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Salzburg Updates

Salzburg Global Fellows Receive Intercultural Achievement Award
A mural designed by Ralph Eya and Katharina Kapsamer"Smile at a Common," A New Genre Public Art Project from the People and for the People, has resulted in the creation of murals in different parts of the Philippines, Manila, and Vienna.
Salzburg Global Fellows Receive Intercultural Achievement Award
By: Salzburg Global Seminar 

Ralph Eya and Katharina Kapsamer receive praise for their project, "Smile at a Common," A New Genre Public Art Project from the People and for the People

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Contested Histories in Public Spaces: Principles, Processes, Best Practices
Contested Histories in Public Spaces: Principles, Processes, Best Practices
By: IHJR, IBA and Salzburg Global Seminar 

Join the virtual launch of landmark publication, produced in cooperation between Salzburg Global Seminar, the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation and the International Bar Association

The virtual launch of the eBook Contested Histories in Public Spaces: Principles, Processes, Best Practices will be held on Thursday, February 11 (18:00 – 19:00 CET).

The publication is the first volume of case studies to be produced through Contested Histories in Public Spaces, a multi-year initiative intended to address controversies over statues, memorials, street names and other representations of disputed historical legacies in public spaces. It is a joint project between the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation (IHJR), the International Bar Association and Salzburg Global Seminar. The IHJR was founded at Salzburg Global Seminar and is now a research center at EuroClio.

The initiative seeks to provide decision-makers, policy planners, educators, and other stakeholders with a set of case studies, best practices and guidelines for addressing historical contestations in an effective and responsible manner. As of February 2021, the initiative has identified more than 230 cases of contested histories in public spaces.

The landmark publication is intended for policymakers confronting controversies over historical legacies in public spaces like statues, memorials and street names. It presents ten case studies and discusses their significance, interpretations and possible remedies – placarding, resignification and repurposing, to relocation, removal, or destruction. Iconic examples are disputes over Christopher Columbus, Edward Colston, Robert E Lee, and Cecil Rhodes, among others.

The webinar will be chaired by Timothy W Ryback, Director and Co-founder, Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation. Opening and introductory remarks will be provided by Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the International Bar Association, and Baroness Usha Prashar, CBE, PC, a crossbench member of the House of Lords, and chair of the Contested Histories Task Force, with closing remarks by Benjamin Glahn, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Salzburg Global Seminar.

Participants will hear from the volumes’ co-editors, along with practitioners and scholars. Speakers will include His Excellency Lamberto Zannier, former OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities; Harriet Senie, member of the New York City Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers; Shahid Vawda, Professor of African and Gender Studies, University of Cape Town; Lecia Brooks, Chief of Staff, Southern Poverty Law Center; Joanna Burch-Brown, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at University of Bristol, and commissioner for the "We Are Bristol" History Commission (Bristol), Marti Burgess, lawyer and Chair of Black South West Networkl and Klaus Kraatz, Vice-Chair of the IBA's Art, Cultural Institutions and Heritage Law Committee.

Register for the book launch webinar here: www.ibanet.org/contested-histories-book-launch

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What Future for Festivals?
What Future for Festivals?
By: Susanna Seidl-Fox 

“We need festivals – now more than ever!” declares Salzburg Global report on the current state and what comes next for the beleaguered sector, post-pandemic 

One hundred years ago at Schloss Leopoldskron, Max Reinhardt, Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal founded the world-renowned Salzburg Festival as a “Festival of Peace” to transform “the whole town into one stage.” To celebrate this centenary so inextricably linked with our home – Schloss Leopoldskron – Salzburg Global Seminar originally scheduled the program What Future for Festivals? for March 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program was postponed to October and subsequently moved online due to continuing travel restrictions and health regulations.

Little did we know while developing the session in 2019, just how compelling and urgent the question at the center of our program – what future for festivals? – would be. Few sectors have been hit as hard by the pandemic as the cultural sector, with festivals being particularly vulnerable to the fallout from the compounded global crises – not just COVID-19, but also the climate crisis, and worldwide social and economic upheaval.

We know that festivals of all types and sizes have energized communities since time immemorial. Rooted in rituals, stories and faiths, they have embodied local and indigenous cultures and celebrated deep bonds to nature, land and the seasons. Modern festivals range from intimate experiments to gigantic mega-events, showcasing ever more diverse creative practices, from the performing, visual, and traditional arts to photography, film, literature, street arts, food, light, design and ideas-based, future-focused, eco-inspired events. Whatever their intended focus – creative innovation, activism, city branding, wellbeing, community building, pure entertainment – festivals have always spoken to fundamental human needs. They have allowed us to share in a density and intensity experience, revel in specialness beyond day-to-day routines, and join – as the German word “Festspiele” infers – in “celebration and play.”

But what is the future of festivals as we look ahead to continuing travel constraints, unpredictable limitations on public events, and looming economic crises? And, even with COVID-19 vaccines now forthcoming in some parts of the world, how will both the festival landscape and festival goers themselves have changed in the interim? How will festivals adapt and cope with these altered circumstances? These and many other questions were at the center of our online discussions in October and November 2020.

This report and the accompanying series of thought-pieces authored by several program participants (to be published weekly from February to April 2021) share reflections on the past year and insights on the challenging path ahead for festivals. While we identified even more questions than answers during our conversations, one thing is certain: we need festivals now more than ever. The coronavirus pandemic has brought into sharp relief that festivals are not just “nice to have” – we must have them to thrive and not just survive.

Human beings need to gather, to celebrate, they need their spirits to soar, to witness artistic genius, to feel chills and goosebumps run down their spines, to revel in the thrill of live performance and shared experience, to clap and be applauded, to amaze and be amazed, to laugh, shout, and be joyful together.

Without such experiences we may function, but we will not be truly alive.

Download the report as a PDF

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Happiness and Harmonization as Bhutan Decriminalizes Homosexuality
Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum Fellows from Bhutan (clockwise from top left): Pema Dorji, Ugyen Tshering, Passang Dorji, Namgay Zam, Madan Kumar Chhetri and Ugyen Wangdi
Happiness and Harmonization as Bhutan Decriminalizes Homosexuality
By: Salzburg Global Seminar 

Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum Fellows help end colonial-era laws against “unnatural sex” in Bhutan

The Himalayan nation of Bhutan has become the latest country in the world to finally decriminalize homosexuality – a move met with much joy by the LGBT community in a country renowned for its “Gross National Happiness” index.

Bhutanese Salzburg Global Fellows had been prominently active in the decriminalization efforts in their country.

In recent years, while advances in trans rights had been made – trans men and women are able to obtain official identification aligned with their gender identity, as one LGBT Forum Fellow from Bhutan was able to gain in 2017 – Bhutan, like much of the region, had previously maintained colonial-era anti-sodomy laws, effectively criminalizing homosexuality and marginalizing the LGBT community in the country.

The move on December 10, 2020 to finally decriminalize homosexuality comes following a long period of legal “harmonization” launched in 2008 to align all of Bhutan’s existing laws with the new constitution (the country’s first written constitution), which guaranteed many fundamental human rights.

“The Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum is thrilled about the decision of the Bhutan parliament to decriminalize homosexuality with an absolute majority and warmly congratulates our six Bhutan Forum Fellows who worked so hard to make this happen: activists Pema DorjiPassang DorjiNamgay Zam and Ugyen Tshering, and Bhutan Parliamentarians Ugyen Wangdi and Madan Chhetri,” says Klaus Mueller, founder and chair of the Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum.

In 2016, Wangdi and Chhetri requested to join the program The Many Faces of LGBT Inclusion in Thailand as part of the harmonization process, specifically looking at Sections 213 and 214 of the Bhutanese penal code which criminalized “unnatural sex”, widely interpreted as homosexuality. 

The two parliamentarians were accompanied by Bhutanese LGBT activists Pema Dorji and Passang Dorji (no relation) who shared with great honesty the repercussions legal, cultural and family exclusions had on their lives. 

When asked in 2016, immediately following their participation in the Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum program, what were the most important insights they had gained through their participation in the Forum, Wangdi noted three things: the importance of terminology, the challenges faced by LGBT people with regards to families and marriage and state-sponsored LGBT extremism.

“That struck me most because anything can happen if law is not correct and right and it can affect the community, society and country as a whole,” he reflected.

Passang Dorji was also positive about the chance to forge connections with the parliamentarians, remarking in 2016: “I felt the highest level of happiness in talking face-to-face, and discussing one-on-one about our issues, policies and laws that our country is reviewing.”

These new relations meant that upon returning to Bhutan, Wangdi and Chhetri worked not only with their colleagues in parliament but also with their newfound colleagues from the Forum. 

Speaking to Reuters news agency after the passage of the new legislation, Wangdi said that the bill had passed unopposed with 63 of the total 69 members of both houses of parliament voting in favor; six members were absent. “Homosexuality will not be considered as unnatural sex now,” he added.

“It is wonderful to see that parliamentarian Ugyen Wangdi then became the vice chairperson of the parliamentary joint panel leading the process to explicitly exclude homosexuality from the definition of ‘unnatural sex’ through an exception clause,” said Mueller.

Bhutan activists found allies outside of parliament also, in particular Namgay Zam, executive director of the Journalists; Association of Bhutan, who joined the LGBT* Forum in 2019 at the program Advancing Legal and Social Equality in South Asia held in Nepal. Zam worked closely with Pema Dorji and other LGBT activists to keep decriminalization at the forefront of the harmonization agenda, supported by other activists within the LGBT* Forum network with experience of overturning such legislation in their own countries.

Reflecting on the historic ruling in December, Mueller said: “Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum is excited to have being part of this transformation process that accelerates recent legal changes in South Asia that advance LGBT equality.” 

* LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. We are using this term as it is currently widely used in human rights conversations on sexual orientation and gender identity in many parts of the world, and we would wish it to be read as inclusive of other cultural concepts, contemporary or historical, to express sexuality and gender, intersex and gender non-conforming identities.

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Moving from Me to We Online in Times of COVID-19
Moving from Me to We Online in Times of COVID-19
By: Faye Hobson & Louise Hallman 

The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators moves fully online for 2020 - embracing both the challenges and opportunities of online convening

Communities around the world are facing radical social, environmental, political, and economic disruption, while confronting complex challenges that range from the COVID-19 pandemic to structural inequity and racism, outdated systems of education and work, and climate change.

Shaping a creative, just and sustainable world calls for action at all levels and collaboration across many sectors. We need bold ideas and innovation to build a more vibrant and resilient arts sector that can advance inclusive economic development, positive social change, and urban transformation for livable cities. The cultural sector is essential to regenerate and energize societies, but artists and creative innovators have never been in a more precarious situation. This is especially true of members of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators (YCI Forum), many of whom have been severely impacted by lost income as a result of venue closures and cancelled work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Against this stark background, the 2020 programs and activities of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators – from the emergency grants and half-day regional programs in the spring through to the ambitious 10-day program and the follow-on Workshop Week and Hub Huddles in the fall – have all sought to connect, support, empower and inspire this growing global network of emerging creative leaders.

Moving from in-person to online convening presented challenges but in responding to those challenges creatively and innovatively, a great many opportunities were harnessed and successes achieved.

Read all about the YCI Forum in this year's report A Global Platform for Creative, Just and Sustainable Futures:

 

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Young Cultural Innovators Join Forces in Magazine Global Fundraiser
This is a photo collage of Usanii Magazine. It shows the Issue One front cover and two magazine features. These are bright and colorful features. The top right image shows performer Nviiri wearing sunglasses on a blue background. The bottom right image shows an interview with Maria Goretti, yellow and black text on a green background. The left image shows the magazine's front cover, featuring a large profile photo of Chemutai Sage.Image: Usanii Magazine
Young Cultural Innovators Join Forces in Magazine Global Fundraiser
By: Josh Wilde 

Salzburg Global Seminar Fellows Lai, Xochitl Calix, and Moira Villiard come together to crowdfund emerging artists’ magazine

Launched in April 2020, Usanii, the Swahili word for artistry, is a free magazine that features developing musicians, photographers, poets and more to raise awareness of their work and enable collaboration with established artists.

The magazine founder, Lai from the Nairobi Hub, participated in October's Young Cultural Innovators Forum (YCI) and wasted no time in joining forces with fellow YCI members Xochitl Calix and Moira Villiard, from the Detroit and Upper Midwest USA Hubs respectively. Their initial crowdfunding target is $10,000 to support his publication that showcases emerging artists from underprivileged backgrounds.

Embodying Salzburg Global Seminar’s mission to bridge divides, expand collaboration, and transform systems, Lai is now calling on more YCI Fellows to join his campaign.

“The whole idea of fundraising was really pushed by two YCI members, Xochitl and Moira,” he says. “They have been very instrumental in helping initiate what to look at and how to package the magazine. I have been reaching out to different YCIs from Europe, Australia, the US, Asia, and telling them about the magazine.”

Lai’s own story is inspirational. Growing up in the Kawangware slums of Nairobi, Kenya, his idea for the magazine started two years ago with just a pen and paper.

Saving up money to cover the cost of accessing a computer at an internet café, Lai produces the Usanii magazine and accompanying Conversations YouTube series, from interviews and design to editing and running the social media accounts.

“I cannot overstate how crucial [the crowdfunding] would be,” he explains. “I work as a music teacher. I earn around $6 per lesson. Out of that $6, I’ll probably use $5 at the Internet café. 60%-70% of my monthly income goes to the magazine.

“The fundraiser would allow me to buy a laptop most importantly, and a printer so I’m able to print the magazine myself at a lower cost.”

Still operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lai does not charge for the magazine, hoping its free accessibility will help the artists’ stories reach more people. Lai’s vision is to support global artists’ voices and provide opportunity for anyone who needs it.

Money raised will be used to buy essential equipment, hire staff and grow the publication. A percentage of funds will be donated to selected organizations that promote this fundraiser.

Villiard is working with Ugandan artist Steve Boyyyi to create paintings of African life which will be sent to those who give $150 or more. Lai says these donations will be split between Usanii magazine and Boyyyi, whose foundation supports Ugandan street children.

A painting of three zebras, in front of green foliage and a blue sky background      A painting of a person in blue and white clothing, walking with a dog by their side. They are holding some wood in one hand and carrying bananas on their head. The background is yellow and orange      A painting of two giraffes and two elephants by some water. One of the giraffes is having a drink. They are in front of a yellow, orange and red background

Images: Paintings of African life / Usanii Magazine

Should the crowdfunder reach Lai's ultimate target of $25,000, he hopes to utilize connections made through the YCI Forum to start monthly training and seminars from February 2021, where artists in Kenya will get a chance to interact and learn from YCI Fellows.

“We already have Fellows who have expressed interest in offering training in different fields throughout 2021,” he beams.

You can find out more information and donate to Usanii magazine through their GoFundMe page: https://gf.me/u/y8icmi 
 

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“Media Literacy is the Front Line of the New Cold War” in Misinformation
This is a US protest image. A man holds up a large handpainted sign which reads, I wish this were fake news. There are other protesters holding signs behind him.Image: Kayla Velasquez/Unsplash
“Media Literacy is the Front Line of the New Cold War” in Misinformation
By: Josh Wilde 

Latest Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change workshop considers the value of truth, transparency, and media literacy in combatting misinformation and declining public trust

Misinformation has created and accentuated divides between communities. Global protests in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are indicative of wider social unrest and declining public trust, fueled by a dangerous misrepresentation of facts and fiction that threatens the future of truth itself.

The last workshop in an online series designed to investigate the impact of protest and pandemic, entitled, Has Misinformation Undermined Public Trust and Democracy?, considered citizens and institutions’ roles in safeguarding democracy.

Roman Gerodimos, associate professor of global current affairs, Bournemouth University, UK, explained how information had been strategically weaponized by governments, intelligence services, and rogue actors to exploit fault lines between communities. 

He referenced the coordinated digital misinformation campaign after the 2018 Salisbury poisoning of former Russian intelligence agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Gerodimos termed this hybrid threat “the New Cold War.”

He said, “Now we know it was three high-ranking officers of the Russian military intelligence service, but at the time RT, Sputnik, and other Russian media produced 46 different theories. Some of them were quite absurd. 

“What it teaches us is the point of misinformation. It’s not to promote one version of the truth. The point is to be so confused about what is truthful that you ultimately abandon the idea that truth is attainable and important.

“We need dissent and dialogue, which is about the pursuit of truth and the role of citizens as stakeholders. What we’re seeing through misinformation is the exact opposite. It’s called power politics, and it is disempowering citizens from being critical thinkers. The fastest way to shut down a democracy is to shut down dissent”.

Gerodimos also introduced his new Deterrence documentary series that explores these issues and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) role in European security. The project was co-created by staff and students from Bournemouth University and can be viewed for free here: https://www.deterrencethemovie.com/  

Pablo Martinez Zarate, professor of documentary film and digital narrative, Iberoamericana University, Mexico, highlighted the difficulty of responding to misinformation in a partisan environment, where traditional narrative strategies are blocked by the opposition and media organizations may be viewed cynically.

He proposed the need for counterstrategies to reach across fragmented communities, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic has widened these divisions. Zarate also discussed political polarization, characterized by US President Donald Trump.

Zarate said, “We have to stare at the face of difference. Sometimes it’s really hard to share political views that under our perspective are the right views when there is political discourse or legitimization of this cynical, alternative view.

“In other words, how can we build narratives that convince people who do not agree with the narratives we are sharing, and not only [reach] people that already agree with our world views?

“We have enormous challenges today after the pandemic that can push us to alternative solutions that we didn’t necessarily anticipate before.

“In order to escape this huge vortex, we need to question centers of power and meaning. We need to recognize that it takes sacrifice, a way of sacrificing our own view in order to recognize alternative and difference.”

Zarate shared the interactive documentary Forensic Landscapes, which explores the complex issue of forced disappearances in Latin America through innovative virtual storytelling. Zarate and Anne Huffschmid directed the project. It can be viewed for free here: https://forensiclandscapes.com/ 

Paul Mihailidis, the program director of the Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change, then encouraged open dialogue in a half-hour discussion between speakers and participants.

Gerodimos explained the need for a pluralism of news sources and some method of regulation to preserve freedom. Zarate described the importance of shared experience as a source of truth. Both speakers agreed that critical thinking, fostered by media literacy, is crucial in combatting misinformation and rebuilding public trust.

Gerodimos said: “If we agree that we want ‘these’ consequences over ‘those’ ones, and we also agree that we want people to be participants in that process, essentially you’re talking about the construction of democracy, more or less, then I think media literacy or that type of engagement is indispensable.”

Zarate added: “Media literacy, I totally agree, has to go beyond a set of skills … the skills will change in 10 years, they might change in 20, so if we focus more on ideas like self-realization, I think that could boost media literacy further.” 

Mihailidis ended the session by thanking everyone who attended this workshop series.

He concluded, “We’re all really excited by the level of engagement that went beyond our expectations. That’s the power of our community and what we can do, even in this time of protest and pandemic.”
 

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Protest and Pandemic: Researchers Leading the Way
Work from home image. There is a laptop on a wooden table next to a blue mug. The laptop screen shows a group Zoom video call with the participants faces slightly blurred.Image: Chris Montgomery/Unsplash
Protest and Pandemic: Researchers Leading the Way
By: Josh Wilde 

Researchers present pioneering projects in second Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change online workshop 

COVID-19 and global protests continue to affect our media and civic systems. As more people spend longer periods working and learning in an online environment, Salzburg Global Seminar recently explored if this pandemic is changing the way people interact with each other and the media.

The second of three Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change workshops created to examine the dual impact of protest and pandemic considered, How can Researchers Document Unrest on the Front Line? Three distinguished researchers presented innovative projects to 75 participants in the online public session before dividing into groups for open discussion.

Program Director Paul Mihailidis began by dedicating the event to Academy faculty member and friend Moses Shumow on the first anniversary of his death.

Stephen Reese, Jesse H. Jones professor of journalism, Moody College of Communication, The University of Texas at Austin, USA, introduced the three panelists and described how the pandemic had shone a light on existing practices.

He said, "COVID has not so much caused but revealed some of these structural issues in the global community: adequacy of health care, the social safety net, political institutions, press performance, and networks of information. All the things which are so close to our subject matter with the Academy. The question then is how can we conduct research that takes into account these global connections which have been highlighted by the pandemic".

Sangita Shresthova, director of research, @CivicPaths, University of Southern California, USA, explained the importance of protecting researchers who themselves are experiencing the pandemic they wish to study. The Civic Imagination Project analyzes 'people's vision for a better world tomorrow. Forced to move workshops online due to COVID-19, Shresthova described the adaption process.

She said, “We were confronted with a situation that filled us with fear, the opposite of imagination. We wanted to do something that would inspire the imagination … we made a very strong conceptual and theoretical commitment to thinking of ourselves as participants. Our research really needed to contribute somehow to the participants' lives”.

Participants in this workshop shared their thoughts through virtual word clouds on what values should shape the world of 2060 and the stories that inspire them when they imagine this future. Shresthova noted the difference between answers after conducting the same exercise at Salzburg Global Seminar in 2019, highlighting how today's world may not be adequately described by past stories and people are instead reaching for new ways to explain the current situation.

Claudia Kozman, assistant professor of multimedia journalism, Lebanese American University, Lebanon, conducted research with fellow Academy faculty Jad Melki into selection bias and political participation around the October 2019 Lebanese protests. She described how a tax-rise for online messaging service WhatsApp sparked widespread demonstrations, nicknamed 'The WhatsApp 'Revolution', and illustrated growing resentment against the government.

A representative survey of 1,000 people in Lebanon found respondents who felt strongly either for or against the protests chose media that aligned with their views and demonstrated selective avoidance. Protest supporters dominated selective sharing on social media while those opposing the demonstrations were not as active in promoting anti-protest news. Kozman asked the workshop’s participants to think about why selection bias matters.

She said, "If we live in a place where we feel strongly about something that we believe is our own right as citizens, does it mean we have no room for the opposite view? 'Isn't it important for us to be part of political deliberation because that is basically the backdrop of democracy, or do we want to close off everything and just listen to what we want to?"

Susan Moeller, director of the international center for media and the public agenda and professor, College of Journalism and the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, USA, gave special insight into a survey of 'students' media consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data from this research project is currently being analyzed. The results will be available once the study is complete.

Participants were then allowed to share their own experiences and ask questions during smaller breakout sessions before Mihailidis closed the event, thanking everyone for their contribution.

He said, "We are once again super humbled that this community can come together in the numbers that it does. I encourage you to reach out to Sangita, Claudia and Susan to ask more about their research and follow-up questions The goal here is to spark community and invite everyone to continue the discussions”.

Registration for the third workshop on Thursday, November 19, 2020, entitled, Protest and Pandemic: Has Misinformation Undermined Public Trust and Democracy?, is free and open to the public, sign up here.

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First Book from New Series Explores Social and Emotional Learning in the Mediterranean
A red apple is balanced on top of some school books. Next to it on the right are some coloring pencils and A B C building blocks.Image: Element5 Digital/Unsplash
First Book from New Series Explores Social and Emotional Learning in the Mediterranean
By: Josh Wilde 

Publication explores how countries in the Mediterranean basin are stimulating SEL and what can be learned

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is crucial in teaching skills such as self-awareness, problem-solving, and empathy, prerequisite traits for positive development in an era of substantial social, economic, and technological change.

SEL has become a valuable tool in tackling challenges faced by countries in the Mediterranean basin, including violence and forced displacement, which can hinder quality education delivery.

The first volume in the Brill | Sense series on Comparative Education in the Mediterranean, Social and Emotional Learning in the Mediterranean: Cross Cultural Perspectives and Approaches, is a pioneering publication that explores how this region is stimulating SEL, the barriers to its implementation, and what can be learned. It aims to raise awareness of effective practices and critically reflect on challenges with recommendations for policy-makers, intervention, and future research.

The book features a diverse range of contributors from both within the Mediterranean region and further afield. They include series editor Ronald Sultana and volume editors Carmel Cefai, Salzburg Global Seminar Program Director Dominic Regester, and Leyla Akoury Dirani. 

Salzburg Global is proud to have facilitated an SEL session with many authors that fostered this volume idea.

Speaking on Monday at the latest program, Social and Emotional Learning in the Mediterranean Region, part of Salzburg Global’s Education for Tomorrow’s World series, Cefai explained there is now a consensus on how SEL varies across different contexts.

“Research evidence shows high-quality programs which have been very effective in one context did not travel: when they were implemented in other contexts they were not effective at all,” Cefai said.

