Socialcompact » Overview

Salzburg Global Seminar, in partnership with specialist international institutions, has developed a multi-year program on the roles of states and families in meeting 21st century social investment needs.
 
Intergenerational and gender justice and inclusion of marginalized populations are critical for social cohesion but come under particular strain where economic systems are confronting a "double squeeze" - how to improve start of life opportunities for all while also caring and paying for aging societies. In many countries, the greatest burden falls on the family unit; government support, where provided, is inconsistently managed between various organizations and seldom reflects forward-thinking best practices. We believe that states' and families' abilities to confront these challenges will shape 21st century economic systems, societal norms and individual wellbeing.
 
Designing a social compact’s added value is its capacity to rapidly address critical bottlenecks to progress - as identified by leading researchers, practitioners and policy makers - and link results to strategic decision points within each sector.


“Who do we need to better include in the ‘constellation of carers’ for aging societies?”
“Who do we need to better include in the ‘constellation of carers’ for aging societies?”
Ana Alania & Heather Jaber 
“This raises fresh questions about the respective roles of individuals’ families and the state in terms of who does what. We need to rethink old assumptions about who does the caring. There are massive workforce issues, in that for healthcare we need much more generalists rather than medical specialists and we need many more people doing the physical caring which we currently delegate to the least trained, least qualified and least paid part of the workforce.”  Richard Humphries, Assistant Director of Policy, The King’s Fund, UK “I don’t think it’s who should to be more involved; it’s the individual person themselves, the patient or the elderly person, it’s their family, it’s their community and it’s a multi-disciplinary team of healthcare providers. I’m obviously biased towards family medicine, and I do think a good family practitioner can be the coordinator – but there is not enough of us around.”  Helga Holst, Semi-retired medical doctor, South Africa “Family caregiving today is more complex, more costly and more stressful and more demanding than ever before. We are transferring more “medical nursing tasks” to family members who feel they have no choice but to perform them and have virtually no training to do so. They are “home alone” and need guidance and support to do this crucial work.”  Susan Reinhard, Senior Vice President, AARP, USA “Since 90% of your health is determined by factors outside of the health care system such as social, environmental, genetic and social factors everyone needs to be involved in health and health care. Individuals need access to information, services, and an environment that support them to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible regardless of their state of health. Families (defined in the broadest sense) need emotional, financial, and practical support, and training to live healthy lives and care for dependent family members. Communities (including housing) need to be designed to promote health and be age-friendly to promote participation of all ages and at all states of health and ability. Government has a large role to play in implementing policies, services, and financing to promote health and provide care for all generations. The private sector can be a source of innovation and – along with the public sector – be an engine for the economic security so essential for health. So, we are all in this together and all need to have a voice in planning and realizing the best possible health for all.”  Susan Mende, Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Salzburg Global session Aging Societies: Advancing Innovation and Equity is part of the multi-year seriesDesigning a Social Compact for the 21st Century. The session is being hosted in partnership with Wirtschaftskammer Österreich and is sponsored by TIAA-CREF Financial Services and Tsao Foundation. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/540. For more information on Designing a Social Compact for the 21st Century, please visit: socialcompact.salzburgglobal.org 
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Pieter Vanhuysse - "How do we change what we are teaching today for tomorrow?"
Pieter Vanhuysse - "How do we change what we are teaching today for tomorrow?"
Heather Jaber 

One of the first questions posed to participants during Aging Societies: Advancing Innovation and Equity was: why should a young person be involved in the aging industry? 

Besides the fact that most people have elderly family members or friends, the aging industry presents both inevitable and lucrative trends, explains Pieter Vanhuysse, professor of comparative welfare state research at the Department of Political Science and Public Management of the University of Southern Denmark. 

“It’s a billion dollar question,” he said. “Of all the major trends that are going to be happening to our societies in the next 20 years, this is perhaps the single most important one that we can predict. It is not the single most important trend…but it’s the single most important one that we can actually more or less predict, and therefore prepare for today.”

Vanhuysse’s research focuses on policy-related issues of aging populations, generational harmony or disharmony, and conflict or sustainability. Some of his work looks at the political causes and consequences of population aging. Other work includes measures of intergenerational equity to see how different countries react to burdens on the young and the overall pro-elderly bias of welfare states.

