundation for Reconciliation conference in Bogota. Here, participants from several countries review and reinforce the key principals of the ESPERE methods that the Foundation has been refining since first introducing in 2007. 

The ESPERE methodology is engaging new community leaders, former child soldiers and educators in the proven concepts of reconciliation and forgiveness. What began as a grassroots project by Fr. Leonel and his team in Bogota less than a decade ago has now flourished to see participation throughout North and South America and recently to Africa. Partners of the Goldin Institute in Uganda have taken up the ESPERE methodology and have used is as a powerful tool in the reintegration for former child soldiers. 

[hl bg=”#d07000″ fg=”#ffffff”]Continue to follow us as we share new learnings and outcomes from this latest conference in Bogota. See how the common theme of social cohesion that began 12 years ago in Manresa is alive and well and being proven highly adaptive in new environments and by new leaders bringing positive change to their communities.[/hl]

[slide][img path=”images/2003___17.jpg”] Goldin Institute co-founder Diane Goldin with participants at the 2003 Maresa, Spain Event. [/img] [/slide]