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The Refugee Food Festival – A new path to integration and awareness

RezaMajd7 March 2018

Written by: Assia Lomme and Clémence Ghighi

Disclaimer: This blog post solely reflects the opinion of the author and should not be taken to represent the general views of IPPR’s management team or those of fellow authors.

source: https://www.xpatathens.com/what-s-on/events-in-athens/food-drink/item/4574-refugee-food-festival-2017


There seems to be a growing fear in European countries around the erosion of national and cultural boundaries due to EU integration policies. As immigration is reaching its peak, with 2.4 million people entering the EU in 2015, so is anti-immigration sentiment. Despite efforts by central European governing authorities and national governments, integration is yet to be accomplished. There seems to be a growing fear of losing cultural identity, with anti-immigration debates being fuelled by the idea that new cultures coming into the country is a threat to the ‘mainstream’ culture. However, it is important to remember that culture is not a static entity and that when culture becomes stagnant, it can become outdated.

Keeping this in mind, instead of focusing on heavy regulation and legal provisions to enforce integration, UNHCR, the UN refugee Agency, and the NGO Food Sweet Food have decided to tackle the stigma against immigration and immigrants through bringing people together using a passion shared by people world-wide: food. The Refugee Food Festival is the result of this collaboration. Organised by local authorities and members of civil society, this festival is an effort to experience cuisine from all over the world, opening Europeans up to other cultures. This festival happens every year in participating restaurants all over Europe, where kitchens are given up to professional chefs from all around the world. Not only does this open up palates to anyone willing to try, this also gives the participating chefs an opportunity to integrate themselves and their culture in the professional world. Food Sweet Food advertises on their website that the aim of this food festival is to breakdown the usual pejorative and negative discourse on immigrants and immigration and to bring forward the skills and knowledge that these individuals can bring forward and share with us. This festival emphasises the importance of bringing different people from varying backgrounds together, making them interact and learn about new cultures and traditions.

In 2016, two Refugee Food Festivals took place in France. In 2017, this festival grew to 6 European countries, 15 cities, such as Geneva, Paris, Rome, or Athens, and included chefs from 25 different nationalities, 90 refugee chefs, 100 restaurants and more than 15,000 clients. Their latest venue was at the famous Strasbourg Christmas market in December 2017. During one week, three cooks from Afghanistan, Syria and Tibet but living in Strasbourg revealed their local dishes to thousands of people. Additionally, the UNHCR organised activities to increase awareness on the questions related to refugees, for instance, through a virtual visit of a refugee camp. Local and national media sources are talking about the Refugee Food Festival, spurring conversation on the topic and defining the benefits this type of activity can have on society. It is clear why the media is giving this food festival so much attention: what a better way to bring people together than around something they all share?

What is particularly important is that all the actors of the society are involved in the organisation of the Food Festival, from the UNHRC, an international organisation to the local people organising the festival in their city. It creates a collaborative environment for the future integration of refugees and makes for a better understanding of the issues at stake. This Festival creates a space in which refugees as well as locals can interact together: it is an environment in which two groups are learning to live together. Furthermore, Food Sweet Food is also offering catering services in which the cooking staff is composed of refugees from all over the world. This service has catered big events such as the buffet for the French design company Kenzo during Paris Fashion week in 2016. Food Sweet Food is also planning a new project: the Residence, a restaurant – where a new cook will come every 2 to 6 months to run the kitchen – and a training facility to provide skills to refugees looking for professional opportunities.

These types of civil society initiatives are also developing in different contexts. Events have been organised such as the London Migration Film Festival organized by Migration Collective (November-December 2017) and the theatre festival organized by the Refugee Engagement and Integration Through Community Theatre (next festival in Bristol 26-29 March 2018). These two projects aim respectively at “portray[ing] the diversity, nuance and subjective experience within migration – including and beyond the refugee experience – in order to restore the dignity and humanity inherent within it” (Migration Collective website) and “using participatory theatre as a tool to challenge prejudice and misconceptions, develop empathy, and promote intercultural understanding between refugees and host communities” (REACT website). The growing number of these actions and their success demonstrate a strong will to counter-react in a positive and creative way to the traditional discourse on “refugee crisis”, unfortunately often portrayed only as a threat and a problem.