While Vanhuysse discussed bad policy-making at the introductory panel discussion on holistic approaches to aging, the deeper root explanation of these bad policies is human nature, he posits. These issues are manifested in myopia, or a very strong focus on the present rather than the future, and self-interest.

Still, aging societies do not only present problem-areas in global trends. “The very fact that we will have a different demographic composition of our societies will lead to different economic opportunities,” he explains. Demand for elderly care will trigger influxes of caretakers from youthful societies. The robotization of economies is another source of opportunity — Japan’s industrial robot market caters to one of the oldest societies in the world. They saw a demographic change, says Vanhuysse, and created a huge market for themselves.

The most important factor in solving aging society issues lies in education, he claims. Younger generations will be faced with the enormous and unbalanced task of providing support for aging societies. Thus, it is important to encourage older people to participate in the labor markets, and to instil in young people the skills they will need for later – much later – in life.

“How do we change what we are teaching today for tomorrow?” asks Vanhuysse. The answer lies in fostering more creative, flexible mindsets as opposed to factual knowledge in our populations.

One thing we must do, he said, is avoid creating too many specialists early in education. 

Vanhuysse cites Isaiah Berlin’s essay on foxes and hedgehogs, explaining that society may need more adaptable minds: “Foxes are very versatile — they do many things. They change direction, but they can adapt to different things. Hedgehogs slowly but surely do one thing. They do it well, but it’s one narrow path they follow. Perhaps we need to think about creating more foxes among the 14- and 15-year-olds
of today.”

While economists may focus on more empirical or data-driven trends, he views the dialogue with those from participants in other sectors as a key feature of the session. Economists and political scientists may not discuss notions of dialogue, respect, and reciprocity on a daily basis, but he realises the benefits of such gatherings.

“The general strength of Salzburg Global Seminar…is to really bring interested, curious people form very different walks of life — both in terms of where they come from but also how they think — together for open-minded, liberal discussion.”


Pieter Vanhuysse was a participant at Aging Societies: Advancing Innovation and Equity, which is part of the multi-year series Designing a Social Compact for the 21st Century. The session is being hosted in partnership with Wirtschaftskammer Österreich and is sponsored by TIAA-CREF Financial Services and Tsao Foundation. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/540. For more information on Designing a Social Compact for the 21st Century, please visit: socialcompact.salzburgglobal.org
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Emma Leblanc - It’s easy to critique, but there’s a real force to creating a better system
Emma Leblanc - It’s easy to critique, but there’s a real force to creating a better system
Heather Jaber 

While the situation in Syria remains grim, Emma Leblanc, a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford who photographed Syria during the outbreak of the revolution, pointed out that any strand of hope comes from witnessing the courage of others risking their lives. “If theres any hope, I think it means a lot to grow up in an environment where you see people being as brave as they're being. People who know the risks, and they do, they know the risks of what they're doing.”

Leblanc discussed her experience photographing and documenting the lives of Syrian citizens at the session Youth, Economics and Violence: Implications for Future Conflict . She talked about her first experience visiting a nursing home in Syria, where she later went on to photograph and record their stories. 

“It was really this sort of catch all for everyone who doesn't have a place in society. The elderly, the disabled who maybe are stigmatized in their communities and have nowhere else to go, women leaving abusive husbands, drug addicts — there is very little care there.”

Still, said Leblanc, it was interesting to get the insight people who live on the fringes of society. “This was a space where everyone was sort of considered kind of crazy, marginal — they were able to say things that no one else could say.”

While she also photographed the war in Iraq, she felt a divisive difference in the photographs she produced there and in Syria. “I felt very dissatisfied with the work I did there — it felt like more the same war pornography that we see every day.”

She spoke of her detachment from photographs of Syria in Western media at the outbreak of the revolution. “I remember seeing one picture from a protest, and it was young men with scarves around their faces and fists up, and I thought, ‘I don’t recognize this as Syria. This isn't the place I know. This is generic Middle East unrest.’ And I felt very uncomfortable with that.” For that reason, Leblanc wanted to highlight aspects of the revolution and conflict that are often overlooked.

“I think I wanted to take pictures of people in war in which the agents were not just men with guns and the victims were not just women and children.” Some of the people Leblanc photographed included young ballerinas in the suburb she lived in. 

While, as an academic, Leblanc complicated the notion of freedom and relative perspectives in the US and Middle East, she recognized the difficulty of growing up in different contexts. “I think as a young person, to see that, that’s got to be empowering. On the one hand, it’s devastating to see the response of the regime, the international response, but…also, what courage. I'm not sure I grew up seeing that courage firsthand.”

