Building More Inclusive Communities: Lessons From 25 Years on the Front Lines of Peace

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Tim Phillips, Beyond Conflict, USA

Across the nation – and globally – institutions and local governments are seeking new and more meaningful approaches to inclusion and diversity. Too often, these challenges are seen primarily through the lens of human resources and compliance metrics, and miss the profound reality that inclusion is a subjective “felt” experience that when more fully understood and appreciated can lay the foundation for a more inclusive institution and community.

Beyond Conflict has spent the past 25 years working around the world to resolve conflict and promote lasting peace and reconciliation. Recognized as a pioneer in the field of conflict resolution, Beyond Conflict has played in an important role in promoting peace in Northern Ireland, reconciliation in South Africa and the Balkans, and most recently for engaging Pope Francis in the talks to end 60 years of diplomatic isolation between the U.S. & Cuba.

The challenges of inclusion and diversity and the difficulty of navigating complex social issues in an increasingly polarized environment are not unique to museums and cultural institutions in the 21st century. Countries around the world have struggled with the same challenges, and some of the biggest breakthroughs have come when they’ve recognized the shared experience of others – and learned from their hard-earned lessons. Exclusion remains one of the main drivers of conflict around the world and Beyond Conflict will share the powerful lessons learned from their work and explore how these can be applied to the institutional challenges of inclusion, diversity and broader cultural engagement –– and in understanding the important role institutions can play in creating more inclusive communities.