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Surin Pitsuwan – Asia must develop a common sense of urgency toward environmental issues
Surin Pitsuwan – Asia must develop a common sense of urgency toward environmental issues
Tomas De La Rosa 

As a former Secretary-General of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs for Thailand, Surin Pitsuwan is no stranger to the developments of Asian countries, their international and financial relations, and how to build a better future for the region.

Speaking about the value and importance of Session 591 – The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation I - A Clean and Green Asia, Pitsuwan highlights how the session has brought together many of Asia’s talents scattered around the world creating positive change as technocrats, diplomats, scientists, or simply as members of civil society. “It's important to bring them together and get them focused on some of the issues of a green and clean Asia," he argues. "It's rather heartening to listen to them taking the issue very seriously, bringing in their own expertise and experiences, to bear on the issues in front of them.”

Pitsuwan’s vision of an immediate solution is developing a sense of urgency and awareness of the environmental and sustainability crises found across Asia. “[...] If we don't take this bull by the horns, it will be too late to reverse the trend of global warming, and the degradation of the environment and various natural resources,” he says. “If we're not careful, it will go beyond the point of return, and that sense of urgency and collective awareness is extremely powerful.”

Warning that, due to its size and spread across the region, Asia’s environmental degradation will have an impact on a global scale, Pitsuwan argues the problems are too big for any one individual, discipline or sector to tackle alone. “We must not leave it to international institutions, the private sector, or academic institutions alone. We need regional cooperation, coordination, and certainly passionate commitment from the younger generation because the world is theirs,” he says.

When asked about elements that put sustainability efforts in jeopardy, such as climate change skeptics in the West, Pitsuwan explains that we are currently able to address these issues because of a common sense of challenge that "has driven the global community to try to help, collaborate and support Asia’s search for their own solutions." These groups, however, represent a threat to this sense, as Asia must be conscious "there are some elements of these groups that are in positions of power, leadership, and decision-making [...] which could impact the region's agenda."

To keep that from happening, Pitsuwan says Asia will have to adopt a common approach toward the problem and raise awareness among themselves. “We require a multi-dimensional approach that will simultaneously address the global and regional elements of the issue [...] Asia needs to understand that it cannot depend on the generosity of the rest of the world forever,” he urges, adding that while this could result in substantial changes – both positive and negative - it is imperative for the good of the region.

To be able to establish this independent system, he argues Asia must prepare to run its own sustainability efforts and create its own funding and resources to develop its own research methods and approach to problems. "Green technology and innovation research bring down the cost of alternative energy sources and thus Asia must commit itself very seriously,” he argues. “This is a wakeup call that this is not an agenda driven by outsiders for their own benefit, but rather driven for the good of Asia.”

Salzburg Global Seminar is sad to have learned Surin has passed away since he attended the session. We share our sincerest condolences with his family.

Session 591 - The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation I - A Clean and Green Asia- is the first session of a new multi-year series held in partnership with the Japan Foundation. For more information on the Session, please click here. To keep up to date with the conversations taking place during the session on social media, follow #SGSasia.

Minneapolis YCIs Organize a Skills Sharing Workshop to Address Housing Issues in Low-Income Neighborhoods
Minneapolis YCIs Organize a Skills Sharing Workshop to Address Housing Issues in Low-Income Neighborhoods
Mirva Villa 

Passionate to bring about discussion on the issues related to land use in the city of Minneapolis, Salzburg Global Fellows Chaun Webster and Carla Schleicher set about creating a workshop bringing together local communities.

A group of 30 participants from multi-racial and indigenous working class communities came together to develop skills, share knowledge, and produce creative strategies to address the local challenges in housing by creating alternative economic models.

North Minneapolis, Webster and Schleicher explain, is a densely-populated historically black neighborhood that has faced decades of divestment. More recently, however, there have been sharp increases in housing costs while wages remain stagnant. This has led to an “extreme number” of evictions.

Notably, the
rising number of evictions is hitting the low-income neighborhoods in Minneapolis the hardest, with many families either being displaced from their homes or having to spend too much of their income on housing expenses, by the federal standard.