“Rather than trying to carve out a new niche for SEL in a curriculum which is already overloaded, it might be more feasible, practical, and culturally sensitive to make use of existing overlapping structures and try to introduce SEL on the back of that existing framework.

“One issue which I think SEL can be helpful with is to promote and advance children’s rights and children’s voice. Children themselves will have the opportunity through SEL to talk about what they would like to see in their education.”

This volume is dedicated to Samar El Ahmadieh from Lebanon, one of the authors who sadly passed away during the publication process.

Other contributors include: Claudine Aziz, Özden Bademci, Marc Brackett, Roxane Caires, Valeria Cavioni, Yvonne El Feghaly, Nahla Harb, Maria Kalli, Wael Kazan, Amina Kleit, Nagwa Megahed, Gihan Osman, Amor Ouelbani, Maria Poulou, Anwar Hussein-Abdel Razeq, Rémie Rhayem, Katia Terriot, Carly Tubbs Dolan, and Emmanuelle Vignoli.

The book is available to purchase here from the Brill Publishers website.

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Young Cultural Innovators Win Major International Award
Robert Praxmarer and Thomas Layer-Wagner smiling in an action pose with some game controllers.Photo courtesy of Polycular.
Young Cultural Innovators Win Major International Award
By: Josh Wilde 

Salzburg Global Fellows Robert Praxmarer and Thomas Layer-Wagner recognized with inaugural Olympics of Innovation Challenge Award

Robert Praxmarer and Thomas Layer-Wagner met while working at university where they turned dream into reality, co-founding the interactive design and technology studio Polycular.

They are now in dreamland once again after their company won an international Olympics of Innovation Challenge Award for Artistic Vision at the inaugural World in 2050 Awards.

Described as “a forum for our future,” Diplomatic Courier’s World in 2050 think tank recognizes outstanding organizations tackling significant challenges across seven classifications: Society, Humanity, Energy, Health, Travel, Off-World, and Artistic Visions.

Solutions from each category will be championed at major global forums including the Innovation Olympics Festival, the United Nations General Assembly and the G20 Summit.

“I couldn’t actually believe it,” Praxmarer told Salzburg Global. “If you read through the other winners – SpaceX by Elon Musk, Johns Hopkins University, Bird – the names couldn’t be any bigger. They are the world leaders in their field. Then it says Polycular which really feels uncanny. A small Austrian company with 12 people being given this prestigious award. It’s more than a surprise.”

The judges praised Polycular’s variety and quality of work. From sustainable, environmentally-focused projects such as EgoGotchi where they reinvented the popular 1990s’ Tamagotchi toy craze to encourage greener lifestyle choices, to visionary ventures such as Morbus Genesis which uses computer algorithms to show everyday inanimate objects degrading, in turn encouraging audiences to rethink their own mortality, grief and loss.

“The great thing about working with digital technologies is that to some degree you have a lot of power in shaping virtual reality,” Praxmarer described. “That can be thought-provoking and offer new perspectives to an audience. If you can establish this magic moment, they are interested and you can get them talking.”

This accolade is just the latest for Polycular with other honors including the 2018 Umdasch Research Award for Learning and Education, the World Summit Award Austria for Education in 2019, and the Sustainable Entrepreneurship Award.

“We made our mark in the local creativity and innovation scene,” Praxmarer added. “We haven’t won too many international awards so this is one that stands out and we are very proud.

“We were university professors in the field of game development, interactive art and augmented reality. We set out to start a company to use creative processes combined with art, technology and innovation to make interesting projects, ideally with an impact to society. They often revolve around sustainability and awareness building. We think education is foremost to train a younger generation with digital means and games to give them a new perspective on important topics.”

Both Praxmarer and Layer-Wagner are Salzburg Global Fellows after attending the annual programs of the Young Cultural Innovators Forum (YCI Forum) in 2014 and 2015 respectively. The YCI Forum is currently taking place virtually with this year’s program considering, A Global Platform for Creative, Just and Sustainable Futures.

“I had the chance to be part of it at the very beginning of our company,” Praxmarer explained. “It was one of the best mentoring programs I’ve ever attended. I’ve attended a lot of mentorship programs from accelerators all over the Silicon Valley and other places. Salzburg Global still stands out in terms of quality, mentors, location, the people and the caring. This special vibe you can’t really describe; you really have to be there.

“This network of young people aren’t just talking pipe dreams, they actually are smart and resilient enough to pull things off. You can learn so much in one week. It’s one of the greatest places and I told my co-founder [Layer-Wagner] he had to go there. It brings you forward in your own thinking. It’s well-spent time to step back and really reflect on topics of leadership, innovation and creativity.”

Salzburg Global is a partner of the World in 2050 Awards and Praxmarer thanked Faye Hobson, YCI Forum Lead and Salzburg Global Program Manager, who first nominated Polycular.

“Without her and Salzburg Global, we wouldn’t even have entered this kind of award,” Praxmarer acknowledged. “Coming from Hallein in Salzburg, this is something really special, which we had to work very hard for. Some organizations believed in us like Salzburg Global and we hope to pay back the people that helped us. We are super proud to put Austria, Salzburg Global and Polycular on the map.”

Hobson also wished to send her congratulations on behalf of Salzburg Global.

“The YCI Forum strives to empower the next generation of changemakers. Robert, Thomas and the whole Polycular team are great examples of what can be achieved when you work hard and dream big,” Hobson said.

“I was only too pleased to nominate them for this prestigious award and even more delighted to hear they had won. It is fantastic to see our Fellows named amongst the biggest and best in global innovation.”

Looking ahead, Praxmarer says Polycular’s future is bright as they strive to shape the future of learning.

“I hope we realize our dream to redefine education through digital means,” Praxmarer added. “Using playful discovery where it’s about challenging the learner. How kids learn when they explore a room or play hide and seek. We want to find new storytelling solutions for experiential and transformative learning.”

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Education Disrupted, Education Reimagined: Special Edition E-Book
Education Disrupted, Education Reimagined: Special Edition E-Book
By: Ana C. Rold 

Salzburg Global Seminar and partners - WISE and Diplomatic Courier - launch e-book covering school responses to the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic

It is no longer news that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about massive disruption to the education ecosystem—to the learners, teachers, school leaders, parents, and policymakers alike. The changes have been so pervasive, fast-moving, and frequent that one could blink and miss them. After all, there have only been few instances in human history when disruption at this magnitude happened in the span of less than a year.

Since early February, more than a billion students have been out of school—some of them will not be able to return. UN Secretary-General António Guterres recently called this a “generational catastrophe” and indeed, some of the gains we have made in the past 25 years through the Millennium Development Goals and now the Sustainable Development Goals, were erased just in the first five months of the pandemic.

But this is not a story of despair. This is a story of resilience and hope.

The special edition e-book—Education Disrupted, Education Reimagined: Responses from education’s frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond—launched on September 21, was produced in real time, as Salzburg Global Seminar, in partnership with WISE, convened key stakeholders and education leaders from over 98 countries in a three-part series of global conferences aimed at bringing the global education community together. The result is a contemporary historical record of how schools, NGOs, governments, and international organizations responded to school closures during the crisis and how they are attempting to use this crisis as a springboard to reimagine—and even transform—education in their communities and countries.

Key stakeholders on education’s frontline during the crisis, including from schools, NGOs, governments, and international organizations, contributed over 40 articles and essays, documenting the experiences, struggles, successes, and innovations of key institutions on education’s frontline.

From documenting the crisis in real-time to offering short- and long-term solutions, one question remains now: what’s next; what will change?

The e-book offers an opportunity to a global audience to make sense of what happened but it also offers a breeding ground of ideas from some of the world’s top education thinkers. It is the editors’ sincere hope that through this publication we provide the education community with a reference point from the crisis from which future research, policy, and innovation can grow. 

“It is our hope that this publication will provide the education community with a reference point from the crisis from which future research, policy, and innovation can grow,” said Dr. Asmaa Al-Fadala, editor of the publication and Director of Research and Content Development at WISE and multi-time Salzburg Global Fellow.

Salzburg Global Program Director for the series, Education for Tomorrow's World, Dominic Regester said: “In in many ways this e-book acts as a record of education responses to the disruption caused by the first phase of the pandemic. It also contains some compelling visions of achievable changes to education systems that would produce more equitable outcomes that are more relevant to 21st century lives. The pandemic has reiterated how important school is to young people and their families and has also shown many ways in which the experience of school can change.” He added: “This feels like the beginning of a much longer term project between WISE and Salzburg Global Seminar and we are excited to be a part of it.” 

Contributors include:

  • Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al-Thani
  • The Right Honorable Gordon Brown
  • Marc A. Brackett
  • Andreas Schleicher
  • Stefania Giannini
  • Manos Antoninis
  • Olli-Pekka Heinonen

Download the e-book here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/education-ebook 

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Pakistan’s Best Kept Secret: Lahore Museum 
Pakistan’s Best Kept Secret: Lahore Museum 
By: Anwar Akhtar – Samosa Media Director 

Multi-time Salzburg Global Fellow, Anwar Akhtar on why his film – made with Ajoka Theatre – “Pakistan’s Best Kept Secret: Lahore Museum”, has much to say about peace, for both South Asia and the UK

You can watch the film “Pakistan’s Best Kept Secret: Lahore Museum” on YouTube

The first half of 2020 has been lively, turbulent and difficult. The Coronavirus has changed our world, no matter whether you’re in India, Pakistan or the UK.

In the UK, the virus has disproportionally affected those from South Asian and Afro-Caribbean backgrounds, with arguments and theories flying in all directions about what social, economic and biological factors are in play. It will take some time to determine fully, but initial analysis points more to nurture, though nature is there as well.

On May 25, we witnessed the horror of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, being killed by police in Minnesota, USA, suffocated with a policeman’s knee on his throat. That one brutal act has led to global support for the Black Lives Matter movement. 

This in turn has led to debates and protests around many deep seated issues that have risen to the surface – or in the case of Bristol slave trader Edward Colston’s statue, sunk to the bottom of the harbor. The UK must fully address – in our schools, colleges, universities, galleries and museums – what the British Empire was and why so much of that story has been airbrushed out of British history, from the scale of slavery to the savagery and theft of the East India Company that laid the foundations for so much of Britain’s wealth and power today. 

Like all countries, the UK was built by heroes and villains. For every Emmeline Pankhurst, Michael Faraday and Alan Turing, we also have our Robert Clives and Edward Colstons.

Debates about racism, class, religion and empire are not going away any time soon. What is in our museums matters. What is and is not taught in our schools and universities matters. These issues have attained a new prominence in 2020. 

Salzburg Global Seminar has always made the case for how arts can act as a social transformer and bring communities together. 

I have gained hugely from my time at Salzburg Global programs. At 2014’s Conflict Transformation through Culture: Peace-Building and the Arts, writers, journalists, academics, film and theatre directors, came together, to share stories, culture and heritage from the Balkans, Turkey, South Africa, Uganda, Cambodia, Korea and Ireland. This program helped me develop my thinking, the themes we explore in the Lahore Museum film. Looking at the colleagues present then, brought to life for me, Margaret Mead’s famous words that are part of Salzburg Global Seminar’s story: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

For someone involved in British arts production work and anti-racist activism for 25 years, the scale of change in the last few weeks has at times been breathtaking: statues falling, universities and business schools changing their names. Lloyd’s of London, like many institutions, at the heart of British power today, issuing apologies for their involvement in slavery and pledging to invest in social justice and equality schemes for Black British people. We’ll see if their actions live up to their words. 

But change has arrived and it is happening. Lenin’s famous words about revolutions not working to fixed timetables, describe events today: “There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.”

Many young British people of all backgrounds are questioning the nature of the British Empire and notions of “belonging” in a society where issues of race, culture, language and heritage all dominate.

Surely that is to be welcomed. Great Britain is an island with a global story, a global past, a global heritage, and a former global empire. We should, if I may adapt slightly Oliver Cromwell’s words, view it warts and all.

For many young people – and not just those with South Asian or Afro-Caribbean heritage – part of understanding who they are is to uncover their own history as offspring and descendents of Empire.

But other challenges arise. Competing narratives shroud our views. There is an antagonistic, confrontational nature to some contemporary nations trying to have only one story, one culture, one history, when in reality it is always plural. I think this is especially so, in South Asia today.

The internal turmoil within states, coupled with economic, ethnic and religious tensions, add layers of complexity. Many people are often simply bewildered or angered by or choose to ignore the past. They see it as a different country.

We can learn from history and avoid the mistakes of history by studying our histories. So we need books, films and documentaries to keep informing us. We need to study the archives, the literature, the paintings – and yes, to look at the statues. 

This is why the documentary I made with playwright Shahid Nadeem from Ajoka Theatre, “Pakistan’s Best Kept Secret: Lahore Museum”, is so important. It starts us on this journey, informing us that everyone in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and the UK has a shared history, a shared story.

Lahore Museum has a rich, ancient and varied collection, which demonstrates the historical wealth and religious and cultural plurality of Pakistan – one of the largest Muslim-majority countries in the world, but also of course with large indigenous, mistreated and marginalised Hindu, Sikh and Christian communities. 

Our film explores the significance of the Lahore Museum – not just in Asia, but also in the UK. Through its magnificent collection we explore stories of ancient cultures: Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim, and those of empire, trade, the East India Company, the contribution of British Indian soldiers in two World Wars, Partition and the creation of Pakistan. 

What Sumaria Samad, who was Director of Lahore Museum, and Nadeem have to say about the museum’s extraordinary collection and the history of the region is both compulsive viewing and highly informative. They also give some insight into life in Pakistan today and the future role of the museum within Pakistan’s wider social, political, religious and cultural context, as well as Pakistan’s relationship with the UK.

So much can be gained by this approach of looking at our shared religious and cultural traditions, as well as historic tensions through the ages. Lahore Museum has many stories to tell and our film, can help educate a lot of people online, especially now that colleges and universities have been closed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Most important of all – and the sincere wish of all those involved in making this film – is that perhaps it can help bridge the gaps and divides, and heal some of the hurt, the animosity and the trust deficits that exist between India and Pakistan, so we do not curse another generation in both countries and in their huge diasporas to grow up with sectarian tensions, wondering when, if ever, there can be good relations and peace between us.

Pakistan’s Best Kept Secret: Lahore Museum


Reviews of Pakistan’s Best Kept Secret, Lahore Museum    

“It struck me, watching this revealing film, that this Museum throws light not only onto thousands of beautiful and fascinating works of art, but also onto a body of thought, a concept of society, an ecumenical vision and a long view that risks being erased by many forces in the contemporary world.”  – Dame Marina Warner, DBE, CBE, Professor of English and Creative Writing, Birkbeck

“The real star of the film is the museum itself, founded at the height of the British Raj, with John Lockwood Kipling (father of Rudyard) as its first curator. As the film’s title implies, it’s a museum which, if it were in almost any other country, would enjoy worldwide fame.”  – Edward Mortimer, author of Faith & Power: The Politics of Islam, former adviser to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and long-serving program advisor to Salzburg Global Seminar

“The conversation...is, first and foremost, a pleasure to eavesdrop on.  All three protagonists seem to be having fun, to be enjoying the pursuit of serious questions in an extraordinary context. At the Lahore Museum, showing a collection that reflects the serial transformations of this complex country poses thorny problems of identity and ownership.  Pakistan’s relatively recent acquisition, in contrast to its long and fluid history, of an apparently monolithic religious identity, makes the museum’s address to a richly diverse past more difficult and more essential.”– Dr Jim Harris, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford


Anwar Akhtarwas born and grew up in Manchester, UK. He is Founder and Director of The Samosa, a UK arts and journalism charity that works to embed diversity in the arts and humanities curriculum in schools, colleges and universities, and produces media that explores cultural and social issues. His latest film is “Pakistan’s Best Kept Secret – Lahore Museum” and his Manchester 4/4 talk, “Cities, Tolerance, Multi Culturalism” is available online. Anwar was the production consultant on the play “Dara,” working with Ajoka Theatre Pakistan and National Theatre UK.  The first South Asian history play at the UK’s National Theatre, “Dara” was seen by more than 30,000 people in 2015. “Dara” tells the story of Mughal India, raising questions about religious freedom, tolerance and clerical power that still resonate today. Anwar also led the Royal Society of Arts’ Pakistan Calling project, which produced more than 60 films looking at identity, education, equality, culture, religion, women’s and minority rights in Britain and Pakistan. Anwar was previously project director of the Rich Mix Cultural Foundation, where he led the capital and business development of a new £26 million arts centre in East London. He is a mult-time Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar, having attended programs in the series Culture, the Arts and Society, Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention, and the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change.

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Salzburg Global Helps Launch Podcast Series Addressing Needs of Children
Image created by Nubefy Design for All. Image of child greeting grandparent in video conversation. Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives - help stop the spread of COVID-19Image created by Nubefy Design for All. Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives - help stop the spread of COVID-19
Salzburg Global Helps Launch Podcast Series Addressing Needs of Children
By: Salzburg Global Seminar 

Salzburg Global joins consortium led by Amal Alliance to produce podcast episodes for families and caregivers in vulnerable communities

Salzburg Global Seminar is proud to be a partner in a new podcast series addressing the needs of children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The "We're In This Together" podcast series features six episodes and is aimed at families and caregivers in vulnerable communities, including refugees and migrants.

The episodes provide meaningful activities that reinforce emotional well-being. Caregivers can receive insights on how to enhance self-resilience and explore options to support themselves and children of all age groups.

The activities require no materials and discuss topics such as hygiene, empathy, tolerance, patience, and healthy expression.

At the start of the pandemic Danielle de la Fuente, a Salzburg Global Fellow and executive director of Amal Alliance, had the idea of rapidly puting together a consortium that could produce a resource that could be easily shared to help parents and caregivers during the crisis. The podcast series grew out of this. Fellow Salzburg Global Fellows Marios Dakos and Louka Parry lent their support.

Amal Alliance led the consortium which included Salzburg Global, Learning in Times of Crisis, Karanga, and Qatar Foundation International (QFI).

De La Fuente, Parry, and Salzburg Global program director Dominic Regester recorded the podcasts in English. QFI provided funding for NaTaKallam, a translation agency that employs displaced people, to translate the six podcasts into Arabic, French, and Spanish.

NGOs and country teams at World Vision, ILO, UNICEF, Education Above All, and World University Service have already shared the podcasts.

Salzburg Global and Amal Alliance co-sponsored a pledge at the UNHCR Global Refugee Forum in December 2019 to encourage open quality education resources for refugees. The "We're In This Together" podcast series is open-source and available to all.

The podcasts are on SoundCloud (English, Arabic, Spanish, French). Mixcloud, and Amal Alliance's website. They are also available to distribute via WhatsApp. Download audio recordings on this drive.

De La Fuente said, "We are facing unprecedented and challenging times. The needs of children, especially those of vulnerable communities, are at the forefront of this pandemic.

"By leveraging each other's strengths, we formed a unified approach providing meaningful activities to enhance self-resilience and reinforce emotional well-being. May our current collaboration should serve as a reminder that although forced to be physically apart, we are all in this together."

Regester, who's responsible for Salzburg Global's programs on education, said, "In December 2019 we convened a program on Education and Workforce Opportunities for Refugees and Migrants as part of our Education for Tomorrow's World series. A significant portion of that program focused on the importance of Social and Emotional Learning.  

"When the COVID-19 pandemic started, Danielle put together a consortium of SEL experts, psychiatrists, and specialists in refugee education to write and record a series of short podcasts. These were podcasts that could give caregivers daily activities to enhance self-resilience and explore possibilities to support themselves and children of all age groups and learning stages. Several of the consortium members, including Danielle herself, had participated in the program here in December 2019.  

"We were really pleased to be part of this and incredibly grateful that one of our long term education partners, QFI, was abler to fund the translation of the podcasts into Arabic, French, and Spanish. I hope that they are a useful resource at this challenging time."

Update - In January 2020, the "We're In This Together" podcast received an mEducation Alliance award nomination in the Crisis and Conflict Response category.

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Moving from Me to We in the Upper Midwest: Creating “Deeply Human” Spaces Online
Moving from Me to We in the Upper Midwest: Creating “Deeply Human” Spaces Online
By: Louise Hallman 

Young Cultural Innovators from the American Midwest “meet up” despite lockdown as regional program moves online

As Minneapolis, where the first-ever regional program for the Upper Midwest Young Cultural Innovators (YCI) “hub” should have been held, entered its sixth week of lockdown, the YCIs of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography instead convened their regional meeting online.

Opening with responses to the question “What is currently bringing you joy?” the artists, creative community leaders and cultural changemakers of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators proved to be in good spirits as they joined the morning-long program  Moving from Me to We in the Upper Midwest despite the prolonged sense of physical isolation and disconnection.

What has changed?

For some of the Native American participants, that isolation and disconnection has been especially acute. They spoke of feeling disconnected from their family and community members who are isolated on reservations, many with poor internet connections, while they remain in lockdown in cities, unable to physically participate ceremonies such the powwows that celebrate the arrival of the spring and summer. 

The global pandemic has also served to highlight societal disparities. Minnesota already had the worst rate of removal of Black and Native children from families in the country before the pandemic. The pandemic is worsening these issues. From a lack of strong internet connections limiting who can participate in educational, cultural and social gatherings, to growing child protection issues as reporting decreases, Native populations have again been hit especially hard. As one YCI remarked, there is a real struggle to keep native people as part of the local, state and national conversations as stimulus packages are designed and cities and states start to look beyond their lockdowns. 

Not all cities and states in the Upper Midwest have implemented full lockdowns, but the vast majority have mandated some form of social distancing measures, heavily impacting the arts and culture sectors with events canceled, venues shuttered and even parks closed. Federal stimulus packages, however, are difficult for artists and “micro business” owners to access as they struggle to prove their losses of income.

In much of the region, the arts and culture sector heavily relies on revenue from the tourism industry, both from visitors attending events and purchasing crafts and from state tourism boards. With some lockdowns and social distancing measures continuing for many weeks and months to come and out-of-state tourists discouraged from travelling, the artists and the sector as a whole will continue to suffer from a lack of funding.

As a YCI from South Dakota remarked, the impact of the crisis has been somewhat delayed on the less-populous parts of the country, where there are fewer artists but also fewer organizations to support them. “The faucet of funding is about to trickle,” they feared. 

There was “a window of unpoliticized activity where people were coming together,” said one YCI, but “that is over,” they lamented. Across the region, responses to the pandemic have become incredibly politicized with public protests and threats to sue state governments. “How can we cut through the political noise and find empathy for small business owners?” asked one YCI. 

There is a huge amount of uncertainty for the region and its individual towns, reservations, cities, states and communities. “We don’t know how to plan for the future if we don’t know how what the impact will ultimately be,” said one YCI.

How are communities responding?

Like many sectors and activities, arts and culture have moved online in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Even powwows have “gone digital”, with families filming and sharing videos of them dancing, drumming and singing in dedicated “social distancing powwow” Facebook groups. Such groups highlight the importance of the arts, culture and “deeply human” connections, especially such trying times. 

Other socially distant artistic activities highlighted by the YCIs included “porch concerts” with musicians performing online and/or for their neighbors with signs displaying digital payment information like Venmo IDs to collect donations; weekly livestreams billed as “digital-first Fridays”; “makers’ markets” selling artists’ wares on Instagram; and YouTube video tours around local museums. With many people turning to arts and crafts as a way to help them deal with their individual isolation and the resulting mental health stresses during lockdown, artists are offering online classes and delivering “quarantine arts kits.” In the public policy space, there have been calls for artists to be engaged to help “bring joy” to public spaces, such as by redesigning signage or installing art works in public parks. 

Much of this is currently being offered for free – but artists still need financial support. One Twin City-based nonprofit has been offering pro bono consultation to arts and culture groups to help them find new, more sustainable forms of revenue. This has been a “heart wrenching” experience said one YCI, as many groups that are reliant on grants have seen their funding pulled to support more immediate COVID-19-related causes. “What if we can’t save everyone?” 

What is needed for the future?

The arts clearly have an important role to play in supporting people through and after the crisis, not only on a personal level to address self-care, mental health and trauma but also on community, city and state levels to address wider issues such as political divides and social inequity. 

To be able to do this, the arts need funding. However, philanthropy too has its limits, with the sector facing reductions in endowments due to stock market volatility and reduced staffing impacting the ability to address new applications. Many funders have responded with automatic renewals for existing recipients and a shift away from funding prizes, travel and professional development in favor of relief funds for grantees. As one participant in the YCI Upper Midwest Regional Meeting remarked, foundations “can’t wait until the next board meeting. We need to make decisions now if we want to save the arts sector.” Where can these new forms of revenue and financial support for the arts be found?