Hopefully, the near future will bring more of these types of events and organisations. In the meantime, stay tuned for the next edition of the 2018 Refugee Food Festival which is already planned to take place in 20 participating cities not only in Europe but also beyond Europe. If you would like to involve your city, there is a methodological leaflet developed by the three agencies involved in the festival. Remember, the aim of this project is that local citizens are the driving force behind organising the Refugee Food Festival in their own city, and to help them, Food Sweet Food and the UNHCR prepared this leaflet to give tips and advice to successfully organise the next Refugee Food Festival.



RFI [2017], “Le Refugee Food Festival, fête solidaire en l’honneur des cuisiniers réfugiés”, [online]. Available from: http://www.rfi.fr/hebdo/20171222-refugee-food-festival-fete-solidaire-insertion-cuisiniers-refugies-strasbourg-syrie [Accessed March 5th 2018]

Le Monde, “Des chefs réfugiés aux fournaux”, [online]. Available from: http://www.lemonde.fr/m-gastronomie/article/2017/06/16/des-chefs-refugies-aux-fourneaux_5145796_4497540.html [Accessed March 5th 2018]





Social Media Regulation and Human Rights: the Impact of Germany’s Network Enforcement Act

RezaMajd17 January 2018

Written by: Isobel Blakeway-Phillips

Disclaimer: This blog post solely reflects the opinion of the author and should not be taken to represent the general views of IPPR’s management team or those of fellow authors.

Germany’s Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG), which entered into force on 1 October 2017, holds social network platforms responsible for moderating content.[1] NetzDG mandates several changes to the way that social media companies respond to complaints, including requiring platforms appoint points of contact to monitor complaints of unlawful conduct, and remove them within 24 hours to 7 days.[2] Platforms which fail to comply could be fined up to 50 million euros by the Ministry of Justice.

NetzDG entered into force only days after the EU Commission published its own Communication on Tackling Illegal Content Online. In response to the rise in terrorist attacks throughout Europe, linked to the “increasing availability of terrorist content online”, the Commission sought to provide guidance for online platforms that mediate access to that content. The communication does little more than provide guidance to platforms on how they might take responsibility. It takes no view on what constitutes ‘illegal content,’ leaving it to national governments to distinguish what is acceptable online, although it does note that “what is illegal offline is also illegal online” (p.2). The guidance is divided between detection and notification, effective removal, and preventative measures to stop reappearance.

NetzDG enacted very similar policies to those set out in the EU Commission’s Communication only a few days earlier. Like the Communication, NetzDG requires online platforms to monitor and remove complaints of illegal content in a short time period– between 24 hours and 7 days. It also requires platforms appoint an intermediary in Germany to respond to any complaints, remove content, and assist the authorities with responding to illegal content. The Act covers a very broad definition of ‘social network’, covering any platform which enables individuals to share content with each other, but specifically excludes websites offering journalistic or editorial content. The German government expects this to cover around 10 companies, which seems low considering the broad definition.

NetzDG does have noble intentions. It allows the disclosure of subscribers’ personal information with a court order, “insofar as this is necessary for the enforcement of civil law claims arising from the violation of absolutely protected rights by unlawful content.”[3] The more transparent processes sanction police to quickly track and prosecute those making threats online. While terrorist organizations are unlikely to use public platforms to coordinate attacks, the German government clearly feels NetzDG will enable them to better preempt lone wolf attacks, as well as targeting users who incite others to violence. The Act also requires platforms to remove manifestly illegal content within 24 hours and all illegal content within 7 days, ensuring that it does not propagate.[4]