While being an academic may have Leblanc and her colleagues critiquing theory and strategy, she touched on the importance of hearing different perspectives and offering real solutions.

“This is great to be around people who are approaching this from all different ways, who are thinking about moving beyond the theory— they're thinking about what are we going to on the ground, how are we going to work with what’s there?”

A constructive outlook to create change, said Leblanc, is to focus on the positive. “Some of the ideas I thought were most exciting were ‘let’s stop talking only about what were fighting against, but let’s construct positive solutions,’ and I think that thats a really inspiring one. I think that it becomes very easy to fall into the critique, critique, critique, not just as academics, but in general, but there’s a real force to just creating a better system, and then everyone else has to catch up.”


Emma Leblanc was a Fellow at the session Youth, Economics & Violence: Implications for Future Conflict, which was held in partnership with the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. For more information, please visit the session page: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/549
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“What are the three most important factors to ensuring sustainable and equitable aging societies?”
Session co-chair Alexandre Kalache asks: Is society prepared for aging?
“What are the three most important factors to ensuring sustainable and equitable aging societies?”
Ana Alania and Heather Jaber 
“1) Health longevity: To be stronger as we age, it’s not about how long we live but how healthy we are so that we can age-in-place successfully and independently.  2) Workplace policy transformation: To change how we view productivity, e.g., flexible hours, working from home, project-based work to suit changing psychographics of elderly. 3) Care-giving careers transformation: Care careers are not just care-giving. Increasingly, it will be about services to enable older people to age successfully at home. Social + health + lifestyle services.”  Janice Chia, session co-chair and Founder and Managing Director, Ageing Asia Pte Ltd, Singapore “The very first is to raise awareness that aging is… the most important societal achievement of the last century. It’s fantastic to age – not to age means dying early. My life expectancy was 43 when I was born in Brazil, today it’s 73. This is a tremendous achievement, but many people in societies don’t recognize that so raising awareness that aging is, first of all, an achievement and it is good for you is very important. The second is that, yeah it is an achievement, but it is also a challenge and most countries are ill-prepared. For instance, if you see how university students today are trained (not only in health but in general) very little consideration is given to aging, and if you don’t prepare the next generations to understand that aging is here to stay, you are not going to find answers. And the last is sustainable policies. To afford things like my country, Brazil, is doing which is to have huge benefits for few and so many people without the basics to survive, and then you end up blaming aging when in fact it is bad policies.”  Alexandre Kalachesession co-chair and President, International Longevity Centre (ILC); Co-President, ILC Global Alliance, Brazil “Number one and most important is education, so preparing for whatever is coming and do better than we do. Number two is adjusting our social security systems to aging, mainly in health. And number three is readdressing the income side or public revenue side by kind of broadening the tax-base.”  Andreas Esche, Director, Shaping Sustainable Economies Program; Member of the Management Committee, Bertelsmann Stiftung, Germany  “Education, education, education is maybe the single most important way to go for aging societies. What do I mean by that? I think we need to do work on the quantity of education, for example in many countries, less in the Western world and in the developing world, women are still underqualified, which is a shame. The quality of education obviously in terms of the quality of teachers, therefore their payments and their social status [needs to improve]… but thirdly also the content of education and this is the one big under-researched question today about tomorrow: [what are] the new skills we need to teach today for tomorrow? Since tomorrow is not very well known – the future is inherently unpredictable – my suggestion would be we have to educate people, first of all, more to be wide as oppose to narrow, more generalist (especially in the early stages of education) than specialists. … And in addition to that we have to try and see how we can make them creative problem solvers… Because we don’t know what will be the problems of tomorrow except for population aging, which is predictable… With technological changes inherently unpredictable we don’t really know what we need to teach for tomorrow except that we need to teach skills to tackle those problems tomorrow. And the last thing I would say relating to education is that of course education should never stop. That’s why I proposed that we should move to a paradigm of not active aging but the quintuple A story – The Active Aging At All Ages. So just like pension reform must start with babies, giving them skills to be productive in their work by supporting elderly generations… this active aging also needs to start with younger people because throughout their life course, throughout their working careers, as well as their educational careers, they need to upscale their grade and reconnect with the constantly evolving and changing demands of the labor market.”  Pieter Vanhuysse, Professor of comparative welfare state research at the Department of Political Science and Public Management, University of Southern Denmark
The Salzburg Global session Aging Societies: Advancing Innovation and Equity is part of the multi-year seriesDesigning a Social Compact for the 21st Century. The session is being hosted in partnership with Wirtschaftskammer Österreich and is sponsored by TIAA-CREF Financial Services and Tsao Foundation. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/540. For more information on Designing a Social Compact for the 21st Century, please visit: socialcompact.salzburgglobal.org 
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Experts Gather to Discuss Sustainability in Aging Societies
Experts Gather to Discuss Sustainability in Aging Societies
Heather Jaber 