Both Webster and Schleicher attended the third meeting of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators in 2016, where Webster together with New Orleans YCI Imani Jacqueline Brown facilitated a breakout session to encourage the YCI fellows to think about development in the context of their own backgrounds.

Titled “Development Without Displacement,” the breakout session encouraged discussion around how working class communities could be empowered creatively to engage with land use issues affecting them. The discussion was framed by the work of American Studies scholar, Bench Ansfield, on development as an extension of colonial logic.

Building on the themes of the breakout session, Webster and Schleicher created a day-long workshop titled ‘Development Without Displacement: Skill Building & Knowledge Share,” held in May 2017. The project was made possible thanks to YCI project funds provided to Salzburg Global Seminar by the McKnight Foundation.

Nia Umoja, from a grassroots neighborhood collective called Cooperative Community of New West Jackson, came to lead the session, which saw the participants develop their views on cooperation through discussion and group exercises.

A report about this project, authored by Webster and Schleicher said, “These exercises were points of tension and conversation as we thought through the rapid growth Minneapolis is facing and the extreme number of evictions that North Minneapolis has undergone that coincides with the lack of affordability and stagnant wages.”

The intense five-hour workshop allowed the group to think about next steps for Minneapolis, with the discussion ranging from just causes for eviction laws to banking accountability and electoral strategy for the municipal elections in November 2017.

The report continued: “The feedback that we got was that the space was rich with vision and was an important connecting point. The convening also functioned to do some important work in deepening the relationship between West Jackson and North Minneapolis and we are in the process of envisioning a Mississippi River Connection Network that would enable continued knowledge and skills sharing to take place.”

For more information about the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators, please click here.

Learning from the Past - Sharing Experiences across Borders to Combat Extremism
Candles brought to the market square in Turku, Finland, following the knife attack in August 2017. Photo: Sullay/Wikimedia commons
Learning from the Past - Sharing Experiences across Borders to Combat Extremism
Mirva Villa 

Ensuring the next generation can grow up in more resilient, open, and pluralist communities in the face of rising extremism challenges countries across the globe. Faced with a rise in violent extremism, policymakers are under pressure to invest in prevention and to show that it works. Structured efforts to reduce extremist mindsets and behaviors have existed for some time, but evidence of effectiveness is often not widely known or utilized. Many interventions require considerable time to affect change, making rigorous measurement of their success over the long term resource-intensive and in need of sustained political will around an often-unpopular topic. What works? How do we know? And will it work in different geographic, cultural and political contexts?

By providing a platform for cross-border and cross-sector collaborations, the session to be held this week in Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg, Austria – Learning from the Past: Sharing Experiences across Borders to Combat Extremism – aims to support those individuals and institutions who have taken up the challenge of promoting peace in their own communities.

Salzburg Global Seminar’s long-running Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention (HEGP) Program works across cultures and contexts, including where perceptions and definitions of “extremism” differ widely. The 2017 session in the Program will build on work from previous years, particularly the projects launched at the December 2016 session, Learning from the Past: Promoting Pluralism and Countering Extremism. One of these projects, The Change Makers Leadership Program, created by Salzburg Global Fellows Tali Nates and Richard Freedman from South Africa, and Freddy Mutanguha and Aloys Mahwa from Rwanda, helps students between the ages of 15 and 18 in both countries understand their countries’ troubled pasts in an effort to promote peaceful coexistence and counter extremism. The first class of students graduated this summer, and it is intended that the program will expand to other African countries in 2018.

Over 40 participants from 20 countries, mostly from Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, will convene in Schloss Leopoldskron for this year’s session on November 16-20. They come from many professional backgrounds including academia, museums and memorial sites, civil society organizations, government officials, and public communications experts. Many of the participants are returning Fellows from other Salzburg Global sessions, including its multi-year series on Culture, Arts and Society, the Salzburg Global Media Academy and Reform and Transformation in the Middle East and North Africa.

The session will mix interactive methodologies, plenary and small group discussions, and thematic and regionally focused working groups to explore and debate the most effective ways to combat rising intolerance and extremism. Participants will deepen and extend their collaborative work in order to identify cross-regional strategies to empower institutions and individuals with tools for ethical education, peaceful conflict resolution, and pluralist societies.

