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.

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:
Aml El-Houderi - “Law and human rights are heavy topics to understand”
Aml El-Houderi - “Law and human rights are heavy topics to understand”
Heather Jaber 

To tackle societal issues in Libya, from women’s political participation and youth involvement in civil society, there are cultural and legal foundations to consider. Aml El-Houderi, an international advocacy program coordinator at Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL), talked to Salzburg Global Seminar about the youth’s marginalisation in Libya, and how this may lead to larger social shifts.

El-Houderi’s work with LFJL, an independent NGO promoting human rights in Libya from a legal framework, was originally founded by six Libyan lawyers who lived in the diaspora and used their international law expertise during the 2011 uprising. It now has a network of 60 Libyan lawyers across the country.

One of these key issues in Libyan society is the marginalization of the youth, a topic quite relevant for the session Youth, Economics & Violence: Implications for Future Conflict, held in partnership with the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The youth, said El-Houderi, are left out from decision-making roles in civil society, political participation, and under the law. 

“In legal terms, youth are not protected in law. They are marginalized in the decision-making process, [in] their political participation they are marginalized [as well]. So they were called for in the revolution, their voice was heard, but then when it came to the next steps of rebuilding the country, they were completely marginalized and thought of as irritants.”

This kind of marginalization does not exist in a vacuum; the lack of decision-making power, said El-Houderi, can lead to issues inside of the home. Finding this new space to be assertive can lead to larger issues, such as domestic violence.

“This is nurtured by Libyan law,” said El-Houderi, “since there is a provision that a man can discipline his wife. The legal and cultural aspects are interrelated and they perpetuate the culture of discrimination of women.”

El-Houderi’s work with LFJL focuses on international advocacy, where she engages with the UN Human Rights Council sessions, the EU, the African Commission, and other Libyan NGOs to discuss resolutions for Libya as well as meet key stakeholders to discuss human rights violations. 

She is also coordinator of the Coalition of Libyan Human Rights NGOs, which was created by LFJL. It includes six Libyan human rights organisations working around Libya’s Universal Periodic Review. Recently, LFJL put out a joint statement with Article 19 welcoming Libya’s acceptance of all recommendations related to free expression, association, and assembly. 

El-Houderi also highlighted the significance of the session, and the impact of discussing different case studies from around the world. “It was just so great to have different stakeholders come together, youth, older people, experts from around the world in different fields.” 

As a Libyan, El-Houderi found it especially important to share her perspective. “The first day you’re very intimidated, and then you realize that everyone is there to learn and that no one is intellectually arrogant…it’s also its a really nice feeling to be a Libyan here, especially since Libya is not on the international scenes or forums.”

To combat the issues that Libya is facing, whether internally or on an international level, El-Houderi stressed that focusing on positive behavior is key. LFJL’s work on a freedom of expression program called Express is an example of this, as it encouraged artistic expression of human rights.

“The general remark is that law and human rights are heavy topics to understand for everyone, so we have to bring those terms in such a creative and simple way,” she said. “I think creativity is key here.”

