Pluralism Workshop in Kyrgyzstan
Process, Perspectives and Practice
In October, program staff travelled to Kyrgyzstan to deliver a series of workshops in Osh and Bishkek to assist participants from international organizations and local NGOs understand how to apply pluralism concepts and content to their community-driven development and peace-building initiatives.
Using participatory learning methodologies, case studies and audio-visual materials, the Centre’s workshop in Kyrgyzstan helped deconstruct the concept of pluralism. Participants discussed the progress that has already been made towards pluralism in Kyrgyzstan and identified further opportunities to advance pluralism in the country.
Analyses of case studies from France, Canada and Kenya evoked lively discussions among the participants as they discussed the different sources of inclusion and exclusion in each country Participants were particularly engaged when discussing their own country’s experience with pluralism. The difficulties of inclusive language policies, the formation of civic identity, the exclusion of marginalized groups, women’s role in decision-making processes, and the importance of engaging youth were some of the key issues raised.
One participant said “I went into this workshop thinking that pluralism was only about diversity of opinions, but I now realize it encompasses so much more.” Several participants observed that this was their first opportunity to deeply engage in the issue of pluralism, and their understanding of this concept had expanded.
This workshop was conducted as part of the Centre’s continued engagement in Kyrgyzstan. As a knowledge partner in the World Bank and Aga Khan Foundation “Kyrgyz Republic: Social Cohesion through Community-based Development” project, the Centre conducted an initial set of pluralism workshops in the capital, Bishkek, and in the southern city of Osh.