Symposium on Fighting Poverty: North and South
In March of 1995 the largest amount of leaders at that time convened in Copenhagen at the UN Summit for Social Development. The summit pledged that their main objectives of development would be fostering social integration, full employment and the conquest of poverty. In October of 1994 Alternatives helped organize a preparatory symposium at the Université du Québec à Montréal called ‘Fighting Poverty: North and South’ to discuss these issues.
In light of the approaching UN Summit for Social Development the symposium sought to bring together a variety of social groups from Canada and abroad for reflection on the challenge of integrating our approaches to social development that all to often diverge despite being based on the same analyses of social and economic criticisms.
There are three main questions that are fundamentally pertinent to us all, in the North and the South:
- How do we fight the spread of poverty?
- How do we fight unemployment?
- How do we end the social and economic exclusion of an increasing amount of important sections of the population?
The 21st century could be a time of peace, stability, equality and justice, but first we must identify the causes the disparities between the impoverished South and destructively consumptive North.
Day 1: Friday, September 30th
- Opening speech by Georges Le Bel from the Réseau de sensibilisation au développement social
- Allocution by the Honorable Christine Stewart (the secretary of state in Africa and South America)
- Discussion panel led by Pierre Beaudet (CIDMAA-CEAD-CERAS): 'The North and South - a common fight for social justice and democracy'
Day 2: Saturday, October 1st
- Discussion panel led by Elizabeth Morey (CIDMAA): 'The reality of dominant economic politics – where are we headed?'
- Series of workshops
- Pauperization without borders: alternatives and possibilities for action, issues of relative poverty, feminism and poverty
- Perspectives on productive employment: modern employability, can everyone be integrated in society despite not having enough work for all?
- Social integration: discussion of free markets
- Discussion panel led by Pierre Beaudet: Poverty and its solutions in Canada
- Conference led by Jawad Skalli on social movements in the third world, featuring Haidar Abdel Shafi (representing palestinian NGOs) and Atil Roque (IBASE)
Day 3: Sunday, October 2nd
- Report on the work of L’Assemblée de SPQ by Daniel Lachance
- Discussion panel led by Georges Le Bel: 'Developing our solidarity'
- Question and debate period
- Closing words
Photo by James Halliday