· Engage minority and immigrant youth in Amsterdam and New York City in collecting little-understood cultural histories—and integrating those stories into the historical narratives taught in city classrooms: Alternative Histories
T: +31.(0)20.626 2321
By Baratunde Thurston
What are the odds of that? As many of yall know, I was just in Amsterdam as part of the Pioneers program (http://pioneersny400nl.blogspot.com/) which itself is part of the celebration marking Henry Hudson's 400-year-old sailing from Amsterdam in Holland to New Amsterdam (aka NYC).
So minutes ago, I went to my local dry cleaners in Inwood, aka Upstate Manhattan, and saw a bunch of folks with orange vests on. I almost ignored the group but decided to be nosy, as a good neighbor should be. When I saw that the group had a large number of smokers all speaking with a distinct throat-clearing accent, I knew I was among Dutch brethren. Then I saw the website on their vests (http://newyorkfriendship400.nl/) and the "I Amsterdam" caps that I recognized from signs in the Netherlands.
Apparently this group was about to take a 3 hour bike tour. One man I spoke with asked "How many New Yorker's know about the connection between our cities and this year's celebration?" I had to confess that most wouldn't know. As I explained, "there's a lot going on in New York on any given day," but as the year progresses, we'll help spread the word.
In that spirit, here are a few sites to help you get acquainted with the history and the festivities/events
Henry Hudson 400:
Holland On The Hudson website:
NY Times Article:
I Amsterdam website:
Get ready to drink a lot of Heineken.
Deze zinnen brengen een stroom aan gedachten op gang. Ik denk aan de lege barricades, pleinen die door duiven worden overgenomen bij gebrek aan demonstranten. Gill Scott Heron schreef het al: ‘The revolution will not be televised’. Nee, de revolutie, of welke daad van publiek activisme dan ook, zal niet uitgezonden worden. ‘The revolution’ zal ook niet live zijn, zoals Heron iets verderop in zijn beroemde gedicht schrijft. Sterker nog: er zal helemaal geen revolutie komen, want we zitten allemaal voor de televisie normaal te doen, want dan doen we al gek genoeg.
Ik ben van de generatie die de val van de Berlijnse muur (bijna) bewust heeft meegemaakt. Die even gefascineerd naar de films over Malcolm X en The Black Panther Party heeft gekeken, als naar de demonstraties van anders-globalisten tijdens de G8, G20 en alle andere G’s. Ik ben van de generatie die weet waar barricades voor dienen maar niet weet hoe en -belangrijker nog-, waarom ze erop moet klimmen. De generatie die politieke discussies beëindigd met de opmerking ‘We kunnen er toch niets aan veranderen, het is zoals het is’. Die de politiek ziet als een gesloten fort waar je alleen binnen kunt komen als je jouw idealen bij de voordeur achterlaat. Chargeer ik? Absoluut, maar feit blijft dat wat jongeren tegenwoordig te zien krijgen van de politiek niet verder gaat dan zinloze kamervragen (die ons overigens € 2.000 per vraag kosten). Aangevuld met pietluttige onderlinge schermutselingen die niets te maken hebben met het landsbelang en alles met partij/eigenbelang.
Soms droom ik wel eens van een regering met een visie, die weet waar het naartoe moet met dit land en dat goed aan iedereen duidelijk kan maken, maar ook openstaat voor suggesties. Een politiek systeem dat met haar tijd meegaat en moderne communicatiemiddelen gebruikt om constant op de hoogte te blijven van wat er speelt. Politieke partijen die niet alleen één keer in de vier jaar, als er wat te winnen of te verliezen valt, hun oren voor de vorm te luisteren leggen. Politici die polls negeren en die, in plaats van dat ze uit angst voor fictieve zetels maatschappelijke angsten met hun voorzichtige woorden voeden, spreken uit overtuiging. En jongerenpartijen die de taal van de jeugd spreken en jongeren met minder toegang tot het politieke stelsel kunnen enthousiasmeren om hun stem publiekelijk te laten horen, in plaats van te zwijgen in de marges. Jonge politici in spé die het systeem durven te bevragen, in plaats van braaf af te wachten totdat ze hun eigen zetel kunnen vullen.
