Influential UK think tank Demos has teamed up with JPR (Institute for Jewish Policy Research), Europe’s leading Jewish think tank, on a major pan-European project which aims to recreate a sense of shared belonging in Europe’s pluralist democracies.
At the end of April the two think tanks are co-sponsoring the UK leg of a series of round-table discussions with invited opinion-formers and academics in 10 European countries. In the first 12-month phase, round-tables will be held in the UK, Poland, Sweden, Germany and France. The second phase will cover Austria, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Funded by the New York-based Ford Foundation, this JPR-initiated project aims to address the apparent inability of multicultural and integrationist models to contain new types of tribalisms, cultural intolerance and racism in Europe. It will also address the tensions between national cohesion and a ‘Europe without borders’.
In a joint statement, Antony Lerman, Director of JPR, and Catherine Fieschi, Director of Demos, said: ‘We are delighted to be working together on this important project, which reflects shared concerns of our two think tanks. These will be frank and in-depth discussions, with independent critical voices from different religious, cultural, ethnic and secular backgrounds, focused on the factors which have led to a weakened common public space.’
Directed by Dr Diana Pinto, JPR’s Senior Research Fellow based in Paris, the project is titled ‘Voices for the res publica: rediscovering the European common good’. ‘The res publica ideal is of a “common good” which transcends its individual parts’, Dr Pinto explained. ‘Respect for group identities and individual rights can converge, as in a Renaissance painting, to offer a new perspective on how to overcome the stumbling blocks preventing our pluralist democracies from creating a sense of shared belonging.’
The analyses, ideas and policy proposals that emerge from these meetings will be widely disseminated through the media and in other public fora, both at the national and European levels.
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Demos is the think tank for everyday democracy, the idea that all people should have greater influence over factors effect them and their communities.
JPR works on policy ideas for an inclusive Europe, where difference is cherished, common values prevail and all can flourish.
1. List of participants in UK Round Table as at 2 April.
2. Project Brief
For further information please contact: for JPR, Antony Lerman on +44 (0)20 7563 9422 and 07968 162579, email firstname.lastname@example.org; for Demos, Mark Fuller, Head of Press and Public Affairs+44 (0)20 7367 6325 or +44 (0)7952 286223