Combined Efforts, Maximum Effect




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Jun 18, 2018
by Louise Hallman
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Combined Efforts, Maximum Effect

As American writer and social activist Helen Keller once said: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” To this end, Salzburg Global Seminar seeks to expand collaboration between its Fellows and institutional partners, fostering lasting networks and partnerships for creative, just and sustainable change.  CHANGE-MAKERS. High school students in South Africa examine photos of the Holocaust as part of the Change Makers Program, launched by Salzburg Global Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention Fellows.

Salzburg Global Seminar has always been rooted in the belief shared by our first faculty co-chair in 1947, Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Salzburg Global Fellows leave Schloss Leopoldskron brimming with new perspectives and plans for new projects, but it is when these committed citizens can combine their efforts that we see the greatest impact.

Salzburg Global helps its Fellows forge the connections needed to turbocharge their work — both through the programs they attend and through the wider Salzburg Global Fellowship. Schloss Leopoldskron is a place where an American academic can meet a Korean translator and reach new audiences with her book on LGBT inequality. It’s where an Indian doctor and entrepreneur can share his tech startup’s innovations with those from entrenched national health systems in the UK, Germany and Switzerland. It’s where the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals can be unpacked to facilitate new thinking by researchers from the Global North and South. Going forward, we seek to scale up our direct support for the most promising innovations and alliances.

Pilot Projects

After attending the 2016 workshop Learning from the Past: Promoting Pluralism and Countering Extremism and recognizing the similarities between their respective countries’ violent pasts and the need to engage their bulging youth populations to avoid such atrocities in the future, South Africans Tali Nates and Richard Freedman and Rwandans Freddy Mutanguha and Aloys Mahwa joined together to launch the “Change Makers Program.” The Program teaches high school students critical thinking and how to act as “upstanders” instead of bystanders, drawing on case studies from the Holocaust, as well as the South African apartheid era and the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda. 

This pilot project was one of several supported by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which provided funding for Salzburg Global Fellows to travel from the UK, the US, Turkey and Tunisia to act as peer advisors to projects in South Africa, Rwanda, Pakistan, Egypt and Morocco.

When the pilot project leaders and peer advisors returned together to Salzburg in November 2017, they were joined by a wider group of Fellows from the focus countries who have since helped expand and strengthen the original pilot projects. The Change Makers Program will now be scaled up to reach seven more African countries — The Gambia, Guinea, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, and Senegal — during 2018 and 2019, using case studies from the countries’ own histories. Tali Nates, Director of the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre, says they now plan to “bring our experiences to politicians, education policymakers, media and civil society leaders” to expand the Program across Africa.

Similar small-scale grants were offered to some of the “hub” cities engaged in the Salzburg Global Young Cultural Innovators Forum to launch local community projects and to health systems leaders in the Sciana network, who traveled from the UK to Israel on a study trip. As part of Inspiring Leadership: The Campaign for Salzburg Global Seminar, Salzburg Global is integrating practical activities for longer-term impact into our multi-year program series, sparking even more collaboration.

Institutional Connections

Salzburg Global’s vision for collaboration extends much further than individual projects. In recent years we have placed ever-greater emphasis on connections between institutions and networks, recognizing the need to sharpen the framing of complex problems that cannot be tackled in isolation. We listen, consult and co-create, bringing together organizations from different geographies and sectors to harness shared interests and enhance their own effectiveness. 

Education Testing Services (ETS) has partnered on Salzburg Global’s multi-year program series, Education for Tomorrow’s World since 2010. In 2017, new partners were drawn in: tech giant, Microsoft, and cultural organizations, Qatar Foundation International and the British Council. Together, we have expanded the scope of the program series, enabling the partners to draw on each other’s expertise and reaching out to key regions of the world through targeted multi-stakeholder workshops.

“ETS and Salzburg Global share the same commitment to improve the lives of people worldwide,” says, Michael Nettles, Senior Vice President at ETS who has chaired several programs held in Salzburg. He adds that partnership provides a “unique opportunity to meet and interact with colleagues who bring different professional and personal experiences to the most important topics of the day.”

From university departments like the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice to government ministries such as the German Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth; international agencies like the World Bank and United Nations Development Programme to philanthropic foundations such as Ford, Hewlett and Robert Wood Johnson, our broad spectrum of partners are all welcome and willing collaborators as we tackle complex issues, define plans for action and collectively shape a better world.