Ben ik de enige die hiervan droomt? Behoor ik tot een minderheid, een ongeorganiseerde minderheid van onsignificante stemmen? Misschien. Misschien is het dan tijd dat deze minderheid het schaakspel onder de knie krijgt in plaats van eeuwig te blijven dammen zonder resultaat. Zoals de woorden van Jeff Johnson (Afro-Amerikaanse onderzoeksjournalist, politiek correspondent en activist) tijdens zijn P!oneers lezing over de ‘empowerment’ van minderhedenjongeren via Hiphop treffend aangaf. En misschien, heel misschien is schaken noch dammen het antwoord en moeten we gewoon het hele politieke speelveld veranderen en 21ste eeuw-‘proof’ maken. Ik ben tenslotte ook van de generatie die gelooft dat iets nooit heel lang kan blijven zoals het is. Het kan immers altijd anders, beter.
Het is algemeen bekend dat New York Nederlandse wortels heeft. Dit jaar wordt die 400-jarige band tussen de wereldsteden gevierd. Onder de titel P!oneers worden 20 Amsterdamse en 20 New Yorkse pioniers bij elkaar gebracht om te praten over wat jongeren kunnen doen om hun stad te verbeteren. Begin april nam ik deel aan de eerste ontmoeting in Amsterdam.
Wat me als eerste opviel is dat er in beide steden groepen jongeren zijn die als kansarm of moeilijk betiteld worden en waar vervolgens niet zo heel veel mee gedaan wordt. Totdat ze in de moeilijkheden komen. Dan wacht er een heel justitieel systeem en krantenkoppen. Volgens de Afro-Amerikaanse onderzoeksjournalist, politiekcorrespondent en activist Jeff Johnson die ook aanwezig was, biedt hiphop uitkomst.
Weet jij in welke stad het eerste hiphopzaadje ontkiemde? Wie Public Enemy, Rakim en De La Soul zijn? Kun jij ook de nieuwe generatie rappers zoals 50 cent, Lupe Fiasco, Common en T.I. citeren? Gefeliciteerd. Dan spreek je vloeiend hiphop en ben je automatisch verbonden met miljoenen jongeren wereldwijd die dezelfde taal spreken.
Tot een paar jaar terug sprak ik vloeiend in hiphop. Ik wist wie wie was in het wereldje, wie wat had gerapt en waarom de ene rapper niet met de andere door een deur kon (ook heel belangrijk). De taal begon echter weg te ebben toen ik merkte dat er in tracks meer werd gesproken over materiële en vrouwonvriendelijke zaken dan wezenlijke dingen. Ik wilde deze taal niet meer spreken. Maar het uitdrukkingsmiddel bestaat nog steeds en is levendiger dan ooit. De eerste keer dat ik een autochtoon jongetje uit Amsterdam 0ud-Zuid in een tram de hiphoptaal hoorde bezigen, was ik verbaasd. Tegenwoordig kijk ik er niet meer van op.
Als je als wereldverbeteraar of gewoon als mens zonder labels graag iets wil betekenen voor jongeren dan moet je de hiphoptaal beheersen. Want met hiphop in je achterzak kun je hangjongeren opleiden tot politiek activisten die hun plichten kennen en opkomen voor hun rechten in plaats van dag na dag klagen over het grote onrecht dan hen wordt aangedaan. Want met hiphop in je achterhoofd kun je ruziënde groepen jongeren nader tot elkaar brengen: het is namelijk een bindende factor onder veel jongeren. Hiphop is een overeenkomst die ons het verschil kan helpen maken.
Jeff Johnson maakt met hiphop het verschil in zijn eigen omgeving. Tijdens zijn lezing maakten mijn gedachten even de link met de poging van het kabinet om meer Jip-en-Janneketaal te spreken in plaats van stijve regententaal. Daar ligt een les die ook voor hiphop geldt: je kunt de taal nog zo goed spreken maar als uit dat wat je zegt blijkt dat je niet hebt geluisterd, heb je het nog niet echt begrepen.