With demographics shifting on a global scale, questions of economic constraints and social protection have risen to the forefront. Still, aging is not considered comprehensively on international or local agendas. In the session Aging Societies: Advancing Innovation and Equity, 60 thought leaders, practitioners, and innovators from countries experiencing demographic shifts and developed welfare systems will gather from November 1-5 to discuss the impact of aging societies.

Shifting migration, demographic, and urbanization patterns are inevitably causing increasing pressures on societies, in the way of inequality and social structure as well as economic concerns of debt and low growth rates. Some countries face greater challenges due to low income levels and the vulnerability of their economies. Still, these shifts offer potential for rethinking personal welfare and may foster innovative policy reforms. 

Participants will tackle issues like the economics of aging, the sustainability of welfare systems, and the transition of work and technology as populations age. They will also touch on the image of aging and its intersection with other forms of identity, such as gender, sexual orientation, social class and power, religious, and ethnic minority status. In addition, participants will examine best practices for the economic and societal pressures of aging societies.

“Very often we think about aging as medical care,” said co-chair Janice Chia, founder and managing director of Ageing Asia PTE Ltd, touching on the perception of aging in society. “I think that it’s also about making our society more ageing aware.”

This thought was echoed in the opening session's panel, which touched on growth and prosperity in aging societies. "We need to move from thinking about aging as a chronological and backward process to also being a prospective and forward concept," said Peter Vanhuysse, a speaker at the session and professor of comparative welfare state research at the University of Southern Denmark. "How many birthdays have I had and how many birthdays will I have?" 

Apart from moderated discussion, the practitioners and thinkers will also engage in country and region-based work. Working groups will provide a forum for focusing on key points of discussion and more in-depth knowledge exchange.

The session will not only foster compelling discussion, but will create a global network of participants from various sectors and therefore more informed methods for applying best practices in their own countries. A “Salzburg Statement” will also be published to provide priorities and recommendations for aging networks.

The co-chairs of the session are Janice Chia, founder and managing director of Ageing Asia PTE Ltd, and Alexandre Kalache, president of International Longevity Centre Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. The session is part of a multi-year series, Designing a Social Compact for the 21st Century. Past sessions have tackled challenges of aging societies, welfare systems in Asia, and sustainable growth for the future.


The Salzburg Global session Aging Societies: Advancing Innovation and Equity is part of the multi-year series Designing a Social Compact for the 21st Century. The session is being hosted in partnership with Wirtschaftskammer Österreich and is sponsored by TIAA-CREF Financial Services and Tsao Foundation. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/540. For more information on Designing a Social Compact for the 21st Century, please visit: socialcompact.salzburgglobal.org

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Nemanja Zekic - Messages of togetherness are more powerful than messages of misery
Nemanja Zekic - Messages of togetherness are more powerful than messages of misery
Heather Jaber 

In Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, communities are living in a post-conflict society, 20 years after the violent break-up of Yugoslavia and the massacre of 8,000 Bosniaks by Bosnian Serbs. Here, the burden of a youth unemployment rate of around 60% makes tackling nepotism, youth violence, and apathy all the more difficult. Nemanja Zekic, a participant of the session Youth, Economics, and Violence: Implications for Future Conflict, spoke to Salzburg Global Seminar of his experience working with youth initiatives in Srebrenica and other areas in the country.

Zekic is the president of the Srebrenica Youth Council, which started in 2002 to create more activities for the youth in town. Eventually, it grew into an umbrella organization for other youth initiatives in the area. 

“At the beginning,” said Zekic, “the prime goal was, ‘lets have some activities, change something, lets do some youth activism,’ but during that time people in our post-conflict society realized that youth activism is a really important and strong tool in reconciliation.”