Program Director Charles Ehrlich says that “we are thrilled to have such truly remarkable people from across the world to join us in Salzburg. They share a commitment to overcoming the legacy or threat of mass atrocity, using tools developed for Holocaust education to address their countries’ own national tragedies or problematic histories in an appropriate and dignified way, so that they may provide hope for – and through – the next generation.”

The HEGP Program is held in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and this year is funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Zukunftsfonds der Republik Österreich. Additional support comes from Mr. Ronald Abramson; the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research, and Economy; the Robert Bosch Stiftung; the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation; the HDH Wills 1965 Charitable Trust; the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung; and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

The HEGP Program’s emphasis on grassroots activity within existing institutional budgets anchors projects in their local communities and improves chances for longer-term sustainability. Activities depend on the partners and are demand-driven: The Program provides no financial support to activity implementation, but rather facilitates networks and exchange of experiences across borders to help in-country partners achieve their own institutional mandates, and to help external partners (government, academic, civil society, and other interested parties) to have access to practical feedback from on-the-ground actors within affected countries and communities.

Since 2010, the Program has sought to develop methods for combating extremism and promoting pluralism through education and research. The Program has a network of individuals and NGOs in more than 40 countries, offering ongoing support to its members. It promotes learning from the Global South – both South-to-South exchange but also importantly transmitting lessons from South to North, to inform and influence effective policy and strategies both in the participants’ countries and in Western countries striving to address the same issues, and to determine what methodologies or tools can be leveraged in different contexts.

The session, Learning from the Past: Sharing Experiences across Borders to Combat Extremism is part of the multi-year series Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention (HEGP) Program, which is held partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and this year is funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Zukunftsfonds der Republik Österreich. Additional support comes from Mr. Ronald Abramson; the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research, and Economy; the Robert Bosch Stiftung; the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation; the HDH Wills 1965 Charitable Trust; the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung; and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

More information can be found on the session here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/589 and you can follow along via the hashtag #SGShol on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 

Salzburg Global to host Dara film screening at Schloss Leopoldskron
Salzburg Global to host Dara film screening at Schloss Leopoldskron
Salzburg Global Seminar 

Members of the public are invited to Schloss Leopoldskron this week to watch a showing of the critically acclaimed play Dara.

Salzburg Global Seminar will host a free screening at Schloss Leopoldskron, starting at 2 pm on Saturday, November 19. The screening, which will be in English, will take place in the Robison Gallery, on the top floor of the Schloss.

The play, adapted from work by Ajoka Theatre, is a portrayal of the 17th century Moghul Royals the Shah Jahan family and addresses debates surrounding religious freedom and practice. The creative team behind Dara includes Shahid Nadeem, writer at the Ajoka Theatre; Nadia Fall, director at the National Theatre, and Tanya Ronder, writer and adapter at the National Theatre.

Dara was the first Pakistani play to be chosen and adapted by the UK's National Theatre. This occurred after Salzburg Global Fellow Anwar Akhtar brought a CD of the play to the theater's attention.

Akhtar, director of The Samosa and production consultant to the National Theatre and Ajoka Theatre, will attend the screening. He is a multi-time Salzburg Global Fellow and was most recently a participant at the December 2016 session Learning from the Past: Promoting Pluralism and Countering Extremism.

This year's screening is taking place midway through the follow up program to that session, of which Akhtar, again, is a participant - Learning from the Past: Sharing Experiences Across Borders to Combat Extremism.

If you wish to attend this event, please email fellowship@salzburgglobal.org to reserve a seat.


Channel 4 - Dara: the tale of Two Islams hits the stage

The Telegraph - Peter Tatchell - "Every child in Britain should see the National's latest play: Dara dramatises the historic struggle against Islamist extremism - it can reach people that political debate cannot."

The Guardian - "The story of Dara, the newest production to take to the boards at the National Theatre, is one that begins thousands of miles away from the concrete jungle of London’s South Bank."

TimeOut - "Where do we find stories about Pakistan… that also affect us in Britain? That’s a question outgoing NT artistic director Nicholas Hytner asked, and this is the epic and often highly affecting response. A magnificently ambitious project…The best scene by far – and one it’s easy to imagine will be studied in schools – is when Dara is brought before the Sharia court in Delhi, and is forced to prove that he is a true Muslim."

