Power and society

The first event of Global Diplomacy took place at the beginning of April with Nicole Bogott and Luiza Souza talking about power and society.

Power is a large concept, but for this event, the discussion was focused on the power of communities and on human rights.

What better way to talk about communities than with a practical example? Philia, founded by Nicole Bogott, has women empowerment as its main objective. But how do they do it? Through a peer coaching process focused on equality allowing its members to empower themselves, their relationships and conversations, and ultimately, their communities. In this way, everyone is kept in the loop, irrespective of their location (Philia is a global network with branches in Portugal, Germany, Turkey, India, and Afghanistan).

The power triangle model (below) is the basis to grow a community, i.e., continuously growing the three aspects, a community grows too:

Model created by Dr. Branko Woischwill and Nicole Bogott

Nicole mentioned that “power is always in relation to someone or something else”; besides that, power is possible to achieve if there is access to networks, knowledge, and resources. This access allows an easier process of ownership (as everyone is on the loop), and an easier indicator of real influence and impact.

Philia aims to create a space for civic participation and engagement. It is doing that by using the methodologies described, but also focusing on clear communication. Clear, but minimal guidelines are essential to drive communities to leverage their own resources – following the principles of co-creation.

The core outcomes, so far, have been the establishment of branches in 5 countries in 2 different continents; the creation of a safe space for conversation and discussion; thus co-creating and shaping a community with a sense of clarity on the importance of encouraging ourselves more.

The discussion followed with Luiza Sousa, a human rights’ researcher and advocate. Crisis are often seen as an opportunity to solve challenges; for example, the Geneva conventions were established in 1949, after the Second World War. Is the COVID-19 crisis going to be an opportunity for human rights and refugees?

The opinions during the discussion were similar: there is not just one solution to fit all countries and there is an urgent need of changing mindset before there is a change of reality. However, change is, usually, slow so an option is to start with the human level, not only the political one. How to do that? Knowing “the other”.

Fear is a common concern nowadays, and it has been too when talking about refugees. Closing or opening societies is dependant on several factors, and fear is definitely one of those. The constant shifts in power dynamics (even more now) impact and are impacted by social movements, by the communities. People with data, with information, knowledge have a lot more power and, sometimes, they do not know how to effectively use it.

Understanding the world through the lens of communities was the first of Global Diplomacy topics. In the next ones, power and its dynamics will continue to be explored.

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