Whenever differences interact, new perspectives and new possibilities are created
Skåne has been a meeting place for people of different social, cultural and religious backgrounds since time immemorial. Whenever differences interact, new perspectives and new possibilities are created. Encounters between people inspire growth on both the personal and the societal levels.
When it comes to education, research and innovation, Skåne is among the leading regions in the world. However, low employment, integration problems and weak entrepreneurship prevent Skåne from achieving its potential and becoming a competitive region on the global stage.
A crucial prerequisite for Skåne’s development is to make the interactions among people of different backgrounds a well-functioning process. The point of departure for Open Skåne is therefore that diversity is a resource that is best utilised through the transfer of knowledge, education, conversation and cooperation. The results lead to stronger social cohesion through respect for people’s differences.
Open Skåne facilitates a process that is open and that can be manifested in various ways. Diverse voices can come to the fore through personal meetings, conversations and dialogues, think tanks and conferences, artistic expressions and debates.
During 2014-2018 Open Skåne is enabling a process which is open and which can be manifested in various ways. Diverse voices can come to the fore through personal meetings, conversation and dialogues, think tanks and conferences, cultural and religious festivals, artistic expressions and debates. An example is our current project on trust-buildning with regional muslim leaders and police authorities.
With the advent of globalisation, it is clear that the diversity of people’s social, cultural and religious affiliations is important for us in Skåne and in our endeavour to achieve stronger social cohesion. The challenges faced by local and regional society are complex, requiring new ways of thinking and cross-border cooperation. Open Skåne is an attempt to address these challenges, which are crucial for all of Skåne’s inhabitants.
Openness is about the will to grow and develop, as individuals and as a society. Openness involves making oneself vulnerable to criticism and opposition. Dependence upon other people is precisely what makes us feel alive.It is this dependence, as well as interaction with others that we have to focus on in order to mature as people. The same applies to how Skåne should develop.
An inter-religious delegation from Skåne, under the leadership of Antje Jackelén, then the Bishop in Lund Diocese, participated in the Parliament of the World’s Religions conference in Melbourne, Australia.
The Bishop was contacted by the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions about an initiative called Social Cohesion in Malmö/Skåne. A reference group was set up.
Region Skane, Malmö City and Lund Missionary Society allocated funds for a feasibility study for Social Cohesion in Malmö/Skåne.
The feasibility study’s 102 interviews and 5 think tanks were presented in the report Social Cohesion in Malmö/Skåne.
Talks were held between representatives for universities, the business world and political and religious communities about creating a structure to enable work to continue after the feasibility study.
The Initiative for Social Cohesion in Skåne Foundation was established on 24 February. During the autumn, the Board of Directors adopted the name Open Skåne for the Foundation’s outgoing activities.
During its first year of operation, Open Skåne focused on issues of security and confidence in a better future. Collaborations developed with, among others, the Police Region South and municipal leaders and civil society in Eslöv, Kristianstad and Tomelilla.
The focus of our programs is concentrated on five pilot projects: Muslim Communities and Police Region South, Jewish-Muslim Partnership, Afro-Swedes in Skåne, Security and Confidence in a Better Future and the Open Skane cafe.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Bishop Johan Tyrberg, Lund Diocese
Stephan Müchler, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of South Sweden
Fredrik Sieradzky, Network of Jewish Communities in Skåne
Imam Chadi Barakat, Malmö Muslim Network
Per Eriksson, Lund University
Professor Tapio Salonen, Malmö University
Andreas Konstantinides, Urban District Committee East, Malmö City
Birgitta Södertun, Region Skåne
Peter Cavala, The County Administrative Board of Skåne