GDL Incubator Lab: 17 to 20 June 2018, Berlin
The overall aim of the 2018 Global Diplomacy Lab (GDL) curriculum is to create a common set of tools to address issues of violence and segregation that affect urban youth worldwide.
The Incubator Lab focused on gaining a better understanding of the issues of violence and segregation that affect the urban youth globally. Lessons and experiences from urban areas around the world that are dealing with this subject with varying degrees of success were shared during the lab. Having regard to the “power of place”, examples from Berlin were contrasted with those from other regions of the world, allowing members to gain a global perspective and connect to the global landscape to identify common trends before delving into the particular context of Chicago. The Incubator Lab also focused on strengthening members’ skills (e.g. mediation, problem analysis) and developing ideas to be further explored during the Impact Lab. By the end of the Incubator Lab, members identified concrete questions which will be addressed in depth in the Impact Lab.
The aim of the Chicago Impact Lab is to devise innovative strategies with our partner institutions, which we hope will contribute to their efforts to address violence and segregation among the urban youth in Chicago. Our ultimate goal is for these strategies to serve as a common set of tools for other urban areas struggling with the same issues elsewhere in the world. To place the activities of the labs within the context of substantive diplomatic discourse, we will connect the curriculum of the Incubator and Impact Labs with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations as part of the 2030 Agenda.
The Challenge Holder
Of the various Chicago partner organisations, we identified two as the Challenge Holders: The city of Chicago and the Obama Foundation. Together with local community partners, these institutions will be the key beneficiary of the tools developed in the Lab.
Whilst Chicago has one of the strongest economies in the United States, there are large minority communities within the city which are struggling economically, and it is often within these communities that urban youth violence is most prevalent. This appears to be a common thread for urban youth throughout the world. It is believed that this violence problem is rooted in historic segregation, inequalities in education, economic disadvantage, gang violence and racial/ethnic issues. Issues of poverty, isolation, youth disaffection, racism, and violence rear their ugly heads in so many areas globally. In 2018, the GDL aims to explore strategies and skills for overcoming violence and segregation among urban youth by exploring global perspectives and engaging for local prevention.
GDL Impact Lab: 18 to 21 November 2018, Chicago
The overall aim of the 2018 Global Diplomacy Lab (GDL) curriculum was to create a toolkit enabling coordinated decision making and impact at both local and global levels, thus reducing the inequalities that contribute to urban youth violence.
In the phase between the Incubator Lab in Berlin and the Impact Lab in Chicago, the key subject of the GDL 2018 curriculum remained the fragmentation of ecosystems at the level of community, city and globe, as well as issues such as race and gender, which are closely intertwined with urban youth violence.
In order to address the fragmentation problem in its full complexity, the GDL acknowledged the importance of incorporating all relevant stakeholders in its working process. This involved large public and private institutions, including the GDL challenge holders for 2018, namely the Chicago Mayor’s Office and the Obama Foundation, as well as GDL leading partners and several small and medium local initiatives that deal with youth violence in the streets of Chicago on a daily basis. By pooling the outreaching influence of its challenge holders, the refined methodologies of its leading partners, the unique skills of its members, and the first-hand experience of community partners, the GDL continued to work towards sustainable impact.
During the Incubator Lab in Berlin, GDL members had the opportunity to get to know each other, i.e. exchange expertise, gain deeper understanding of urban youth violence on a global scale, as well as learn from Chicago’s specific experiences. Not least, GDL members acquired new skills and learned about new methods, such as mediation, adaptive leadership and forum theatre. Furthermore, they successfully formed working groups with six thematic focuses: Unequal Access to Services; Economic Inequality; Power Structures; Race and Gender; Violence; and Social Networks. Two anchors were elected for each group. In this framework, GDL members continued to actively work online in between Labs on creating a toolkit together with local communities in Chicago. The aim was, on one hand, to serve the particular needs of the city in its efforts to tackle violence towards youth, and, on the other hand, to enable the results of the Labs to be adjusted and implemented in urban realities elsewhere in the world.
Supported by the results of the Incubator Lab in Berlin and the online activities in between the Labs, the programme of the Impact Lab allowed the working groups to interact face-to-face with Chicago community partners and challenge holders. Each team will had the chance to fine-tune its own projects and had to pass a reality check driven by interactive formats, such as Pecha Kucha, World Café and a Town Hall Meeting with various local stakeholders and global experts. The Impact Lab ended with a presentation of the results of the work done in 2018 and gathered the feedback needed to ensure a sustainable impact after the Impact Lab.