Much emphasis has been put on “innovation” and “digital connections” during the pandemic, but as one YCI remarked, “Innovation doesn’t have to be high-tech-based,” urging their fellow YCIs to consider how they can make use of “low-tech” such as radio and mail to connect with their audiences and communities.

The YCIs of the Upper Midwest have been tapping into and connecting with the wider, national and global YCI network and called on Salzburg Global to help them also connect more directly with the wider-still Salzburg Global Fellowship – truly “moving from me to we.” The growing reliance on online platforms and prevalence of online meetings from large-scale webinars to small “virtual coffee dates” is making these connections all the more possible across international borders and time zones. 

If digital convening is to remain the norm for some time to come, then everyone, especially creative, artistic people, need to work to “keep the humanity” during Zoom meetings. Opening up our homes, including our families and pets, and encouraging two-way discussions rather than one-way lectures were all encouraged – as were “virtual jamming sessions” for musicians. 

As one YCI remarked in closing and indeed as was reflected in the “what is currently bringing you joy?” in the opening introductions: “In isolation people are recognizing what they value, which is primarily culture and art and the togetherness those provide.” Even in the digital age, enjoying the arts and being “deeply human” remains key.  

This virtual regional meeting of the Upper Midwest YCI Hub was generously supported by The Bush Foundation and The McKnight Foundation

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Creating Digital Connections Across American Cities
Creating Digital Connections Across American Cities
By: Louise Hallman 

Young Cultural Innovators from across Baltimore, Detroit, Memphis and New Orleans “meet up” despite lockdown as regional program moves online

“Let’s arrive together!” declared Amina Dickerson as she opened the first-ever online Young Cultural Innovators (YCI) Regional Hub program and over 40 creative changemakers and community leaders from across four YCI city hubs across the US – Baltimore, Detroit, Memphis and New Orleans – all joined a Zoom call at the same time. 

While the duration and location of the program Creating Connections Across American Cities” might have not been as planned – for a few hours online instead of over a weekend at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Le Mondo arts venue and Waller Gallery in Baltimore, Md., USA – the same YCI energy could be found and connections were certainly strengthened, even in the trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Calling in from their respective lockdowns, the Young Cultural Innovators, participants of the YCI Forum from the past six years, were encouraged by Dickerson, many-time YCI Forum facilitator to “Get comfortable, close your eyes, take deep breaths. Inhale the intentions for the day, and exhale all the stuff you want to get rid of.” With a land acknowledgement led by Ojibwe and Chicano rapper, Sacramento Knoxx, preferred pronouns declared and a visible joy at being brought back together, the inclusive space typical of the Young Cultural Innovators Forum was achieved – even on Zoom. This positivity was reflected by many in their “one word” given to start the day, with responses including “energy”, “cozy,” “grateful,” “calm,” “open,” and “happy.” 

But not all was positive. Many YCIs confessed to feeling “stuck,” “scattered,” “unfocused” and “unsure.” As large urban areas with sizeable populations of people of color, many of the communities that the Salzburg Global Young Cultural Innovators of Baltimore, Detroit, Memphis and New Orleans represent and serve have been hit especially hard by the virus. 

With communal and exhibition spaces shut down and events and community outreach cancelled due to social distancing measures, many of the YCIs are grappling with how best to serve their communities in these times of COVID-19. 

Some have been addressing immediate basic needs such as providing food and shelter for vulnerable groups, either through direct volunteering or by mobilizing other groups. Much of this mobilization and information sharing happens online (as with many things these days), but this raises further challenges of how to serve vulnerable portions of communities, such as the homeless and the elderly, who are not online. Some YCIs have been using “snail mail” and flyers in efforts to counter this problem.

Others are leading fundraising and promotional efforts to help other artists. “Fundraising is on everyone’s minds right now,” admitted a YCI from Detroit. While various grants and loans are being made available both from federal and municipal governments as well as foundations and private philanthropists, artists, musicians and other creative producers with irregular incomes particularly struggle to prove exact loss of income, making accessing such funds difficult. 

As much activity – including the arts, through such activities as online film festivals, arts-led discussions, and classes – moves online, there’s a fear that “digital redlining” is happening, with the exclusion common in cities in the physical space being replicated online, excluding marginalized people and communities even further from the arts. “Arts and culture is necessary to bridge communities; digital isn’t as inclusive as we think,” said a YCI from New Orleans. 

Many of the cities represented have already dealt with significant shared trauma, such as New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. With many people turning to the arts – either as a sector or individuals – to provide distraction and comfort amid the crisis, many artists feel a pressure to support their communities at a time when they themselves are struggling. “There’s a feeling of needing to overcompensate with online activity to stay relevant,” worried another New Orleans YCI. Addressing one’s own mental health through “radical acts of self-care and self-love” is much needed, suggested a YCI from Baltimore, to help ensure the arts can bounce-back post-COVID-19 and notburnout in the meantime. 

What Comes Next?

After sharing their respective cities’ struggles, thoughts turned to the future. Questions of how to reopen post-lockdown abound across sectors, and this is no different in the arts. Through breakout group conversations covering topics including the role of the arts in healing collective trauma, sustainable connections between the cultural sector and public policy, and rethinking business models for cultural initiatives, the YCIs considered the future for their respective organizations, work, and cities. 

Some concerns are immediate: “Will there be enough PPE (personal protective equipment) in order to reopen cultural spaces?” Others are more long-term: “How can we build back better?” Given the “squandered opportunities” post-9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, there was a shared desire among the YCIs to not miss this potential for a once-in-a-generation shift in how communities interact with each other and the arts. 

To build back better post-COVID-19, the arts sector needs capacity building, with some YCIs looking to how they can shift their grant-funded non-profit organizations to more self-sustaining social enterprises. 

A mind-shift on the value of the arts is also needed. Many artists, photographers and writers are “being asked to give and give and give” at the moment with little to no remuneration, unlike other disasters where they might receive hazard pay, lamented a YCI from Detroit. How can we collectively shift the mentalities of not only those who rely on and support the sector but also those within it to better value the work being done and the community service being rendered?

This was “No time for despair,” said Dickerson in closing. “It is going to be the creative spirits who will define what a new normal is going to be.”

Galvanized by their renewed connections across their cities, the YCIs committed themselves to making this program “a beginning, not an end” with proposals for future programming and regular monthly meetings. One upside of lockdown: the power of digital convening is clear.  

This virtual regional meeting of the YCI Hubs in Baltimore, Detroit, Memphis and New Orleans was generously supported by The Kresge Foundation

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Is Philanthropy Using Inequitable Practices to Achieve Equity?
Is Philanthropy Using Inequitable Practices to Achieve Equity?
By: Lindsay Hill & Dwayne Proctor 

Lindsay Hill, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Raikes Foundation and Dwayne Proctor, Senior Adviser to the President, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation open the new series of Salzburg Questions

This blog is the first in a new ad hoc series, the Salzburg Questions for Philanthropy

Before the coronavirus became a global pandemic and illuminated the life and death consequences of racism, poverty, segregation, and persistent underinvestment in low-income communities, philanthropy had been undergoing an important transition, focusing more intently on how its white dominance was affecting its ability to advance sustainable improvements in the lives of those who have been historically marginalized. That transition was just getting underway for many organizations when COVID-19 hit. Now is not the time for foundations to back away from their commitment to equity in the spirit of responding to this crisis. The health and economic impacts of this pandemic are real and responding in a moment of crisis is essential. That is exactly why foundations need to double down on our commitment to equity and work together to mitigate the effects of this crisis.

Here are five things we’re thinking about:

How do grant processes perpetuate inequities?

Unless we enlist people or organizations we know directly, most foundations approach grant funding through invitation-only processes. The result is that those who are first in line are usually in positions of power or privilege who already are in our networks. That process too often excludes those from communities most impacted whose efforts need support to make a bigger difference. The invitation-only approach is fairly embedded within most foundations so how can we be more inclusive? Are we using this moment to build new relationships with leaders and organizations whose leadership must be elevated during this time? Are we partnering with those who are acutely aware of the ways in which COVID-19 is exacerbating long-standing inequities? Are we being pushed to reexamine our own biases and limitations to better respond to our communities in this moment?

Are we intentionally recruiting and hiring a diverse staff?

Are we doing enough to enlist a diversity of people who have lived experiences tied to discrimination, racism, sexism, classism, ableism, in sectors like education, health, housing, or criminal justice so they can influence how we fund the work? When the Raikes Foundation, for example, shifted its recruiting and hiring practices to focus on equity and inclusion it produced tangible results, including increasing the percentage of our grantee partners led by people of color. The foundation is now a majority-people of color organization. 

Are we transparent enough?

Foundations need to be more transparent about how board members are selected, a process that has historically been very opaque. And, we need to reckon with who we are funding. There is tension in the field of philanthropy right now around a basic question: if you’re going to advance equity, do you continue to fund the same grantees who are not explicitly equity focused and help them along or do you seek out less traditional partners that are steeped in equity and have more credibility with the groups of people we want to benefit from our grant support? We believe it is more important than ever to seek out and support organizations most deeply embedded in our communities. 

What role does leadership play?

When it comes to equity, leadership can be more important than dollars. Foundation leaders that are all in with equity see it as their responsibility to use their power and privilege to shift mindsets and the behaviors of peers. Leaders have been most successful when they take time to educate their boards and founders, bringing them along to better understand how their foundations could have greater impact in the sectors we care about by centering equity in our strategy development and grant processes. 

Do we pay enough attention to where endowments are invested?

There are a lot of contradictions between where foundations invest their dollars and the issues they support. For example, there are foundations across the country working to improve the lives of boys and men of color. Incarceration is one of those threats to improved lives, however, those same foundations may be investing in companies that profit off mass incarceration like telecommunications, transportation or food vending. How are we reconciling this? 

It is easy to say that this work should be put off while we manage through this crisis. But if philanthropy is committed to advancing equity it must continue the work to reckon with the ways in which it has contributed to perpetuating inequities. “We’ll do this later” no longer works when we are staring these inequities in the face like never before. And if we aren’t willing to center equity during this critical time, what is the risk that we will contribute to growing inequities coming out of this moment? When might it be time for us to get out of the way for those who are willing to bravely walk in the direction of equity and justice?

Lindsay Hill and Dwayne Proctor are Fellows of the program Toward a More Inclusive and Diverse Global Philanthropy: Strategies to Address Social, Economic and Historic Inequality

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Responding to Civic Priorities through Public Art
Art Fellows pose for a group photoArt Fellows pose for a group photo
Responding to Civic Priorities through Public Art
By: Soila Kenya 

Salzburg Global Fellows Alphonse Smith and Heidi Schmalbach help build artists’ capacity and address civic needs

In November 2019, ten artists in New Orleans, Louisiana, participated in a series of training sessions to create art installations at key intersections near drainage canals and pumping stations. The aim? To build awareness of how the city’s drainage infrastructure works.

Alphonse Smith and Heidi Schmalbach developed the training after receiving a micro-grant from Salzburg Global Seminar and the Kresge Foundation. Smith and Schmalbach, who attended the third and fourth programs of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators respectively, wanted to help local artists respond to civic priorities through public art interventions and creative place-making.

What came to fruition is the Civic Art Fellowship, a partnership between Arts Council New Orleans, of which Smith is executive director, and the Gentilly Resilience District. The District is an initiative led by the City of New Orleans’ Office of Resilience and Sustainability that aims to reduce flood risk, slow land subsidence, improve energy reliability, and encourage neighborhood revitalization.

Working in partnership with the District, Arts Council New Orleans is bringing an artistic flair to civic duty. Smith said, “The original concept was developed after meeting St. Paul artist and YCI fellow Amanda Lovelee in Salzburg, after which time a group of New Orleans YCIs visited Minneapolis to research best practice models.”

Heidi Schmalbach, a fellow YCI from New Orleans, was involved in the project as the former executive director and now an executive advisor to Arts Council New Orleans. She said, “There are a lot of people who already work for the city… in particular, the city of New Orleans, who are already creative professionals, artists, hobbyists when they’re not in their nine to five city job[s].

“And for various reasons, people feel like they have to hang up their creative hat when they walk in the door of city government. So we’re interested in the creative energies of people who are already in city government jobs and how to design with artists new ways to interface with [the public].”

Other partners involved with the Civic Art Fellowship include Crescent City Renaissance Alliance, the Water Leaders Institute, and Prospect New Orleans. The specialized training equips artists with technical knowledge related to critical civic issues facing New Orleans while providing peer-to-peer learning, mentorship, and social networking opportunities for the cohort.

The Civic Art Fellowship aims to produce public art along Gentilly’s water features to enhance the public’s understanding of living with water. While doing so, the Fellowship builds the artists’ capacity to address critical civic needs. Artists provide a sense of place through their work to advance future use and development of the location. They create lasting, innovative artwork that influences and shapes the development of the Gentilly Resilience District.

Despite the project’s projected gains, convincing government officials at the beginning of the process was far from easy. “There’s a key disconnect between the government and arts sector,” said Schmalbach. Smith added the critical issue is the two sectors don’t speak the same language. “I think we have a common language that we can speak, but that just hasn’t been defined yet,” he explained.

Smith said it was a matter of aligning agendas and ensuring each side felt their priorities were being addressed. Rather than merely commissioning beautiful artwork for the project, the Fellowship went a step further and also incorporated the artists’ training to benefit New Orleans’ creative scene. The city got what they wanted in artwork, but there was also a great benefit enjoyed by the participating artists.

Smith believes Arts Council New Orleans – and members of the YCI New Orleans Hub – can bridge divides between artists and government officials. He said, “It helps to give credibility and a little bit more weight to the idea that we’re not just these crazy arts non-profit administrators who are coming up with this idea that this is something that folks believe in. So to be awarded a micro-grant for that proposal says that the idea is valid. We’re hopeful that we can sort of build on that as we move forward with the program.”


The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators empowers rising talents in the creative sector to drive social, economic, and urban change. Launched in 2014, it is building a global network of 500 competitively-selected changemakers in “hub” communities who design collaborative projects, build skills, gain mentors, and connect to upcoming innovators in their cities and countries.    

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Feeling at Home
Mira Luce Hamdan (left) at Salzburg Global SeminarMira Luce Hamdan (left) at Salzburg Global Seminar
Feeling at Home
By: Mira Luce Hamdan 

In July 2019, Mira Luce Hamdan traveled from Lebanon to Austria to attend the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. When they arrived, they rediscovered their passion for media – and set out on a new life path

I don’t know how to explain in a few short sentences what the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change means to me. It sounds silly, but the Academy is more a feeling than a place: it is friendship, love, acceptance, validation, passion, enlightenment, home.

I felt truly at home for the first time ever when I was at Schloss Leopoldskron. I met the most interesting people, made friendships and connections, and I found something that I thought I had lost: I found my passion.

I struggled a lot when getting my bachelor’s degree. Somewhere along the way, I forgot why I liked media and media studies. However, the three weeks I spent in Parker Hall with the amazing instructors and my brilliant colleagues, the conversations we had with each other and with guest speakers, and the field trips around Austria reminded me of my love for media. One of the most amazing things is that everybody made sure to let me know and to remind me naturally and genuinely, that I’m actually good at what I’m doing.

The amount of validation, love, and acceptance that I felt in the Schloss and in those halls will forever fill my heart and push me further. I will always remember every kind thing and every encouraging word I heard from every person in that place because it all pushed me towards a better future. Before attending the Salzburg Academy, I had planned to get a Ph.D. in social work (and I’m sure I would have been great at it). But the Academy and the people there reminded me that my love and my future is media.

The part that still amazes me is that I almost didn’t attend the program. Initially, I wasn’t going to apply for the Salzburg Academy. Financially I was just not going to make it. Then, my professor told me that I could apply for a scholarship. I could barely believe it when I got the email telling me I was accepted into the program with a 50% scholarship. It was Christmas and my birthday all at once.

There is a Welsh word that loosely translates to yearning for home: “hiraeth.” I guess if I had to put it in one word, “hiraeth” is what the Salzburg Academy will always be to me.

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New Timeliness Metrics Seek to Improve Pandemic Preparedness
Image: Martin Sanchez/Unsplash
New Timeliness Metrics Seek to Improve Pandemic Preparedness
By: Salzburg Global Seminar 

Fellows devise first-ever “One Health” timeliness metrics to track improvements in disease surveillance

As the novel coronavirus continues to grip the world, it is clear that few countries were prepared for this pandemic. However, a pioneering group of Salzburg Global Fellows, funded by US-based non-profit Ending Pandemics, aims to improve global preparedness for both COVID-19 and future epidemics. Together, they have designed a new system to assess how quickly countries can find outbreaks and stop them before they become deadly global pandemics.

The new timeliness metrics for One Health surveillance were developed at Salzburg Global Seminar’s program on Finding Outbreaks Faster in late 2019, building on earlier work to develop timeliness metrics for the public health sector in 2018. The programs developed “Outbreak Milestones” to enable tracking of timeliness metrics for disease surveillance and response across human and animal outbreaks. 

The Outbreak Milestones for public health were the product of years of pilot testing by Ending Pandemics with country partners and expert consultation with diverse stakeholders. They were further refined by Salzburg Global Fellows in November 2018 and incorporated into key WHO country guidance in early 2019. 

These new Outbreak Milestones go one step further, recognizing critical interconnections between human, animal, and environmental health to have broad applicability to a range of disease outbreaks. It is understood that the SARS-CoV-2 virus first developed in animals before transferring to humans. In recent years other zoonoses – pathogens carried by animals that infect humans – also led to SARS, MERS and Ebola. This interconnectedness prompted Ending Pandemics to lead development of timeliness metrics for “One Health”, recognizing that an integrated, multi-sector approach to disease surveillance is essential.  

Get Prepared

In February as the world was just starting to recognize the possible scale of the current pandemic, Mark Smolinski, president of Ending Pandemics, called SARS-CoV-2 a “wake-up call,” adding “Outbreaks such as this that spread from animals to humans will continue to occur. My motto is, ‘Don’t be scared, get prepared.’”

Developed collaboratively by Ending Pandemics and 35 Salzburg Global Fellows from across the world recognized as international experts in public health, epidemiology, veterinary medicine, and ecology, the One Health Timeliness Metrics are designed around “milestones”: the dates when an outbreak is predicted, detected, verified and responded to, when the authorities are notified, and when a multisectoral investigation is launched, lab tests conducted, control measures implemented and the public informed.

“We recognize that this release coincides with a critical point in the progression of COVID-19,” said Adam Crawley, Program Officer for Ending Pandemics, as the One Health Timeliness Metrics were released in May 2020. 

“Some countries are beginning to pivot from initial response activities and strict social distancing measures to building preparedness capabilities needed for continued early detection and containment. Early detection, timely testing, and rapid response are necessities for combatting this pandemic, and the Outbreak Milestones and Timeliness Metrics provide countries with a framework to monitor their ongoing performance.”

Political Will

Lack of preparedness has been a common failing in many – though not all - countries’ efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, as has the lack of consistent responses to sound scientific advice. 

“We are proud of our Fellows for developing what could prove to be a valuable tool in tackling the next phases of the current pandemic and to halt future outbreaks at a much earlier stage, wherever these begin” said Salzburg Global Vice President and Chief Program Officer, Clare Shine. “But such tools can only achieve their full potential if there is risk literacy and political will at national and international levels, aligned with best available scientific guidance.

“Founded in the wake of World War II, Salzburg Global has challenged current and future leaders to shape a better world for over 70 years. As the world enters a new era of great upheaval, we call on political leaders to support and work with scientific advisors using these cutting-edge innovations to prevent and mitigate future risks and to help communities and economies build back better.”

The One Health Timeliness Metrics are available for download here:

Download One Health Timeliness Metrics as a PDF

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Far Away From Home: LGBT* Activism in the Diaspora
Bisi Alimi (left) and Faris Cuchi Gezahegn (right) at the Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum in 2017
Far Away From Home: LGBT* Activism in the Diaspora
By: Soila Kenya 

We catch up with Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum Fellows Faris Cuchi Gezahegn and Bisi Alimi on the highs and lows of fighting a war from afar

“My day usually starts with some meditation then I get ready for the office. And because we are remote – my colleagues are based in Nigeria and I’m here in the UK – we spend a lot of time communicating. We spend more time on Zoom trying to get things done,” said Bisi Alimi in an interview with Salzburg Global.

Alimi was forced to leave his home country of Nigeria and relocate to the UK after receiving death threats for being an openly gay man who is credited with being the first Nigerian to come out on national television.

Apart from founding and directing of the Bisi Alimi Foundation, which “advocates for the rights and dignity of LGBT people in Nigeria by addressing public opinion and accelerating social acceptance,” he is also a public speaker, storyteller, campaigner, actor, and vlogger. 

“When I was in Nigeria, I think my biggest risk was being an openly gay man in a society that thinks that I don’t deserve to be alive,” he said. 

He has spent decades at the vanguard of the fight for LGBT rights despite constant abuse and attacks and the further stigma of being HIV+. 

He attended the Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum program Home: Safety, Wellness, and Belonging in 2017 where he explained his approach to using Instagram. On this platform, he publishes short videos about his views on topics that require greater debate, diverging opinions and general attention. Alimi has a great following online and he personally interacts often with his followers, especially as he is no longer based in Nigeria.

In 2019, inspired by Ugandan activists he had met in Salzburg, Alimi and his Foundation held its first pride event in Lagos, which had to be coded as a “variety night.” “There was a lot of controversy around it; whether or not it was a ‘pride’ event... People argue that pride is marching on the street. However, at the core of it is what you’re celebrating,” he said.

He explains that as an activist living in the diaspora, he is dealing with unprecedented challenges such as facing discrimination not only for his sexual identity but also for being a black man.

“I had to start redefining or trying to reclassify my masculinity within all of the narrative around ‘Men can’t be this or that’ and trying to fight about what makes a man and my man enough?” he recounts.

Ethiopian non-binary queer activist Faris Cuchi Gezahegn is also no stranger to the harsh reality facing many queer Africans. Following death threats, they were forced to flee to Austria, where, together with fellow activist and Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum Fellow Noël Iglessias, they successfully applied for asylum. 

Despite leaving Ethiopia, Gezahegn is still committed to activism, working now with AfroRainbowAustria, Queer Base and House of Guramayle, the latter of which they cofounded to “put a face to the queer movement in Ethiopia.” 

Through this work, Gezahegn was invited to address the Universal Periodic Review Report Consideration for Ethiopia, at the Human Rights Council in Switzerland and the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) in Rwanda, where they advocated for the inclusion of LGBT people in the Ethiopian government’s national HIV/AIDS prevention roadmap. “It is historic and symbolic. We aimed to challenge the Ethiopian government on the international stage for the first time,” they explain. 

But even life in Austria is not without risk. “After I moved here, I’ve been attacked four times physically,” they explain. “But at the same time, I am living in a space where if anything happens to me, whoever did it would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, which is different from when I was Ethiopia where I was just a random person who got erased.”

Istanbul-based British photojournalist Bradley Secker, who is also a Fellow of the Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum, explains how meeting Gezahegn was an inspiration. In his Gayropa project that seeks to document the lives of LGBT refugees in Europe, he approached Gezahegn with the request to include them in the project.

“It’s often slightly odd at first to have me tagging along and joining someone to various things they’d normally not have a photographer documenting, but Faris was natural, relaxed and confident from the start,” Secker said.

Both Gezahegn and Alimi see the Salzburg Global community being stepping stones for them in their journeys with Gezahegn recounting that they felt “very safe and loved” as they dealt with “a roller-coaster of feelings as we build a new home.”

On the ongoing fight for equality, the two agree that combining voices is the way to go. “No one is free when one part of the society is not free,” says Alimi. When speaking about how allies can help, he explains that “it’s not about them specifically going for gay rights, but intersecting their own struggles as well.”

“It [intersectionality] has to be number one,” agrees Gezahegn. “We also need to leverage the expertise we have on the continent.”

* LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. We are using this term as it is currently widely used in human rights conversations on sexual orientation and gender identity in many parts of the world, and we would wish it to be read as inclusive of other cultural concepts, contemporary or historical, to express sexuality and gender, intersex and gender non-conforming identities. We acknowledge and respect individuals’ preferred pronouns. 

