Wednesday 17 July 2024

A Reflection ...

Break the cycle of disempowerment

Paul Ford

The Foundation for International Collaboration is an instrumental forward-thinking initiative that provides an excellent basis for cross community, faith and demographic dialogue.

It remains critically important that such dialogue is lead bottom up and the voices of so many that historically have not been engaged or heard are provided the opportunity to be represented and listened to. Readers will be aware of the horrific and tragic suffering that many children and families are enduring throughout the world. On occasions arguments have been presented in an overly simplistic manner focusing on faith as a catalyst for wrong doing, as opposed to exploring the social and economic causes that lead groups to undertake such atrocities.

The FIC is different, it enables contributors globally to have a voice and be heard without fear or favour. We have all witnessed the fundamental disregard of human rights taking place in countries such as Nigeria, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Palestine amongst others that are utterly abhorrent and that the real victims are those individuals who are simply making their way in the world seeking a just, tolerant and safe community to live in. The FIC supports that aim. Communities that have been pulled apart through the misinterpretation of faith and the personal misplaced objectives of individuals, families that have been disconnected through violence and separation and those that have been tortured and murdered as a result.

I recall a conversation I had in 2013 whilst visiting Cairo with a Coptic Priest who said, "I don't understand why, when we talk of peace, we remain focused on dialogue at executive level, it is the voice of the majority that should be heard and understood. That in turn should be informing our leaders on how we resolve conflict."

I applaud this initiative and would encourage readers to share knowledge of the FIC amongst their communities throughout the world. We need to hear from those have witnessed or experienced suffering so that your stories are heard and listened to, it is through focused and open dialogue that collectively we will break the cycle of disempowerment and that remains a key focus of the FIC.

Paul Ford is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a contributor to various House of Lords discussion forums including on peace and nationality. Formerly, he was a ministerial and strategic policy advisor. Paul has undertaken a number of work streams focused on the Middle East and is particularly interested in supporting young people from disadvantaged and disempowered backgrounds.


Reflections are the views expressed by the author. We acknowledge the right of people to hold and express different views, but these are their personal views and there is no implication whatsoever that the Foundation supports, endorses or in any way agrees with those views.