The Moja Research Institute will host a special event to coincide with the 10th BRICS Summit in South Africa.
The event brings together a stellar panel of thought leaders, futurists and influencers from civil society, academia, think-tanks, government and business, and members of the diplomatic corps from BRICS member States and guest countries.
The event endeavors to promote and enhance a sense of solidarity and a common vision between government, civil society and research institutes
The Moja Research Institute (MRI) recognizes that the BRICS partnership, created by governments to strengthen their cooperation in international relations, has evolved to focus on translating economic gains into human development. The establishment of Track III Diplomacy that focuses on civil society is a case in point.
The growing focus on people-to-people relations, the inclusion of think tanks, businesses, civil society and now potentially labour, is transforming BRICS beyond the traditional state-to-state relations. This was particularly evident during China’s chairmanship of the BRICS in 2017, where the roles of think tanks, academics, civil society and political parties were given a greater prominence.
In the last two decades, these roles have shifted as the external environment for civil society has changed. Renewed focus on the essential contribution of civil society to a resilient global system alongside government and business has emerged. Civil society is also widely assumed to be an important actor for peacebuilding. As such, substantive focus has been given towards building and strengthening civil society, especially in countries experiencing or emerging from situations of armed conflict. In such environments, civil society is understood as playing an important role in reducing violence, and in facilitating the conditions necessary for building a sustainable peace.
With the proliferation of armed conflicts in the 1990s, and the rising complexity of peacebuilding efforts confronting the international community, the attention of donors and peacebuilding practitioners has increasingly turned to the potential role to be played by civil society. Although there has been a massive rise in peacebuilding initiatives aimed at strengthening civil society, these initiatives have not been accompanied by a systematic research agenda. As a result, we know little about the role of civil society in peacebuilding, including its potential contribution to reducing violence, ending armed conflict and building a sustainable peace thereafter.
Civil society is widely assumed to be an important actor for peacebuilding. As such, substantive focus has been given towards building and strengthening civil society, especially in countries experiencing or emerging from situations of armed conflict.
In such environments, civil society is understood as playing an important role in reducing violence, and in facilitating the conditions necessary for building a sustainable peace. However, despite this ever-growing emphasis on the role of civil society in peacebuilding, little systematic research has been undertaken to empirically support this assumption.
Overall, our research stresses that civil society has the potential to play an important and effective role in peacebuilding during all stages of conflict, and has often contributed positively to the peacebuilding process. However, a careful look at the engagement of civil society – compared to the involvement of other actors – reveals that the role played by civil society is not necessarily decisive in building peace, but rather supportive in most instances.
The central impetus for peacebuilding comes mainly from political actors, and above all, from the conflict parties themselves. The emergence of the BRICS has generated a renewed debate about peacebuilding and donor activity. This has slowly influenced the aims, norms and practices of international peacebuilding, state-building and development. There are subtle differences in BRICS members’ interests, approaches and motives, power, influence, and adherence to or rejection of established standards.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution represents a fundamental change in the way we live, work and relate to one another. It is a new chapter in human development, enabled by extraordinary technology advances commensurate with those of the first, second and third industrial revolutions. These advances are merging the physical, digital and biological worlds in ways that create both huge promise and potential peril. The speed, breadth and depth of this revolution is forcing us to rethink how countries develop, how organizations create value and even what it means to be human.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is about more than just technology-driven change; it is an opportunity to help everyone, including leaders, policy-makers and people from all income groups and nations, to harness converging technologies in order to create an inclusive, human-centred future. The real opportunity is to look beyond technology, and find ways to give the greatest number of people the ability to positively impact their families, communities and organizations.
As artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies begin to be deployed widely, what’s new about the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how will civil society respond and adapt to coming shifts in technology, industry and power in a rapidly changing and fractured world?
The Fourth Industrial Revolution introduces particularly new challenges relative to past revolutions—signs of which we are already seeing today. New organizational and business models are emerging. Technology is introducing different challenges and opportunities. All this result in a deeper analysis required between state and non-state actors including the role of civil society. These are only some of the major developments impacting the future of civil society in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
China is engaging with the world in a much more systematic way than it did before, which is a positive development. This is partly because of the Belt and Road Initiative, and the rebuilding of connections in countries across Asia and Africa," said Peter Frankopan, director of the Oxford Center for Byzantine Research and author of the international bestseller The Silk Roads: A New History of the World. "Part of this also comes from a growing awareness that the world is changing." Frankopan added the greatest challenge China faces is the changing world around it. "China does not exist within a bubble, but like all countries at the moment it is faced with a time of profound transition, which makes collaboration and cooperation more important than ever."
Although China is at a turning point, where much will depend on decisions made in the coming years, there is no question the country is planning for the future, but how it adapts policies in the face of change elsewhere will be crucial.
At the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China October 18, 2017President Xi Jinping indicated that “We have remained committed to the new development philosophy, adopted the right approach to development, and endeavored to transform the growth model. The result has been a constant improvement in the quality and effect of development.”
It therefore becomes critical to assess China as a case study in its developmental trajectory.
The most significant step China could take in today's world is playing a greater role in humanitarian crises around the world. China can play a greater role in helping those affected, and in resolving the conflicts that underpin these problems.
BRICS+, a proposal by China to “help expand BRICS influence … consistent with the interests of BRICS members but also with the common aspirations of emerging markets and developing countries … and increasing the group’s influence in a multipolar world”, may be gaining ground. This is as much a consequence of the demise of globalization and prevailing geopolitical risks around the globe presently.
With over 40 percent of the world's population spread across three continents, 25 percent of its landmass and over 20 percent of global GDP, BRICS is already an influential player in world affairs. And for many, the bloc symbolizes the engines of economic expansion in the 21st century and represents the changing geo-political and geo-economic global order.
Sessions feature a moderator and three panellists who provide perspectives on the topic for further interactive dialogue.
By invitation only, with limited place available via early online registration.
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Sessions will be streamed “live” on: YouTube: MojaMedia.TV Twitter: @MojaResearchInstitute - Hashtag: #MojaBRICS2018Seminar
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Liliesleaf was once the nerve centre of the liberation movement and a place of refuge for its leaders and one of South Africa’s foremost, award-winning heritage sites where the journey to democracy in South Africa is honoured. It is recognised as one of South Africa’s leading heritage sites. The museum pays testimony to the many lives that changed the political landscape of this country.