SUS.DIV is organising a Policy Workshop with policy-makers to discuss our proposals for a new strategy to manage diversity in view of sustainability.

Humans beings have always been and always will be diverse (‘la condition humaine’!). In our age, however, the ever-increasing global flows of people, products and ideas (‘globalisation’) are such that we are continuously confronted with an increasing diversity of people, products and ideas (‘cultural compression’). The question of whether we can live and prosper together while keeping and enjoying our differences is becoming one of the fundamental issues of our time.

The answer to this question is not unequivocal. While international documents celebrate diversity, calls for containing diversity are gaining momentum in European political debates. While the sustainability imperative requires responsibility and justice within and across generations, we hear voices speaking of fear and even hate of the ‘other’. While globalisation is putting the role of the nation state at stake, we are witnessing a resurgence of localism, ethnicism and regionalism. Failures are more and more ascribed to an increase in diversity coupled with a desire to return to an unattainable and non-existent idealised past.
These trends challenge the constituent reasons of the European Union. Born in the aftermath of WWII to remedy the disaster of nationalism, the Union is now caught between the accusation of imposing the ‘Brussels view’ on individual member states and the call to build a ‘Fortress Europe’ to protect the identity of its citizens.

As a Network, SUS.DIV believes that policy should resist the calls for a return to a procrustean bed of one nation, one culture, one territory that has never existed. Closing the borders or breaking up the Union are not viable options. We believe that diversity, while a double-edged sword, can have a positive value. Europe can be an open, diverse, inclusive and prosperous society (what we call ‘sustainable diversity’). Policy challenges are however formidable. We would like to use this occasion to initiate a fruitful dialogue between research and policy.

This workshop will address five policy-relevant questions:

  • Common values. Should we really look for common values?
  • Democracy. Do we need to change our conception of political subjects and allow space for new ones?
  • Intercultural Dialogue. Does intercultural dialogue have a role in diverse societies?
  • Inequality. Is diversity simply a new word for inequality?
  • Research and research policy. Is evidence-based policy possible?


The programme is available at SUS.DIV website