a cross in a box on a voting card

Learning for Democracy

In partnership with Democracy Matters

These are momentous times in global politics. The UK has begun its formal withdrawal from the European Union; in the USA, the advent of President Trump has polarised the American electorate in ways that have not been seen for decades. Elections loom across Europe.

Inevitably, democracy itself is under scrutiny.

 As the background paper suggests, just 21% of Britons trust politicians to tell the truth (Ipsos-Mori 2016). Only a third are satisfied with how Parliament works and think the system by which Britain is governed works well, with those furthest from Westminster most likely to be dissatisfied (Hansard Society 2016 Audit of Political Engagement). Only 13% of people feel they have any influence. On average, 40% of 18-24 year olds voted in the last four general elections, compared to over 60% in 1992. The UK’s youth turnout rate is the lowest in Western Europe, and half that of Sweden, for example.

How do we address such apathy? How might we educate our young people to become active participants in the democratic process? How might we use formal and informal education to help create a democracy that works for as many people as possible?

@StGeorgesHouse @DemocracyM

Cyber Resilience

Local Leadership in a Cyber Society 2: Strengthening our Technical Resilience

In association with National Cyber Security Programme-Local

The rapid pace of technical change is creating new opportunities for greater efficiency and effectiveness. These include more engaging and efficient digital services, new ways to work remotely and to store or transfer data such as mobile devices and cloud services. However, as the recent WannaCry incident showed, these new ways of working also present new opportunities for malicious cyber-attackers to cause harm and disruption to public services.

Across the country local civic and public service organisations are working hard to reduce these threats every day and the active support and engagement of their senior leaders is vital to ensuring the continued focus and profile of this work. In the face of these challenges the opportunity to look at the issue of the role local leadership in a cyber-society and to develop a common understanding of technology issues and capabilities needed to underpin cyber resilience has never been more important.  Our Consultation proposes to look in depth at the matter and to identify practical, forward-looking technological approaches and solutions that local civic leaders can take in the face of such challenges.

#SGHCyber

@StGeorgesHouse

Sustainable Development Goals

Young People and the Sustainable Development Goals

The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals are hugely important for the future wellbeing of all people, and for the integrity of the biosphere. It is clear that education has a key role to play, not only in helping people understand the significance of the goals, but also in helping to ensure that the goals, and their targets, are achieved.

We already know that a number of schools have programmes focusing on this, but if goal-related learning by students can help increase the likelihood that the goals will be valued, supported and hence realised, is it also the case that a critical study of the goals can enhance the focus, and help raise the quality of student learning? This Consultation will examine these twin propositions. We will look in depth at what good goal-related outcomes might be; and we will explore what more can be done to embed a focus on the SDGs in work with young people both in and out of school.

#SGHSDG

@StGeorgesHouse

Competitively Loved? An Ecumenical Christian Consultation on Theological Language used about the Holy Land

In partnership with Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, Christian Aid.

A significant consultation on how, as churches, we use language in the context of our debate and deliberations on the Holy Land, especially with regard to the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

The consultation will address some of the more vexed questions at the heart of our attempts to seek justice for those in the land, including opposition to occupation, and an ongoing commitment to opposing anti-Semitism in our own context, along with developing good interfaith relations with both Jews and Muslims.

The aim is to assist a deeper ecumenical reflection on the conflict which can assist churches in their own debates and decision making both locally and nationally.

#SGHMiddleEast

@CTBI @christian_aid @StGeorgesHouse

post-turth

Democracy in a Post-Truth Information Age

The year 2016 witnessed the UK vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald F Trump as President of the United States of America, two seismic events in the history of these democracies.

Both events brought to the fore significant debate regarding the nature and quality of information available to the voting public.

In particular, the Internet and social media were regarded as key emerging battle grounds. The debate honed in on two discrete topics: how information is accessed and shared in an Internet society; and the nature of the information disseminated, especially an increased focus on ‘false’ information. Such was the prevalence of the debate that the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year for 2016 was ‘post-truth’.

We will look in depth at the challenges of living in a post-truth information age. Are our democratic processes under threat? Is there a danger of giving free rein to extremism and further destabilising society? Or is this the predictable response of the establishment as alternative viewpoints and information become a greater part of mainstream debate? Either way, society faces significant challenges. What are the responsibilities of citizens, governments, business and the media in this swiftly evolving landscape?

If you would like to find out more information about this Consultation you can find the background paper here.

 #SGHPostTruth

@StGeorgesHouse

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