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Building Healthier Communities
Building Healthier Communities
By: Salzburg Global Fellows 

Fellows of Salzburg Global programs on healthier and more equitable communities pen blog series for The BMJ

In 2017 and 2018, Salzburg Global Seminar in partnership with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation convened a series of three programs exploring the conditions which can create and protect health and wellbeing beyond a traditional focus on health care. The three sessions covered hospitals, urban planning, and childhood obesity.

In the intervening months, several Salzburg Global Fellows of those programs have come together to write a series of articles for The BMJ, all of which are available for free. The articles in this collection reflect the wide ranging discussions by program participants from around the world, identifying challenges and opportunities for building healthier communities.

John Lotherington, Salzburg Global Program Director said: "We’re delighted to see this collection of articles arising from our sessions in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on Building Healthy Communities: the Role of Hospitals and Building Healthy, Equitable Communities: The Role of Inclusive Urban Development and Investment*. They are great contributions to our joint goal of how better to build a culture of health, bringing together stakeholders from diverse sectors and from every continent.

"We should pay tribute to all the authors, who carried the energy and ideas forward from the session, and despite onerous 'day jobs' continued these collaborations to produce such fascinating articles which, through BMJ Online, will influence thinking around the world."

The Role of Hospitals

GDP and the economics of despair
We should switch to a measure that promotes health, not consumption, says Harry Burns

Hospitals could be anchors for an economy focused on wellbeing
Paul Simpson asks how can healthcare systems help build healthy societies beyond providing high quality medical care

Can New Zealand’s wellbeing budget help address social inequalities?
Plans for a wellbeing budget have been met with both scepticism and hope, reports Anna Matheson

Lowering hospital walls to achieve health equity
Hospitals have a pivotal role in reducing health inequities for indigenous people and other marginalised groups, argue Anna Matheson and colleagues

How healthcare can help heal communities and the planet
The gains from healthcare are often undermined by the sector’s contributions to social inequity and environmental damage, but it doesn’t have to be that way argue Damon Francis and colleagues

Inclusive Urban Development and Investment

Strengthening the links between planning and health in England
Gemma McKinnon and colleagues argue that multidisciplinary action in planning and health will contribute to more equitable communities and improved health and wellbeing

How can urban planning contribute to building health equity?
Sharon Roerty tells us more about what can be done to make cities a more healthy place to live.

Confronting power and privilege for inclusive, equitable, and healthy communities
Ascala Sisk and colleagues set out a call to interrogate power and analyse privilege to create and sustain healthy communities.

Connected green spaces in cities pay real dividends
Nick Chapman writes about the benefits of urban green spaces.

*A third set of articles connected with the RWJF-funded program on Healthy Children, Healthy Weight is forthcoming. 

This collection is a series of articles based on discussions from Salzburg Global Seminar programs on building healthy communities. Open access fees were funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The BMJ peer reviewed, edited, and made the decision to publish the article with no involvement from the foundation.

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Confronting Power and Privilege for Inclusive, Equitable and Healthy Communities
Image: Erin White/Unsplash
Confronting Power and Privilege for Inclusive, Equitable and Healthy Communities
By: Ascala Sisk and Salzburg Global Fellows 

Salzburg Global Fellows set out a call to interrogate power and analyze privilege to create and sustain healthy communities 

This article is part of the British Medical Journal's Building Healthy Communities collection.

According to the World Health Organization, inclusive, healthy and just communities are places that continually create and improve the physical and social environment to enable all people to be mutually supportive in all functions of life and to develop their maximum potential.[1] It is suggested that only 16% of health outcomes are determined by the quality and availability of health care; and the social and economic determinants of health, including where people live play a more significant role.[2]

This goes beyond the quality of physical structures in the urban environment or the space inside a home. It is about understanding neighbourhood conditions and the availability and quality of other determinants of health, such as employment, healthy food, childcare, schools, transport and recreation space. We know geographic disparities in health, which often fall along lines of ethnicity and socioeconomic status, are growing and can exist even between people living in adjacent neighbourhoods.[3] Health professionals and urban development practitioners therefore have an important role to play to ensure the practices and processes governing the design and development of our urban environment are inclusive and equitable for all and ultimately contribute to improved population health.

A Call to Action: Interrogate Power and Analyze Privilege to Create and Sustain Healthy Communities

The scale of current and potential inequalities in the urban environment demands a revolution of purpose and accountability. The challenges we face in building and sustaining healthy and equitable communities demand new forms of thinking, problem solving, governance, and decision making. Most importantly, it requires that we learn the skills of interrogating power and analysing privilege. 

Whether resources do, or do not, flow to communities is a direct product of both individual and institutional power. Power is defined as the ability to direct laws, policies, and investment that shape people’s lives. Privilege is the accumulation of benefits of special rights. Both power and privilege have been extracted and hoarded, consciously or not, by certain groups at the expense of others based on social categorisations including, but not limited to, class, ethnicity, religion, physical ability, and gender.[4,5,6]

We call on health professionals, planners, public servants, developers, financiers, and engineers – in fact, all practitioners working at the intersection of health and the built environment – to shift their normal course of business towards adopting practices that recognise privilege and cede power. This requires pushing against conscious and unconscious practices and the societal beliefs and norms that marginalise, exclude and perpetuate inequity. We charge this community of practitioners to dismantle the structures, systems and practices that reinforce inequity. Even with best intentions, data-driven interventions, and evidence-based improvements, we will inadvertently perpetuate inequities and widen disparities if we are not conscious of our own power and the power structures within which we work.

We know that power and privilege can be complex and sometimes overwhelming concepts, but we can and must engage with them. We have proposed steps below for health professionals, policy makers and urban development practitioners and other stakeholders to begin the journey. We make this call to action to fundamentally shift the way we plan, build, program, advocate, and legislate our communities to ensure the health and quality of life for all. While it may seem a daunting task to connect this aspirational call to on-the-ground practice, we urge that this not be a reason for inaction since “professional silence in the face of social injustice is wrong.”[7]

Steps for Examining Power and Privilege in Support of Healthy and Inclusive Communities

1. Create and/or seek out “Brave Spaces” to explore the role of power in your work

Confronting power and its role in our work begins by creating “Brave Spaces”. Brave spaces are intentional environments and settings that facilitate the courageous, uncomfortable, and honest exploration of social categorizations such as physical ability, race, ethnicity, class, and gender identity and the privilege or marginalisation that is extended to individuals based on these categorizations.[8

Brave spaces are created and maintained by a transparent commitment to practices that allow difference and celebrate new forms of action and strategy. You create brave spaces when you:

  • Speak your truth and listen deeply to the truth that others speak
  • Learn the truth about historical trauma and accept its impact on yourself and those you serve
  • Understand and honour your own experience and the experiences of others in equal measure
  • Bring your vulnerability to the table and create the space for others to be vulnerable
  • Invite yourself to make mistakes and be generous with the mistakes of others 
  • Acknowledge the limits of expertise – an expert frame can shut down learning 
  • Hold yourself and others accountable to practices that affirm diversity and inclusion

2. Understand the role that power plays in your current work

Within the brave space created above, consider as an urban developer, policy maker or health professional, a program, policy initiative, or other effort that you are working on to improve the physical, social and economic conditions of communities and ask the following:

  • What is the problem I’m trying to solve?
  • What decisions, policies, and practices have historically contributed to the problem? What is the root cause of the problem?
  • What is the formal and informal, the visible and invisible, decision-making or governance structure shaping the problem?
  • What would it look like if the problem is solved?
  • Who consistently benefits from the problem not being solved?
  • Who consistently suffers from the problem not being solved?
  • Are the people most affected by this problem represented in the decision-making process?
  • In seeking data, what sources of data are considered legitimate, and by whom? Are there credible sources that are being suppressed or dismissed because the power structure has deemed them unreliable?

3. Analyze and Challenge Privilege

Privilege is the accumulation of benefits of special rights, often over time, to a certain group. Think about your work and your role in your community of practice and ask:

  • What are the areas of life in which you hold privilege?
  • Despite your work to change outcomes, what remains the same?
  • Despite changes in the wider professional or sociopolitical context, what remains the same?
  • What are the cycles, actions, and processes we repeat regardless of the outcome?
  • Does a new protocol or procedure worsen or help existing disparities?

Privilege often shows itself when the status quo is challenged. When such a challenge is presented, and conflict ensues, ask yourself:

  • Who or what is blamed for the conflict in the narrative describing the challenge?
  • Who or what is sacrificed to resolve the conflict?
  • Are there any patterns that you can observe?
  • If the problem was “resolved”, did the group or process return to the norm or status quo? 
  • Who or what restores things to what they were before the conflict?

Download the Salzburg Statement on Confronting Power and Privilege for Inclusive, Equitable and Healthy Communities as a PDF

Authors

Ascala Sisk, Deputy Director, Center for Community Investment, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy; Odetta MacLeish-White, Managing Director, TransFormation Alliance; Vedette Gavin, Principle, Verge Impact Partners; Tamika Butler, Director, Equity and Inclusion and Director of CA Planning, Toole Design; Liz Ogbu, Founder + Principal, Studio O; Veronica O. Davis, P.E., Managing Partner, Nspiregreen LLC; Nupur Chaudhury, Program Officer, New York State Health Foundation, Urbanist in Residence, University of Orange; Sharon Roerty, Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Hanaa Hamdi, Director of Health Impact Investment Strategies and Partnerships, New Jersey Community Capital; Kelly Worden, Director, Health Research, U.S. Green Building Council; Noxolo Kabane, Deputy Director, Western Cape Department of Human Settlements; Shelly Poticha, Managing Director, Natural Resources Defense Council; and Hedzer Pathuis, Strategic Project Manager, City of Utrecht.

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the all sixty-five fellows who participated in Salzburg Global Seminar program Building Healthy, Equitable Communities: The Role of Inclusive Urban Development and Investment, whose vast and varied experience helped to shape our call to action. We’d also like to thank Salzburg Global Seminar and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for creating the space to make connections and cultivate bold ideas.

References

  1. World Health Organization “Health Promotion Glossary” (2006) www.who.int/healthpromotion/about/HPR%20Gossary%201998.pdf
  2. Hood, C. M., K. P. Gennuso, G. R. Swain, and B. B. Catlin. 2016. County health rankings: Relationships between determinant factors and health outcomes. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 50(2):129-135.
  3. Woolf, Steven and Braveman, Paula. 2011. Where Health Disparities Begin: The Role of Social and Economic Determinants – and Why Current Policies May Make Matter Worse. Health Affairs, Vol. 30, No. 10: Agenda for Fighting Disparities, https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0685
  4. Project Change’s “The Power of Words” Originally produced for Project Change Lessons Learned II, also included in A Community Builder’s Toolkit – both produced by Project Change and The Center for Assessment and Policy Development with some modification Racial Equity Tools.org. https://www.racialequitytools.org/glossary 
  5. McIntosh, Peggy. White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. Wellesley Centers for Women, Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity. https://www.cuesta.edu/about/documents/vpaa-docs/1_Peggy_McIntosh_White_Privilege.pdf 
  6. Hobbs, Joseph. White Privilege in Health Care: Following Recognition with Action. Ann Fam Med. 2018 May; 16(3): 197-198. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5951245/ 
  7. Berwick, Donald M., MD, MPP. Moral Choices for Today’s Physicians, JAMA. 2017; 318(21):2081-2082. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/issue/318/21 
  8. Arao, Brian, Clemens, Kristi. From Safe Spaces to Brave Spaces, a new way to frame dialogue and diversity and social justice. 2013, Stylus Publishing, LLC.  https://www.gvsu.edu/cms4/asset/843249C9-B1E5-BD47-A25EDBC68363B726/from-safe-spaces-to-brave-spaces.pdf 
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“The Show Must Go On” Iranian Online Festival Created to Show the Resilience of Festivals
Sepehr Sharifzadeh speaking during Atelier for Young Festival and Cultural Managers in Shanghai.Sepehr Sharifzadeh speaking during Atelier for Young Festival and Cultural Managers in Shanghai.
“The Show Must Go On” Iranian Online Festival Created to Show the Resilience of Festivals
By: Soila Kenya 

The coronavirus lockdown did not stop Sepehr Sharifzadeh from doing what he does best: bringing people together to celebrate the arts.

For Sepehr Sharifzadeh, the shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic hit hard.

“My first passion in life is festivals; the whole fun of having festivals, gathering people, having the collective energy,” he said in an interview with Salzburg Global.

He was set to hold a festival in the historic Iranian city of Yazd, a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the beginning of March. He had been preparing for it for six months.

“We just got the permissions in February. I talked with many people to bring them to Yazd; six international groups… Two days before the festival was meant to start, they told us that due to the outbreak we cannot have the festival. We need to postpone it or cancel it,” lamented Sharifzadeh.

Sharifzadeh, whose first name means sky, is a theatre agent, producer and festival organizer. With an academic background in creative writing and puppet theater, at the age of 24, he co-founded the first Iranian international theater agency, Nowrouze Honar, the main goal of which is to facilitate the cultural exchange between Iran and the world through performances.

He was due to share his experiences at the now-postponed program What Future for Festivals? The program will now take place in October and Sharifzadeh will have yet more experience to share when he finally comes to Salzburg: how to continue a festival when you cannot physically bring people together.

He describes the devastation he felt after hearing news of the cancelation of the festival he had been organizing. After informing the performers of the cancelation, he was unable to answer emails for two days afterward.

“But then I got myself together,” he narrates. “Iranian people are very flexible and we’ve had enough of these kinds of situations to learn from. So this outbreak is only like another thing for us, you know. At least during the last year, unfortunately, we’ve had enough of death in different cities in Iran. We’ve had enough of people having troubles.”

It is this resilience in the face of adversity that got him out of his low mood to get together with two colleagues and co-create the Re-connect Online Performance Festival to be broadcast on Instagram Live. Along with Nima Dehghani, a San Francisco-based transdisciplinary artist who's the Founder and Artistic Director of Ctrl+Z Theater Group and Fariborz Karimi, Artistic Director of Theatricultural Residency and Co-founder of Bohemi Theater Group, Tehran, the three designed this festival in order to bring artists from all around the world together for solidarity against the recent pandemic panic.

“The whole concept of festivals is changing. And I was like, ‘No, this is keeping up your spirits,’ so the show must go on no matter what,” said Sharifzadeh.

For further diversity in content, his colleagues Meera Krishna from Prakriti Foundation, India, Liu Xiaoyi of Emergency Stairs, Singapore and Erica McCalman of the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM), Australia are helping to curate shows from their regions.

They held the pilot edition of the festival March 25-30, with performances ranging from puppet theatre, acting and singing. Additionally, there were discussion panels held about a range of topics from the challenges of working on the “presence” from a distance to whether “digital theatre” can be considered as “immersive performance”. The main festival is being held April 5-12.

Panelists included Azadeh Ganjeh, playwright and theater director and assistant professor in the faculty of performing art and music at the University of Tehran, and Omid Hashemi, member of Rekhneh Collective, and pedagogical director of the Ecole International d'Acteur Createur, among others.

Sharifzadeh was able to draw performers and panelists together in this short amount of time to the point where the festival’s Instagram account has already gained over 1,800 followers.

More than just a way to bring joy to people in order to cope with the pandemic, Sharifzadeh is also greatly concerned for the mental health of the artists, and sees it as a way for them to network, and connect with one another.

Sharifzadeh says he looks forward to his time in Salzburg even more now. “I look forward to meeting people who have the same passion as me about the festivals. The program topic, ‘What Future for Festivals?’ is more relevant than ever because we came across a very specific situation in the world that we could actually divide the history into pre-corona and post-corona time,” he reveals.

In the meantime, he is dedicating his full time to the Re-connect Festival, whose page discloses their hope for the future: “Maybe if this festival was repeated in the following years, we would say to all that in February 2020, when the theaters were closed when the people were stuck at their homes when it was the Corona years, a group of artists came together through the internet and the festival started. We hope that all together, with joining forces we could take a step in the interests of society, the arts, and the human connections.”

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Educators and Champions from Around the Globe Gather for the World's Largest Free Online SEL Conference
Educators and Champions from Around the Globe Gather for the World's Largest Free Online SEL Conference
By: Soila Kenya 

For this year’s International Day of Happiness, Karanga – a Salzburg Global Fellow-led initiative – holds a virtual convening on social and emotional learning.

On March 20, the International Day of Happiness, Salzburg Global teamed up with Karanga: The Global Alliance for Social Emotional Learning and Life Skills to hold a free online gathering of champions of social and emotional learning.

The event was held as a way for practitioners to learn from leaders in the field and connect with an international community committed to the support of children’s social-emotional well-being.

Social and emotional learning or SEL as it is commonly known can be defined as “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

Karanga, a global alliance that emerged from the Salzburg Global program series, Education for Tomorrow’s World, advances the awareness, knowledge and understanding of skills for learning and life and it bridges the perceived divide between academic knowledge and social emotional skills.

Mark Sparvell, Education Leader at Microsoft, founder of SELinEDU and Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar thinks that SEL should be at the core of education. “Social and Emotional Skills are fundamental and no-longer ornamental aspects of high quality education and have incredibly long reaching impact on well-being of individuals and more broadly, societies and economies,” he told Salzburg Global.

Over the course of the day, two three-hour sessions were held in order to cover all time zones with a public assembly about mainstreaming SEL in between.

The line-up of speakers included people from across different sectors; government officials, professors, people from the private sector and people from the NGO world, representing a large swath of perspectives. Keynote speakers included Shailendra Sharma who spoke about the Happiness Curriculum in Delhi; Marcela Almeida who spoke about the implementation of SEL in Brazil; Margot Foster who spoke about developing expert learners and learner agency in South Australia; and Jordan Posamentier who spoke about advocacy strategies.

Further discussions also comprised of new tools to support SEL and a community conversation about where the field of SEL is heading.

“We need more opportunities to share what works in SEL across different education systems,” said Dominic Regester, Salzburg Global Program Director and Karanga Executive Committee Member when asked about the key takeaways from the online conference. He added, “There are amazing examples of policy, research and practice from around the world and social and emotional skills and competencies underpin essential behaviors that will shape the success of our response to COVID-19.”

With a turnout of almost 400 people across both sessions, there was feedback from participants that similar sessions are needed within the community. 

The conference was made possible with further help from Committee for Children, Compassion Games, SELinEDU and the Synergized Impact Network Exchange (SINE).
Sparvell, who also spoke during the conference said that partnership will be the driving force of achieving the goals of SEL moving forward. “Our partnership with Salzburg Global Seminar indicates a shared commitment to empower every learner on the planet to expect more, do more and be more,” he said.

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Salzburg Global to Restore Red Salon at Schloss Leopoldskron
From left to right - Trevor Traina, United States Ambassador to Austria, Helga Rabl-Stadler, President of the Salzburg Festival, and Stephen L. Salyer, President of Salzburg Global SeminarFrom left to right - Trevor Traina, United States Ambassador to Austria, Helga Rabl-Stadler, President of the Salzburg Festival, and Stephen L. Salyer, President of Salzburg Global Seminar
Salzburg Global to Restore Red Salon at Schloss Leopoldskron
By: Salzburg Global Seminar 

Meeting space will be renovated to its Reinhardt-era splendor and provide the conditions for forward-thinking to flourish

Salzburg Global Seminar is proud to announce a new partnership that will lead to the restoration of Schloss Leopoldskron’s Red Salon.

The first-floor meeting space, also known as the McGowan Room, will be renovated to mark the centenary of the Salzburg Festival, to honor Max Reinhardt’s legacy of peace and cultural exchange, and to inspire ideas for the next 100 years.

The renovation is being supported by Trevor Traina, United States Ambassador to Austria, and led by renowned designer Ken Fulk. Work will begin this month and is expected to be completed in July. The newly-designed room will be presented as part of the anniversary celebrations at the beginning of this year’s Salzburg Festival.

When Reinhardt purchased the Schloss in 1918, he saw Leopoldskron’s potential as a place for reflection, restoration, and renewal after a devastating global conflict. He reimagined the building’s interiors and regularly gathered together innovative artists, playwrights, and cultural icons of the day.

It was here in Schloss Leopoldskron – including the Red Salon – where major projects were conceived that would substantially shape the direction and program of the Festival in years to come. Today, the Red Salon remains a unique meeting space where current and future leaders from different sectors create partnerships and formulate ideas to help shape a better world.

Last month, Ambassador Traina joined Stephen L. Salyer, President of Salzburg Global Seminar, and Helga Rabl-Stadler, President of the Salzburg Festival, in the Red Salon to announce the renovation plans.

Fulk, named “the design world’s impresario” by Architectural Digest, will seek to create a space that remembers its Reinhardt-era origins while bringing inspiration and sophistication. Fulk previously decorated the American Ambassador’s residence in Vienna to much acclaim.

Ambassador Traina said, “My family has a deep relationship with Austria. My grandfather was an ambassador to Austria, and I spent a lot of time in Vienna as a boy. Preserving such a place steeped in history and Max Reinhardt’s legacy is not just a social obligation: that is a personal concern and need for me.”

Gifts in support of the Red Salon renovation project will be recognized as part of the Inspiring LeadershipCampaign – Salzburg Global’s largest-ever fundraising campaign. Intending to raise $18m, the campaign has already received $12.3m in commitments.

Salyer said, “The renovation of the Red Salon, which is so important for the history of Salzburg, would have been much more difficult to do without the generous donation from Trevor Traina. We are extremely grateful for this and are extremely looking forward to implementing this dream project together with the American Ambassador.”

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Nothing About Us Without Us
Members of the Youth Forum at the Zero Project Conference in Vienna, Austria
Nothing About Us Without Us
By: Faye Hobson 

Reflections on the Zero Project Conference Youth Forum
 
Article 26 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights states that everyone has the right to education, but for some people accessing this education is far harder than it should be. For young people with disabilities, experiences of marginalization are all too commonplace in educational settings and many young people face total exclusion from the education sector. 

The Zero Project Conference brings together individuals and organizations working together with the common goal of creating a world without barriers for people with disabilities. This year the topic was inclusive education. Salzburg Global was invited to share our work on social and emotional learning, and how this can be an effective tool for building more empathetic and inclusive education systems. 

On several occasions during the conference, “nothing about us without us” was the rousing call from many of the speakers. The Zero Project lived their values and invited 12 Youth Advocates from around the world to the conference to discuss their experiences of inclusive education. 

These young people were not included in a tokenistic way, as is so often the case when we try to “include” members of “marginalized” groups. They were empowered to tell their own stories, to raise their voices, and to call for the change that they want to see on the issues that directly affect them. 

Fierce, funny, powerful, and not afraid of calling for radical change in a way that many adults would not feel they could. One of the Youth Advocates said that, if given the opportunity, he would punch his education system in the face and rebuild it more inclusively and democratically. You can’t argue with that!

Many adults will have memories of their time at school being entirely shaped by rules, schedules, and teachers. The inclusive schools presented at the Youth Forum, all share a common belief that the best needs of learners are served by enabling students, teachers and parents to work together. It was clear to see and hear the positive results of this approach as 12 confident and charismatic young people took to the stage at the conference. 

Reflecting on the global scale of the challenges faced by disabled people, one Youth Advocate reminded us that prejudices don’t need a passport to cross borders and called for us all to join in the global fight for complex diversity that gives everyone the freedom to be who they are. 

The Youth Advocates reminded the audience that discrimination against people with disabilities happens so often we almost think that it is normal. Most of us either are or will eventually become disabled. So, it would seem a sensible, inclusive, future-proofing step to build a more inclusive world sooner rather than later.

Achieving inclusion for people with disabilities requires everyone in society to play a part in creating change. By celebrating difference and creating societies where everyone is valued and free to be themselves, we can build a happier and healthier world.

Salzburg Global staff, Faye Hobson, Program Manager, and Dominic Regester, Program Director, were Co-Chairs of the Youth Forum at the Zero Project Conference. The Zero Project, an initiative of the Essl Foundation, focuses on the rights of persons with disabilities globally. It provides a platform where the most innovative and effective solutions to problems that persons with disabilities face, are shared. Its sole objective is to assist in creating a world without barriers. 

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Don’t Be Scared, Get Prepared
In the forefront, Sars-Cov2 written in black ink on a perspex screen. In the background, a person wearing forensic clothing.Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Don’t Be Scared, Get Prepared
By: Oscar Tollast 

As the world faces another possible pandemic, experts ask how can we find outbreaks faster?

