“The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience has made possible connections that would have been almost impossible for individual organizations to achieve on their own…There is no doubt that for each of the members it was an extraordinary experience. Today we know other examples and have new ideas to expand and improve our work. We now know other brothers and sisters who, in different latitudes, are making efforts similar to ours and we have begun to establish new alliances that will strengthen us for the future.”
– Gustavo Meoño, Museo Internacional para la Democracia,
a Site of Conscience in Argentina
For over 20 years, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience has been at the forefront of a global movement to document and share stories of the past in order to build a peaceful, rights-based future. With many regions throughout the world facing a rise in extremism, polarization and repressive governments, in 2021 the Coalition hosted “Building Global Capacity for Inclusive Democracies,” a members-only Global Summit composed of three workshops designed to assist Sites of Conscience in creating and implementing programs that promote inclusivity and democratic values in their communities.
Over 125 Sites of Conscience leaders from over 40 countries attended the Summit, each gaining new skills to protect the rights of women, LGBTQ+ communities, religious minorities, and other marginalized racial and ethnic groups by identifying root causes of injustice and acting to counter them through programs that promote social cohesion, violence prevention and civic engagement.
For members, it provided unique opportunities to both share their experiences with a global audience and learn from other contexts – ensuring maximum impact. As Gustavo Meoño from Museo Internacional para la Democracia, a Site of Conscience in Argentina put it,
“The participation in these workshops placed us, all of a sudden, on a global scale. Suddenly we found ourselves sharing experiences and exchanging lessons learned with sister organizations from different countries on four different continents. Our work, modest and local at first, grew and multiplied rapidly. This Global Summit allowed us to expose our work and share learnings with groups from African, Arab, Latin American, Eastern European and Russian countries. We learned a lot from the technical training and above all from the exchange of information and experiences.”
With prominent speakers including activist Saths Cooper and Coalition Board members Alissandra Cummins, Emelda Davis and Doudou Diène, sessions were conducted on a range of topics including the role of religion in conflict prevention, the history of racial discrimination in a Caribbean context, and strategies to counter bias against women, girls and LBGTQ+ communities. In addition, the Coalition provided participants extensive training in advocacy using graphic arts and digital media, along with community action grants to fund more than 20 projects in nine countries across Africa, Asia and Europe.
To learn more about each workshop, including recorded highlights and the available outcomes of the highly replicable community action grants, please see below. To help support this work, please contact our Director of Development, Gina Lentine, at firstname.lastname@example.org.