Championing inclusive citizenship

I recently had the opportunity to address two different audiences on the same topic: inclusive citizenship. I also had the joy of noticing that both groups share the concern about recognising the irreversible pluralistic reality of our societies, and the need to manage it, beyond identity-based politics and polarisation, but rather as a source of reconciliation, and creative coexistence.

In Marrakesh (Morocco), from 13 to 15 June, the Inter-Parliamentary Union organised a conference on "Interfaith Dialogue, working together for our common future". It was heartening to see this global community of more than 800 senior delegates from all over the world - representing their parliaments, religious communities and civil society - united behind the agenda of dialogue and peace. I had the pleasure of addressing these senior leaders, calling for an ethical framework for this global engagement based on three values: trust, integrity, and inclusivity.

Firstly, with so much uncertainty, insecurity and mistrust in political, religious, and other authorities, there is a need to rebuild TRUST - not by preaching or manipulating public opinion, but by practising what we preach as ethical leaders.

Secondly, with politicians competing for power and religious authorities competing for the "truth", politics and religions are often entrenched in power dynamics and struggles, when both should be working for the common good and the dignity of all. Therefore INTEGRITY, alongside accountability, is critical to ensure that power is used for service rather than domination.

Thirdly, any claim for justice and peaceful coexistence must go hand in hand with a commitment to INCLUSIVITY. The sustainable future of our world requires making space for all people around the decision-making table - in many cases, the people most affected by these decisions remain absent and voiceless.

Shortly after the IPU event, I also had the chance to meet 50 emerging peacemakers from different national, cultural and religious backgrounds, in the framework of their training, at the Emerging Peacemakers Forum in Geneva, organised by the Muslim Council of Elders, in partnership with the World Council of Churches and the Rose Castle Foundation. 

One of the participants asked me what the process of healing the wounds of the past in divided societies, such as Britain and France, could look like. In my answer, I quoted the man who led South Africa from the era of the racist ideology of apartheid to a society moving towards reconciliation and unity, repeating Mandela's words, "If you want to build peace, you need to transform your enemy into a partner".

Indeed, our world is more divided and polarised than ever. The challenge is how to make not from the other, but from the ignorance of the other, our enemy. It was very encouraging to see those fifty young leaders engaged in this path of peace, and I believe that there is a growing number of youth who are genuinely committed to building together cohesive societies. Inclusive citizenship, not identity politics, is the way to build sustainable peace, and many young and senior ethical leaders are adopting this path, even if it takes them against the current.

Fadi Daou
Globethics Executive Director

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