April 5, 2009, in Felix Meritis, Amsterdam
It’s always such a pleasure to be in this city of canals and gabled homes, of reflections of canals in handsome windows, of reflections of reflections receding into a luminous calm. There’s much wisdom in Amsterdam, and much relief from 8th Avenue, and I want to thank the Dutch government for having the wisdom to invest in the future promised by the creative young minds of the Pioneers gathered here, and for inviting me.
Such paths are the lifeblood of the threatened profession I represent, journalism. Information is now more freely available than ever before on the ubiquitous screens that inhabit our lives. But I urge you always to test what you read against what you see. Not only what you see: what you smell, touch, feel, intuit as you venture, all senses on alert, into the unknown. When everyone is going in one direction, go the other way, not away from the storm, but into it. As Dante observed, “Go your own way, and let the people talk.” Understanding is not linear; it’s a composite thing, a collage, made up of countless elements, some not easy to identify. Look around the next corner. Get out where you see what Judith Goldstein would call humanity in action. Don’t allow fear – a commodity people love to pedal -- to hem you in. Don’t let links, however viral, take the place of dirt and spice. A desert wind may tell you more than a thousand Facebook friends. Beyond the global mall, now a little emptier than in recent years, lies a still varied world.
One relatively inaccessible path – at least for western journalists who have a hard time getting visas – took me earlier this year to Iran, where I spent close to three weeks. Herodotus has this to say about the Persians:
“The general practice of the Persians is to deliberate upon affairs of weight when they are drunk; and then on the morrow, when they are sober, the decision to which they came the night before is put before them by the master of the house in which it was made; and if it is then approved of, they act on it; if not, they set it aside.
“Sometimes, however, they are sober at their first deliberation; but in this case they always reconsider the matter under the influence of wine.”
The Persians, as you see, are a wise people.
Today, of course, there is no alcohol in the Islamic Republic of Iran – at least not outside private homes in swinging northern Tehran (where it is delivered, I found, in black garbage bags.) But I think the Iranian habit of reviewing decisions very closely, under various lights, through various prisms, endures.
There are two views of the Mullahs who have governed Iran for three decades now, since the 1979 revolution. The first is they are a mad, apocalyptical bunch driven by a literal reading of Islamic scripture and bent on the development of a nuclear bomb, the violent export of their revolution and the destruction of Israel. The second is that the belligerent, sometimes vile rhetoric of the regime masks an essential pragmatism, and that a look to east and west – at war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq – leads any Iranian to prize stability above all. I subscribe to this second view.
We live in a world of aggressive message multipliers. Images, caricatures, can take hold very quickly, such as the one of Iran as today’s embodiment of totalitarian evil, a modern-day Nazi state. Debate can get stifled as such ideas snowball across the Web: we saw that in the approach to the Iraq war. Perhaps the first duty of a pioneer is to think differently, to challenge conventional wisdom. After all, as Talleryand observed, “Worse than a crime is a mistake.” Mistakes happen precisely when taboo blocks debate.
To me Tehran itself, the capital of Iran, challenges received views. It is a megalopolis, not beautiful, but one of those cities, like Sao Paulo, whose energy is stirring. The city is set on a sloping plain running down from the Alborz Mountains, with the result that snow may fall on the higher, northern districts even as the sun shines on its southern sprawl. Even its weather is many-faceted.
The traffic is dense, leaving the gridlocked traveler much time to seek inspiration in the snowy peaks of the Alborz (at least when the smog lifts) and ponder the puzzles of Persia, a great civilization whose sophistication endures even under a repressive regime. Greater Tehran now has a population of 15 million people. The city keeps growing, part of a trend that has just seen the world’s urban population surpass the rural population for the first time in human history. (By 2050, by the way, it is predicted that 6.4 billion people will live in cities, against 2.8 billion in the countryside, a fundamental change in the structure of the world.)
