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Graphic Recording by Katharina Sabatzki

Strategies for Overcoming Urban Violence:
Exploring Global Perspectives & Engaging for Local Prevention

GDL Impact Lab (9th Lab): from 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.


Young Advisors at the opening of the 9th Lab in Chicago (photo by Michelle Kanaar)
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