Roundtable on Bridging Societal Divides and Promoting Inclusive Societies

Bridging the Divides: Fostering Pluralism, Inclusion, and Solidarity in a Fragmented World

On February 15th in Ottawa, Canada, the Pathfinders Grand Challenge on Inequality and Exclusion and the Global Center for Pluralism co-hosted an invite-only high-level roundtable on how to address division across the world. This collaborative endeavor paved the way for constructive dialogue and partnerships to address the root causes of division, build solidarity, and ultimately foster  more equitable societies for all.

In an era marked by extreme inequality, with rapid and often drastic technological, demographic, and climatic changes, the world is confronting overlapping crises that are fueling grievances and fear. This is all creating an increasingly challenging landscape for building more equitable and inclusive societies. 

Factors such as general sentiments of uncertainty and injustices from increasing inequalities,  injustice, along with  worldwide declining trust in governance systems leave societies vulnerable to divisive discourse and tech-amplified disinformation (both designed to pit communities, interests and even nations against each other). Such divisions threaten social cohesion, solidarity, and respect at both domestic and international levels. 

These dynamics are interlinked: domestic discord impedes global cooperation, and international rifts fuel national divisionshighlighting a cyclical interplay between these two spheres. As perceptions of division and polarization increase, the space for cooperative dialogue shrinks and this risks losing the foundation for shared interests and mutual understanding necessary for collective action.

This roundtable will allow policymakers, experts, and practitioners from Canada, Indonesia, Spain, and South Africa share lessons learned from global experiences in building solidarity and belonging across groups, including disrupting disinformation and divisive narratives that seek to polarize and bolster fragmentation. 

A report will be published following the roundtable event, highlighting critical insights from the discussion.

Co-host