 Aml El-Houderi 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: 
Krijn Peters - Wheels of Change: Youth, jobs and the role of the public sector in developing countries
Krijn Peters speaks at the Salzburg Global session on Youth, Economics and Violence
Krijn Peters - Wheels of Change: Youth, jobs and the role of the public sector in developing countries
Krijn Peters 
We all know the challenge ahead: the current youth bulge, as is manifesting itself in the global South, will require the creation of hundreds of millions of additional jobs. If we fail to do so, it will result in socioeconomic marginalization and misery for young people at an individual level, and social unrest or even violent conflict on a national level across large regions of the world. The key question is: Who should create these jobs, the public or the private sector? A major problem with the first - particularly true for development countries - is that it often has limited means at its disposal. This may not be such a problem for the private sector, where the revenues of the largest multi-national corporations (MNCs) outdo the Gross National Product (GDP) of some of the smaller developing countries, but its focus on profit does not automatically generate more jobs for young people, let alone decent jobs with a living wage. That said, the private sector is more than MNCs, and in developing countries in particular includes the large informal sector populated by traders, farmers, small-scale miners and day laborers among others. But the question remains, who should we turn to for job creation? In search of an answer, it may be instructive to look at the post-war reconstruction process that follows the end of contemporary armed conflicts. Here the challenge is to rebuild the war-ravaged country - war has sometimes been labelled as "development in reverse" - with limited financial means (with most of those means provided by overseas donors) at a time when most foreign private investors find it yet too risky to invest in the country. A particular challenge is to provide an alternative and more peaceful livelihood for the tens- or hundreds of thousands ex-combatants, often young and poorly educated or trained. Six or 12 month skills training courses tend to be the preferred option of the international donors. Tens of thousands of ex-combatants are trained in skills such as carpentry, masonry, tailoring or car-mechanics, with soap-making or hairdressing on offer for female ex-combatants. After completion of the training, the ex-combatant is given a toolbox, in the expectation that he or she will be able to set up shop and make a living from his or her newly acquired skill. In both Sierra Leone and Liberia, two war-affected countries in West Africa, the majority of these newly trained ex-combatants failed to secure a job, finding themselves competing with much better trained craftsmen in an economy with low demand. Hence, they ended up selling their toolkit and involving themselves in underpaid manual labor in the agricultural or mining sector, or left for the urban centers trying to make a living on a day-by-day basis. So much for the concerted efforts of the donor-funded public sector. But there is one success story coming out of both countries, and interestingly, it became successful despite (or thanks to) not being part of any of the donor-funded skills training programs on offer. In both Liberia and Sierra Leone the post-conflict period has seen a spontaneous explosion of motorcycle taxis, many ridden by ex-combatants. This development first affected the towns - offering an effective means to ensure ex-combatants' social re-incorporation along the way - and then fanned out into the remotest rural areas. Not only are hundreds of thousands young people employed as bike riders (often one bike has several riders taking shifts to keep the machine on the road all the time and maximize profits) but thousands of bike repair shops have been created in addition to hundreds of little road side restaurants. The bike revolution has connected remote communities, offering better access to education and health services while simultaneously enabling subsistence farmers to start producing for local markets, breaking the deadlock of rural poverty. So what is the general lesson here? To speak with the renowned American development economist William Easterly, the "planners" - here the government, the international donor community and its implementing partners - have failed, while the "searchers" - the young ex-combatants - have succeeded in finding a significant economic niche. So is there no role for the "planners" for job creation? Or in other words, can we leave it all to the informal or private sector? Clearly not, but the government's and donor community's focus should be on removing barriers and facilitating initiatives originating and taking place in the informal sector which do create jobs and livelihoods for young people, rather than creating more of what is already not working.
Dr. Krijn Peters is an associate professor in armed conflict and post-war reconstruction in the Department of Political & Cultural Studies at Swansea University, Wales, UK. He is participated in a session on
Youth, Economics and Violence: Implications for Future Conflict, held in partnership with the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. 
Srinjoy Bose - "Youth haven’t really been taken care of by anyone, whether it is the Afghan government or the international community"
Srinjoy Bose - "Youth haven’t really been taken care of by anyone, whether it is the Afghan government or the international community"
Rachitaa Gupta and Stuart Milne 

As urbanization accelerates around the world, the percentage of under-25s is crossing 50% in several developing countries. Almost 70% of Afghanistan’s population is below the age of 25 years. Providing this young population with the resources for a new generation of healthy, productive, and empowered young women and men is one of Afghanistan’s core challenges.

At the session Youth, Economics, and Violence: Implications for Future Conflict, Srinjoy Bose, a PhD scholar from the Australian National University, spoke of the importance of youth movements in the social and political landscape of Afghanistan and social media as a tool in mobilizing the youth, especially during the recent elections.

“Youth haven’t really been taken care of by anyone, whether it is the Afghan government or the international community.” He spoke of the lack of youth policy until 2013, which was more than a decade into the intervention. 

