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Delivering Services in Multicultural Societies

by Alexandre Marc

Over the last two decades the world has witnessed an important transformation of the concept of citizenship and social integration, increasingly recognizing that cultural and ethnic diversity need to be considered when designing and implementing social policies. The increasing cultural diversity of societies, along with the important role culture plays in forming identities in these societies, creates major challenges for national and local governments in ensuring social cohesion and social inclusion. 'Delivering Services in Multicultural Societies' reviews recent approaches to recognizing cultural diversity when delivering basic services. It first discusses how supporting cultural diversity can help achieve social inclusion and social cohesion. It then considers the debate over multiculturalism from various perspectives and discusses the risks and benefits of policies that support cultural diversity. Also examined are policies and programs that support cultural diversity in the delivery of basic services, such as education, health care, customary law, traditional governance systems, and cultural services. For each of these services the author reviews main challenges and describes best practices. Finally, the book offers a synthesis of what has been learned about taking cultural diversity into account in service delivery.

Societal Dynamics and Fragility: Engaging Societies in Responding to Fragile Situations

by Kanishka Balasuriya Michelle Rebosio Ghazia Aslam Alys Willman Alexandre Marc

Today's world is changing at breakneck speed, shaking the very foundations of many societies. Increased mobility through massive urbanization and migration allows people unprecedented access to different cultures and ideas; advanced technologies speed the pace of human interaction; the globalization of communication offers new forms of social relationships that may directly contradict traditional norms for behavior. These changes create tremendous stresses on relationships in societies - affecting the way youth interact with their elders, the way women and men relate to each other, how urban migrants and refugees relate to their new environments, and so on. The impacts of these changes are felt acutely in 'fragile' situations, where groups and institutions struggle to adapt to the stresses of rapid social change. In the worst cases, where fragility has given way to open violence - people are more than twice as likely to be malnourished, more than three times as likely to be unable to send their children to school, twice as likely to see their children die before age five, and more than twice as likely to lack clean water. In addition to these domestic challenges, the costs of fragility often spill over to neighboring regions in the form of trafficking in illegal goods and persons, corruption, and violence. 'Societal Dynamics and Fragility' frames a fresh approach to these challenges, by focusing on improving relationships across groups and institutions in society. Drawing on case studies from Yemen, Central African Republic, Haiti, Liberia and Aceh (Indonesia), the book provides a framework for understanding and healing the social divides that often get in the way of building capable institutions and exiting from fragility.

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