Nonetheless NetzDG is controversial. By allowing platforms to disclose subscribers’ personal information with a court order, the Bundestag significantly undermines citizens’ rights to privacy. Websites previously considered bastions of free speech are now expected to monitor users’ speech. By following such court orders, platforms essentially become a back door for governments to access every citizen’s private information. As considerable information is already publicly available, and the metadata provided by public posts is likely more useful in determining the habits of a user, it is not clear how access to users’ IP addresses and their privately held information would be necessary to find and charge individuals for criminal acts. Clearer authorizations for police to access user data may at first glance seem beneficial to the rule of law, but the risk of unnecessary infringements on citizens’ privacy overrides the benefits of an efficient police force. That easier processes for police are in any way balanced against privacy rights is in itself problematic, particularly when the Act provides no further guidance on what would constitute adequate justification for a court order. (more…)


ShutingXia22 February 2017

After announcing a photo competition at the end of 2016, IPPR received many impressive photos from students across UCL. Whilst the winning submissions will be published in our academic journal, the following shots captured our imagination and the essence of this year’s theme – Borders and Boundaries. To reward them, we have decided to include them in a brief photo series – enjoy!

kate regan



ShutingXia6 December 2016

Photo credit: www.flickr.com

Photo credit: www.flickr.com

IPPR is very excited to announce the launch of its very own photography competition! In the lead up to the journal, IPPR is running a competition with calls from any and all SPP students to submit a photograph of their choice in conjunction with the theme of this year’s publication – Borders and Boundaries.

Here at IPPR we value a personal interpretation of the theme and would like to encourage our internationally diverse students to capture their experiences over the holidays and return to us with their depictions of the world at frontier.

The deadline for this is 12pm on 3 February 2017 (Term 2, week 4). The top three photos will be published in this year’s journal, with first place receiving a special prize. Many of the remaining photos will be displayed as part of a visual mini-series on our online blog. The results will be announced the following week, on 10 February 2017.

Please send all submissions and queries to IPPR’s Head of Editorial at simone.nielsen.16@ucl.ac.uk and/or the Deputy Head of Editorial at islam.abdelgadir.16@ucl.ac.uk . Each photo submission must have been taken by the applicant. Along with your submission, please remember to include a short description of the photo, including the context, date and location of the shot.

Good luck!

IPPR Editorial Team

Sarah E LStricker6 April 2016


Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 6.36.39 PM


Workshop on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
2nd March 2015
Policy Strategies for the Future

On March 2nd the International Public Policy Review (IPPR) held a workshop entitled The Young Leaders Challenge: Engaging civil society and the public in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The workshop was led by Darshita Gillies, a leadership coach, facilitator, and co-founder and CEO of Blu Dot Global System Integration.

Under Darshita’s direction, the students utilised Theory U Process (Presencing Institute, MIT) along with systemic constellation work as an innovative embodiment technique to drive deep understanding and connection to the problem solving process.

The workshop involved eight participants, all MSc students in the Department of Political Science at University College London. The participants came from a wide range of backgrounds, from public service and health development, to business school and teaching, and many different countries; Israel, Kazakhstan, and France to name a few.

The students were asked to create policy strategies that would contribute toward engaging civil society and the public in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These policy strategies were then presented to an external panel of experts who provided constructive feedback and ideas on the feasibility and next steps of the strategies.

During the workshop the participants were guided by Darshita to imagine and embody the stakeholders involved in the achievement of the SDGs. This took a physical form, as each participant created a sculpture with their body to represent their stakeholder. The stakeholder sculptures came together interacting with each other to form a union that characterised the ideal relationship between them.

The brainstorming and stimulating physical embodiment process gave rise to a wealth of inspiration for policy strategies. As well as presenting their policy strategies to the panel, participants were asked to reflect on what actions they could take personally to support the SDGs in their own lives.

The panel consisted of: Catherine Pearce, Director of Future Justice, Dylan Matthews, CEO of Peace Direct, Dr Sarabajaya Kumar, UCL SPP Lecturer, Associate Fellow of Science, Innovation and Society at Oxford University, Emma Ashru Jones WPP Fellow and Marketing Lead at Collectively and Dr M. Rodwan Abouharb, Director of the International Public Policy Program at UCL.

This diverse panel of experts provided significant, thoughtful, and valuable feedback on the participant’s policy strategies. The considerable experience of the panel in their respective industries allowed them to give practical advice such as people or organisations to get in touch with and provoking questions that challenged the assumptions of the participants and enabled them to deepen their policy strategy and personal commitment.