On the eve of 2020, a new strain of coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 was reported from Wuhan, China. By the end of February, the number of confirmed cases of infection, called COVID-19, surpassed 80,000, the infection spread to 30 other countries, and the outbreak was declared a global health emergency. Within two months, COVID-19 had claimed nearly 3,000 lives, with many more at risk.

Mark Smolinski envisions a world without pandemics, a world with faster detection of outbreaks and fewer fatalities. He says, “This really is a wake-up call and outbreaks such as this that spread from animals to humans will continue to occur. My motto is, ‘Don’t be scared, get prepared.’”

For the past 25 years, Smolinski has worked to improve disease prevention and control across the globe. As president of Ending Pandemics, Mark and his team work to improve infectious disease surveillance. In short, they help countries find outbreaks faster.

Like the age old adage, “What gets measured, gets done,” Ending Pandemics developed a framework for measuring timeliness of outbreak detection and response, along with a set of other key milestones.

Ending Pandemics piloted such timeliness metrics in 28 countries to test the feasibility of measurement. Ending Pandemics then hosted a sector-spanning, international program with Salzburg Global Seminar in 2018, to refine these metrics and identify mechanisms to aid their widespread implementation.

Smolinski says, “Much to our surprise, this diverse group of people representing many sectors and countries came to agreement on standard milestone definitions.” The World Health Organization and other agencies have since adopted the timeliness metrics for measuring the impact of an outbreak on human health.

But pandemics affect more than just people. Often diseases start in animals and transfer to humans, and the health of animals and humans both impact the health of the environment – and vice versa. Greater recognition of this relationship led to the call for “One Health” timeliness metrics.

Expanding on their earlier work on human outbreak timelines metrics, Ending Pandemics led a diverse group of experts that spanned the One Health spectrum at a second program with Salzburg Global in 2019. The consensus between the experts gathered was again expeditious as they drafted a set of One Health timeliness metrics. Smolinski credits the Salzburg program for the speedy breakthrough. “To be able to come away with completely satisfactory results in the end really speaks to the process and the preparation that goes into [the program],” he says.

This more complete set of timeliness metrics are still designed around “milestones”: the dates when an outbreak is predicted, detected, verified and responded to, when the authorities are notified, and when a multisectoral investigation is launched, lab tests conducted, control measures implemented and the public informed.

Smolinski says, “The metrics are a set of indicators against which we can measure progress. We have build them into how we monitor our work. We’re helping countries figure out how to build them into their automated disease surveillance systems for continuous improvement.

“We hope that these simple set of metrics, in the end, will allow countries to regularly calculate them as performance measures. They’re so common sense. The reality that they’re not systematically collected is a challenge we can easily overcome.”

Ending Pandemics continues to provide scientific, technical, and financial support to find outbreaks faster in emerging disease hotspots. The spread of COVID-19 has shown the world is still not ready to prevent pandemics, according to Smolinski, as still plenty of challenges remain.

“What motivates me is the fact that the challenges continue to exist, that the opportunities with new technology, data sharing, and artificial intelligence are just so exciting that I’m convinced we can find outbreaks faster and contain them at their source.”

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Making the World Better and Beautiful Through Collaboration
Jaimie (Joo Im) MoonJaimie (Joo Im) Moon
Making the World Better and Beautiful Through Collaboration
By: Oscar Tollast 

Salzburg Global Fellow Jaimie (Joo Im) Moon discusses the impact of attending the YCI Forum and arts and culture in the Republic of Korea

For Jaimie (Joo Im) Moon, her experience in Salzburg was “inspiring” for many reasons – none more so than her realizing “how so many great and creative people are out there making our world better and beautiful…” Her participation in the Young Cultural Innovators Forum (YCI) also helped her make connections that would have otherwise been difficult to make.

“It was also very meaningful for me to get to talk with global fellows from the regions that are comparatively rare to meet in East Asia, such as those from Eastern Europe and South America. The thoughtfully curated programs of YCI led us to become friends and to exchange thoughts and experiences in fun and mindful way[s].”

Moon, from the Republic of Korea, arrived in Salzburg in October 2016 as a senior researcher and cultural designer for the Bureau of Strategic Planning of the World Culture Open, a non-profit organization that promotes cultural diversity and unprejudiced cultural exchange around the globe. Now, she is the executive director of the Bureau that stands in its place: The Bureau of Research & Plan. Moon has since grown more confident about her life goal.

She said, “I think I was able to be clearer about my goal through YCI and recent years of work because I feel that there are more allies, the comrades, and friends to learn from and to exchange knowledge and experiences with for the common goal. Such [a] feeling of solidarity brings up confidence and willpower in me.”

Better Together

At World Culture Open, Moon is working on the organization’s Better Together Initiative, which tries to bring together social entrepreneurs from around the world who are working for the greater good. Moon said, “World Culture Open shares a very similar goal of what Salzburg Global Seminar has been achieving over 70 years - convening creative minds across sectors, fostering networks and partnership for social change, [and] connecting local innovators across the globe.”

One of the two pillars of this initiative is the Better Together Festival (Challenge), an annual three-day global gathering of change-makers where participants can share stories of their projects and win prizes through a contest-format program. They can also exchange knowledge, attend talks and concerts, have in-depth group discussions on social issues, and discuss potential partnerships.

Last year’s festival was held in Pyeongchang and featured hundreds of practitioners from around the world, including several YCI Fellows. Susanna Seidl-Fox, a program director at Salzburg Global responsible for culture and the arts, was also in attendance. Moon said, “Along with the Challenge, we were happy to be able to invite some YCI Fellows as advisory members to the Better Together initiative this year. Advisory members… are those recognized as proactive agents of change in their own communities who actively engage in shaping and implementing Better Together initiative with a collaborative network of practitioners and change-makers.”

Collaborative Partnerships

Moon said she had benefited personally and professionally from knowing Seidl-Fox. “She has been a great mentor for me in the aspect of leadership, management, and communication… I believe such professionalism that Susi shows throughout the process of work is also a very important learning element for young cultural innovators.”

The YCI Forum is building a global network of 500 change-makers in hub communities to design collaborative projects, build skills, provide mentorship, and connector innovators in different cities and countries. Moon has collaborated with Salzburg Global Fellows, including Phloen Prim, Siphiwe Mbinda, Rebecca Chan, Yu Nakamura, Sebastian Chuffer, Chunnoon Song-e Song, and more. Moon said, “The YCI network, a pool of hundreds of creative minds is an incredible source of greater-good practitioners [whom] I can invite, connect [with] and introduce [to] the field of work that I am involved in.

“For the projects that I curated in Korea, I could invite YCI Fellows as global speakers, facilitators and expert/advisory members, or connect the Fellows to other cultural projects and collaborative opportunities in Korea.”

Arts and Culture in the Republic of Korea

In the Republic of Korea, Moon said there are a “good amount” of grants and government-backed cultural foundations that support the arts. World Culture Open, for example, works closely with the public sector at various levels. Moon said, “We partner with the Presidential Committee for the National Balanced Development for a project to find and support the cultural innovators in local areas… They are the core element in terms of [the] sustainable development of the region. Such collaborative effort[s] [are] important, especially when the disparity between cosmopolitan urban [cities] like Seoul and the other regions is generating many social problems.

“The Better Together Global Festival has [also] been hosted and funded by the city-level regional governments each year. And we often get invited by the government bureaus for consultancy to various arts and culture-related matters in the regions.”

Despite this financial support, Moon believes the arts and culture sector in Korea is still considered a secondary subject when compared with technology, the economy, or politics. “We need to acknowledge cultural innovators – those who practice and promote arts and culture – are also the social innovators. Cultural innovators approach social issue[s] with [flexibility] and creative perspective[s] and find breakthroughs from unconventional approaches. Arts and culture brings advancement to technology, [the] economy, and even politics with creativity.”

If Moon could change one thing about the arts and culture sector in her country, it would be the arts education system. She believes arts and culture need to be taught as a natural means of expression and creativity. “Arts and culture should be appreciated and valued more importantly in terms of class time and resource allocation at schools, and it should be applied cross-sectoral throughout various subjects. Teachers need more learning resources and practical training. It is never enough. Governments and corporations need to invest more in arts education.”


The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators empowers rising talents in the creative sector to drive social, economic and urban change. Launched in 2014, it is building a global network of 500 competitively-selected changemakers in “hub” communities who design collaborative projects, build skills, gain mentors, and connect to upcoming innovators in their cities and countries.

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Salzburg Global Fellows Discuss Artificial Intelligence and More at Pune International Literary Festival
From left to right - Parag Mankeekar, Stacy Baird, Seda Röder, and Charles Ehrlich at the Pune International Literary FestivalFrom left to right - Parag Mankeekar, Stacy Baird, Seda Röder, and Charles Ehrlich at the Pune International Literary Festival
Salzburg Global Fellows Discuss Artificial Intelligence and More at Pune International Literary Festival
By: Claire Kidwell and Oscar Tollast 

Salzburg Global partners with Indian literary festival and holds panel discussion on artificial intelligence and societal innovation

Salzburg Global Seminar cast an eye on the future at this year’s Pune International Literary Festival (PILF) as it partnered with the festival for the fourth consecutive year.

Each year, as part of the partnership, a Salzburg Global Seminar staff member convenes a select group of Fellows in Pune, for a main-stage panel discussion on a topic of global concern, as well as to participate in discussions on other issues within their expertise, and to provide mentoring and guidance to young authors participating in the festival. 

From 20-22 September, Charles Ehrlich, a program director at Salzburg Global, joined Fellows Stacy Baird, Seda Röder, and Parag Mankeekar in Pune, India. They took part in Salzburg Global’s main panel discussion on artificial intelligence (AI) and societal innovation. 

During this period, they also engaged in discussions on issues ranging from climate change to creativity in a digital age. The quartet have all participated in multiple programs at Schloss Leopoldskron spanning many of Salzburg Global Seminar’s key program areas across governance, justice, culture, health, and education, and could bring this diversity of knowledge and experience to Pune.

The Pune International Literary Festival is Pune’s first-ever English literary festival and provides a space for young authors to gain insight into the writing process, listen to personal stories from acclaimed authors, and attend panels on international topics to add relevance to their work.

The festival was established by author and Salzburg Global Fellow Manjiri Prabhu, who first came to Schloss Leopoldskron in 2002 for the program From Page to Screen: Adapting Literature to Film.

Inspired by her time in Salzburg, Prabhu wanted to create a forum where people who would not otherwise meet come and collaborate on international issues.

Prabhu said the festival was “extremely privileged” to have Salzburg Global return as an international partner. She said, “With every passing year, the bond has strengthened to serve a common objective, that of spreading knowledge to attain global peace. I hope that together we will bridge the gap between thoughts and action and bring about a change in the world through literature, arts, and culture.”

Seda Röder, a classical pianist and co-founder of Sonophilia, a global thinktank for creative leadership and cross-industry collaboration, was visiting India for the first time. In her work, she wants to help empower humans to become creative problem-solvers to tackle global challenges. Reflecting on the panel discussion she took part in, Röder said, “I had a feeling that some people were really afraid of how much technology should be actually accepted, how much AI should be in the room, [and] how much of the decision making it should take over. It’s an essential question to so many people.”

In the panel discussion, Fellows also discussed the visibility of data, the ethics surrounding it, and what checks could be put in place to protect people. Röder said there was agreement among panelists that societies have reached a point where there is no going back.

“I can’t imagine a future where all this improvement and innovation, and all the good and bad technology that goes with that - we won’t be able to take anything back,” Röder said. “You can’t tell people not to use social media or anything like that, I think that makes no sense. So we’ll have to figure out a way of steering the ship hopefully without making it sink.”

Parag Mankeekar, a health professional and anthropologist turned social-tech entrepreneur, found the experience of talking about AI at a literary festival a novel experience. He said, “The world constantly changes, and writers have a great role to play to bring this changing world reality to the thought process of the common man in a language that's easy to understand.”

During the panel discussion, Mankeekar sought to demonstrate how AI can help solve the world’s most challenging problems. He said, “The challenge is how common man can deal with the issues of data privacy and ‘illusions’ AI sets through its anti-social algorithms can be brought to the knowledge of common man… This is where I must appreciate the efforts of Salzburg [Global] Seminar and PILF to bring such an important topic as one of the main themes of the festival and sensitizing the society to be ready for the better future.”

Taking part in his first literary festival, law and technology expert Stacy Baird, consulting director at TRPC, said it was an honor to be involved and experience the festival’s creative energy. 

“It was a delight to be able to share insights on our topics, climate, and the environment and artificial intelligence, with an interesting and interested cross-cultural group of creative writers,” said Baird. “It was also wonderful to have the opportunity to meet a number of people from outside my usual sphere of association. I expect I have made several life-long friends.”

Additional Salzburg Global Fellows speaking at the festival included former UN undersecretary-general and acclaimed author Shashi Tharoor, who discussed his own life journey as well as his most recent book Why I am a Hindu

Salzburg Global program director Charles Ehrlich said he admired the “relaxed intergenerational atmosphere” created at the festival, which enabled participants and speakers to mix and talk freely, creating a synergy with Salzburg Global’s ethos. 

Ehrlich added, “It was also terrific to engage across multiple sectors in India’s second-largest literary festival – and we are very pleased Salzburg Global Seminar was able to bring Fellows to the Festival who themselves crossed so many disciplines. The Festival itself sought out this diversity, and it is precisely these interconnections that underline why Salzburg Global Seminar and the Pune International Literary Festival make good partners.”

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Salzburg Global and Ending Pandemics Create One Health Timeliness Metrics
Participants of Finding Outbreaks Faster: Metrics for One Health SurveillanceParticipants of Finding Outbreaks Faster: Metrics for One Health Surveillance
Salzburg Global and Ending Pandemics Create One Health Timeliness Metrics
By: Salzburg Global Seminar and Ending Pandemics 

Development of One Health timeliness metrics occurs ahead of fourth annual One Health Day

Coinciding with the fourth annual One Health Day, participants of Salzburg Global Seminar and Ending Pandemics’ latest program have designed the first-ever set of One Health timeliness metrics and prototyped a framework for implementation.

Specialists in environmental, livestock, wildlife, and human health from across the globe spent the past few days at Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria as active participants in the program Finding Outbreaks Faster: Metrics for One Health Surveillance.

In November 2018, Salzburg Global Seminar and Ending Pandemics ran a program that produced a set of metrics for measuring progress in finding and responding to human health outbreaks faster.

These metrics have now been adopted by the World Health Organization and other agencies. The participants in this year’s program broke new ground in expanding the application of this approach to One Health.

One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach that recognizes the health of people, animals, and the environment are connected. The timeliness metrics will enable One Health stakeholders to measure their performance in finding outbreaks faster to save lives and protect livelihoods.

On November 3 each year, One Health Day is marked across the world. It is a campaign that brings attention to the need for a One Health approach to address shared health threats at the human-animal-environment interface.

During this year’s program, participants engaged with panel discussions, presentations, and group work to design One Health metrics. Initial discussions centered on operationalizing One Health surveillance and identifying metrics for human, animal, and environmental health.

A few examples of timeliness metrics developed through a highly interactive, iterative process include time to detect an unusual or adverse health event, time to initiation of a multisectoral investigation, and time to implementation of control measures. 

Moving forward, Ending Pandemics will process the many ideas generated at the program and produce a One Health framework to be openly shared and promoted globally. Participants mapped out an action plan through 2021 and offered commitments to push this plan forward.

For more information about One Health Day, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/onehealth/one-health-day.html

For a summary of the program, download our 12-page newsletter, featuring illustrations, interviews, and insights.

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Preserving Our Past with a Look to the Future
Salzburg Global Seminar and Harvard University Library LogosSalzburg Global Seminar has partnered with Harvard University Archives to permanently house and make available for research its historical records
Preserving Our Past with a Look to the Future
By: Salzburg Global Seminar 

Salzburg Global Seminar shares historical records with Harvard University Archives

We are delighted to announce Salzburg Global Seminar has partnered with Harvard University Archives to permanently house and make available for research our historical records, fulfilling a wish by Salzburg Global's "fourth founder" Herbert P. Gleason. Our hope is this collection will engage researchers and  students interested in global intellectual and cultural history. We encourage you to learn more about Salzburg Global's connection with Harvard University below.

In 2009, Salzburg Global Seminar’s “fourth founder” Herbert P. Gleason put forward a proposal. He advocated for the organization to share its history with the Harvard University Archives, the oldest and largest academic archives in the United States, and thus the wider world. It was a chance for Salzburg Global to reconnect with the establishment its three founders hailed from and an opportunity to reaffirm the extraordinary relationship between both organizations.

Salzburg Global makes no secret of its connection with the Ivy League university. As mentioned, the organization was the brainchild of three Harvard men – graduate student Clemens Heller, college senior Richard “Dick” Campbell and English instructor Scott Elledge. In the summer of 1947, the trio had the vision to rebuild Europe by pursuing a “Marshall Plan for the Mind.”

The first program, known as the Salzburg Seminar in American Civilization, was a triumphant success. Faculty mostly came from Harvard University, including literary historian F.O. Matthiessen, Nobel Prize-winning economist Wassily Leontief, government professor Benjamin F. Wright and acclaimed historian Gaetano Salvemini. While the Harvard administration was less enthusiastic about the initiative, the Harvard Student Council provided part of the funding.

Gleason, also a Harvard alumnus, was selected alongside five other Harvard students through a university-wide competition to administer the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies summer program of 1949. He became the clerk of the Seminar after his graduation in 1950. He was a signatory of the original incorporation papers and remained a member of the board of directors until 2010. It’s perhaps no surprise to learn a young Gleason put forward another proposal at the time to expand the organization’s program of studies and think more globally.

Salzburg Global Seminar hasn’t looked back since and continues to flourish. Since 1947, the organization has welcomed more than 37,000 Fellows from more than 170 countries. Today, Salzburg Global challenges current and future leaders to shape a better world. Its multi-year series of programs aim to bridge divides, expand collaboration and transform systems.

Following Gleason’s call for action, which gained the enthusiastic support of Salzburg Global Seminar’s President and Board leadership, work began on cataloging and archiving past program materials including reports, lecture outlines, directories, and schedules. It was the start of a lengthy procedure, which was undertaken by various members of staff and interns. What followed was a significant learning process for the organization.

Sadly, Gleason was unable to see his initiative reach a successful conclusion. He passed away on December 9, 2013, at the age of 85 following treatment for cancer. Staff at Salzburg Global continued, however, to push ahead with Gleason’s wish and ensure another part of his legacy lived on.

By December 2017, an estimated 350 linear feet of textual records was ready to be shipped to the Harvard University Archives. After traveling by boat, the boxes arrived at the Archives the following month. Since being delivered, the records have been accessioned. The records will be shortly made available for researchers and the wider public, which will bring Salzburg Global further into the world.

Since its establishment in 1947, Salzburg Global has welcomed hundreds of participants who have held a connection with Harvard University. In recent years, Harvard Law School has been one of 11 schools to partner with the Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program. Now in its seventh year, the program convenes up to 55 students nominated by their law schools along with faculty and noted practitioners of international public and private law. Together they take part in a highly interactive exploration of leading-edge issues in international law, national security, international courts, the rule of law, and international finance, monetary and trade law.

In addition, some of Salzburg Global’s current staff and former interns have studied at the illustrious university. Stephen Salyer, president, and chief executive officer at Salzburg Global, has a Master’s in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Meanwhile, Charles E. Ehrlich, a program director at Salzburg Global, holds an A.B. in history and classics (Latin). His father also studied at Harvard at the same time as Heller, Campbell Jnr., and Elledge.

Julia Bunte-Mein served as a program intern in the summer of 2018. Bunte-Mein, who is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree at Harvard studying social anthropology and environmental studies said, “On the recommendation from an advisor from Harvard’s German Department, I looked into Salzburg Global and was very inspired by its programs bringing together diverse opinions to discuss today’s most pressing global policy issues. Now knowing the history of Salzburg Global’s founding by three Harvard students, who sought to overcome political divides through discussions of literature and humanities, it is not surprising to me that they came from Harvard…

“I find one of the principal benefits from my experience [at Harvard] has been engaging in complex, often controversial topics with students coming from vastly different geographic, religious, and political backgrounds around the world… The open-mindedness and emphasis on creating spaces to broach sensitive or multifaceted subjects pervade the campus culture. This prepared me well for working at the Salzburg Global Seminar.”

Fiona Davis graduated from Harvard with a Bachelor’s degree in government, a minor in history, and a language citation in French. She interned at Salzburg Global the quarter after Bunte-Mein. She worked primarily as a development intern but also assisted on programs. She said, “It is a testament to the perennial legacy of Harvard's history of service, the ingenuity of Salzburg Global's founders, and the stewardship of Salzburg Global's leaders over time that the organization has retained its character and staying power as a now globally focused organization for cross border cooperation.

“Moving Salzburg Global's archives to Harvard essentially brings this process full circle. What began at Harvard became a global service organization, and now Salzburg Global's legacy will be permanently remembered and made a part of Harvard's own physical records again. Salzburg Global can become a part of the fabric of Harvard's legacy of service that will influence the next generation's leaders and thinkers to embrace and practice the same values.”

Reflecting on this feat and fulfilling Gleason’s wish, Stephen Salyer, president, and chief executive officer of Salzburg Global said: “Our cooperation with the Harvard University Archives makes permanent a connection between Harvard students with a dream and leading scholars who helped make that dream reality.  The early years left an indelible mark on all we do, and the Seminar’s spirit of public service now extends to fellows, scholars and partner institutions in every corner of the world. We are deeply thankful for the University’s shared vision, and tangible support.”


Access to the collection will be limited in some cases until it is processed and there are restrictions in place, yet the Harvard University Archives and Salzburg Global are both eager to invite researchers into these records and anticipate that permission for research will be granted in many cases. During this initial phase, if you are interested in learning more about the collection or requesting permission to access, you can contact Virginia Hunt, Associate University Archivist for Collection Development and Records Management Services, at virginia_hunt@harvard.edu or 617-495-3240.

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Moving Patient Safety Measurement into Action
Susan Edgman-Levitan speaking during the Salzburg Global program on Moving Measurement into Action: Designing Global Principles for Measuring Patient SafetySusan Edgman-Levitan speaking during the Salzburg Global program on Moving Measurement into Action: Designing Global Principles for Measuring Patient Safety
Moving Patient Safety Measurement into Action
By: Mirabelle Morah 

Patient safety advocate Susan Edgman-Levitan speaks on the importance of patients’ perspective in health care

“We are absolutely committed to making the work that comes out of this seminar actionable and real,” said Susan Edgman-Levitan, the executive director of John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital, USA.

Earlier this month, Edgman-Levitan and other experts from across the globe gathered at Schloss Leopoldskron, the historic home of Salzburg Global Seminar, to take part in Moving Measurement into Action: Designing Global Principles for Measuring Patient Safety.

The program happened in cooperation with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), a body which Edgman-Levitan belongs to as a senior fellow. After five days of discussion, presentations, and group work, participants helped shape new global principles for measuring patient safety. Edgman-Levitan says every participant is “absolutely committed” to making the work that comes out of the program actionable and real.

“We never came into this thinking we were just going to sit around for five days and talk and have a good time and play foosball,” Edgman-Levitan said. “We really came into this to make a difference and to have an impact, and I think the hard work is before us. But I think we've built a very, very strong foundation here and I'm very excited about seeing how this all plays out in different settings, in different countries, and with different international organizations.”

During last month’s program, participants considered what the role of the patient would be when designing global principles for measuring patient safety. As an advocate for understanding the perspective of patients in patients’ health care, Edgman-Levitan had a lot to share on the matter.

“Patients have a view of safety that no one else has. I think patients are the most astute observers of what our health care system is really like…” said Edgman-Levitan. “I think without getting their opinions and evaluations of how we're delivering care that we just engage in magical thinking about what a good job we're doing… I think that when managers and clinicians start partnering actively with patients to redesign or improve care, they very quickly realize that patients know a lot more about their operation than they do...

“If you put managers and clinicians in a room to redesign something, they will often come up with the most expensive, complicated, and wrong solution possible that costs a lot of money. And when you talk to patients and get their input, they typically come up with very elegant easy-to-implement, and most importantly, effective solutions to the problems that they're having because they know what is going to work for them… We can sometimes figure out the technical sides of that, but we would have never understood that if it weren't for their role in the design process.”

Edgman-Levitan is no stranger to Schloss Leopoldskron and Salzburg Global Seminar. The latest program marked her third visit. She previously attended health programs in 1998 and 2010. So, how does this program compare?

