Why “Belonging” in Together-Ensemble

I share here some of my draft reflections, as I am preparing my introductory speech explaining the why behind a session on “Belonging” in our series “Towards a caring culture”. Feel free to challenge me on Twitter if you want your contribution to appear in my final speech 🙂

The European institutions have been launching ever more ambitious initiatives to involve citizens in this wonderful adventure which unites us all, the European project – one last example being the Conference on the Future of Europe. And, no one can object against this need for a more inclusive and probably more human empathetic Europe too. But, let’s be honest these initiatives lack of sparkling energy of creation, connection, discovery of a whole, bigger than oneself, which brings us together and carries us all.

In our Together-Ensemble programme, we have not hesitated for more than a year, to challenge our culture, and to identify solutions to increase impact. Because we believe, and even more following our 50 sessions so far, in the possibility of a better civilisation, focused on the care of others and of the planet, and of the amazing value of global collaboration to get to this desired state. And if we are always happy to see new initiatives around us that go in the right direction, such as this conference, there are many brakes and obstacles to overcome in order to be successful.

From many years of research on the conditions, I identified that one of them in particular is linked to our sense of belonging. Although it is an essential pillar, tell me: do we have this feeling that we all belong to the European project – Not the one that would have borders, but that of the humanist values that characterise it? And how confident are we in our “core” that we will never be excluded from it?

Recent events, such as Brexit or the migration crisis in countries like Italy, have been traumatic for many Europeans. Yet, how these traumas are taken care of? Remember: when one dot in a system is weak, the whole system is weakened.

Today, everywhere we call for more efforts, sacrifices even for the good of all. But how can we expect to reach to this state, if this sense of belonging is not massively present (again, forget about borders as they do not exist in real life)? What are the urgent conditions to put in place to increase it everywhere? So many questions which do not seem to be considered anywhere else today and to which we invite the European institutions to reflect upon.

A better civilisation won’t emerge through better marketing or quick fixes, but through a real deep reflection on the conditions to make global collaboration flow. This has been my route for the past 10 years, and one I invite you to join from now on, as I intend to share more of the outcomes of my research. I hope you are on board and willing to contribute. This is a quest for love in our rather dark times…

Photo by Iva Muu0161kiu0107 on Pexels.com

The session “Belonging” will take place for all staff of the EU Institutions on 25 November 2021 from 2 to 4:30 pm (registration in EU Learn). Our guests are:

  • Anny Tubbs is Director and Producer of documentary films, and in this quality Anny focuses on environmental, social and governance issues. She is also a lawyer with over 25 years’ experience, and is currently studying journalism and media.
  • Dr Anthony Valcke is the convenor for European Union Migration Law in Brussels and the supervising solicitor for the EU Rights Clinic.  He has over 20 years of legal experience and specialises in EU free movement, migration and nationality cases. He also teaches at undergraduate level as  adjunct professor of law at Vesalius College in Brussels.
  • Fiona Godfrey is a consultant to Vital Strategies in Paris, working on health and climate policy, and former Secretary General of Public Health Alliance (EPHA). She has nearly two decades of experience in public health advocacy. She also campaigned to secure the rights of British citizens in the EU27 and EU27 citizens in the United Kingdom after Brexit. She is a Trustee of Statewatch, a UK-based civil and migrant rights charity, and Co-Chair of British in Europe.
  • Robert Gibson is the author of “Bridge the culture gaps – A toolkit for effective collaboration in the diverse, global workplace”. He is an intercultural transformation expert, with 30 years’ experience of intercultural competence development in business and education. He is currently exploring the interface between diversity, culture and neuroscience.
  • Janette Sinclair is Adviser for Corporate Social Responsibility in European Commission’s DG Human Resources. She created the Commission’s staff volunteering initiative, Volunteer for a Change, to improve links between staff and the communities around them. She was Head of Social Policy and Internal Communication in DGHR. Before joining the EC she worked in the UK Employment and Education Ministries.

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