In the spirit of reconciliation and rebuilding, one of the organization’s core values is social cohesion. A popular initiative stemming from this was the Silvertown Shine music festival, which annually brings musicians to Srebrenica.

“That festival brings young people together, young artists, to send a message of togetherness, to send a message of activism, and to send a different kind of message from the town that is known only for sad messages of genocide, of terrible crimes, and of sadness and misery.”

Zekic now works with The Complete Freedom of Truth, an initiative which uses the arts to encourage creativity among the youth. Practitioners and artists from dozens of youth centers participate in these workshops and activities, including many socially disadvantaged members of the youth. The initiative recently accepted the European Citizens Prize from the European Parliament.

Zekic highlighted some initiatives to focus on after the session, including encouraging the political participation of young people, who have the potential to sway the results of elections in their favor.

While he uses his background in economics to analyze the political, economic, and cultural climate, he also spoke about invaluable knowledge on youth violence that he gained from the session.

“They gave us really valuable lessons about how to divide different kinds of violence, how to recognize it, what motivates violence, and how to tackle it. So now with all this information, I can go to the bigger youth councils in Bosnia…I can go there and advocate, fight against hooliganism — that is the biggest issue of violence that we have in Bosnia, and no one seems to know how to approach it.”

While he may not have all of the clearcut answers, he spoke of being able to use the experience to build a path towards a solution to a problem that is a threat to the entire region. “I don’t have a clear idea,” he said, “but I have the knowledge that can help in building the strategy of how we’re going to address [it].”


Nemanja Zekic was a Fellow at the session Youth, Economics & Violence: Implications for Future Conflict, which was held in partnership with the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. For more information, please visit the session page: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/549 

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Paul Sixpence - Zimbabwe needs alternative spaces of communication for the youth
Paul Sixpence - Zimbabwe needs alternative spaces of communication for the youth
Heather Jaber 

With pressing issues facing the youth in Southern Africa and Zimbabwe, Paul Sixpence, coordinator of HIV/AIDS and human rights advocacy projects at Centre Stage Media Arts Foundation in Bulawayo, discussed the importance of providing a platform for the youth to voice their concerns.

Sixpence, a participant at Youth, Economics, and Violence: Implications for Future Conflict, discussed the work that must be done in the way of media freedom, gender issues, and corruption, with Salzburg Global while at the session. “Probably over the past four to five years, there has been a decline in terms of state repression as well as political violence,” said Sixpence, although these are not necessarily the result of the new constitution. “We still have gaps that need to be filled.”

At Centre Stage Media Arts Foundation, a communication for development initiative, Sixpence works on issues of human rights advocacy, HIV/AIDS, and youth development initiatives. He mainly focuses on youth issues in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa, such as unemployment, marginalization, conflict, and HIV/AIDS. Currently, he is working on how media usage can be used for policy advocacy of HIV prevention science.

Intrinsic to these issues is communication between young people and their government.

“It becomes therefore critical that [we] as civil society organizations working with all other partners create these alternative spaces for discussion, and also allow young people themselves to discuss among themselves and articulate the challenges…and solutions to some of the challenges they have.”

During the session, participants discussed barriers to communication for young people in different contexts. Sixpence touched on why having a platform to communicate is vital to the youth, especially in terms of having their concerns met by the government.

“It becomes, therefore, critical that [we] as civil society organisations working with all other partners, create these alternative spaces for discussion, and also allow young people themselves to discuss…and articulate the challenges…and probably solutions to some of the challenges they have.”

“The Salzburg Global Seminar program has been quite useful,” he said, “especially if I reflect on the kind of work that I do at home. There are new insights that I have gained, in terms of looking at youth opportunities for addressing issues around unemployment, the idea of looking at the local level — that could be at city level, that could be at regional level, within a country — the economic solutions that we can come up with to address the solutions on the ground.”

Particularly, said Sixpence, the session gave him new insight on how to tackle problems like the migration issues that stem from violence in countries like South Africa.

“I’m also motivated…as a practitioner and a researcher to try and develop solutions and communications across the border, not [to] work only nationally, but with organizations, [and] stakeholders in South Africa to share our ideas on how best we can solve this particular challenge.”


Paul Sixpence was a Fellow at the session Youth, Economics & Violence: Implications for Future Conflict, which was held in partnership with the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. For more information, please visit the session page: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/549
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