Most city dwellers these days, be they in Chengdu or Tehran, are networked in. About two-thirds of the Iranian capital’s population is under 30. A majority of the millions of university students are women. They are in touch. They want the latest brands, be it in jeans or laptops. They are on cell phones and the Internet, they are watching satellite TV, they are blogging (blogs and sites get shut down, only to open again, and even the scandalous recent death of a blogger in Evin prison does not deter the activity), and they are thirsty for knowledge of the world. A student opponent of the regime told me the virtual world was fundamental to everything he does.
Iran illustrates some of the ways in which today’s world exists in dimensions that defy the lines we still see on maps. Frontiers mislead. Everything has been globalized except politics. Facebook added 100 million members over the past nine months: that’s one-and-a-half times the population of Iran. I don’t know how many of those new members were Iranian; I do know that trans-border networks transform politics in ways that are often overlooked.
Connectedness dampens revolutionary fervor. It takes the total out of totalitarian. The individual is no longer completely subservient to the state and one party. Many Iranians do not like their regime – just as many Chinese do not like their one-party state – but theirs is not the dark night of the soul of the Soviet Union or Maoist China. The era of revolutions is therefore over. If they happen they will be of the velvet form.
Young Iranians, especially women in their hijabs confronting the morality police, want change but they are not going to die for it. They have their online world, which is one form of escape. They have learned to play an elaborate game of cat-and-mouse with the regime. They look back at their 30-year-old lives and what do they see? Traumatized childhoods spent under the bombardments of the eight-year Iran-Iraq war (one million dead between 1980 and 1988), rationing, sirens, bombs shelters. Compared to that, life has gotten better. So they are pragmatic, they want stability, just as the Cultural-Revolution-traumatized Chinese see stability as the only basis on which to consolidate their growing prosperity.
It is essential to understand this basic psychology when considering Iran’s intentions. If one does, the only reasonable course is engagement, because engagement will help young Iranians to bring reform. Attacking Iran, by contrast, would awaken very worst isolationist, repressive and nationalist instinct of the regime and lock it in for the next half-century. I believe that President Barack Obama understands this. He sees that we live in a world of synthesis, of osmosis, of cross-fertilization, of networks ranging from environmentalist and human rights efforts to activism for the poor, where integrative forces are stronger than divisive religious, ethnic or nationalist movements, however much noise the latter make and however potent they may seen.
Indeed one way of viewing the world’s intense hostility to former President Bush is as a global reaction against his ignorance of, and apparent contempt for, connectedness.
His world view was Manichean: good and evil, us and them, light and dark, a universe without nuance or shades of grey. But such simplistic slogans have outgrown their shelf life in a world that increasingly knows what’s going on. American hypocrisy and double standards just don’t wash any more. And of course one of the most fundamental things going on is that every problem – energy, climate, financial meltdown, massive urbanization, Afghanistan – now require global solutions. We have to surface the networks binding global cities into the international political discourse. We have to see plugged-in Tehranis in their Persian-produced cars when we talk Iran just as clearly as we see turbaned Mullahs.
Doing so will not resolve the problems of the world, but it will help.
Obama arrived just when we needed him, direct from what you pioneers have called The Ministry of the Impossible. I have called him the “providential mestizo.” Black and white, a foot here, a foot there, a Christian with several Muslim forbears, he could scarcely better personify a world in flux, or the Generation Global of this early 21st century. What he is intent on doing above all, I think, is undoing that Manichean world view I just described, whose most disastrous effect has been the growing alienation of the Muslim world and the West. Hence his outreach to Iran, the visit he begins today to Turkey, and other gestures. As Obama’s campaign showed, he is acutely aware of online networks and the way they have knit the world together in a way that defies the imposition of the will of any one power, however great.
Bridging rifts and misunderstanding between Islam and the West is, of course, by no means exclusively an American concern. Here in Europe, here in Holland itself, blood has been shed as the continent grapples with how to assume and accommodate its now partly Muslim identity. The murder in 2004 of an Islam-bashing movie director, Theo Van Gogh, by an Islamist fanatic shocked this nation and revealed the violence of the gulf. Today, the parliamentarian Geert Wilders, gains in popularity with this relentlessly repeated message that Islam is not a religion but a totalitarian political ideology. “Islam is not another leaf on the tree of religion,” he has said.