The irresponsibility for this, according to Bose, lies with both the Afghanistan government and the international community. But in past few years, the Afghan youth have started organizing to make a significant difference. Most of the youth in youth groups, he said, come from a wide variety of backgrounds and sectors and are newly active. Typically, they work independent of parties or formal alliances due to general distrust of the party system.

“Political parties have tended to be looked down upon in Afghanistan’s recent history, possibly because they contributed to violence and instability, particularly during the civil war years.” This created a lack of youth wings or parties, and this vacuum led to recent civil society movements.

He acknowledged that most of this change is being led by the urban youth, but also emphasized the fact that these change makers have reached out to their peers in different cities and rural areas throughout the country. Despite the progress, Bose drew attention to the complexity of the Afghan youth. They still have to contend with the urban and rural unemployed young Afghans who are often manipulated and susceptible to community pressures and political actors.

Bose also spoke of social media in the lives of Afghan youth, which he said has happened largely due to a good telecommunication industry in the country which has boomed since the invasion.

“The substance of Facebook discussions is phenomenal and so sophisticated. Sometimes there is banter, and sometimes it degenerates into name calling. But so far, it has been very sophisticated. Afghan youth are very educated and aware of political concepts, concepts that we treasure in the West.” He spoke of Facebook as an important tool for for interaction and mobilization, especially for those facing constant violence and unrest.

Still, many factions of political parties and parliamentarians have raised concern over the growing tension and unrest between minorities due to the use of mobile phones and Facebook.

“Some politicians and parliamentarians have complained about Facebook, that it has heightened ethnic tension. There is this feeling amongst some Afghans that Facebook has facilitated ethnic divides during the election campaigns.”

On a global level, Bose said that Salzburg Global has been a good platform to understand the limitations of working with a diverse group of people helping youth live their lives at the margins of economy and violence in different parts of the world.

Sharing the personal experiences of working in their individual fields allowed the participants to have tough conversation about the definition of violence, limitations of the scope of their work, and the lessons they could learn from each other. Bose credited this as the biggest achievement of the session.

The session Youth, Economics & Violence: Implications for Future Conflict is part of the multi-year series Designing a Social Compact for the 21st Century and is being held in partnership with the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New YorkRead more here:

Nicholas Carlisle & Simranpreet Singh Oberoi - Bullied Since Birth
Nicholas Carlisle & Simranpreet Singh Oberoi - Bullied Since Birth
Nicholas Carlisle 
This article was originally published on the No Bully blog. Bheem Kumar belongs to the Musahar community, one of the lowest castes in India, referred to as Mahadalits. The Musahars have since long been the targets of institutionalized bullying, where an entire ethnicity is shamed by name - Musahar literally means a rat eater. They are condemned to a life in designated musaharis or ghettos at the margins of the villages. Bheem’s likely inheritance is to never read or write and to earn less than $2 a day as a landless agricultural bonded laborer. He is more than 85% likely to suffer from malnutrition. However, Bheem is one of the five children selected from his village to go to Shoshit Samadhan Kendra, a free English medium residential school founded in 2007 by Mr. J.K.Sinha (retd.I.P.S.) exclusively for Musahar boys. Simranpreet Singh Oberoi, the Chief Project Officer, spoke to No Bully about the school at the Salzburg Global Seminar in April 2015 as part of their program on Youth, Economics and Violence.

What’s your theory of change?  

We see education as a means for these boys to come out of the vicious cycle of debt ridden poverty. We shall continue to support them till higher education and till they get real sustainable jobs. By creating these role models in different pockets of the state, we hope the community will see value in education and will be inspired from these success stories to educate their kids and hence create a ripple effect. We would like these kids to go back and start their own NGOs to solve community problems and get their projects supported by us. The idea is to develop the community as a whole, which, of course, will take a few decades.

Can you tell us more about the cycle of violence?  

Musahar youth has witnessed and experienced violence in different forms. Domestic violence, gang wars, humiliation in government schools and offices, are just some of the examples. Corporal punishment back in villages is quite common and many, including the parents, believe very strongly in it. We have had instances when the father will slap his erring child in front of us and say – “If he breaks the rules again, you can do whatever you want.” We do have some physical bullying too. They will use their hands to punch each other or rip a book. The senior students often pass on their chores to juniors who do it without any question. In some grades, the academically best student – or maybe he is the teacher’s favorite - is pulled down and humiliated.

