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Orientations 2008

We will continue and develop the work following two guidelines “Dialogue of civilizations and peoples’ development” and “relationship between civil society and public authorities” in a context where the meaning of development is strongly questioned.

And we will also start an integrated « project » 2010-2013 which gives shape to the « international network » dimension of DCLI.


Workshops and meetings : rise of fondamentalisms and impact on “living together”.

Report from the Beirut and Bangalore seminars

Capitalisation of the work done since 2001

Our monthly publication, “Development and civilizations”

Workshops and meetings: the rise of fundamentalism and the impact on “living together”

In October 2008, the Asia-Europe People’s Forum (AEPF), which will be held in China offers DCLI and its international network an opportunity to present its work. The participation of the AEPF will also help to increase reflection, to make it part of organizational preoccupation and increase the impact and scope of international network’s intervention on Asian and European civil societies.

At the crossing of the two DCLI’s working premises, “The dialogue of civilizations and people’s development”, and “The relationship between civil society and public authorities”, we can find a complicated problem frequently tackled by the participants during our international meetings: the rise of fundamentalism and the impact on “living together”.

These themes, little discussed by other organizations or members of the international organization committee of the forum, represent the original contribution brought by DCLI to this forum enhanced by several years of collective and plural reflections of its international network.

Therefore DCLI co-organizes one of the 30 workshops of the Forum. The theme chosen for this workshop is the impact of political movements with religious references in Asia and in Europe, and in particular the rise of fundamentalism and the impact on “living-together”.

Being a member of the IOC of the AEPF, DCLI also contributes to the general organization of the forum (elaboration of set themes, invitations to contributors, organization of workshops) and assures a link between the ASEM network and French organizations.

Our role is not only to enable representatives of French organizations but also Asian and European, to act as participants and resource-persons for the Forum debates.

Surrounding our thematic guidelines, several activities give rhythm to the year’s progress, they will culminate in a workshop in Peking:

  1. Setting up of preparatory workshops in Europe and in Asia.
    To organise the workshop in China, a regional workshop took place and two others are on the way to being initiated with European and Asian partners and collaborators:
    • Paris, March 2008: “rise of fundamentalism”: the impact of “living together. ”Views from Indonesia, France and the Euro-Mediterranean Basin”.
    • Brussels, 2008: “rise of fundamentalism: challenges of “living- together”.
    • Kedah, Malaysia, July 2008: “rise of political movements with religious references in Asia: threat or advantage to developments based on human rights?”
  2. Co-organisation with other French organisations of a roundtable on the issue of “Movements and social rights in China”(Paris, end of October or beginning of November 2008).
    • The construction of this workshop is under discussion with partners in France. The documentary research started by DCLI (see below) will contribute to its preparation. As it will be held after the AEPE meeting, it will also be the occasion to recapitulate the outcomes in France.
  3. Documentation and publications
    • documentary research will be made on Chinese civil society in order to gather the available documents, in particular from associations who expend a great deal of effort in the AEPF process;
    • a listing will be made of the organisations based in France working on China in a solidarity based perspective;
    • two articles on China are already planned for the monthly publication: Development and Civilizations. They will concern, among other subjects, China’s role in Africa and the climatic stakes seen from China;
    • as a result of this research information on the AEPF’s activities and the conclusions of the workshops will be put online on the website.

Report from the Beirut and Bangalore

DCLI participated, in October 2003, in collaboration with the Lebanese Institute for Social and Economic Development at a seminar on the “dialogue of civilizations and development of peoples”

In Bangalore, in August 2005, we organised, with the Association of Rural Education Development Service (AREDS), a seminar concerning religious fundamentalism and globalisation.

The report of these two meetings, composed of the minutes of the seminars, existed but was not publishable as they were.

This information is very rich and the participants’ words bring a clearer comprehension of the intercultural and interreligious conflicts that beset our society. As a consequence, it seemed to us necessary to create new publications, working on these texts to extract from them the strong points and to underline their original contributions.

Thus, the collection of the six international seminars’ reports organised since 2001 following our two guidelines, will be completed:

    • Civil society, local development and globalisation: the situation of less advanced countries:
      • Addis Ababa, 2001
    • Dialogue of civilizations:
      • Beirut, 2003
      • Bangalore, 2005
    • Relationship between civil society and public authorities:
      • Prague, 2005
      • Haiti, 2006
      • Lubumbashi, 2007

Capitalisation of work completed since 2001

Development and civilizations–Lebret-Irfed has worked for several years now, on development of the whole person and every person, based on more solidarity, following two main guidelines: “dialogue of civilizations and people’s development” and “relationship between civil society and public authorities”.