The process lead to insightful policy strategies, ideas for action and meaningful relationships. The following policy strategies are the product of an in depth and progressive structure to developing policy strategies for an important current issue. 

Policy Strategies for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Improved Access to Information Driving Awareness and Accountability

The creation of an international protocol aimed at promoting easier access to information. States would have to commit to providing easily accessible, unbiased news on their activities in a variety of forms, e.g. radio, in a manner that is reflective of the national literacy rates of their populations. The idea behind this is to give legitimacy and leverage to civil society. If people are more aware of what’s going in, even if they don’t know what to do with the information, civil society’s campaigns will more likely to stick and together; people and civil society will be able to hold the government to account.

Bobby Wiafe

Integration of SDGs at All Levels of Policy Development in All States

There is not currently a coherent plan to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and monitor progress throughout the UK. Additionally, there is a lack of awareness from the UK public on what the goals are and what they mean. Yet, the SDGs are global and target all countries rather than just developing countries. The SDGs should be integrated into all government sectors and ensure that they are taken into account with all policy decisions. The government also needs to ensure that the public have a much greater awareness of the SDGs and what the government is doing to achieve them.

Eva Hannah


Sharing Relatable Stories to Increase the Longevity of Empathy

The major setback of engaging individuals over the world with the Sustainable Development Goals is how individuals in developing countries are perceived by western individuals. In large part this is due to the “helpless” images used by charities to gain donations, which plays into and reinforces biases between race, ethnicity, and religion, caused by unfamiliarity.

To increase long-term empathy (unlike the short-term induced by the above mentioned images) civil society should share stories by “normal” people to “normal” people across the developing and developed world. These may be able to shatter walls of “otherness”, incapability or helplessness associated with populations of developing countries. Such a change will uncover the complexity of sustainable development and therefore will be an important step toward individual willingness to take part in achieving the SDGs.

Meirav Katzav

Promote Crowd Funding as a Legitimate Aid Vehicle

As of today, there are 344 million households in developing countries which can make small crowdfund investments (World Bank), which have become an established, alternative source of financing after the recent financial crisis. The benefit of using crowdfunding stems from the fact that it represents a low-cost way to target niche groups of potential donors that are spread across the world and raise capital for an exact outcome. This allows policy-makers not only to engage but also empower civil society by turning citizens into investors. Secondly, governments can gain citizens’ support by giving them the opportunity to invest their money for a region/issue they are particularly interested in and have control over where their money is going. By promoting the main crowdfunding platforms (Indiegogo and Kickstarter) it gives these projects legitimacy, reduces competition with local financial markets and ultimately make SDGs more visible to civil society.

Chiara Amato

Enhanced Education Opportunities for Empowerment and Inclusion

As part of the Sustainable Development Goal Number 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, refugees and marginalised youth should be empowered through educational programmes to ensure that affected youth have access not just to education but a certain quality of education. There are two ways in which this could done, one way would be to generate a fund for scholarships for youth from vulnerable communities to access education in the West and remove the stigmas around being a refugee and finally experience what it is like to be treated as a human being. The second way is to enhance and promote the online learning platforms that exist, so that more youth can access educational programmes abroad from their homes, this would ensure that the leaders of tomorrow are not removed from their communities but are equipped to lead and take up positions to rebuild their societies.

Tara Hermes

Raise Public Awareness

Increase the level of SDG information coverage for the public at large. Specifically awareness-raising for the general public to encourage full engagement with achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Zhanar Shaimenova

Systematic and Multi-faceted Evaluation to Generate Smart Development

Evaluations of programs and projects need to become systematic, whether they take place in NGOs, international organisations, or by private actors. There is a need to see what has worked in the past, what hasn’t, and in what context in order to identify the patterns and mechanisms that make development work. Additionally, not all evaluation should be performed in a quantitative way and some categories of development programs require more qualitative assessment of results and performance.