How are you breaking the cycle of violence?

There are rules against corporal punishment, which in fact, is mandatory because of our affiliation with India’s Central Board of Secondary Education. The mornings begin with meditation to set a good tone for the rest of the day. Last March, nine students (3D boys) came to us with a project idea – ‘Mission Society’, to work in seven villages for seven days and carry out clean up drives and, do a street play in each for generating awareness. We got it funded but the road was not so smooth though. People doubted their intentions and were slow to trust since nothing much had happened for a long time in those areas. The students wrote reflection papers about this service and hope to do better next time. Students are now standing up for kids who are bullied and drove a senior boy who was doing this to leave the school. It is indeed a Herculean task to help teachers change their attitudes. The new practice we started of giving power to the student council to make suggestions for school improvement was very alien and faced obstacles. But, we saw great value in introducing open forums for discussion since they at least created a space for everyone to speak up. We have also begun a Learning Together Series for the teachers on how they are thinking about things and, understanding their students better.  But we have never had the funding to implement an anti-bullying program that would get to the root of this.
Nicholas Carlisle and Simranpreet Singh Oberoi were both participants of the Salzburg Global program Youth, Economics & Violence: Implications for Future Conflict, part of the multi-year series Designing a Social Compact for the 21st Century. Read more here: 
Mini Program - Major Ambitions
Mini Program - Major Ambitions
Louise Hallman 

Every June, the Salzburg Global Board of Directors Weekend brings together board members and staff with major donors, long-serving Fellows and prospective partners. The program offers an opportunity to learn more about Salzburg Global’s work – and provides a launch pad for multi-year programs.

Convening board members as well as major donors, long-serving Fellows and prospective partners, the annual June Board Meeting Weekend program at Schloss Leopoldskron serves not only as a reflection of the year’s work, but also as “Salzburg Global Seminar in Miniature,” with each year’s two-day program covering cutting edge topics that serve as a taster of larger Salzburg Global programs to come.

The 2014 program Bridging The Rift: How Can We Reconnect Youth To Their Future? went one step further and kick-started a new multi-program intervention: Designing a Social Compact for the 21st Century.

Youth unemployment rates are sky high across the world. Pension deficits loom large. Economic inequality is widening. Too often, young people’s life chances are tied to social determinants that provide gloomy predictors of educational, health and professional outcomes. As the costs of higher education, medical care, pensions, and planetary degradation spiral upwards, intergenerational justice will pose complex challenges in the decades to come.

What innovations do we need to build the skills needed and renew social mobility? How can we ensure adequate care for all generations when facing changing demographics? How can we better connect voices, votes and talents across social strata?

Applying the unique Salzburg Global “triple lens” of Imagination, Sustainability, and Justice, the panelists together with an audience spanning high-level executives, young professionals, college students, and retirees, examined the challenges facing education systems, the future jobs market, and intergenerational justice.

Panelists included Erion Veliaj, Albanian Minister of Youth and Social Welfare; Lord Wei of Shoreditch, founder of several British education initiatives including Teach First; Alexa Wesner, US Ambassador to Austria and venture capitalist; Rosanna Wong, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups; and Pieter Vanhuysse, a leading aging researcher, at the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research.

Building on from insights gleaned from these expert panelists, Salzburg Global will convene a number of programs in 2015 tackling the diverse but interlinked topics of early childhood development and education; innovation and equity in aging societies; youth, economics, and violence; and education and skills building needed for the jobs of the future.

Participants in these sessions will include not only educators from early years through to university, but also policymakers, economists, researchers, civil society actors, and service users—of all ages.

There are of course no easy solutions to these issues – if there were, politicians would have implemented them already – and complex solutions will not be found in one sector alone. A concerted effort will need to be made across governments, education and welfare systems, the private sector, and civil society.