Surveys, meetings and preparatory workshops, seminars and other conferences on these subjects led to the drawing up of reports.

DCLI now wishes to conclude all these works with various publications. A book and five opuses belonging to the Cahiers de Développement et Civilisations Collection (to be completed) are being prepared. Two of them are ready to be published:

Development and action-research
Strategies and practices from a global to a local perspective

Restructuring of a complete development based on solidarity
Updated re-reading of the Populorum Progressio encyclical by an international network of development participators

Two other publications are in the process of being written:

The community development centre in Timor
Support to an emerging autonomous civil society.

DCLI has been accompanying the Community Development Centre in Baucau, for more than ten years with, for example, the presence of an expatriated representative. For a year and a half, the CDC has been actively preparing the departure of this expatriate which took place at the end of 2007. This autonomy is a major turning point in the history of the project.

This challenge is even greater because of the political instability of the country, which has only been independent for six years. It is also important to handle the relationship with the occidental and international backers. Will the latter manage to play their supporting role in this initiative in which the participants are running the local development themselves? Through the impetus given by the CDC, two production groups have been organized: men working as blacksmiths and women making jam. With their strengths and weaknesses, they realize that they are participating modestly but as much as they are able, in the improvement of the life of their communities and as a consequence in the development of their country.

We are also seeing the emergence of a civil society. The CDC is capable of being acknowledged by the public authorities who are also on the way to being formed (the official independence of the country having been declared in 2002).

Dialogue of civilization and people’s development
This publication deals with the important points raised during the two seminars, one in Beirut in 2003 and the other in Bangalore in 2005. They both enabled civil society participants to discuss major questions, such as the relation between identity and citizenship, equity, democracy and the paradigms of development. They had had very few occasions to enable them to do this because of the conflicts between their communities, religions or cultures. These questions, with their local and international manifestations have never been so much at the centre of the debates. This publication is the occasion to let people speak, denounce and propose.

Relationship between civil society and public authorities
And finally, in 2007, the writing of a book on the “Relationship between civil society and public authorities” was initiated.

The plan is to take the reader through various and contrasted realities, often unknown because of the lack of accessibility, to discover unique experiences, to listen to what local people, organization members or decentralization specialists have to say. What do they propose?

These singular events cannot render an account, in an exhaustive manner, on the relationship betwehttp://www.lebret-irfed.org/ecrire/… civil societies and public authorities. But through their singularity they send strong messages on which the book will end.
These are strong messages on important contemporary issues such as “living-together” in a context of intercommunity or interreligious tensions. The roles and the impact of development help organizations. How do we recognize, within civil society, the dynamics that could lead to development, which are different to the old paradigm of purely economic growth that, by nature, can only create an illusion of catching up and an increase of inequalities? These are a few of the themes that will be tackled within the last section of the book.

Development and Civilizations publication

The publication, by opening its columns to authors who, at least 50% of them, would be from countries of the south, gives some clarity on issues that touch societies and civilizations, in a world in which we are not sure if the north/south category is still pertinent (there is more and more “North in the South” and “South in the North”) and in which we do not really know the meaning of “development” anymore. The publication also tries to point out that free will and free action, that belong to everyone, block fatalism which leads to selfish actions and helps find a sense of community, of common good and finally, the “anxious flame” of hope.

A few figures
Development and Civilizations is distributed to 1800 subscribers of which 950 are abroad in 113 countries. It has been published with no interruption since 1972 and it offers 10 articles per year. Only printed in French, it is then put online on the website three months after its release. An online version is also available in English as often as possible depending on our human resources. These articles are often used and translated in various European, African( predominately), but also Asian and Latin American reviews.

Editorial perspective
In 2008, the publication is continuing to explore the challenges and denials of development. Indeed, the people’s development that was understood by Louis-Joseph Lebret is not amongst the priorities of the supporters of a global liberal economy; it should be for the political powers of the north, of the south and for religious authorities. The choice of “challenges and denials of development” suppose that we carry out a work of truth, of testimonies and of listening. Work of truth The publication attacks the denial of development, which results in unequal access to technology, the non respect of help commitments, the constraints of excessive liberalism, which deprive the States of development and leads to the selfishness that pushes back essential decisions for the environment.(Difficult to make sense of this section!) Work of testimonies There cannot be development without the inclusion of both men and women and without an organised civil society. The publication recounts the efforts of citizen’s participation in local, national and international development and the obstacles that they encounter. Listening work (Possibly OK) Economic and technological forces are not sufficient to overcome the denial of development. Social, cultural and religious forces must also be taken into account. We must pay attention to the protests that others ignore and to cultural and spiritual approaches that are unfamiliar to us.

Paris, June 2008.

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