“I think this has been an amazing seminar...” said Edgman-Levitan. “[Participants are] very engaged in the discussions and very respectful of one another, willing to raise challenging issues in a way that I think really is illustrative of the heart of what the Salzburg Seminar mission is, where we can have healthy and incisive debate in a respectful way… I know I personally have met many people here that I have either read their work, I've looked at their websites, I've heard of them, and now I will have no hesitation to pick up the phone and call them and say, 'Hey, can we do something together?' And I think that's the power of the seminar.”


The Salzburg Global Seminar program, Moving Measurement into Action: Designing Global Principles for Measuring Patient Safety, is part of the Health and Health Care Innovation multi-year series. The program is being held in partnership with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. This program has been supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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Salzburg Global Helps Launch London as the World’s First National Park City
At the National Park City Summit – from left to right – Paul de Zylva, Clare Shine, Peter Massini, Kevin Halpenny, Kobie Brand, Alison Barnes, Dan Raven-Ellison, Russell GaltFrom left to right – Paul de Zylva, Clare Shine, Peter Massini, Kevin Halpenny, Kobie Brand, Alison Barnes, Dan Raven-Ellison, Russell Galt
Salzburg Global Helps Launch London as the World’s First National Park City
By: Oscar Tollast 

Salzburg Global vice president and chief program officer Clare Shine among speakers at National Park City Summit

Salzburg Global Fellow Dan Raven-Ellison saw his dream become a reality last month as London declared itself as the world’s first National Park City.

In a special ceremony at City Hall on July 22, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan co-signed the London National Park City Charter, which outlines ways to increase London’s green credentials.

During the ceremony, Raven-Ellison said, “The London National Park City is our habitat, it’s our city. We all have a voice to shape it. We need more bold visions of a positive future—a better life.”

Clare Shine, vice president and chief program officer of Salzburg Global Seminar, was invited to speak on the global potential of urban partnerships and nature-based solutions for equity, health, and economies.

During her talk, Shine said, “It’s not a zero-sum game. If you plant trees and make safe green space accessible for everyone, you are dealing not only with biodiversity and climate change but also violence, loneliness, and other urban problems… There are so many win-wins.”

Other Salzburg Global Fellows at the celebration included Kobie Brand, director of ICLEI’s Cities Biodiversity Centre; Jonny Hughes, chair of the IUCN Urban Alliance, Russell Galt, director of the IUCN Urban Alliance; and Alison Barnes, a trustee of the National Park Foundation.

The previous day, Salzburg Global joined forces with the National Park City Foundation and World Urban Parks to launch the Universal Charter for National Park Cities—a unique new movement to affirm and celebrate the power of cities as habitats shaping life on earth.

The Charter defines a National Park City as “a place, a vision and a city-wide community that is acting together to make life better for people, wildlife and nature” and explains that “a defining feature is the widespread commitment to act so people, culture and nature work together to provide a better foundation for life”. The Charter specifies that a National Park City is “a shared vision and journey for a better life” and that everyone in a National Park City can benefit and contribute every day.

Raven-Ellison, Brand, Hughes, Galt, and Barnes have all attended programs of Salzburg Global’s Parks for the Planet Forum, a platform for transformative leadership and action to reconnect people and nature in an urbanized world. Launched in 2015, the Forum aims to improve human and societal wellbeing by expanding access to nature-rich urban spaces, increasing investments in urban conservation, and creating dynamic partnerships between people, cities, and protected area systems.

For more information about the Forum, please contact Salzburg Global program director Dominic Regester at dregester@salzburgglobal.org.

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Charter for National Park Cities Gathers International Support
Charter for National Park Cities Gathers International Support
By: Daniel Raven-Ellison 

Salzburg Global Seminar joins World Urban Parks and the National Park City Foundation to launch radical plan to make life better for people, wildlife and nature

A Universal Charter for National Park Cities, the first of its kind to address the growing role of cities as habitats shaping life on earth, is launched on Sunday 21 July 2019, by the National Park City Foundation, World Urban Parks and Salzburg Global Seminar. 

Download the Charter as a PDF

Organisations and individuals are invited to sign and support the first Universal Charter for National Park Cities which is already supported by experts and change-makers from over 20 countries, including the UK, Australia, India, Uganda, Honduras, Canada, South Africa, Albania and the USA. 

Supporters include scientists, artists, medical doctors, parents, social innovators, environmentalists, investors, authors, climate change activists and educators. 

The historic document sets out a common vision for this new kind of national park, reflecting the importance of how cities develop and operate. The Charter defines a National Park City as “a place, a vision and a city-wide community that is acting together to make life better for people, wildlife and nature” and explains that “a defining feature is the widespread commitment to act so people, culture and nature work together to provide a better foundation for life”. The Charter specifies that a National Park City is “a shared vision and journey for a better life” and that “everyone in a National Park City is able to benefit and contribute everyday”.

With ceremonies taking place in Australasia, Europe and North America, the Universal Charter for National Park Cities is being launched the day before London becomes the world’s first National Park City. 

Adelaide (Australia), Glasgow (Scotland), Galway (Ireland) and Newcastle upon Tyne (England) are all in the running to be the world’s second National Park City, with influencers in other cities around the world inspired to follow suit.

Alison Barnes, Trustee of the National Park City Foundation said:

“It has been a privilege to work with colleagues from across the world on the Universal Charter. The vision for National Park Cities pioneered in London has proven resonant and inspirational. Today is an important moment of hope that we can act together to make life better for people, wildlife and nature in our cities at a global scale.” 

Neil McCarthy, CEO of World Urban Parks, said:

“This is the most significant development regarding people and nature since John Muir and the creation of the national park concept. World Urban Parks has been inspired by the London NPC journey and has established an aspirational target of 25 National Park Cities worldwide by 2025 – 25 for 2025.”

Daniel Raven-Ellison, founder of the London National Park City campaign, said:

“When you look around the world there are national parks that represent every major kind of internationally recognised landscape and habitat apart from one - the world’s fastest growing habitats - cities. Inspired by rural national parks, the National Park City idea challenges us to think differently about cities and to make life better in them for people and wildlife. Crucially, everybody in a National Park City is able to both enjoy and contribute to it.”

Clare Shine, Vice President of Salzburg Global Seminar said:

“Across the world, ever more people are living and working in cities, and billions are spent on urban development and infrastructure. Yet nature is being squeezed out – despite overwhelming evidence that connecting with nature can boost the physical, mental and spiritual health and wellbeing of people and their communities. Greener, healthier cities make good economic sense for a sustainable planet. The National Parks City concept is a radical, timely and locally-driven solution to this shared global challenge. Salzburg Global Seminar has backed Dan Raven-Ellison’s vision from the start. Through our Parks for the Planet Forum, we are excited to lead international collaboration to build a transformative movement for living and liveable cities now and for generations to come.””. 

Kobie Brand, Global Director of Biodiversity at ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability said:
 
"Our future is urban. Embracing nature and inviting it into every aspect of city life, is essential for humanity's health and well-being. Our commitment matters - from our own streets and neighbourhoods to city-level planning and design. We can achieve this vision of cities with nature through true partnering and collective action. Every voice matters, every action counts and every city can make a difference. Congratulations to the people of London for leading the way!"
 

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Stephanie Bertels - Why Is It Increasingly Important for Boards to Clearly Signal Their Position on ESG Issues?
Stephanie Bertels - Why Is It Increasingly Important for Boards to Clearly Signal Their Position on ESG Issues?
By: Stephanie Bertels 

Academic Stephanie Bertels explores the growing importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues for the corporate sector for this month’s Salzburg Question for Corporate Governance

This article is part of the series, the Salzburg Questions for Corporate Governance by the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum

As an academic working at the intersection of corporate governance and sustainability, I end up chatting with executives and directors in global companies quite regularly. Lately, directors are asking whether their company should be taking a public position on one or more environmental, social, or governance (ESG) issues. “It used to be just the NGOs or the SRIs (socially responsible investors) asking for this, but now even mainstream investors are asking,” they will say. Even the central banks have started to get in on the action, viewing climate change as a threat to financial stability. 

It started decades ago with the pressure to issue a sustainability report, but a string of incidents ranging from the Rana Plaza building collapse and the Volkswagen emissions scandal to PG&E’s “climate-driven bankruptcy” have raised questions about what other environmental, social, and governance risks may lurk within. 

And yet despite these issues, or perhaps because of them, the world is looking to the biggest companies to clearly articulate what role they will play in solving some of our most intractable problems and to clarify how they will contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Boards need to respond

As demands for corporate social and environmental responsibility expand and intensify, investors are demanding a clear position from management and the board, one that includes specifically addressing the company’s understanding of the context in which it operates and clarifying its role and commitments to address key environmental and social challenges.

But our research is showing that this isn’t just a paper exercise. By developing position statements, boards and executive teams deepen their understanding of these issues in the context of their business, clarify the link to the company’s overall strategy, clarify their position for other key stakeholders, and provide the direction and confidence for management and employees to act. 

What does “good” look like when it comes to a position statement?

That’s a question that keeps surfacing in my conversations with directors. To provide an answer, we analyzed over 3,000 board position statements, finding that too often, they were lengthy documents that failed to make a clear strategic connection between the issue and the implications for business decision making. 

Our guide on Next Generation Governance, provides a framework to help companies produce more credible and concise position statements. 

A good position statement will do three key things: 

  1. Explain your company’s understanding of the issue including what you see as relevant limits; 
  2. Clearly link the issue to your business strategy; and
  3. Make a credible commitment to take appropriate actions.

It’s that credible commitment piece that many companies are struggling with. It means that for each relevant issue, your company needs to talk with stakeholders to understand the key system limits and what it would take for your company to operate within them. 

Companies are increasingly expected to take a position on carbon

One issue that is taking front and center is the climate crisis. Of the statements we reviewed, over 2,000 of them related to climate change and momentum continues to grow fueled by two key trends. 

First, the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) released guidelines asking companies to engage in scenario-planning and to disclose their climate-related risks. While currently voluntary, it is expected that regulation on mandatory climate risk disclosure is sure to follow.

Second, there are a multitude of initiatives pressing companies to set a science-based target in alignment with a 1.5°C reduction pathway. Despite this, a recent study of 274 of the largest publicly traded, high-emitting companies found that almost half do not adequately consider climate risks in their operational decision-making and only an eighth are reducing carbon emissions at the rate required to keep global warming below 2°C, let alone 1.5°C. 

To be viewed as credibly engaging on climate, investors and other stakeholders will want you to articulate a clear position. For those ready to do so, this guide can help. 

Have an opinion? 

We encourage our readers to share your comments by joining in the discussion on LinkedIn.


Stephanie Bertels is the director of the Centre for Corporate Governance and Sustainability at Simon Fraser University's (SFU) Beedie School of Business in Vancouver, Canada. She founded and leads the Embedding Project, where she works with dozens of global companies to help them embed sustainability into their operations and decision-making. Stephanie developed an online knowledge portal (www.embeddingproject.org) featuring a curated selection of the most relevant corporate sustainability resources - including practical guides and tools developed through her own research. Her most recent work draws upon a review of over 3200 board position statements and interviews with over 200 global CEOs and board chairs to explore how corporate governance and corporate strategy processes are shifting to account for environmental and social constraints. She has previously worked as an environmental engineer and is a trustee and chair of SFU's Academic Pension Plan. She has a Ph.D. in strategy and global management and sustainable development from the University of Calgary, an M.Sc. in petroleum engineering from Stanford University, USA, and a B.Sc. in geological environmental engineering from Queen's University. Stephanie is a Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar.

The Salzburg Questions for Corporate Governance is an online discussion series introduced and led by Fellows of the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum. The articles and comments represent opinions of the authors and commenters, and do not necessarily represent the views of their corporations or institutions, nor of Salzburg Global Seminar. Readers are welcome to address any questions about this series to Forum Director, Charles E. Ehrlich: cehrlich@salzburgglobal.org To receive a notification of when the next article is published, follow Salzburg Global Seminar on LinkedIn or sign up for email notifications here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/corpgov/newsletter 

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Aiming for Exceptional Care, Accountability, and Results
Astrid S. Tuminez, president of Utah Valley University (Photo: UVU Marketing Communication)Astrid S. Tuminez, president of Utah Valley University (Photo: UVU Marketing Communication)
Aiming for Exceptional Care, Accountability, and Results
By: Oscar Tollast 

Former advisor to Salzburg Global Astrid S. Tuminez discusses her new appointment as the president of Utah Valley University and her memories of Schloss Leopoldskron

In 2018, Astrid S. Tuminez was appointed the seventh president of Utah Valley University, becoming the institution's first female president. Before joining UVU, she served as an executive at Microsoft and, before then, as the former vice dean of research and assistant dean of executive education at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, the National University of Singapore. Tuminez is a Salzburg Global Fellow and former advisor to the organization. We recently spoke with Tuminez to learn more about her work and her memories of Salzburg Global.

You've been appointed the seventh president of Utah Valley University. Congratulations! How does it feel, and what do you want to achieve in this role?

It feels amazing to be the seventh and first female president of Utah Valley University (UVU), the largest university in the state of Utah. UVU has a long history - founded in 1941 - of being scrappy, gritty and relevant. In the current age of digital transformation, massive technology-driven change, and continuing - and, in some cases, rising - inequality, I feel that an institution like UVU is so promising. We have open admissions, and we believe in capitalizing human capital, wherever it comes from. Seventy percent of our students work, 18 percent are people of color, and 29 percent are 25 years or older. We offer vocational, career and technical education through the community college model, while also offering over 90 bachelor’s degrees and 11 master’s degrees. I am sometimes daunted by the responsibilities of being UVU president, but, every day, I am renewed and energized because the work is so meaningful. I work with a wonderful team of administrators, faculty, and staff. Together we can enhance thousands of students’ chances to get the education that will help them live productive, dignified and meaningful lives. That is what “student success” means to me, and that’s what I want to achieve in this role.
 
You have a vast amount of experience in academia, philanthropy, technology, and business. How will these experiences help you in your new role?

I am a rather untraditional university president, having worked in so many other fields - academic being only one of them - before coming to UVU. When I first applied for this job and did the interviews, I had the epiphany that everything I knew how to do and all the skills and experiences I had acquired could actually be put to good use at a university. I had done research, administration, sales and marketing, legal and compliance, fundraising, investing, peacemaking, etc.—and a university is the perfect place for applying all the lessons I’ve learned in these other fields. Although my Ph.D. is in political science and my undergraduate degree was in Russian literature and international relations, I have always wanted to be more broad than narrow. Today, when knowledge is no longer siloed, I think my experiences can be relevant to students who will likely have non-linear lives and many different careers in their lifetime.
 
Your profile on Chartwell describes you as an expert in leadership, state-building, nationalism, entrepreneurship, and negotiation. You have spoken on a range of subjects with different audiences. However, is there one learning or piece of wisdom which you always try to convey to others?

At UVU, I have articulated our foundational values as “Exceptional Care, Exceptional Accountability and Exceptional Results.” If there is one piece of wisdom that I have frequently shared, that is the importance of caring. We have to see people as they are, care about them, and be curious about their identities and life experience. If we build from a foundation of care, we can then follow with tough conversations. We can lead in ways that build people, not break them down.

If we focus on leadership, Salzburg Global challenges current and future leaders to shape a better world. In your opinion, what are some of the qualities you would recommend leaders across sectors to work on?

I would go back again to “Exceptional Care” as a foundation. I believe that leaders who are in the game only for power or their own egos will not necessarily shape a better world. Leaders should not believe their own propaganda. That is so unhealthy. The second value I have articulated at UVU is “Exceptional Accountability.” Do leaders walk their talk? Do they act as ethical and responsible stewards of the resources they do control? Are they honest? Do they have integrity?  Finally, at UVU, I have highlighted “Exceptional Results” as our third foundational value. Leaders who want to shape a better world should know how to execute, how to get things done, how to have impact.
 
I notice you've attended a Salzburg Global Seminar program on Asian economics, alumni events in New York and Singapore, and a Freeman Foundation Symposium. What can you remember about these experiences? Did they have an impact on your career or inspire new ways of thinking?

I have also visited Middlebury when the Seminar still had staff there, and I was an advisor to the Seminar for a few months, out of New York City. My first visit to Schloss Leopoldskron was magical. I made friends with whom I am still in touch today. I remember dancing to Abba’s “Dancing Queen” in the Schloss’ basement. It was such an amazing time of intellectual, social and even emotional renewal. I was thrilled to return a second time. And then I returned for a third time with my family to do one of Schloss Leopoldskorn’s Christmas specials. We had sleigh rides, and my kids roamed around the Schloss looking for hidden doors and passageways. We loved it. The impact on my career has included a deeper appreciation of cross-cultural and interdisciplinary dialogue and a keener understanding of the importance of networks - people and ideas. Amb. Frank Wisner, my mentor who first introduced me to Salzburg Global Seminar, remains my friend and mentor to this day.
 
In 2014, I understand you were a senior advisor on global strategy and programs for Salzburg Global, too. What motivated you to take on that role, and what was that experience like?

What motivated me to take on that role was the very positive experience and interaction I had had with Salzburg Global, with its Board of Trustees (I attended one meeting in Dallas, TX), with the new leadership under Stephen L. Salyer, and all the colleagues and friends I had met as a Salzburg Global Fellow. If I recall correctly, I was charged to think about new strategies to strengthen Salzburg Global’s programs, reputation, and fundraising. It was a very enjoyable assignment. Alas, it was short-lived!
 
In a documentary for UVU, we heard how you had a deep commitment to education and liked the idea of educational opportunities across a broad range. Education is the big break in life and frees the human spirit, as the narrator says. What can we do more to highlight the importance of education in the public and private sector and ensure more resources are invested in this area?

Access and affordability are two big buzzwords in the world of education. I believe both are important. I was very lucky as a child, growing up in the slums of the Philippines, to have been given access by Catholic nuns to a high-quality education. They exempted me from tuition, so it was affordable! That opportunity changed the whole trajectory of my life and paved the way to where I am today. I think governments around the world should do more to fund education and to ensure that education is delivered in both traditional and new modalities, meeting people/students where they are - face-to-face, online, hybrid, older students, off-ramp and on-ramp students and so on.  

I am concerned, in the U.S. in particular, that many bash higher education and denigrate its value. The fact of the matter is, without higher education, the United States will not be able to maintain its competitiveness; neither will it live up fully to its values as a democratic and equitable society.  In Asia, where I lived for 13 years, I was very impressed that the public sector in ambitious countries and territories was investing heavily in education, including K-12, university, and adult continuing education.

We are facing a lot of disruption today, and human welfare will depend very much on giving more people access to a quality, affordable education. As for the private sector, I believe in partnerships between industry and higher education institutions. There can be collaborations involving work experience for students [such as] internships [and] apprenticeships; curriculum design from non-academic certification to associate’s/bachelor’s/master’s degrees, and continuing education for those already employed. Nobody can afford to stand still today. We must be learn-it-alls, and the work of education needs support from universities, governments, and industry.
 
We like to ask Salzburg Global Fellows what inspires them to do their day-to-day work. With that in mind, what motivates you?
 
UVU students motivate me more than anything. Behind every number in the 40,000 students we have is a person, a story that is unfolding.  My interactions with UVU students replenish my energy. I work for them. When they succeed, I succeed. Nothing is more motivating than that.

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Salzburg Global Seminar Celebrates 65th Anniversary of the First “American Studies Conference”
Program topics for the American Studies Conference held at Schloss Leopoldskron in 1944Program topics for the American Studies Conference held at Schloss Leopoldskron in 1944
Salzburg Global Seminar Celebrates 65th Anniversary of the First “American Studies Conference”
By: Oscar Tollast 

Program held at Schloss Leopoldskron led to the establishment of the European Association for American Studies (EAAS)

On this day in 1954, 40 professors of American studies from Europe and the United States were convening at Schloss Leopoldskron for the first “American Studies Conference.” It was a significant occasion which led to the establishment of the European Association for American Studies (EAAS).

The three-day program, which ran from April 16 to April 19, sought to assess the “progress of teaching and the nature of research in American civilization in the various countries of Western Europe.”

As the world continued to recover from the devastating conflict of World War II, the program in 1954 gave European scholars in American studies the opportunity to gain an overview of the state of scholarship both in the United States and in Europe.

America’s pre-eminent scholars helped the Salzburg Seminar, as it was then known, to outline the most crucial issues which lay ahead for the profession. Dexter Perkins, then president of the Seminar, sent off letters asking various scholars for their thoughts.

Contributors included Thomas A. Bailey, Daniel J. Boorstin, Foster Rhea Dulles, Scott Elledge, John Hope Franklin, Henry F. May, Arthur M. Schlesinger, and Henry Nash Smith.

Boorstin, from the University of Chicago, suggested European scholars were “especially well qualified to ask embarrassing and refreshing questions” about American civilization and provided several ideas for Perkins to pursue.

Meanwhile, Elledge, one of the three Harvard students who founded Salzburg Global Seminar in 1947 and had since moved to Carleton College, gave a few thoughts “on the spur of the moment.”  He suggested pursuing critical studies of aspects of American literature.

Franklin, of Howard University, indicated “the American traveler in Europe” could be considered from numerous angles, as could the official and semi-official representatives of the United States in different European communities.

Franklin would go onto receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995 and was described by U.S. President Bill Clinton as “one of the most important American historians of the 20th century.”

At that initial meeting, participants represented countries including Austria, the U.K., Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, U.S., and the former Yugoslavia.

Program topics included “Problems and Techniques in the practical teaching of American Studies in Europe,” “European Research in American Studies, Facilities and Opportunities for American Studies Scholars,” “An American research library in Europe,” “The Role of the Salzburg Seminar,” and “Reports on the progress of American Studies” in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Switzerland, and Scandinavia.

By the end of the program, participants unanimously agreed that a European Association for American Studies should be organized and that newsletter should be published informing people with updates.

In the first edition of the EAAS newsletter, published in 1955, a summary of the program was written by editor Professor Sigmund Skard, assistant editor Dr. D. R. Wightman, and secretary-treasurer of the Association Robert O. Mead, who also worked for Salzburg Seminar at the time.

The three authors recognized several difficulties at a “first of its kind” conference, including a lack of visibility of existing work being undertaken in the field, an uneven representation both of countries and disciplines, and a lack of time to carefully study subjects.

Despite this, all three men reached a positive conclusion about the program, agreeing “the conference as a whole was a definite success. The spirit of the delegates was excellent, and there was not the slightest friction of any kind. High-sounding declarations were few, but there was much exchange of factual information and sober argument. Valuable beginnings were made towards more organized efforts and better personal contacts…”

Since 1954, the EAAS has continued to grow from strength to strength. As of January 2010, the number of Americanists represented through EAAS’s national associations reached 4,301. The EAAS has helped connect European Americanists and has “encouraged the study of and research in all areas of America culture and society.” EAAS conferences continue to be held every two years, attracting between 200 and 400 participants.

Over the years, Salzburg Global Seminar has also continued to reaffirm its commitment to American studies. In 1994, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the EAAS, Salzburg Global established the American Studies Center, which was directed by Ron Clifton.

In 2004, Salzburg Global Seminar marked the 50th anniversary by launching the Salzburg Seminar American Studies Association (SSASA). Fifteen years later - yesterday, to be precise - SSASA published its latest report on its 16th symposium, Understanding America in the 21st Century: Culture and Politics.

As stated in the latest report, “critical dialogue about American history, literature, cultural institutions, politics, economics, and law has played a vital role in our organization’s development and legacy. The Salzburg Seminar American Studies Association was founded in 2004 to continue this legacy.”

A plaque which reads “Salzburg Seminar in American Studies” still adorns the entrance of Schloss Leopoldskron today. We are constantly reminded of our organization’s past, and we look forward to continuing addressing questions affecting American culture, society and politics at the next SSASA symposium in September, The Changing Role of the Media in American Life and Culture: Emerging Trends.

For more information on the European Association for American Studies, please click on the following link: https://www.eaas.eu/

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Reflecting on the Emerging Field of Geoethics
Salzburg Global Fellows Martin Bohle and Rika Preiser at Schloss LeopoldskronSalzburg Global Fellows Martin Bohle and Rika Preiser at Schloss Leopoldskron
Reflecting on the Emerging Field of Geoethics
By: Lucy Browett 

Salzburg Global Fellows co-author chapter in new book on exploring geoethics

It’s common for first-time participants at Salzburg Global Seminar not to know what to expect during a program. For Martin Bohle, an advisor to senior management at the Directorate General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission, the one thing he did expect was to stand out.