Salzburg Global, with its commitment to bringing together diverse voices, is well-placed to help solve these issues of global concern.

Board Events

March and November 2014

As well as the June program, Salzburg Global uses other board meetings as occasions to hold topical events.

In March, a panel discussion was held in Pasadena, CA, USA, entitled: Designing for Deep Change: The Transformative Power of the Arts and Philanthropy. Building on the on-going Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators (YCI) and the session Value(s) for Money, panelists including Eric Nee, managing editor of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and YCI alum Patricia Garza addressed the question: how can we better harness human and financial capital and creativity to generate workable and equitable solutions that last? 

In November, Eric E. Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, delivered the annual Lloyd N. Cutler Lecture on the Rule of Law at the US Supreme Court, followed by a live panel discussion at National Public Radio (NPR)’s headquarters.

Download the Salzburg Global Chronicle 2015 in full (PDF)
Hirokazu Yoshikawa: "Children do not just need to survive – they also need to thrive"
Hirokazu Yoshikawa: "Children do not just need to survive – they also need to thrive"
Rachitaa Gupta and Stuart Milne 
Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Courtney Sale Ross University professor of globalization and education at New York University believes that investing in early childhood development and education will be key to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the next 15 years. While chairing Designing a Social Compact for the 21st Century: Early Childhood Development and Education, Yoshikawa spoke to Salzburg Global Seminar about the evidence that supports the need of early childhood development and why governments around the world need to start focusing on same. "If we want to achieve sustainable societies and survival of the planet, we can’t not invest in human development and that starts prenatally," explains Yoshikawa. The Millennium Development Goals only focused on infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate, but Yoshikawa believes that needs to change to achieve human development and growth within planetary boundaries. According to him, children do not just need to survive. They also need to thrive. Decades of science from different disciplines all point to the same conclusion: the healthy development of children provides a strong foundation for healthy and competent adulthood, responsible citizenship, economic productivity, strong communities, and a sustainable society. There is extensive evidence, he says, that supports this conclusion. The randomized experiments, according to Yoshikawa, have shown that over a period of time the cost benefit ratio of investing in to early childhoods is quite high.  “In quality of early childhood experience, returns to society is $5-$8 for every dollar invested,” he says. Not only that, but of the scientific ranking which deems which development goals are worth the most from an economic perspective, Yoshikawa says that the early childhood development ranks in the top five. He also explains that the quality of services that will be provided as part of policy and programs under the SDGs has to be decided by each country through a consensus building process.  “The conversation has to involve diverse set of stakeholders in every country – e.g., civil society, government, NGOs, parents, citizens – to come to an agreement, to what children deserve. These children are too young to tell us. We have to rely on research base. We need to rely on cultural values and norms of societies and the expectations, citizens of a country have, what constitutes a productive member of that country’s society.” However, the SDGs are still in writing stage. Global inputs are expected to continue for next several months and by the end of 2015 the wording will be finalized. “It is an unprecedented global effort. It is an exciting time and a historic one for the world,”, says Yoshikawa. During this time collaborations like the program Early Childhood Development and Education at Salzburg Global are important in providing tools and guidelines for UN member nations because, as Yoshikawa explains: “The SDGs are not going to come with a guide to child development. “Indicators scattered across the goals will be relevant to children and there needs to be some guidance that brings those together and then links them to concrete policy and practice steps.” The interdisciplinary collaborations at the session were the highlight for Yoshikawa as early childhood fields had not engaged in anything like this before. “The challenge and opportunities for the SDGs is that people who work in human development areas have to learn and think about people who work in the environmental sustainability area, the biodiversity area and move beyond health and education.” Following his involvement in the Salzburg Global session, Yoshikawa assisted in the compilation and editing of the “Salzburg Statement on Quality Early Childhood Development and Education for All Girls and Boys” which can be read online below:
Click here to download the Statement as a PDF ________________________________________ The Salzburg Global session Designing a Social Compact for the 21st Century: Early Childhood Development and Education was held in partnership with ETS (Educational Testing Service). More information on the session can be found here:
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