Much more than a leaf, Islam is of course a branch on the monotheistic tree whose roots are Judaic. To claim otherwise is a gross insult to a great world religion followed in peace by more than a billion people. But of course there is no denying that Islam has been deployed as an ideology by a small minority of fanatics with fantastical aims to restore a Caliphate-like theocracy. New York knows all about that. These distinctions, and Wilders’ outrageous decision to overlook them, need airing, which is why I oppose attempts to silence him like Britain’s recent decision not to admit him to the country. Free speech is always compromised at peril. Veto rights cannot be afforded – not in post-Enlightenment Europe – to those who want to place Islam, or any other religion for that matter, beyond criticism.
Certainly that is not the tradition of two great cities, Amsterdam and New York, whose very emblems are openness. My argument is that Tehran has much more in common with them, despite appearances, despite its place in a repressive theocracy, than might initially appear possible. The same ideas, the same debates, the same fashions, the same problems circulate, because this is a networked world. I am of a generation that has difficulty grasping that. I don’t believe that’s the case of the pioneering generation here, which is a cause for great hope.
Many look at Iran’s theocracy and see the very symbol of danger to the openness we prize. But perhaps there is another way of looking at it. After all, Iranians at this point know all about dreams of Islamic rule: been there, done that. They are not naïve, they are not deluded, they know all the problems of making compromises between Shariah law and modernity. They are coming out the far end of fervor. The compromises they are reaching, with difficulty, with a continuous ebb and flow of liberalization, are in my view seminal, not only for the Middle East. The biggest mistake is to believe that one day either Western liberalism or Islam will be triumphant in the Middle East, for a networked world can only be based on the trade-offs of global community. And it is to global community that the 21st century must be dedicated if it is avoid the tragedies of its predecessor.
By Jeff Johnson
This trip by Obama to Europe is consumed with the need to rectify the global economic crisis and increased cooperation from the G20 to assist in the process. I however am reminded of Obama’s remarks when he was in Europe during his campaign. He stated, "In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common. In America, there are voices that deride and deny the importance of Europe's role in our security and our future.” The question of should or how American’s change this perception and of more importance how do people from both continents collectively deal with issues of climate control, global trade, terrorism, and religious conflict was what I hoped would be a larger issue as Obama took office. However, alas, the economic crisis has taken all of our attention, forcing us to answer for ourselves the question without the assistance of mass media.
The post World War II model of an alliance between North America and Europe is antiquated and in need of repair. With all due respect to our political leaders, no President, Prime Minister, or world summit for that matter, will provide relevance and sustainability. It is through the efforts of “regular” citizens that this relationship will be built and grow.
The real strength and energy of a new millennium Trans-Atlantic network will intrinsically connect to what makes many politicians most nervous: virtual nation building. As the world becomes smaller and people become more affected by the corporate and personal decisions of citizens in different parts of the world, it will bind regular people together in a way that nationalism cannot force. The Trans-Atlantic alliance will truly affect climate change, genocide, the conflict between religions and ideas, and other pressing social and political issues by creating virtual nations of citizens who become members not based on their passport, but their dedication to fighting for the manifestation of social responsibility that reflects the adoption of policy. Members of various countries will proclaim, "I am a member of the financially responsible nation, the clean air nation, the globally beneficial trade nation, or the anti-war nation." How can we see a successful alliance that claims to be founded in the end of imperialism, but actually supports it? We cannot.
While I am in Amsterdam this week participating in the Pioneer’s conference, I am looking to connect, listen to and learn from the members of the local hip-hop community. Why? Because when I look at the potential ideological and methodological options available for engaging youth in this notion of virtual nations, it is hip-hop that most excites my imagination. I am not speaking of the hip-hop community made up of globally recognized artists, recording labels, or major television and radio conglomerates. I am talking about the hip-hop community made up of conscientious young citizens of all races and ethnicities that want to see Amsterdam live out its claim of being a nation of progressive leaders that provide true opportunity for its people. I mean the young people who listen to and make hip-hop music, and embrace the positive aspects of the sub-culture. I want to meet with them because there is the potential of creating a virtual hip-hop community of young leaders that believe in the development of a global vision and cooperation with hip-hop as its banner.
