Challenges for a world where drugs are legally regulated

In partnership with Transform Drugs

Managing the production, supply and use of illicit drugs is one of the most pressing issues facing global policymakers. Despite a continued commitment to the enforcement of prohibition in most of the world, drug markets continue to expand and countries are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of drug-related deaths. At the same time, the violence associated with the illicit drugs trade has continued to grow, with devastating consequences for some of the most vulnerable communities on the planet. 

This consultation will bring together a range of international, cross-disciplinary experts to consider the ‘what ifs’ of a post-legalisation landscape. It will not dwell on the arguments for and against legal regulation, but rather consider the challenges and opportunities as reform becomes more widespread. We are seeking the broadest possible range of views, and consideration of the widest range of  actors. We want to move beyond some of the familiar debates about individual rights or the ineffectiveness of current policy to ask what we would need to be prepared for as policy changes. How might it affect the economy? How might we assess benefits and harm? How might we protect vulnerable communities in the developing world? How can we ensure policy protects public health?

We hope that this discussion will open the space for a fruitful and constructive exchange of views about the realities of promoting health and social justice in a world where drugs were legally regulated. By doing so, we hope to better inform the current debate on drug policy and ensure that, as things move forward, all the key issues are taken into consideration.

Can anyone be an engineer?

In partnership with the Institute of Mechanical Engineers

Engineering is a central industry in the UK economy, yet it is a sector that is consistently misunderstood by the general public, leading to a serious skills shortage. Engineering remains worryingly unattractive to women and minority groups despite decades of intervention in schools and communities. It also remains an area of study that is side lined in mainstream education, and is for the most part accessible only through extracurricular enrichment opportunities. Efforts to place engineering at the heart of education, for example in University Technical Colleges, have encountered barriers to acceptance and integration in the current education system.

As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution do we need to change radically the way we think about engineering education, recruitment, and retention? What might be a new and compelling narrative for the engineering sector? What risks will be involved in changing the current system?

AI & Healthcare

We will explore the potential benefits of applying AI in healthcare, as well as the risks to be faced. AI, as you know has huge implications for medical practitioners and patients alike. It has, for example, the potential to offer innovative solutions to longstanding challenges faced by the NHS by empowering patients to take more responsibility for their own care, so reducing pressure on an overstretched health system. However, its use also comes with great risks: protection of patient data and the inclusivity of healthcare are just two areas of concern. How can the NHS best weigh the benefits and risks to ensure that all patients have access to the best possible healthcare within a system they can trust? What are the systemic changes facing healthcare provision? What are the attitudinal shifts required by providers and users? During our twenty-four hours together, we will look at how best to harness the potential of AI in healthcare from these and other angles.

Community Wealth Building

In partnership with Local Trust

The event will discuss different approaches to community wealth building. Drawing on international practice, including the work of the Democracy Collaborative in the US, we will consider whether and how such approaches might both be adapted and integrated in England to support our most deprived communities.  For the purposes of the consultation, we are adopting their definition of community wealth building as  ‘a systems approach to economic development that creates an inclusive, sustainable economy built on locally rooted and broadly held ownership’.

Climate Change among the Religions: A Forum for Engagement

In partnership with Reckitt TrustCoexist House and Lincoln Theological Institute (The University of Manchester)

What is the Forum trying to do? Informed by expertise on climate change, its aim is to create an event of mutual learning between and among religious traditions, and thereby inspire fresh action by religious communities. In other words, our aim is to support fresh thinking and action in the context of anthropogenic climate change at all levels in religious institutions. We hope that you will join us in this important work. 

In support of this aim, the forum will have three objectives:

    1. To explore how religious traditions have interacted practically with and learned theoretically about climate change,  in order to evaluate difficulties that religious traditions have in engaging with climate change.
    2. To assess issues that inhibit action by religious communities in favour of climate change mitigation and adaptation.
    3. To devise practical strategies to address these issues.

To meet these objectives the Forum is inviting expert representatives from

  1. a range of religious traditions,
  2. scientific expertise,
  3. policy and institutional leadership.

The Forum will have four outcomes:

  1. The building of confidence within and between religious traditions in the wisdom of aspects of their thought and life to make a contribution to change—personal, communal, social and global—in the context of climate change.
  2. Through a process of mutual exchange, to identify more clearly obstacles to religious engagement with climate change.
  3. To equip key change makers to generate change in their institutions.
  4. To provide an educational resource/legacy to support further processes of change.

The Forum is not interested in a parade of the ecological credentials of religious traditions. Such work has already been undertaken. Nor is the Forum concerned to provide an inventory of the pro-ecological activities of religious traditions—although this work is very helpful and the Forum seeks to enhance such work.

Instead, the Forum wants to identify and address key questions that both support and inhibit engagement by religious traditions with climate change and our climate emergency. For example, do religious traditions have novel ways of supporting intergenerational solidarity? To what extent should religious adherents engage in political processes beyond voting and advocacy—especially acts of witness, lament, and even Non-Violent Direct Action? In the light of Extinction Rebellion, can disruptive action be affirmed? Religious traditions have regulations about food and diet: given the ecological costs of food production, are there religious obstacles to changes in diets but also religious resources for thinking differently about food production? Are religious traditions so strongly invested in the distinctiveness of the human that acknowledging the value of the non-human is difficult? Are there deep commitments in religious traditions that undermine the sense that the earth is “home”?

 

Senior Faith Leadership Programme

Senior Faith Leadership Programme

While training for faith leaders is wide-ranging and varied, nowhere in the UK are mid- to senior religious decision makers trained in leadership skills side by side. 

The Senior Faith Leadership Programme is intended to deepen encounters between those who are serving the Abrahamic communities in Britain, whether in a lay or clerical capacity. Its focus is on developing leadership – which by its nature is an inter-disciplinary phenomenon. Leadership of communities affects people from all walks of life and concerns the diversity of human experience.

Roots & Shoots

Roots & Shoots Annual Windsor Gathering

In partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute

This week-long Consultation will bring together young people from across the world who are involved in the Roots and Shoots Programme devised by the Jane Goodall Institute. The focus of the week is for the professional development of each participant.

There will be a series of high-level presentations on topics of relevance to the Institute as a way of engendering debate and discussion.