Irene Higginson - What future research is needed to improve care for people with advanced illness & towards the end of life
Irene Higginson - What future research is needed to improve care for people with advanced illness & towards the end of life
Irene Higginson 

This article first appeared on the EAPC blog, which will continue to publish more posts on the Salzburg Question series. It refers to the ninth Salzburg Question: What future research is needed to improve care for people with advanced illness & towards the end of life. Irene Higginson, Professor of Palliative Care & Policy and Director of the Cicely Saunders Institute, King’s College London, explains why research is so important, and what people can do to support it.

Palliative care puts the person before the disease. (View our video here). Our role is to look after the whole person and those close to them, and this means assessing and offering the very best in therapies, treatment and care, to help people live well despite their illness as well as controlling symptoms at the end of life. The person-centred approach does not mean that we have it right yet; it should mean striving to improve what we do.

As a doctor trained dually in palliative medicine and public health medicine, I have long been concerned that the treatments, therapies and services that we can offer patients and families need to improve. In the future, I want to be providing patients and families with better treatments, therapies and care, especially in the hard to manage areas.

Research needs to test and discover better treatments for the many complex physical problems and symptoms that people have, such as breathlessness, fatigue, frailty, pain and nausea, as well as for emotional, social and spiritual issues. There is a need for research into better ways to support those who currently miss out on the best in palliative care, especially those groups that form part of growing populations (such as older people with multiple morbidity) who are most likely to require palliative care in the future. We also need to be realistic. Health and social care resources are constrained in many countries, so we need research into solutions that are cost-effective. Research into better services is also vital, as services are a key component to influencing quality of life for people.

Those close to the patient often provide so much, and research into ways to support them is urgently needed. We work closely with our Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) group, whose feedback and insights enable us to steer our research according to the needs and concerns of the people who will directly benefit from advances in palliative care practice and provision. Pam Smith, one of our PPI members, describes her reasons for becoming involved in the work of the Institute:

“Without ongoing research into palliative care, the lives of the people suffering from advanced illness, and also the lives of their carers, will never be improved. A compassionate society cares about the people who live in it!”

Scientific discovery takes time to progress. Palliative care has had some major successes over the years, but now we need to be thinking about what people will need in five to ten years’ time, and what research, investment, workforce and capacity are required to deliver this. So with this #allmylifeQs, I am asking all of you who read this to speak to four other people today about why you think that research is important, and what you can do to support it.

Fellows Begin Building a Community for the Asia They Want
Fellows of the inaugural session of the new series The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation
Fellows Begin Building a Community for the Asia They Want
Tomas De La Rosa 

The first session of new multi-year series The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation ended in decisive manner with representatives from 14 countries committing themselves to continue working for a greener and more sustainable Asia.

Throughout the four days of the session, A Clean and Green Asia, 30 of the region’s rising leaders in environmental development, green technology, and sustainability policy discussed how to ensure a low-carbon and more sustainable future, which would harmonizes with both nature and the fast-growing urban development the region has experienced in the last 20 years.

As part of the session’s final plenary discussion, participants shared how the session has provided them with the tools to face some of the challenges they face at work on a daily basis. One participant said the session had allowed them to be more mindful of the variety of ways in which communities are affected by similar environmental issues. Another said they were going back to work with a renewed sense of commitment to engage with more people with differing points of view.

Participants also expressed hope that the network established in Salzburg will keep them connected, with a reunion planned in six months in order to share the various practices that have enabled their respective projects and organizations to be successful. Through this, they hope to establish common goals and frameworks that allowed them to remain on the same page.

During the session, the participants took part in skills-building workshops focused on working with policy and decision-makers, how to promote regional collaboration, entrepreneurial thinking, and public engagement. Through these workshops, participants were given tools to become effective agents of change in their respective fields and countries. The four workshops addressed different environmental issues that affect local communities across Asia, and how private and public sectors can collaborate to develop country partnerships in the region. Discussion topics included how to achieve low carbon societies, how small-sized climate projects can gain access to proper financing, how communities can play a more impactful role in ensuring waste management is done responsibly, and how regional collaboration is essential to solve the urgent issue of widespread air pollution.