This type of virtual nation has the capacity of using an often-demonized art form as it was intended. Whether we use it as a tool for conflict resolution between young Dutch and Moroccan young people that may not appreciate each other’s culture, but who embrace hip-hop. This virtual hip-hop nation may use the sub-culture as a tool to address climate change and the global use of renewable energy. No matter the issue, it is the potential of building new mechanisms of communication and action that excites me. I hope that it excites members of the Amsterdam community as well and that we can work together to create them.
During President Obama’s visit to Europe last year he stated, "Now is the time to build new bridges across the globe as strong as the one that bound us across the Atlantic." I see hip-hop as a just one community that can step up as architects dedicated to the creation of such a bridge. I am happy to be a member of such an effort. However, it is only one of many. I hope that we will see not only the new U.S. President and his counterparts determine the bridge, but the citizens who will actually have to walk across it. And if we build a hip-hop bridge, perhaps we can even dance across.
By: Eva Kelder
The P!oneers Sessions organised by Felix Meritis and Humanity in Action from April 1-3, 2009 in Amsterdam have brought together innovative thinkers from Amsterdam and New York City. By creating a platform for inter-disciplinary inspiration and exchange as well as exploration of urgent developments faced today these pioneers have engaged in discussions about critical topics, personal growth and problem-solving as active citizens of open societies. The following questions have been addressed:
- Imagining the ideal city: What would you do to improve your city? How can the public sphere be reclaimed in terms of empowerment?
- Harvesting the human capital of pioneers: How can human capital and resources be provided within the existing networks of pioneers?
- Political mobilization of communities: How can local communities, on and offline, be empowered in the political progress?
- Disenfranchised youth and empowerment: How can minority groups be empowered? The focus lies on urban youth.
Out of these frameworks four concrete initiatives have emerged:
- Creating and establishing an open society which consists of a collection of personal stories from the community.
- Establishing an intercity membership association in Amsterdam and New York.
- Documenting the personal histories of citizens in Amsterdam and New York. Where am I coming from? Where are we now? Listen to me. Citizens will be encouraged to document key events in their lives. The pioneers will push for the inclusion of personal stories in official documentation.
- Founding a ‘Ministry of the Impossible’ which will fund the realisation of unexpected initiatives that come out of urban chaos.
From Amsterdam to New York
In the upcoming months both groups will be meeting in Amsterdam and New York to transform all the presented ideas into concrete initiatives and proposals. When asked how they will take their creative ideas into the big, bad world one pioneer answers: ‘we are the big, bad world’. ‘We live in that world. We know what it means to live in an urban environment that is suffering from social unrest. We want to encourage both communities in Amsterdam and New York to stop looking at politicians to come up with solutions, but instead make use of their own power as a community to change their lives and surroundings. We can help them achieving that goal.’
The Pioneers see themselves as a Triple A group.
The A’s stand for:
Authenticity: Each pioneer is authentic and represents the city’s DNA.
All-inclusive: No one is excluded.
Activity: Every pioneer wants to activate people.
The injection of new energy and ideas in the work of the Amsterdam and New York pioneers has to generate an impact on the local Amsterdam and New York levels through this exchange of best practices and experiences. Through this process of exchange and inspiration by pioneers, an ambassador’s network with the goal of sustainable cooperation has been built. The Amsterdam Pioneers will travel to New York in November of this year to meet up with their American counterparts.
Pioneers is an initiative of the Felix Meritis Foundation in Amsterdam and Humanity in Action in New York City and is part of the NY400.NL celebrations. Pioneers is financially supported by the Directorate for Citizenship & Integration of the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment of The Netherlands; the Ministry for Youth and Families of The Netherlands; as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands.