“I was prepared to be the outsider – [an] official of the European Commission (Eurocrat) and STEM-loving,” Bohle said. “In that sense, it was true, but [it] did not feel like that after some initially very suspicious looks faded away.”

Bohle arrived at Schloss Leopoldskron at the beginning of 2018 for the Salzburg Global program, The Shock of the New: Arts, Technology, and Making Sense of the Future. The program, which ran from February 20 to 25, sought to answer questions about the arts, technological advancements, environmental preservation and defining the future.

Despite Bohle’s concerns of being an outsider, his experience at Salzburg led to a significant outcome: finding a new co-author for a book he had begun writing with his colleagues calledExploring Geoethics - Ethical Implications, Societal Contexts, and Professional Obligations of the Geosciences.

The co-author in question was Rika Preiser, a senior researcher at the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition at the School of Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

Bohle and Preiser both spoke on the program panel entitled “Connecting Creative Foresight and Policymaking.”

As a result of meeting in Salzburg, both Preiser and Bohle co-authored the chapter "Exploring Societal Intersections of Geoethical Thinking."

Bohle said of the collaboration, “Her thoughts have enriched the book and strengthened the reflections about system dynamics and cultural contexts. In turn, she [has] discovered new ground that enriches her thinking.”

The book itself is a joint effort of Bohle’s colleagues, all of whom are experts in geoscience with different professional backgrounds to reflect on ethics in geoscience. He said, “We present the emerging field of geoethics, its potential, and limitations.

“This work is about how ethical subjects relate to professional duties, scholarly interests, activities in professional geoscience associations, or responsible citizenship in times of anthropogenic global change.”

Bohle and Preiser have since joined forces again to create the publication Handling GeoEndowments Geoethically for this year’s EGU General Assembly, which took place earlier this month.

Reflecting on his time in Salzburg, Bohle said, “Participating at [the program] strengthened my determination to think about ‘The Future’ from various angles.

“I got exposed to people and their ideas that otherwise I would not have met. In consequence, I understood deeper that geosciences have a cultural meaning, in an educational sense as well as in daily societal practices. That meaning needs to be expressed, what brings artists closer to my thinking - thanks to Salzburg Global. The book refers to arts in some places, but that relationship I have to explore further.”

How did the program impact him personally and professionally? Bohle said his network had been enriched and he had become exposed to different ideas. He added, “This [experience] has co-shaped what I did last year; the book is one example.”


The Salzburg Global program, The Shock of the New: Arts, Technology and Making Sense of the Future, was part of the multi-year Culture, Arts and Society series. The program was supported by the Edward T. Cone Foundation. More information on the program can be found by clicking on the following link: https://bit.ly/2Z6mcw0

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Salzburg Global Seminar Collaboration Leads to Dementia Research Funding
From left to right - Salzburg Global Fellows Dr. Mary Pat Sullivan, Stéphanie LeClair, Dr. Paul Camic, and Dr. Sebastian CrutchFrom left to right - Salzburg Global Fellows Dr. Mary Pat Sullivan, Stéphanie LeClair, Dr. Paul Camic, and Dr. Sebastian Crutch
Salzburg Global Seminar Collaboration Leads to Dementia Research Funding
By: Lucy Browett 

Grant awarded to Salzburg Global Fellows to advance research of rare dementia in rural communities

After backing a Salzburg Statement on Innovations in Dementia Care and Dementia-Friendly Communities, four Salzburg Global Fellows will collaborate again as a result of a million-dollar research partnership.

A grant of over $6,000,000 funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research will enable several institutions to explore new forms of dementia support.

Salzburg Global Fellows Dr. Mary Pat Sullivan of Nipissing University, Dr. Sebastian Crutch of University College London, Stéphanie LeClair of Alzheimer Society Sudbury-Manitoulin North Bay & Districts and Dr. Paul Camic of Canterbury Christchurch University, will be brought together once again through the work.

All four attended the Salzburg Global Seminar program, Changing Minds: Innovations in Dementia Care and Dementia-Friendly Communities, in December 2017. The program was held in partnership with the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, and the Mayo Clinic.

In a joint statement, the Fellows said, “Nipissing University, University College London, Canterbury Christchurch University and the Alzheimer Society Sudbury-Manitoulin North Bay & Districts valued an opportunity to work together to explore the provision of dementia support, particularly for people with rare forms of dementia, in diverse geographical, social, and cultural contexts.

“Our networking during the [program] confirmed our shared commitment to continue to promote dementia-friendly communities and learn from one another.”

The research will focus on effective support for those living with rare forms of dementia, with a focus on what support looks like in different contexts, illustrated by the work of LeClair in rural Canadian communities.

Living with rare forms of dementia is challenging enough, let alone living in areas which may not have the support groups to help.

The Fellows said, “We anticipate our partnership will raise awareness to the varied experiences of living with dementia and develop support solutions for people with dementia, including digital ones, that will connect people with rare dementia no matter where they live.”

The group’s experience at Salzburg Global allowed them to learn from others through panels, workshops, and discussions.

They said, “Our participation at Salzburg Global Seminar provided us with an opportunity to explore opportunities to build resilience in countries, cities, neighborhoods, and families to improve the quality of life for people with dementia.

“We valued [Salzburg Global’s] interactive discussions to more thoroughly understand the experience of dementia in different contexts and learning of the innovative initiatives around the globe that are supporting people and their families.”


The session, Changing Minds: Innovations in Dementia Care and Dementia-Friendly Communities, is part of Salzburg Global Seminar multi-year series Health and Health Care Innovation in the 21st Century. This year’s session is held in partnership with The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice and The Mayo Clinic, with support from the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Tsao Foundation, and the University of Texas.

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New Answers on the Importance of Culture
Chunnoon Song-e Song speaking at Salzburg Global SeminarChunnoon Song-e Song speaking at Salzburg Global Seminar
New Answers on the Importance of Culture
By: Lucy Browett and Oscar Tollast 

Salzburg Global Fellow Chunnoon Song-e Song reflects on her career changes since attending her first Salzburg Global program

In 2014, Chunnoon Song-e Song arrived at Schloss Leopoldskron looking for answers. She was one of 50 rising talents invited to attend the inaugural program of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. At the time, she was in charge of cultural and international relations at the National Museum of Korea. Now, almost five years later, she is working for the UNESCO Office for Afghanistan as associate program manager of the National Program for Culture and Creative Economy. A lot has changed.

“When I joined Salzburg Global Seminar (in 2014), it was really an eye-opener for me because it was when I was starting to think whether culture is an essential thing in your life,” said Song, speaking at Salzburg Global’s latest program, What Future for Cultural Heritage? Perceptions, Problematics, and Potential.

Responding to this dilemma was difficult. “But I wanted to find an answer,” said Song. “I wanted to help a project, or I wanted to be a person who deals with an important thing. I wanted to find the enthusiastic point of my work...”

In her role, she was coordinating the Virtual Collection of Asian Masterpieces, an Asia-Europe Museum Network project encouraging cooperation between museums in both continents. She said, “Sitting [at a] desk in Seoul, surrounded by beautiful objects, it was [an] amusing experience, but at the same time it was very painful because I couldn’t find the answer to this question: does cultural heritage actually matter to people?

In Salzburg, she realized there were other practitioners like her asking similar questions and trying to find answers in “the most innovative way.” Song looked within herself and considered whether her interest lay, reminding herself of her love for cultural heritage and cultural projects.

The Asia-Europe Museum Network project involved around 150 museums. The essence of the project was to gather the digital information of these museum’s masterpieces. Song said, “At first I would just continue with the work, but then after coming back from Salzburg Global Seminar, I started thinking, can’t we make use of this in a better way to show that culture actually matters? Then I started thinking that maybe we should include the museums that people actually cannot visit.”

Recognizing many of the participating museums were based in “relatively safer environments,” Song thought, “What’s the point of showing the objects that people can actually see?” She developed an interest in museums based in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.

The National Museum of Afghanistan was the first institution Song got into contact with about inventorying and documenting the digital data of the museum’s objects. UNESCO Afghanistan, Song, and the National Museum of Korea collaborated and launched a project in 2015.

Song then asked herself another question: does cultural heritage matter in a country which is experiencing conflict? She accepted a job offer from UNESCO and went to work with people in Afghanistan. Three and a half years later, Song says she has an answer. “Culture actually matters to people – really matters to people… Often some donors, who are not residing in Afghanistan, they would ask, do you really think that culture matters in Afghanistan when children die [from] starving and etc.? I tell them you should have an interview with the Afghan people. They feel depressed without culture.

“They feel they do not get the opportunity to show their pride if they are deprived of culture. I have been working in the most unfortunate places – even in Afghanistan – which is the refugee camps and internally displaced people camps and discovered how much joy that cultural projects can bring to these people and how much of a hope that it actually brings to people. It’s something that’s not tangible. It’s something that you cannot actually see or measure. It’s often neglected by the international society which doesn’t really know the situation, but if you actually go on the field, you immediately see the change.”

To highlight to donors how significant cultural projects are, Song and her colleagues recently organized a participatory theater project to bring host communities and internally displaced people closer together. Song said, “There were interventions by U.N. agencies and in other international agencies to tackle the issue of lack of food and lack of water and lack of education. But there really hasn’t been any attempts to tackle the issue of lack of cultural connection or cultural communication.”

Children received professional acting classes for three months. They performed plays highlighting the narratives of their parents. Song said, “They are the stories of why they had to move to this province, this area, and why they had to leave their own hometown… the reaction that we got from the host community was really immense. The host community [said], ‘We wouldn’t have imagined the difficulties that they had to go through to come and live with us…’ They would feel that these internally displaced people are human beings who they can communicate with now…

“It’s not just bread and water that they need because they are human beings and if they want to live the future, and if they want to build the future for the country and not having people to leave the country and flee the country all the time, what really matters is the cultural project.”

Since working for the UNESCO Office for Afghanistan, Song has been based in Kabul, Bamiyan, and in Seoul. She is mainly in charge of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage and enhancing the diversity of cultural expressions in conflict areas. One project Song is responsible for is the Bamiyan Cultural Centre, which is due to open in May 2020. It will be based near the boundaries of the World Heritage property of the Cultural Landscapes and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley, a site which made headlines following the destruction of the standing Buddhas in 2001.

Song says the community is ready to move on from this incident. She said “We started supporting their festivals, and we started supporting the expression of their cultural diversity and the diversity of their cultural practices… after five years of this implementation, we now have at least one festival every month. It’s really fun to watch that. It’s really enjoyable to watch it because you see that it was triggered by UNESCO, but then it was the role of the community to prolong with that…”


What Future for Cultural Heritage? Perceptions, Problematics, and Potential is the latest program in Salzburg Global’s Culture, Arts and Society series. The program is being held in partnership with the Edward T. Cone Foundation, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, Fulbright Greece, and the Korea Foundation. For more information on the program, please click here.

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This is How Salzburg Global Sparked a New Novel
Patricia Leavy speaking at Salzburg Global Seminar in 2015 (Insert: The front cover of Spark, Leavy's latest publication)Patricia Leavy speaking at Salzburg Global Seminar in 2015 (Insert: The front cover of Spark, Leavy's latest publication)
This is How Salzburg Global Sparked a New Novel
By: Oscar Tollast 

Salzburg Global Fellow Patricia Leavy discusses new novel inspired by her experience at Schloss Leopoldskron

In 2015, a diverse crowd from all corners of the planet convened at Schloss Leopoldskron, in Salzburg, Austria, to identify and address emerging issues at the creative intersection of neuroscience and art.

No small feat, you might imagine. At the end of the five-day program, however, participants including neuroscientists, artists, musicians, scholars, and journalists came together and made a vow to improve artistic and scientific collaboration.

During the program, entitled The Neuroscience of Art: What are the Sources of Creativity and Innovation?, participants came up with ideas involving imagination hubs, artist-in-residence programs, and the creation of an open-access interdisciplinary journal to bring artists and scientists closer together.

Among this crowd of 50 was author, sociologist, and arts-based researcher Patricia Leavy. At the time, Leavy had written 17 books – fiction and non-fiction - and was editing five book series. She was a recognized leader in arts-based and qualitative research. Her experience in Salzburg left her with the premise for a new novel: Spark

Salzburg Global recently caught up with Leavy to discuss her new book, her experience attending a program at Salzburg Global Seminar, and how she drew inspiration. Read our exchange below.

Salzburg Global (SG): You’re widely recognized as a leader in arts-based research. Is this a career you envisioned embarking on when you were younger?

Patricia Leavy (PL): No, it isn’t. When I was growing up, I loved creative writing and theater. I imagined becoming a novelist or an actor. I never pursued writing, probably out of a combination of fears. There’s so much rejection and instability. I began college as a theater arts major with every intention of pursuing acting. In my second semester, I took a sociology course and a new world opened up. Ultimately I changed my major and career path. I earned my doctorate in sociology and became a professor. My main areas of expertise were research methods and women’s identities. Over time I became frustrated by the limitations of traditional ways of doing and sharing research. I didn’t think I was able to express what I had learned about women’s lives and reach relevant audiences through peer-reviewed journal articles. As a methodologist, I searched for alternative methods. That’s when I stumbled upon arts-based research which intuitively made sense to me. Arts-based research involves adapting the tenets of the creative arts in research in any discipline. I’ve been writing fiction grounded in sociological insights ever since. It’s been a winding, unconventional road to those things that interested me when I was young.

SG: You’ve authored and edited a large number of books. Where does your latest book, Spark, rank in that list regarding how close you’ve felt to a project?

PL: I couldn’t be closer to a project. I always feel closest to my novels; writing fiction is deeply personal, and even more so this time. Spark is quite special to me. It was inspired by an extraordinary experience, and although a fictional rendering, it’s a way of treasuring that special memory and inviting others into the feeling of the experience.

SG: Could you provide us with a brief outline of what Spark explores?

PL: Spark explores the assumptions we make about others, about ourselves, and about what counts as knowledge, modeling what collaboration and critical thinking might look like. Here’s a synopsis. Professor Peyton Wilde has an enviable life teaching sociology at an idyllic liberal arts college—yet she is troubled by a sense of fading inspiration. One day an invitation arrives. Peyton has been selected to attend a luxurious all-expense-paid seminar in Iceland, where participants, billed as some of the greatest thinkers in the world, will be charged with answering one perplexing question. Meeting her diverse teammates- two neuroscientists, a philosopher, a dance teacher, a collage artist, and a farmer - Peyton wonders what she could ever have to contribute. The ensuing journey of discovery transforms the characters' work, their biases, and themselves. In essence, the novel explores the idea of ‘what if’—whether that ‘what if’ leads to formal research or personal explorations in one’s own life.

SG: When writing this book, did you want to leave your audience with a particular feeling or message? If so, what?

PL: There’s a message about letting go of our assumptions - about others and about ourselves - so that people who may be quite different from each other can learn to work together and so that we each know our contribution is valuable. This seems especially important these days. There’s also a message about reigniting the light within. It’s easy to get stagnant in one’s life; the day-to-day has a way of doing that. But life is short, and we are possibilities. We have to nurture the spark within. I hope readers are left with a feeling of hopefulness, about our ability to work together around issues that matter and about their own lives. Anything we can imagine, we can achieve. I hope this novel helps readers imagine what might be.

SG: We know your time at Salzburg Global inspired Spark. If we go back to 2015, what can you remember about the program you attended?

PL: I remember everything: learning about the history of [Salzburg Global Seminar] and the castle which moved me deeply, listening to lectures by scientists and artists I thought were brilliant, sitting in the library and other rooms engaged in small group conversations, bickering with one another as we tried to respond to our prompt questions, eating lavish meals and getting to personally know other fellows, experiencing a classical concert in a gorgeous room in the castle, listening to participants improvise music as we drank bottles of wine, dancing, hanging out in the pub at night as we developed friendships, playing group ping-pong after drinking too much wine, and wandering around the extraordinary castle and grounds. What I remember above all was the feeling of gratitude and inspiration I had when I left, and the sense of community. The research I was exposed to at the intersection of neuroscience and creativity and art, as well as the artistic performances I experienced, all left me inspired to continue contributing what I can to arts-based research. I felt like I was a part of a much larger and more complex conversation than I realized before and that’s been a gift.

SG: Did you know much about the organization beforehand and what you might be letting yourself get into?

PL: Not at all. In fact, my assistant forwarded me the invitation with a note that read, “I’m not sure if this is spam or legitimate, but if it’s real it’s the coolest invitation you’ve ever gotten.” It did turn out to be the coolest invitation I had ever received. Although I had heard enough about the organization to know it was real, that was basically it. I didn’t know what to expect. As a shy person, that did give me some anxiety, which ultimately I channeled into the protagonist in Spark, Peyton, who also suffers from anxiety. I also brought my husband, Mark, with me to Salzburg so I wouldn’t be on my own.

SG: Our programs usually create a strong bond between participants, but the cohort at your program appears to be particularly close. Can you explain why that connection is so strong?

PL: Maybe it has something to do with the focus of [Salzburg Global Seminar]. Scientists and artists are naturally curious. Even though these fields are often polarized, the truth is we’re all experimenting in the hopes of illuminating something about the social world, the natural world, or the human experience. I think we all brought our curiosity with us. Research on the arts is also often undervalued. We didn’t take the opportunity for granted. You’re right about our bond. I certainly feel a deep affection for everyone in our group. I don’t know if I can fully explain it. It was such a unique experience, centered on a topic we’re all passionate about in our own ways, and we felt privileged to be there. We actually argued quite a bit, but out of passion. Although we had heated exchanges, we also danced, ate, and laughed together. One of the fellows compared us to X-Men, one by one revealing our secret powers. I think maybe that’s it. Despite the disagreements, when we listened to each other, we were in awe. And like a group of misfit superheroes, we didn’t necessarily belong together, and yet, we became a group.

SG: If we reflect further on the characters in the book, are they based on you or any other Salzburg Global Fellows?

PL: The characters are all fictional, but some of the seeds of the characters were inspired by the events and people in Salzburg. For example, two of the characters are neuroscientists based on who was in my [program], the friendliness of Ronnie, the collage artist, was inspired by one of the fellows who befriended me at lunch on my first day, and the butting of heads between Liev and Harper was inspired by conflicts that arose in my small group. So while the characters are fictional, there are little tributes to my peers from Salzburg. I’m represented, too. The protagonist, Peyton, is a sociologist, living in New England, and she has anxiety meeting new people. We share those things in common, even though she’s different than I am in other ways.

SG: You’ve discussed in another interview how meal and snack times are used to move the plot forward in Spark and as a chance to break bread. Did you experience similar conversations when you were a participant at Salzburg Global?

PL: Yes. When we attended lectures and performances, we saw each other at our professional bests, but that isn’t really about getting to know each other. Then during the smaller group meetings, we would often argue more than anything else, at least in my group. Meal, snack, and after hours pub times were when we had a chance to get to know each other and develop friendships. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons our group bonded so much. We worked hard, but we also played hard.

SG: One of Salzburg Global’s strategic aims is to transform systems. Based on your experience, can you see Salzburg Global as an organization which can have a systemic impact? How is this done? What do you think sets Salzburg Global apart from other organizations?

PL: Absolutely. I’ve never seen a more thoughtful organization, and I mean that in a few ways: being thoughtful about the mission, the different programs and how they facilitate the mission, curating dynamic groups of fellows, and creating a sense of community beyond the walls of the Schloss. With all of the troubles in the world, it’s easy to become discouraged. When I left Salzburg Global Seminar, I was filled with hope. Much good is possible with an organization like this in the world.

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How a New Partnership Led to Beautiful Insights
Helen Yung (center) and Nic Aziz (left) collaborate at a workshop with Nuestra Voz (Photo by Taylor Castillo of Nuestra Voz)Helen Yung (center) and Nic Aziz (left) collaborate at a workshop with Nuestra Voz (Photo by Taylor Castillo of Nuestra Voz)
How a New Partnership Led to Beautiful Insights
By: Lucy Browett 

Salzburg Global Fellow Helen Yung collaborates with fellow YCI alumnus Nic Aziz after receiving a travel scholarship

From one YCI Hub to another. Helen Yung is an interdisciplinary artist, researcher and cultural consultant working in Toronto, Canada. Using a travel scholarship, she was able to travel to New Orleans to collaborate with another YCI Fellow.

The trip took place through a travel scholarship awarded by Salzburg Global Seminar and funded by the Kresge Foundation to enable YCI alumni to continue collaborating across borders.

Yung, who attended the fourth program of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators in 2017, collaborated with Nic Aziz, who participated at the YCI Forum in 2016, having met at the Americas Cultural Summit hosted in 2018 by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Discussing how this collaboration came about, Yung said, “Nic and I were introduced in advance of the Summit via email by YCI Forum facilitator Shelagh Wright. There were many participants from around the world, so if Shelagh hadn’t made that effort to connect us, we might not have met at the Americas Cultural Summit. When we did meet, Nic and I found we had a lot in common, a kind of immediate affinity. We even gathered a small group to participate a bit differently in the Summit proceedings, so engaging as collaborators was intuitive, organic.”

She added, “The fact that there a travel grant was offered by Salzburg Global soon after the Summit made it immediately possible for me to follow up with Nic to ask if he wanted to think about working together. He replied saying he had thought the same thing, and so, again, the rest developed organically out of our practices, networks, and interests.”

The Fellows led a roundtable discussion with Arts Council New Orleans, a workshop with Nuestra Voz at their monthly punta del pueblo (community meeting) and assembled a photo exhibition that Nic had curated for the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA).

Commenting on the Nuestra Voz workshop, Yung said, “They had never offered any artistic workshops before, so this was both a bold move on their part. After the workshop, which was very successful, the staff were delighted with the impact and invited us to come back any time.

“After this positive first experience, I think they will be very receptive to future opportunities to work with artists.”

Commenting further, Yung said, “Workshop participants had a beautifully positive experience. Very quickly, everyone was laughing and inside of a special experience. I think it surprised some people how engaged everyone was… They genuinely seemed to melt and glow a bit more each time we went around the circle, and no one felt shy about visualizing their thoughts on paper when we went to table work.”

Following Yung’s travel scholarship, Aziz and Yung were invited by the Toronto Arts Council to speak at Emergence, a community arts symposium, to share their experiences as collaborators. 

Discussing her and Aziz’s talks at Emergence, Yung said, “Both our talks were enthusiastically received. Many people came up to both of us afterward, wanting to connect and offer words of appreciation. We also shared it more informally in our internal YCI Canada Hub meetings.”

Yung has also found other opportunities for collaboration as a result of this scholarship. She said, “While I was in New Orleans, Nic introduced me to Bryan C. Lee Jr, one of the co-founders of Paper Monuments, and the former executive director of Arts Council New Orleans. It was one of those tired afternoons. Bryan and I had both been traveling for work. Nic had a lot on his plate too, on top of having to host me. But once we started talking, there was again a happy affinity, a strong sense of common values and interests, as well as an opportunity to be challenged by another’s way of working in the world. So we all ended up going out for dinner to talk more, and the YCI Canada hub ended up hiring him to come to Toronto to present a Design As Protest workshop, which was a sold-out affair.

“I’ve since helped bring Bryan back to Toronto again as a speaker at the DemocracyXChange Summit. While he was in [Toronto] the second time, I took him out to see Black Lives Matter Toronto’s new multipurpose space, which I had just signed on to design with Foundation Creative Studio. Bryan offered his architectural services, so now we are collaborating on that space transformation project as well.”

Reflecting on her travel scholarship experience, Yung added, “There is no question that being able to travel and meet others in person, and particularly in their home communities, is important. I appreciated the opportunity to develop more insights into creative, international, multidisciplinary collaboration and community-based work. In many ways, this is a practice of care. Collaborating through artistic practice, through the embodied enactment of one’s beliefs and perspectives - as opposed to administratively or financially - allows us to better see and understand the socio-political dimensions that shape and inform each other’s work. Being more aware of the invisible enables us to activate, transform or augment what is latent, stuck or underpowered. There is so much more that can be done.”


The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators empowers rising talents in the creative sector to drive social, economic and urban change. Launched in 2014, it is building a global network of 500 competitively-selected change-makers in “Hub” communities who design collaborative projects, build skills, gain mentors, and connect to upcoming innovators in their cities and countries.