Kim Chardon

Creating Shared Value by Corporate Employee Engagement in SDGs

People might be aware of the SDGs and willing to make a change, but they often struggle to channel their goodwill: they don’t know how to make a change or on which door to knock.

To ensure that solutions to achieving the SDGs are embedded in everyday lives, companies should have the responsibility, not only to educate their employees about the SDGs, but also to give their employees free time or even provide company programs to dedicated to the SDGs. This could come from letting employees use a paid two hours per week to work on personal projects related to SDGs, or more ambitiously it could be a program involving the entire company. For example, the company could educate their employees about the SDGs, and propose a vote by all employees in January about which of the SDGs the company is going to work on for the year to come. Employees would be assigned to teams by February, and all team could be given a mission to accomplish throughout the year, whose outcome would benefit the company’s chosen SDG. This would educate a large part of the population about the SGDs, while also giving them the tools and channels to work on it without any costs (it would be on their working time). On the other hand, it would also benefit companies by bringing their employees together, creating networks, creating a strong company atmosphere, and sense of belonging, enhancing employees well-being and building a positive reputation for the company, which in turn would benefit future recruitment.

Charlotte Goujon

Educate the World’s Youth on the Sustainable Development Goals

One of the most important ways to promote worldwide goals and improve SDG achievement is to make sure that the global community buys into it from the beginning. It would be easier to foster the environment needed if the UN sponsored a curriculum to teach the Sustainable Development Goals at the primary level around the world. By partnering with state governments to promote the SDGs and general UN awareness at the primary level could help foster the next generation of world citizens engaged with and motivated to achieve global goals.

IPPR interviews Scilla Elworthy

Sarah E LStricker22 January 2016

On the 15th of December, the President of IPPR, Alex Heaven had the pleasure of speaking with Scilla Elworthy – 3 times nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, the founder of the Oxford Research Group, Peace Direct and the Bee School, the author of Pioneering the Possible, Making Terrorism History (co-author), and Peace and Security Now, previous adviser to Peter Gabriel, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Sir Richard Branson in setting up ‘The Elders’, chair of the Civil Society sector of the Hanwang Forum in China and a Councillor of the World Future Council among many other things. Scilla and Alex spoke about social entrepreneurship, the power of social media and how to be heard. 

To find out more about Scilla Elworthy check out her website here: www.scillaelworthy.com.

Scilla Photo

AH – So I wanted to start the conversation with a bit of a thorny question. There is a lot of debate about the particular definition of social business, and given that you are an advisor for the DO School in Hamburg, I wanted to know how you would define social business.

SE – Well I’m not an expert on social business, I know a little bit about social entrepreneurship and I wouldn’t define them as the same, I think there is a difference. What I think is special about social entrepreneurs –  those that I’ve worked with, and I can only speak from my own experience – is that they operate in a very new way in terms of their efforts to change the world. In other words, they are not setting out as people might have done, as real amateurs when I started out in the 60’s. Where we were just driven by passion and sometimes fear, anger, all those sort of things. Social entrepreneurs are now far better trained. There are places like to DO School in Hamburg where they can apply, they might be one of 2000 applicants for a place on one of their courses. The one I ran was a peace challenge, where they filtered out 20 successful applicants from all over the world. I challenged them to find a way to locate and make known all the effective local peacebuilders in their country. So it was a case of Pakistan, India, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Burundi and so on. The way they set about it was very methodical, with high use of social media and extraordinary global outreach. What I shared with them was the importance of incorporating self-awareness in anything you do, because if you bring your personal fury into an interaction with, say, a politician or a policy maker, you usually lose out. You have to contain your own anger before you enter into that kind of dialogue if you want it to be successful.

AH – In those sort of projects, how do you go about teaching people how to make it a reality? If someone wants to dedicate their life to that, in terms of say funding, how do you suggest that they approach it?

