Nationalism and Populism LiA Proposal

These are the different groups' suggestions for how to tackle Nationalism and Populism through an LiA. It is in note form, so apologies if it is hard to follow. I suggest reading each group's comments one-by-one rather than reading it like a normal document.

Laidlaw Conference Nationalism and Populism Group

  • What is the problem?
    • Group 1 – Two key problems: Polarisation of media and the divides in society
    • Group 2 – Underlying idea of belonging to different groups that antagonise relations. Historical, culture matter a lot. Targets people in vulnerable people. Lack of dialogue and understanding, reduces empathy
    • Group 3 – People can’t describe it, difficult to fight against it without knowing what it is and how to identify it when you see it.
    • Group 4 – Populism and nationalism very nebulous, people using divisions in society to seek and gain power
  • Why is it the most important one to address?
    • Group 1 – Not productive to anyone, people who support populist movements often depicted as stupid and unintelligent, this is dangerous and doesn’t solve the problem
    • Group 2 – Insular mindsets creating polarisation and antagonism, harms minorities and the ‘other’
    • Group 3 – It’s on the rise, a method of political organisation that’s more common now. People say we can identify in many ways, but that’s difficult to do in practice. Has worryingly strong anti-democratic consequences to it
    • Group 4 – It comes down to who we identify as a people, its dichotomous nature makes it anti-collaboration. It’s not productive, it’s bad for policies and causes manipulation
  • What would a perfect LiA look like?
  • Big theme was increasing dialogue to get people out of echo chambers, going to other countries to learn how others are doing it and how effective dialogue can be, and then apply in local context.
  • Lots of scope here to do it both locally and internationally
    • Group 1 – Understanding where news comes from, journalists without borders and increasing a healthy diet of media. Meals with people from the other political side, to show that people from different cultures that live in the same area to have conversations to reduce the divisions.
    • Group 2 – Dialogue is needed. Racism is taught- not innate. Wanted to work with young children, school age. Creating lesson plans and pen-pal system to encourage multiculturalism and understanding of the other so there is no ‘other’
    • Group 3 – Raise awareness of populism is very important but is very hard to pin down. Hard to get people around the table and discussing it. How do we do this? A board game akin to monopoly, but doesn’t divide people as much, but also thought-provoking and educational. Game would promote dialogue and get people talking.
    • Group 4 – Dealing with root causes, focusing more on diversification of investment, dealing with issues of brain drain. Doing market research to see what causes populist ideas to take place. Community understanding group. Organisation ‘seeds of peace’ with very antagonistic cultures, as neutral arbiters and then researching how this has had an effect.
  • Who is already in this space with whom we might partner?
    • Group 1 – Meals with people in different cultures in east London, cannot remember the name but probably many organisations.
    • Group 2 – Laidlaw Schools Trust – all of these approaches the different groups have mentioned could be combined into a single programme. Could do it in the workplace to.
    • Group 3 – Civic conversations congress – breaks down party divides – could also teach civic education in schools. Hard to get a mechanism or process in a book, but very possible in a game if it makes you part of it.
    • Group 4 – Seeds of Peace
  • What is our proposal to them?
    • Group 1 – Young people are well positioned as our thoughts and beliefs are being challenged and we’re expanding our skillset. Most charities need bodies, peoplepower. Offering them a person to help and do the unglamorous tasks as well as the fun stuff. The admin tasks have a lot more impact than the Instagrammable projects. Giving charities people to help, not necessarily a project that requires masses of training and supervision.
    • Group 2 – Laidlaw Schools Trust, provides them resources and giving them a place to expand and increase the
    • Group 3
    • Group 4 – Even if you’re doing ‘grunt work’ you can do more with what you’re given. We’ve been trained in research; we can do research for them. Because we’re outsiders, if as Laidlaw Scholars we’re traveling, we bring a different perspective and can be neutral in divisive situations
  • Who could/ should own this from a University/ Scholar perspective?
    • Group 1 – The charity should own it; they know what needs doing and how best to use resources
    • Group 2 – Agrees, think pacific, it’s owned by the community and Fiji but then scholars need to own their position and how they can help.
    • Group 3 – Charity needs to be the owner; a scholar can’t go into a situation for 6 weeks expecting to fix the whole divide.
    • Group 4 – the organisations, it’s for them so it’s how can we help them. If we have our own skillset then we can do our own projects, such as research that will help them in the future.
  • What is the ask of the foundation?
    • Group 1 – be flexible in their parameters, do not overlook locally based organisations. Can have just as much of an impact as international NGOs
    • Group 2 – Growth, if it’s an education plan, if we have a small pilot to test efficacy, the foundation can expand it and roll out across LST. Laidlaw Scholarship has opened up lots of doors, we need to use the network to help build trust and grow dialogue if possible.
    • Group 3
    • Group 4 – Partner with organisations such as Seeds of Trust to work to reduce the divisions that can create the conditions for populist sentiment to rise up. Support further research and look at ways to reduce the inequalities and divisions that perpetuate populism.

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Go to the profile of Susanna Kempe
5 months ago

Thanks Josh, the note form works well. Did you all discuss Seeds of Trust and whether you thought they would be a good partner or was it just Group 4? The penultimate question was really trying to ascertain whether any Scholar or University already had experience leading programmes in this space or connections to the suggested partner e.g. the way in which Tufts leads the Kassisi project. There is a huge amount of work that goes into reviewing the charity partner's set-up, culture, proposed programme, safe guarding arrangements, accessibility, communications, etc. so it is incredibly helpful if someone has already worked with them and has done a thorough due diligence previously. Does anyone in the Group know Seeds of Trust well?  

Go to the profile of Joshua Chapman
5 months ago

Sorry for the delay I’ve been looking to see if they’re linked to any universities but I don’t think they are