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Creating a New Network in the “International Spirit” of Salzburg
Participants of Contemporary American Literature gather on the steps of the Schloss for a group photoParticipants of the Salzburg Seminar program, Contemporary American Literature, posing for a group photo in 1973
Creating a New Network in the “International Spirit” of Salzburg
By: Lucy Browett 

A story involving Salzburg Global Seminar and the International Society for Contemporary Literature and Theatre (ISCLT), a network established in 1975 still going strong today

When Marina Catalano-McVey attended the program Contemporary American Literature at the then Salzburg Seminar in July 1973, it would have been difficult for her to foresee a literature society founded by fellow participants of that program would be holding its annual conference this year, as it has done since 1975.

“I remember that meeting - so many people, all passionate about literature - was a very enriching experience,” said Catalano-McVey of the program. “The lectures were extremely interesting - for me, personally, like opening windows on different realities. In particular, the workshops were inspiring and motivating.

“I remember the beauty of Schloss Leopoldskron and Salzburg and the long, interesting conversations we had in our free time.”

After the program, Catalano-McVey collaborated with other participants, all of whom had the same goal in mind, to create an international society for those who are passionate about literature to meet “according to the international spirit of the Salzburg Seminar.”

The founding members came from a variety of countries, many of whom still regularly attend events. Founders include Professor Agnieska Salska, Gudrun Westing, Luisa-Fernanda Rodriguez, Hartwig Isernhagen, Joanna Cizek, Dr. Gordon Bennett, Dr. Maurice Engelborg, Professor Jessie Ball, Professor Robert Bellflower, Tony Bloomfield, Belma Otus-Baskett, Jerry Parks and Aage Buechner. Catalano-McVey, herself, is the current executive secretary of the society.

The international aspect of the program is something which has inspired Catalano-McVey in her personal life, as well as in the creation and continuation of ISCLT.

She said, “Meeting people from so many different countries helped us understand the differences existing in various cultures, which is still an extremely relevant aspect of my personal world. Friendship among many participants has bloomed and is still a strong bond.”

ISCLT has impacted Catalano-McVey’s career, too. She said, “ISCLT has been a huge support for me in developing my writing skills, and I owe many ISCLTers a lot. Thanks to their encouragement and suggestions, I have finally come to publish several books (novels and short stories).”

The society is still attended today and celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015. An annual two-week conference is held in a different country every year in the second half of July.

Catalano-McVey detailed the nature of the conferences. She said, “We chose to deal with contemporary Literature and Theatre, limiting the books we present to the past 10 years. We decided moreover to give space to our personal production.

“In the morning, we have lectures on various authors relating to the previously chosen theme. We have workshops in the afternoon - poetry, prose, plays, creative writing, etc. We have readings and performances in the evenings.”

Additionally, excursions take place around the conference location. Locations are often selected based on the locality of a member who is willing to host, who also has good connections with the area and can offer insider knowledge.

This year’s conference will be held in Vicoforte, Italy from July 16 to July 30, with the theme “Memory in Contemporary Literature and Theatre.” ISCLT is on the lookout for new participants “who in our opinion would appreciate what we do.”

Catalano-McVey said, “Unfortunately, time elapses so quickly and most of the founding members and other members passed away. Therefore, it is necessary to find new younger people in order to allow this wonderful society to thrive in the future.

“In the course of the years, many new members joined in and enriched our conferences with fantastic contributions. Quite a lot of the newcomers are alumni from various Salzburg Seminars; others are friends, acquaintances or colleagues of the members.”

Further reflecting on the ways how the program in Salzburg impacted her life, Catalano-McVey said, “I was invited by my university professor Sergio Perosa. I am eternally grateful to him for the invitation, which represented for me an opportunity of personal growth and connected me with all the other founding members with whom a beautiful, long-lasting friendship began.”


For more information on ISCLT, visit http://isclt.org/Home2.html or email Marina Catalano-McVey at catalano.marina14@gmail.com.

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Salzburg Global Fellow Delighted by Success and Promise of US Film Tour
Mariano Pozzi (center) with YCI Fellows Dan Price (left) and Ian Nunley (right)Mariano Pozzi (center) with YCI Fellows Dan Price (left) and Ian Nunley (right)
Salzburg Global Fellow Delighted by Success and Promise of US Film Tour
By: Oscar Tollast 

YCI alumnus brings new perspectives to audiences at screenings in Memphis and New Orleans

A US film tour designed by a Salzburg Global Fellow to highlight underrepresented groups and communities has been hailed a success.

Mariano Pozzi, a member of the YCI Buenos Aires Hub, held screenings at venues in Memphis and New Orleans.

Films included Argentine and Latin American titles and focused on topics such as access to safe water, renewable energies, women and children’s rights, and indigenous people of the Americas.

Pozzi, an image and sound designer from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), was supported by a travel scholarship, which was awarded by Salzburg Global Seminar and funded by The Kresge Foundation.

He worked alongside organizations including Indie Memphis and New Orleans Film Society (NOFS).

Indie Memphis promotes the making and screening of independent films using a weekly film series called “Indie Memphis Nights,” where it collaborates with artists, locates venues, and aids promotion.

NOFS, meanwhile, provided Pozzi with an all-access pass at the 29th New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF) and managed the screening venue for Pozzi’s activity.

Pozzi said, “The successful tour consisted of four exhibits that were attended by about 150 people and established a foundation stone in a long-term collaboration with local organizations in each city.

“On the other hand, being a guest of the 29th NOFF allowed me to expand the search of film titles to invite their participation in the 18th International Human Rights Film Festival to be held in Buenos Aires in June 2019, including local productions from Memphis and New Orleans.

“From the Instituto Multimedia DerHumALC - IMD, the NGO where I work, we managed the screening copies, permits to screen them, fees, translations to English when needed, and the curatorship of the Tour selection.”

Pozzi is the technical coordinator and project developer of the International Human Rights Film Festival of Buenos Aires (FICDH) and the International Environmental Film Festival of Buenos Aires (FINCA). He attended the fourth program of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators.

Discussing how his participation at the Forum had influenced him, Pozzi said, “Definitely the YCI Forum took a central piece as a motivation for this project. We’ve been trying for a while to do some concrete activity in the US like these... When thinking of this possibility, knowing that two Fellows of my cohort could help me build strong bridges with two important film organizations in Memphis and New Orleans, was for sure the thing that put the idea of this project going on.”

During his trip, Pozzi was also able to build contacts and recruit titles for FICDH and FINCA.

Commenting on the goals of the program, Pozzi said, “In general terms, the project was successful and the objectives where met. There were fewer screenings than the originally intended, but the amount of film titles and audience met were the originally proposed. Every screening was successful, and the audience were outstandingly pleased by the title selection of films, that showed diversity and encouraged debate and reflection.

“The selection of titles had a special focus in underrepresented groups and communities, and one common outcome after each screening was hearing the audience was shocked to get to know some of the situations portrayed and reflect about them.”

Pozzi believes the project could be easily replicated and that Indie Memphis and NOFS would be interested in collaborating again.

He added, “In terms of the Buenos Aires YCI Hub I think my travel has opened the door for possible collaborations with these other cities. None of my Buenos Aires Fellows has been in Memphis or New Orleans before, so me being there opens the possibility of helping them and putting any of them in contact with people whom I’ve worked with and also new professional contacts I’ve made on this trip.

“In terms of the local communities of Memphis and New Orleans, I think that both film festivals and organizations are somehow and overall, USA - based on their selection of films and curatorship, forgetting sometimes that they have very big Latin-American communities as well in those cities. So, having me there bringing titles with a different angle and approach than the one they usually have for sure is collaborating with their diversity and awareness.

“As for the local YCI [Fellows] in there, I also think that for instance having a Fellow from Buenos Aires over broadened their horizons. Every Fellow I met there was a little shocked and amused of having me there, which I think it’s important to remember, especially [for] the North American Hubs that there are lots of other Fellows in the world to work with and that these kind of partnerships and collaborations are possible.”

The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators empowers rising talents in the creative sector to drive social, economic and urban change. Launched in 2014, it is building a global network of 500 competitively-selected change-makers in “Hub” communities who design collaborative projects, build skills, gain mentors, and connect to upcoming innovators in their cities and countries.

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Change Makers Leadership Program Launches in Nigeria
Students and faculty at American University of Nigeria (AUN) Academy in Yola, Nigeria, took part in the Change Makers Leadership Program (Picture: AUN)Students and faculty at American University of Nigeria (AUN) Academy in Yola, Nigeria, took part in the Change Makers Leadership Program (Picture: AUN)
Change Makers Leadership Program Launches in Nigeria
By: Lucy Browett 

Students participate in a Salzburg Global-inspired leadership training program

A Salzburg Global-inspired program to promote pluralism and tackle extremism across Africa has launched in Nigeria.

Starting on September 26, students and faculty at American University of Nigeria (AUN) Academy in Yola, Nigeria, took part in the Change Makers Leadership Program, a week-long training program focusing on teaching leadership skills among 15 to 18-year-old African students.

The Program evaluates historical atrocities, such as the Rwandan Genocide, the Holocaust, and apartheid in South Africa, and uses them as case studies to encourage students to think critically about how to combat extremism in the future.

Its goal is to give its participants the tools to address the needs of their communities as well as work towards creating peaceful African societies. The Change Makers Leadership Program spends two days with the teachers, followed by a youth workshop for the students, to allow them to carry the work forward in Nigeria

Abba Abubakar Tahir, vice president for university relations at AUN, discussed the impact of the program and its scope to be implemented in other education facilities.

Speaking with AUN, Tahir said, “As an institution focused on community engagement and service learning, I wish to assure you that after this inaugural training, beneficiaries would immediately reach out to other schools and communicate our mission to expand the benefits.”

Salzburg Global Fellows Tali Nates, Richard Freedman, Freddy Mutanguha, and Mubigalo Aloys Mahwa conceived of the Change Makers Leadership Program while attendingLearning from the Past: Promoting Pluralism and Countering Extremism in 2016, part of the Salzburg Global’s Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention series, when they set out to design a program for Africans by Africans. Through the collaboration of teams from Rwanda and South Africa, the activities were further developed and piloted in those two countries during 2017. 

At Learning from the Past: Sharing Experiences across Borders to Combat Extremism in 2017, Nates and Mutanguha were joined by Fellows from across Africa to explore ways to spread the work continent-wide. Nates and Mutanguha have subsequently crisscrossed Africa to make the Program available in 18 additional countries by 2019, including most recently successful launches in Mozambique, the Gambia, Senegal, and Nigeria.

The launch of the Change Makers Leadership Program in Nigeria was made possible through funding from the University of Leeds, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung. It was organized through a partnership between the American University of Nigeria, the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre, the Kigali Genocide Memorial, and Aegis Trust. Salzburg Global Fellow Obioma Uche, assistant professor of petroleum engineering at AUN, has coordinated the efforts there.

The six facilitators conducting the Program at AUN Academy were from Rwanda and South Africa. Various secondary schools in these countries have already successfully implemented the Program.

Tali Nates told AUN, “We developed a program that looks at youth leadership but looking at it through the lens of past histories. We wanted to look at a difficult past in three case studies in Africa, locally in our country, and globally.”

Learning from the Past: Promoting Pluralism and Countering Extremism took place as part of the Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention multi-year series. This series has been running since 2010 in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The series promotes peace, reconciliation, and pluralist societies by advancing structured dialogue, research, knowledge-sharing, and cross-border projects, engaging educators, practitioners and museum curators from over 50 countries, mostly from the Global South, and many with recent experience of mass violence or rising extremism. Cross-border and cross-cultural exchanges have fostered new ways of thinking and have facilitated international partnerships for building better societies, generating outreach to the next generation.  

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Carolyn Frantz - How Could Artificial Intelligence Create New Job Categories and How Can a Company Anticipate These Changes in Workforce Needs and Shape?
Carolyn Frantz at the 2018 meeting of the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum
Carolyn Frantz - How Could Artificial Intelligence Create New Job Categories and How Can a Company Anticipate These Changes in Workforce Needs and Shape?
By: Carolyn Frantz 

Microsoft's VP, Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Secretary asks this month's "Salzburg Questions for Corporate Governance"

This article is part of the series, the Salzburg Questions for Corporate Governance by the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum. Join in the discussion on LinkedIn

Since the first industrial revolution we’ve seen an ongoing and accelerating impact of technology on jobs: eliminating some jobs, changing how others are done, and creating whole new categories of work. While widespread applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in businesses are just emerging, the impact on jobs is certain. A report from the research firm Forrester projects that by 2027, AI will displace 24.7 million jobs – and create 14.9 million new ones. 

This shift is already under way. In warehouses, some employees who previously stacked bins now monitor robots. In legal environments, paralegals and law clerks now use “e-discovery” software to find documents. In hospitals, machine learning can help doctors diagnose illnesses more quickly. 

But, while AI is changing these jobs, they have not disappeared; there are aspects of the work that simply cannot be automated. 

Many jobs will continue to require uniquely human skills that AI and machines cannot replicate, such as creativity, collaboration, abstract and systems thinking, complex communication, and the ability to work in diverse environments. New jobs – many of them in technology – will emerge as AI changes how work is done. Demand for data scientists, robotics experts and AI engineers will increase significantly. More broadly, technology will significantly impact the skills requirements in all job families.

Employers already face a shortage of critical talent across many industries. As jobs increasingly require technology skills, companies in all sectors have begun to compete for employees with specialized skills such as cybersecurity and data science. 

It is estimated that by 2020, 30% of technology jobs will go unfilled due to talent shortages, and this gap is likely to widen given the time it takes to introduce training programs for new technology skills. The World Economic Forum reports that by 2020, more than a third of the skills needed for most occupations will be ones that are not considered crucial today.

These fundamental changes in the nature of work require new ways of thinking about skills and training to ensure that workers are prepared for the future and that there is sufficient talent available for critical jobs. 

Businesses need to rethink how they find and evaluate talent, broaden the pool of candidates they draw from, and assess competence and skills. Employers will also need to focus more on offering on-the job training, opportunities to acquire new skills, and access to outside education for their existing workforces. And employers will need to forge new collaborations to help education and workforce systems better understand, interpret and anticipate what professional skills they’ll need.

Impact for Boards of Directors

All of these trends highlight a growing opportunity for Boards of Directors and governance professionals to advance strategic approaches to their companies’ human capital management on topics ranging from training to diversity and inclusion. 

Perhaps uncoincidentally, institutional investors are increasingly expecting Boards and companies to demonstrate thoughtful oversight of these topics. 

At Microsoft, our Board, Compensation Committee, and Regulatory and Public Policy Committee engage with the Senior Leadership Team and human resources executives on a regular basis across a broad range of human capital management issues. In particular, the Board works with management to provide oversight on matters including culture, succession planning and development, compensation, benefits, employee recruiting and retention, and diversity and inclusion. 

During this time of rapid and unpredictable change, business leaders and governance professionals should ask themselves how to best drive strategies to ensure their companies and their employees succeed together. How are you leveraging the talents of your management team and board to meet these new workplace challenges? How do you best structure Board responsibilities, processes, and public disclosures to demonstrate good governance of human resource management as it becomes increasingly complex and strategic?

Have an opinion? 

We encourage readers to share your comments by joining in the discussion on LinkedIn


Note: This post draws directly from Microsoft’s 2018 book exploring societal issues related to AI, The Future Computed: Artificial Intelligence and its Role in Society


Carolyn Frantz is the vice president, deputy general counsel, and corporate secretary at Microsoft. She previously managed Microsoft’s worldwide tax litigation. Prior to joining Microsoft, she was a litigation Partner at Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP, as well as a Rhodes Scholar, a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago Law School. Carolyn earned her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, her B.A./M.St. in jurisprudence from Oxford University, and her B.A. in philosophy from Wake Forest University.


The Salzburg Questions for Corporate Governance is an online discussion series introduced and led by Fellows of the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum. The articles and comments represent opinions of the authors and commenters, and do not necessarily represent the views of their corporations or institutions, nor of Salzburg Global Seminar. Readers are welcome to address any questions about this series to Forum Director, Charles E. Ehrlich: cehrlich@salzburgglobal.org To receive a notification of when the next article is published, follow Salzburg Global Seminar on LinkedIn or sign up for email notifications here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/corpgov/newsletter 

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Salzburg Global and AADF Host Change-Making and Civic Innovation Workshop
Participants of Salzburg Global and the Albanian American Development Foundation's one-day workshop (Photo: Patrick Shannon)Participants of Salzburg Global and the Albanian-American Development Foundation's one-day workshop (Photo: Patrick Shannon)
Salzburg Global and AADF Host Change-Making and Civic Innovation Workshop
By: Oscar Tollast 

Salzburg Global Fellows take part in one-day workshop in Tirana, Albania

A follow-up activity to the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators has helped deepen connections among cultural leaders in Tirana, Albania.

In March 2018, Salzburg Global and the Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF), the sponsor of the Tirana YCI Hub, hosted an intensive one-day workshop for Tirana YCIs and other cultural actors from the region.

Participants looked at community-based change-making and civic innovation, primarily within the context of cultural heritage work in Albania.

Peter Jenkinson and Shelagh Wright facilitated the workshop. Together they helped participants explore how to move from “Me to We,” a concept inspired by Muhammad Ali’s famous poem.  

In addition to this concept, participants reflected on mechanisms which promote innovative approaches for the development of contemporary cultural activities and creative forms of entrepreneurship.

Susanna Seidl-Fox, program director for culture and the arts at Salzburg Global, said, “This workshop in Tirana served as an opportunity for Salzburg Global and the YCIs supported by the Albanian-American Development Foundation to discuss community-based engagement in the arts and strategies for unlocking the potential of cultural heritage with cultural heritage specialists from across Albania.  

“The meeting was intensive and served to deepen connections among the Tirana YCIs who had attended the Salzburg YCI Forum in past years. In addition, cultural heritage professionals were introduced to the YCIs and their innovative ways of thinking, which will no doubt also spur innovation and new thinking in the cultural heritage sector in Albania.”

The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators empowers rising talents in the creative sector to drive social, economic and urban change. Launched in 2014, it is building a global network of 500 competitively-selected change-makers in “Hub” communities who design collaborative projects, build skills, gain mentors, and connect to upcoming innovators in their cities and countries.

The AADF is a not-for-profit organization which seeks to facilitate the development of a sustainable private sector economy and a democratic society in Albania and to contribute to stability in Southeastern Europe.

HIGHLIGHTS

Video recorded, produced and edited by Patrick Shannon, a member of the YCI Canada Hub

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Thank You for Helping to Make the World a Better Place
Photo by Courtney Hedger on UnsplashPhoto by Courtney Hedger on Unsplash
Thank You for Helping to Make the World a Better Place
By: Salzburg Global Seminar 

Salzburg Global Seminar extends thanks to its supporters following end of year giving campaign

As we say goodbye to 2018 and hello to 2019, we want to thank all of you, our supporters. Your commitment has ensured the successful launch of the Inspiring Leadership Campaign - the most ambitious fundraiser in Salzburg Global's history designed to expand programs, support scholarships and Fellow collaboration, and preserve and enhance our unique home in Salzburg.

Your gift creates positive, lasting change in communities around the world and extends the opportunity to become a Salzburg Global Fellow to future generations. Thank you for making this possible.

Stephen Salyer, President and CEO of Salzburg Global Seminar, said, "Salzburg Global Seminar connects amazing people from diverse cultures, inspires new thinking and strategy, and builds collaborations that transform communities. This is made possible by our generous donors and through the engagement of active global networks. Thank you for supporting our work worldwide."

This is just the start! It’s never too early or late to make a gift. Help us offer the Salzburg experience to others who are striving to make the world a better place.

Join us. Learn more at: campaign.salzburgglobal.org

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Michael Chang – “Every Little Action from Everyone Counts”
Michael Chang in conversation at Salzburg Global SeminarMichael Chang in conversation at Salzburg Global Seminar
Michael Chang – “Every Little Action from Everyone Counts”
By: Oscar Tollast 

Fellow reflects on his “phenomenal” experience in Salzburg and his decision to create the Health and Wellbeing in Planning Network

In October 2018, health and urban planning professionals from more than 15 countries convened in Salzburg to explore how urban environments can affect health and the public good. The group came together for Building Healthy, Equitable Communities: The Role of Inclusive Urban Development and Investment.

Among the participants was Michael Chang, a project and policy manager at the Town and Country Planning Association. Chang, a chartered town planner, and an honorary member of the UK Faculty of Public Health, leads the Reuniting Health with Planning initiative of stakeholder engagement and policy research across the UK.

We spoke with Michael after the program to discuss what he had learned and his decision to create the Health and Wellbeing in Planning Network. Read our interview below.

SG: Building Healthy, Equitable Communities was your first experience of taking part in a Salzburg Global program. What were your expectations heading into the event?

MC: I had high expectations and was highly excited heading into the event, after doing a bit of research into the organization, about its work and the impacts it has had over the years. I knew there would be a presence from colleagues across the globe so there would be an exciting melting pot of ideas, experiences, and cultures. I was looking forward to harnessing that energy and the opportunity the experience would bring to enhance my own work back in the UK.

SG: How would you describe your experience in Salzburg?

MC: I am not usually an expressive type of person, but I would describe the experience in Salzburg as phenomenal, a once in a lifetime opportunity and such a privilege. The setting gave me a safe thinking space which I don't usually have. The connections allowed me to share my thoughts openly with others. The [program] provided a structure for me to reflect on my own circumstances.   

SG: What impact did the conversations and ideas generated at Schloss Leopoldskron have on your work? Was there an idea or perspective you heard which you hadn't considered before?

MC: Everyone was open and honest with their conversations and professional views. I was grateful to everyone for this level of transparency. It did raise a couple of challenging conversations especially when it came to issues around racially-related inequalities in the American and South African contexts, and the nuance between ‘gentrification’ and “regeneration.” I learned that while as professionals, we may use these terms interchangeably to suit, it doesn't alter the level of impact our actions can have on local communities. Fortunately, as the experience of attending a planning conference in New Orleans earlier in 2018 was still fresh where such issues are very much at the fore, I was able to relate and have a broader mind-set during discussions.

The ideas discussed and presented show that every little action from everyone counts, and sometimes the big idea may not be the answer. We don't tend to learn and acknowledge the lessons of the past and from others, so having that critical mass of thinkers and doers was really beneficial.

SG: What's inspired you to move forward with the Health and Wellbeing in Planning Network?

MC: I wanted to move forward with the idea of identifying [and] then bringing together that critical mass, at least initially in the UK context which doesn't currently exist in a structured way. The ability to exchange and share experiences, potential transferable solutions or even to have those challenging conversations at the Session demonstrated that perhaps if only initially replicated in a virtual forum, it would be worthwhile. The thinking space provided during smaller group discussions with colleagues such as Gemma McKinnon towards the end of the [program], and with external colleagues such as Rachel Flowers gave me the conviction to press the “go” button for the Health and Wellbeing in Planning Network. This meant activating a series of communication platforms via a LinkedIn group, a Twitter account, and a simple website.

SG: What response have you had to the Network so far?

MC: In the first weekend of the Network being set up on Twitter right after #SGSHealth, it had close to a couple of hundred followers already. By 2019 new year’s day the number of followers is at 350. On LinkedIn, the Network has 48 members, and on the website, there is a list of 17 members who sent in a short biography to be included.

SG: In the long-term, what are your hopes for the Network?

MC: It is still early days for the Network to be fully activated across its different communication platforms. I am hoping that the Network members will increase to build a critical mass of “public health planners,” its presence enhanced through its website and its value widely recognized, which means ultimately more virtual peer to peer exchanges taking place in 2019. The Network can function in a number of different ways that is focused on its members acting as ‘peers’ to help each other signpost requests for further support and technical expertise. I hope it can be self-sustaining and become the go-to one-stop-shop for information on all things about planning for health and well-being.

SG: What do you think practitioners working to improve health and well-being need to know more about when it comes to planning?

MC: The first step is to understand the parameters of what you mean by “planning.” Certainly, I learned that planning in the UK is very different from planning in the USA, South Africa or New Zealand. By understanding the parameters, you can begin to think about the possibilities including the limitations of what legislation and policy allow you to do. Most importantly this allows you to know who else you have to work with, engage and involve in the process, and appreciate that working together is always better than working alone.

SG: The Network is in its early days, but what is one thing you have learned already?

MC: It is important to articulate a need for an idea and whether such a need is sustained and regular or just a one-off. This can really be done by having lots of conversations with others so as well as understanding more about the target audience, you are also making links and thereby helping to create the need. Come back to me in a year or so to see whether I am on the right track or not! 

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