SE – Well any decent social entrepreneurship training will give you a section on fundraising. Where I think the advantage lies now, for millennials, is that there are so many crowd funding possibilities. Where how quickly you can get yourself started is really up to you and your personality. So I would start with crowd funding, I think that’s the obvious one. Or, you know, running your marathon or whatever, you put yourself on the line in some way. Preferably something more novel than running a marathon. Show your survivability, your determination, your charisma and so forth. Then people will notice you, you will start getting fan mail, messages, being talked about on twitter and so on. You will be able to find out who is interested in you, and if you ask them who they know, who has got disposable cash they would like to invest, then you can start some sort of a share scheme or you can run it as a business or you can run it as a charity, but it takes a bit longer to get registered as a charity.

AH – As you say social media is a huge tool for any change maker these days. However, we are still seeing people who know a lot and have a lot of awareness about what is going on, but it is sometimes difficult to translate all that public care or what seems like public care into action or giving or something more solid. In your experience, have you seen any particular campaigns that have really grasped that social media care and turned it into something more solid?

SE – Yes, two things: authenticity and real stories. So at Peace Direct, which I founded in 2002, what we do is always bring in people from the areas in which they worked. Like Henri Bora Ladyi, who rescues child soldiers in the Congo. He is authentic because he himself was a child solider. And now he goes back into the bush and trades goats, at a price of $5, for a child he can bring back to their family. So that’s a very, very memorable story, everybody remembers that story. Mark Rylance, the star of Bridge of Spies, most recently, did a one man show about Henri on Broadway, so he has in his own way has become a star.

AH – Do you see these things being translated in policies and action further up the chain?

SE – Oh yea, and again it is a question of media. Outstanding politicians have said to me over dinner when I want them to change their policy. They say “fine, run a campaign, make it absolutely unavoidable in the public eye that I have to pay attention to this. Then I can do something”. So the louder you get and the more noise you make, and be careful about the kind of noise you make, the more reason you give to a decent politician, who wants to make change, to say “look I have to do something because there are 1000 people dressed up as sheep running down the street” or whatever.

AH – What do you think about the big, old world institutions like the WTO, IMF, World Bank, UN in supporting these local grassroots entrepreneurs? (… for those at home – that was a yawn!)

SE – I mean, I think they are yesterday.

AH – What about even as a way to fund these smaller projects?

SE – They don’t. Unless you are above $5 million a year turnover, which is quite hard for a charitable start up to get to, they don’t take any notice of you at all. They are not interested in grassroots stuff. For reasons of their own, because they find it too messy. Even the department for international development here in Britain, which has stuck to its guns and given away a lot of money for reconstruction and rehabilitation and so on. But even they say look we can’t deal with smaller outfits that need $100,000 or even $500,000, it’s too messy for us do all the accounting and all the checking up and the due diligence and evaluations and all the things you have to do to be responsible in giving away money. So it’s a question of you putting your passion on the line and you’ll get there.

AH – In terms of international collaboration, we were talking before about social media giving unprecedented access and a global perspective, do you see particular areas of international collaboration that we should be fostering?

SE – Oh yes, I mean it depends on your subject. But yes, I mean your networks need to extend to China, definitely now, Russia, South America. You need to be global on your issue, assuming that it is a global issue. Did I understand your question right?

AH – Yes, well I guess it has 2 parts. What are the ways a global network can help in terms of domestic politics, if you are trying to change something locally, how can you use the global network? Secondly, on particular issues, do you see some issues that need to be more global than they are now? For example labour rights, do we need to have a global system of labour rights?

SE – I’ll take your first question first. Your global reach will be important in the sense that you can get stories about what has worked in other countries and that make people more willing to believe that what you’re proposing can work here. For example de-radicalisation programs. We’ve got a brilliant woman working in north western Pakistan who originally stated when she was 15 getting girls into school in the Swat Valley. Her life has been threatened more or less every day since, and what she is doing now is training teams of young people to go into the Madrasas and identify the men who have been trained as jihadists and then go home with them to their families and talk about why the Qur’an wouldn’t want them to do that. She is now in contact with about 2000 young potential jihadists. Now that is powerful work. So if you can relate what you are suggesting to something that has worked elsewhere and that could be applied in this country then that adds credibility.

(To the second question) Sure, well definitely. I think that is happening far more than it used to. And I’m thinking of women’s rights and issues like rape as a weapon of war and so on, that’s becoming much more internationally recognised.

