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Living Room Conversation: How solid is our common ground?

The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung hosted a Living Room Conversation on the 28th of June 2023, at their conference centre in Dunkeld, Johannesburg. The event was co-hosted in association with the Institute for Global Dialogue and UNISA.

The theme of the conversation was “How solid id our common ground?” and focussed on the building of progressive internationalism and its fractured realities.

Progressives in South Africa and Germany appear to be drifting apart. Whether it's the recent pandemic, the war in Ukraine, or the climate and energy crisis - ideas and expectations about mutual responsibilities and responses appear to differ. Multiple crises are deepening global inequalities and threatening peace and our very existence. They are exacerbated by the rise of authoritarianism, imperialism, geopolitical shifts, and a looming block confrontation. Progressives on both sides largely agree that the multiple crises are too important to be left to the government alone and that the political moment calls for multilateral responses and progressive internationalism. Is there enough common ground for that? Do we truly understand each other's interests and perspectives? What are the pillars of a shared progressive agenda?

The speakers were:

  • Martin Schulz - President FES, former President of the EU Parliament, former president of the Social Democratic Party of Germany;

  • Alvin Botes - Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation;

  • Lebogang Mulaisi – Presidential Climate Commission; former Head of Policy, COSATU; and

  • Sithembile Mbete – Lecturer, International Relations and Political Science, University of Pretoria

The conversation was moderated by Yolokazi Mfuto - Civil Society Liaison Officer at the Pan-African Parliament; FHAS alumni.


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