Toward the session’s conclusion, and as part of the efforts to incentivize collaboration, many made open invitations for fellow participants to come visit communities in different countries in Asia that are affected by some of the issues discussed in the session. These visits would allow them to have firsthand experience of these issues, as well as gain new a perspective on the various effects these have across the Asia region.

Session co-facilitator Niall O’Connor described the four-day session as a first step for the subject and “a platform to establish relationships.” For him, the fact that four days did not allow for enough in-depth discussion was an advantage for the long-term value of the multi-year program as it encourages participants to remain connected in order to foster cooperation in Asia.

The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation I - A Clean and Green Asia is the first session of a new multi-year series held in partnership with the Japan Foundation

Ninth Salzburg Question to Launch on World Science Day for Peace and Development
Irene Higginson, the director of Cicely Saunders Institute of Palliative Care, Policy and Rehabilitation, speaking at Salzburg Global
Ninth Salzburg Question to Launch on World Science Day for Peace and Development
Salzburg Global Seminar 

An online conversation about end of life care will continue on Friday when the ninth Salzburg Question is launched.

The last question in the series will ask people to consider what future research is needed to improve care for people with advanced illnesses and those toward the end of their lives.

Salzburg Questions series started earlier this year on February 20 and has engaged people from all around the world.

Those who have been participating in the discussion have been using the #allmylifeQs hashtag. Between the launch of the series and November 10, the hashtag received more than 10 million impressions on Twitter and was used in more than 3,300 tweets.

The launch of the ninth question will coincide with World Science Day for Peace and Development.

November's question is - What future research is needed to improve care for people w advanced illness & towards the end of life?

Irene Higginson, the director of Cicely Saunders Institute of Palliative Care, Policy and Rehabilitation, will help lead the discussion.  

The Salzburg Questions series has nine questions on matters involving palliative care. Each month, different individuals and institutions at the heart of the debate have shared a different question coinciding with an international day.

These individuals and institutions were involved in Session 562 - Rethinking Care: Toward the End of Life. Other Salzburg Global Fellows who have led discussions so far include Agnes Binagwaho, Lynna Chandra, Suresh Kumar, Sheila Payne, Emmanuel Luyirika, Richard Harding, Bruce Chernof, and Stephen Connor.

Salzburg Global Fellows are encouraged to take part in the conversation on Twitter on the day and afterward. They can also take part by sharing blog posts around each question.

Blog platforms could include ehospice, the EAPC blog, Palliverse, and the IAHPC Newsletter.

Participants on Twitter have already linked to research, podcasts, and papers during their discussions.

If you hold a debate, workshop or Q&A event on a Salzburg Question, please film it so it can be uploaded to a dedicated YouTube channel. Send your video to katie.witcombe@kcl.ac.uk.

A Twitter list of Salzburg Global Health Fellows has been created. If you would like to be added to this list, please let us know by subscribing or contacting us on Twitter at @SalzburgGlobal.

List of dates, questions, and people leading discussions

20 February 2017 - World Day of Social Justice - Why aren't countries accountable to commitment on #EOL care for vulnerable people? - Agnes Binagwaho

20 March 2017 - World Happiness Day - Is dying well as important as living well? - Lynna Chandra

07 April 2017 - World Health Day - How have you prepared for your death? - Suresh Kumar

15 May 2017 - World Family Day - Will caring for your dying loved one bankrupt you emotionally and financially? - Sheila Payne

20 June 2017 - World Refugee Day - 145 countries signed bit.ly/2ah31bH why do refugees have limited access to quality health care and #EOL care? - Emmanuel Luyirika

11 July 2017 - World Population Day - How and what do you measure to ensure quality palliative & EOL care? - Richard Harding

28 September 2017 - International Right to Know Day - Doctors, Nurses, do you want to die the way your patients die? - Bruce Chernof

13 October 2017 - World Hospice and Palliative Care Day* - Do you know how to access #palliative care when you need it? - Stephen Connor

10 November 2017 - World Science Day for Peace and Development - What future research is needed to improve care for people w advanced illness & towards the end of life? - Irene Higginson

*This year's World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is taking place on Saturday, October 14. We will launch the question the day before to generate more discussion.

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