AH – And on that, have you seen any particularly amazing women’s rights campaigns around the world?

SE – Yes, well I think One Billion Rising is good. It was brilliantly animated with music and dance and so forth and huge amounts of energy. Eve Ensler, who started it, who did the Vagina Monologues, she is not afraid of saying anything (AH – you wouldn’t be after that, SE – No!), so I think, be outspoken, don’t necessarily be angry, but be really clearly outspoken. Get your message into a very short statement and try it out on all your friends and see if it works with them and back it up with a short story of how this works. And that’s the sort of short cut to getting through, rather than writing a 13,000 word essay.

AH – There’s a real lack on engagement of men on women’s issues. Do you think we should be engaging with men more on women’s issues?

SE – The field that I know that I can talk about is in peace building. Before we started Peace Direct we analysed 350 different locally led peace initiatives, in hot conflict areas around the world and we isolated the 50 most effective of them, and wrote them up in a book called War Prevention Works. And of those, the ones that were women led or largely women run were the most durable and the most cost effective in the long run. So women are exceptionally good at all the sort of key but unglamorous bits of peace building like bridge building, confidence building between religious minorities, rediscovering weapons dumps and things like that. Brokering local agreements showing that they can do it, you know agreements between clans in north eastern Kenya and so forth. There are 1000’s of examples of how brilliantly women do it. There have been some very good academic studies, there hasn’t been a good popular book, except, a book by Nicholas Kristof and his partner (Sheryl WuDunn) called Half The Sky, which is wonderful.

AH – What role do you think young people have in this space?  We are seeing lots of international issues or previously “charity issues” being brought together, labour rights, the environment, women’s rights, what role do you see business taking in these issues?

SE – I think business has got to be really held to account by their younger employees. In other words, as I understand it now, given the surveys that have been done by Deloitte, KPMG and Goldman Sachs who have all established that a majority of millennials have 3 priorities before their own personal profit. That is people, planet and purpose. So, assuming that’s the case, those that are thinking about what companies to apply to join, and they will be sought after if they come from a good university like this one, can establish the conditions. They can say “what is your CSR policy and is it real or is it just on paper? What are you doing and XYZ issues that concern this business?” You can always look up a good example like Unilever and see what the company you’re thinking of applying to is doing compared to them. Lay out your conditions, that’s going to make them sit up and think. Even if you don’t accept that appointment or vacancy, you will have made your mark just in the interview. Because the more candidates that speak out about these things, the more that it will go straight up to the top and give more sleepless nights to CEOs. I mean, you have a huge advantage now that you have never had before, largely because of social media, because you can spread the word if a company isn’t behaving as you would like it to behave. Now you’ve got campaign like Avaaz which are superb, and full of integrity. I’ve checked them out thoroughly. They run really effective campaigns and they use humour and they use all sorts of very, very good methods of getting change to happen.

AH – I really appreciate their multi-pronged approach. Right from grassroots stuff to meeting with politicians.

SE – Yes, and the other thing I’d like to say is that dialogue is really important. I mean, demonstrations in the street are important and certainly petitions have a certain importance, but I set a lot of store by actually finding out who has a yes or no on a decision that you are interested in and writing a very well informed letter to that person. Say, I’d like to come and see you with my 2 colleagues from UCL or wherever and I’d like it to be in the 3rd week of December or whenever it is – be very precise about what you would like to talk about – and offer that person something that you will bring to the conversation, that you’re not just going to bend their ear, but that there is going to be something in it for them. And by writing a well-informed letter you show them you are not going to be wasting their time. That they could learn something from you. And I think that dialogue approach is massively effective and you never know. We ran a huge campaign in the 80s to match up locally led peace groups, whether they were women’s groups or Quaker groups or whatever, with individual decision makers both here and in China. And their job was to learn enough about that person’s responsibility to write them a really well informed letter and ask for a meeting. That campaign had a huge effect. They still talk about it now.

AH – Thank you very much Scilla. If you would like to hear more about Scilla Elworthy and her work you can visit her website on scillaelworthy.com.