Talk for a Change are really pleased to be hosting a small delegation of Libyans who are here as part of a knowledge exchange trip. As well as meeting representatives of central and local government, delegates will hear from community leaders, activists and civil society organisations that work to strengthen community relations here in the UK.
In Slough they will meet the young people of Aik Saath, and learn about the role that young people can play in monitoring and managing community tensions. (Aik Saath were commended by the borough commander of police for the role they played in the summer riots of 2011, acting to calm local tensions as young people in other cities and towns across the UK took to the streets).
In Yorkshire they will be looking at how civil society organisations can support good relations. Together for Peace brings groups together in a range of different ways to bridge divides; Kumon Y’All encourages local people to take action on the things that matter to them in their local community, and Who is Your Neighbour develops understanding between people from different communities. They will also meet Near Neighbours, who work to bridge faith divides, and Programme for a Peaceful City at Bradford University, a project that promotes knowledge exchange amongst practitioners and academics on public dialogue.
The visit will culminate in Newcastle where delegates will meet with representatives from the local authority, community leaders, ARCH, and the police who together form the Community Safety Partnership.
For the last year Talk for a Change have been working closely with a small international NGO, Peaceful Change Initiative who have a base in Libya. They approached us because of the work we have done across the UK on good relations. Together with local government and community leaders in Libya, our director Raj Bhari has adapted some of the learning and tools Talk for a Change developed in the UK for the Libyan context. The words ‘social peace’ in Libya correspond with what we mean in this country when we talk about ‘good community relations’.
This learning exchange forms a key part in supporting the Libyan government and local community leaders in the roll out of their strategy for Social Peace and Local Government, especially given the current volatile context.