Sawubona! Today we started with greeting each other in a South African way. It literally means ‘we see you’. It was the beginning of the presentation of the South African group. A great way of declaring our appreciation of everyone being present.

By Yanthe Oosthoek

We also greeted Surbhi from India who was not able to join us during the first day yesterday. After that, we continued with the other presentations in which each country, and Hivos with an international NGO perspective, informed each other about national and local context issues in relation to pluralism.

The South African group first gave some general information of the country. They said that the relationship between being an outsider or insider is what people struggle with, whether being inclusive or exclusive is a concern. A remark that Anne highlighted and what I thought of as well, is how to adjust and observe all the information observed during the summer school and translate this into something tangible in order to involve yourself in the pluralistic issues and continue the conversation afterwards.

The second presentation was by the Indonesian group. Indonesia exists of more than 17.000 islands and the major religion is Islam. In relation to this, some pluralistic issues where presented. The national government currently executes policies and acts towards certain ethnic groups in a discriminative manner. Some people in certain parts of Indonesia have to follow Islamic laws although they are not Muslim and there are problems with corruption. In order to cope with these problems, youth movements, proper research, and educations are a few of its priorities that needs further development.

India presented third and started off with a great definition of pluralism in order to clarify: ‘where various streams of thoughts and practise exist side by side without one of the streams becoming hegemonic or having a monopoly over the system.’ Majoritarianism and gender issues are still major concerns therefore mentioned as national fears by the participants. However, preserving pluralism will hopefully increase and increases positively.

The presentations continued with The Netherlands. It showed significant differences compared to the other countries. Although gay marriage is allowed, Holland preserves to be bureaucratic and decentralised. The reality is that wealth and having wealth is practised as a major concern within individuals as well as within national and local context. Some current and ongoing discussions (Black Piet and ‘refugee crisis’) were explained.

The Dutch fears are based upon environmental problems (‘hopefully we won’t drown’) whereas its hopes will (continue to) recognize the countries’ pluralistic and positive differences rather than more discrimination taking place.

Hivos closed off the session by explaining its two major international development issues in relation to pluralism. Freedom of expression, democracy and civic engagement of developmental processes including environmental sustainability are key. In addition, more information was provided on the NGO itself as well as it thematic areas and the corporate video.

 The day ended with a lecture provided by Ram titled ‘Development and Change: A View from India’. A summary of what India could be in a nutshell in relation to colonialism, modernity, national independent movements, constitutional governance, national resistance, ongoing anxieties and constitutional frameworks. We finished this very informative and meaningful second day at 4 PM.

Yanthe Oosthoek is studying for a Bachelor degree in International Development Management (with a major Rural Development and Innovation) at Van Hall Larenstein University for Professional Education in Velp and recently completed her internship at Hivos Head Office in The Hague.