“Equal and inclusive participation of a diverse citizenry in public
and private life is a fundamental aspect of a peaceful and just society.
Thus, improving opportunities for previously marginalized groups to participate
in democratic institutions and mechanisms has often had a conflict-prevention effect.”
-2013 report on the exclusion of marginalized communities produced by the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.
For over 20 years, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (the Coalition) 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 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.
The three virtual workshops were open to all members of the Coalition, fostering ample opportunities for knowledge and skill-sharing with other Sites of Conscience around the world. Given the urgency of this topic, each meeting focused on one of three marginalized groups that face significant threats in today’s world, including:
• Racial and ethnic minorities and indigenous communities
• Religious minorities
• Women and the LGBTQ+ community
For each of the three thematic workshops, a combination of Coalition staff, Sites of Conscience members around the world, and practitioners, with expertise in the fields of the areas covered in each workshop, facilitated virtual dialogue exercises, led skills development sessions, provided methodological and programmatic guidance, and connected sites with peer organizations to foster independent relationships and partnerships across regions. The goal of each workshop was to learn and share strategies that amplify the voices of these marginalized groups as they are crucial to ensuring a stable and peaceful future.
Alongside these virtual trainings, over two twenty members were awarded grants to carry out community engagement projects on this year’s themes, providing a range of members with an opportunity to gain practical project management skills. During this process, Coalition staff played a critical role in terms of mentoring, coaching, and training as the projects were developed and launched.
For more information on each workshop and its impact, please click below.