While world leaders are gathering at the G20 summit in London to tackle the world’s financial crisis Felix Meritis plunged into its own international conference. Yesterday Felix Meritis, Humanity in Action and NY400.nl welcomed forty pioneers from both New York and Amsterdam to a three day session of debate, discussions, workshops and of course networking. The current economic and social crisis calls for innovative solutions and partnerships. What binds these cutting edge thinkers from various walks of life and what inspired them to explore new ways of active citizenship?
The shared history of New York and Amsterdam inspired the organisation to bring together young innovative thinkers. Ranging from musicians, producers, internet entrepreneurs, consultants to artists, political bloggers and ‘troublemakers for corporate America’, they all emphasize that active citizenship means bridging the gap between old and new traditions and institutions. Whether in the field of media, internet, social engineering or entrepreneurship, the pioneers all share an eagerness to as one of the participants put it: ‘make the world a happier place.’
The kick-off of the programme was a lecture by Ann Morning, Assistant Professor of sociology at New York University, who argues that despite what people often tend to believe, Americans still think of race as a matter of intrinsic, biological differences between members of distinct races. Morning starts of by emphasizing that slavery is part of a shared Dutch American history. She goes on to explain that race is an European concept that was imported to the United States. ‘After the second World War Europeans no longer believed in the concept of race but it is a way of thinking that still has a place in European and American society. How do everyday people think about race?’ According to Morning people have persistent working models about race. There are three ways of thinking about race that can be defended:
- An essential thinking about race: races are naturally-occurring biological groupings.
- A constructivist concept of race which classifies races as socially determined groupings.
- An anti-essentialist concept of race: races are not biological groupings.
Morning interviewed a number of college students in the United States about their perceptions of race differences. She expected the students to express a constructivist view on race: race is culture. It turned out that two third of the students classified race in terms of physical differences. The concept of race as a social construct was not taught to the majority of students or they did not find it helpful. The students who perceived race to be a cultural concept were mainly anthropology students. Morning also conducted a series of interviews with college professors. Forty percent of the professors defined race as a biological matter while sixty percent dismissed this concept. When racial classification is concerned academics are far from some kind of consensus.
One of the participants expresses accurately what P!ioneers embodies in his opinion: connecting people. It will be fascinating to watch and witness what this transatlantic community will create these upcoming days and which future projects will emerge out of this event.
14.00 - 22.00 hours
Who are the shakers and movers of today, the Obama's of tomorrow?
An entertaining and diverse programme with talk shows, performances, workshops, enables you to share the inspiration and ability to bring about change on the part of contemporary Pioneers from various walks of life. They will take you to the crossroads of technology and democracy, art and politics, power and music, where new forms of citizenship are forged. Recognised and up-and-coming talents from New York and Amsterdam, including Roger Cohen (international Herald Tribune) and Jeff Johnson (Black Entertainment Television, CNN) will present their visions and themes.
In een divers programma met talkshows, optredens, en workshops ben je deelgenoot van de inspiratie en de kracht van verandering van hedendaagse pioniers uit diverse hoeken van de samenleving. Zij nemen je mee naar de kruispunten van technologie en democratie, comedy en politiek, macht en muziek waar nieuwe vormen van burgerschap gesmeed worden. Bekende en aanstormende talenten uit New York en Amsterdam leggen hun visies en vraagstukken aan je voor. Met o.a. Roger Cohen (International Herald Tribune), Jeff Johnson (Black Entertainment Television, CNN).
Felix Meritis is zondag 5 april open van 13:00-23:00 uur.
