GDL in Action: Co-Creating at the prE-Summit
By Julie August
Working together in a co-creation setting in which members can inspire each other and come up with new ideas is key to the GDL’s work. The prE-Summit therefore also included a co-creation session for participants, albeit in an online format. The aim of this session was to generate a climate for potential cooperation between GDL members, linking the three main themes of the Summit to existing or planned projects of the participants, and encouraging them to include the current situation relating to COVID-19 in their ongoing and future projects.
Starting the session, GDL member Patrick Mpedzisi emphasised that the concept of cooperation itself should be redefined for the future. Instead of the traditional, paternalistic and patriarchal understanding according to which a strong, experienced, rich partner cooperates with a weak, unexperienced, poor one, we should try to generate cooperative partnerships on the basis of horizontal, respectful dialogue and mutual understanding. Taking this into account, every project and every case is different – cooperation can take many forms and work towards many different aims, as Patrick pointed out.
Participants then worked on three different topics in smaller groups – corresponding to the guiding themes of the prE-Summit:
GDL member Blair Glencorse introduced and facilitated the discussion about Security, which addressed such fields as the climate crisis and migration, as well as gender and inequality. He pointed out that security is no longer only an issue of military, police and border controls alone, but that it connects to global issues beyond that. In the context of COVID-19, the issue of health security is becoming increasingly important and will certainly play a role in future diplomatic work. However, COVID-19 will also influence mobility, borders, asylum and citizenship – all of which relate back to security.
GDL member Diego Osorio introduced and facilitated the discussion about Partnership for Sustainable Development – SDG 17. He asked participants what can be achieved by personal engagement and which contexts lend themselves to establishing partnerships. He emphasised that there are plenty of great ideas about what to do. However, five years after the “birth of the SDGs”, the world has not seen enough improvement.
Describing the GDL as a “social capital builder”, members were encouraged to take action. The diversity of participants and free conversations in the GDL make it possible to jump from abstract concepts to inspiring personal stories that encourage everyone to start to merge projects and launch collaborations.
GDL members Amarachi Igboegwu and Stefan Cibian introduced and facilitated the discussion about Global Leadership: The Future of Diplomacy. They asked how diplomats should be prepared to face the challenges of today, in general terms, and also after COVID-19. The COVID-19 context is drawing attention to opposing concepts of leadership across the world. Both authoritarian concepts of governance and more democratic, citizen-centred approaches are particularly apparent right now.
Leaders have the opportunity and a duty to cope with challenges that are to come, many of them unpredictable. For the participants of this discussion, this means that leadership also needs to change. Good leaders are in touch with the people and bring unheard voices to the table; the participants established that they need to be fast, flexible, creative and compassionate.
All in all, the co-creation session made it clear that some topics cut across all the discussions that were held, such as climate change, gender justice and inequality. This is one more reason why collaboration between different actors and institutions is needed.
In the following months, GDL members were encouraged to find people to connect with and to design projects, the implementation of which can be supported by the Leading Partners and the wider audience during the Live Summit to take place in 2021 at which the co-creation process can hopefully be continued in person.
Copyright: Julie August