Wednesday April 1, 2009
Arrival of New York Pioneers
Down time/hotel check-in Hotel V, Weteringschans 136
16:30 Registration New York and Amsterdam Pioneers at Felix Meritis
17:00 Meet and Greet/ Informal reception and presentation of Pioneers
18:00 Formal opening dinner
Word of welcome: Joanneke Lootsma (Felix Meritis Foundation) introducing Marietje Schaake, Phil Ugelow (Humanity in Action) and Farid Tabarki (moderator)
19:00 Parameters for Pioneers- Freedom of expression
By Naema Tahir. freedom of expression. Focus on self-censorship by artists and columnists, and how to deal with combining freedom of expression and freedom of and from religion
Naema Tahir is a laywer and author. She has worked for government ministries, the UNHCR and the Council of Europe in Strassbourg. Her books are: A muslimwoman unveils (2005) which deals with the effects of migration both on Islamic identity and on the rendering of rights of Muslim women. Prized Possession (2006), on the largely sexual strategies of three Pakistani women towards achieving autonomy, power and dignity. Lonelinesses (2008) on the struggle for a meaningful identity in a radicalising family of Pakistani immigrants living in London, and Little Green Riding Hood and the converted Wolf, and other Muslimtellings (2008) on morality. She regularly appears on radio and TV and writes newspaper articles, essays and columns.
Thursday April 2, 2009
09:00 Opening Day 2 at Felix Meritis by moderator Farid Tabarki
The Nature of Race: Debated Concepts of Human Difference by Ann Morning
1. Americans still think of race as a matter of intrinsic, biological differences between members of distinct races; 2. Even social and biological scientists hold this biological concept of race in considerable numbers; and 3. Developments in the science of genetics in recent years have not eliminated such biological thinking about race, but instead has in some ways fuelled it.My objective in front of the binational Pioneers audience is to describe an ideology that was born in Europe but perhaps most extensively developed in the United States. Today many scholars would argue that Americans and Europeans see race very differently, but I would like to show that the global science of genetics may revive old beliefs about racial difference on both sides of the Atlantic.
11:45 Coffee break
12:15 Travel to Restaurant Fifteen by boat
13:00 Lunch and introduction by Sarriel Taus (Founder of Fifteen, restaurant established with help of Jamie Oliver, educating underprivileged kids as cooks)
Jeff Johnson on the inspiration of the city, empowerment of minority populations through hip-hop. Lessons from New York for Amsterdam. Invites are +/- 50 youngsters from Amsterdam to join this session at Fifteen. Q&A
15:45 Tea break
16:00 Travel back to Felix by boat
16:30 Open space: discussion by pioneers
18:00 Closing of day 1: wrap up by Farid Tabarki
19:00 Informal dinner in Restaurant Nomads
Ann Morning is Assistant Professor of Sociology at New York University She holds a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University. The main focus of her extensive research lies on the origin and meanings of racial classification.
Jeff Johnson is a political motivator, investigative journalist, political correspondent, and activist. He publishes and comments on issues relating to race, politics, popular culture and socio-economics for various influential news broadcasts such as CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC.
Friday April 3, 2009
09:00 Opening Day 3: Kick-off by moderator
09:15 Session: Pioneers determine 4 working session’s topics (through questionnaires distributed prior to Amsterdam gathering or based on the selected participants. One of the pioneers’ work projects can lead each session).
Example of topics:
- (Re) Designing public spaces to foster social cohesion in the city;
- Burden or blessing, the effect of the economic crisis on the city;
- Room for pioneers, the role of government in fostering innovation and creativity in the city;
- Radicalization and gang violence in Amsterdam and New York.
11:00 Coffee break
Innovation and Governance in the New Political Media Ecology by Andrew Rasiej (President of Personal Democracy Forum) and Q&A
13:00 Lunch at Felix
Drafting the manifesto: statements, quotes and assignments for the New York Pioneers Session, working with Open Space discussions
15:30 Coffee break
Pioneers are joined by stakeholders and press
16:00 Presentation of the Pioneers Manifesto
17:00 Drinks with stakeholders and Press
18:00 Wrap up of the conference and Reflections on the Pioneer Sessions by Pioneers with special attention to the follow-up in New York (closed)
19:00 Closing dinner
Saturday April 4, 2009
Pioneers from New York will be invited by Pioneers from Amsterdam for guided visits and tours in and around Amsterdam.
Andrew Rasiej is the founder of techPresident, an award-winning Web site that tracks how presidential candidates are using the web and and how voter-generated content affects the race. He is also the man behind the Personal Democracy Forum, a two-day event in June that looks at how the Internet is changing government and vice-versa.