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The Glocal Forum is an international organization in the field of city-to-city cooperation; encouraging peace building and international development in the non-governmental sector. It emphasizes the central role of cities in international relations and subscribes to a glocalization vision.
The Glocal Forum was created in 2001 to emphasize the role of local authorities in the world governance system. The Glocal Forum focuses on empowering local communities by linking them to one another and to global resources, in order to achieve social improvement, democratic growth, peace and a balance between global opportunities and local realities.
Seven strategic objectives guide the activities of the Glocal Forum:
# To emphasize the central role of cites in international relations;
# To empower local communities, link them to one another and to global resources;
# To provide opportunities for local communities, to achieve social improvement and democratic growth;
# To facilitate peace and development initiatives that partner local communities and young people with international companies and institutions;
# To provide opportunities for young citizens to increase their role in local or global communities and institutions;
# To bring together local youth representatives in a worldwide network, to draw up sustainable policies for local and global issues;
# To develop strategic activities to promote Corporate social responsibility, by creating unique partnerships between public and private institutions.
We Are the Future (WAF)
We Are the Future (WAF) is program for children and youth in conflict-ridden areas. Launched in 2004, the program is the result of a strategic partnership between the Glocal Forum, the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation and Mr. Hani Masri, with the support of the World Bank, UN agencies and major companies. The program is implemented and managed by the participating WAF municipalities, under the direction of the mayor’s office, and the Glocal Forum serves as the fundraiser and program planner and coordinator for the WAF child center in each city. Each WAF city is linked to several peer cities and public and private partners to create a unique international coalition.
The WAF program is active in six pilot cities: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Asmara, Eritrea; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Kabul, Afghanistan; Kigali, Rwanda; and Nablus, Palestine and additional cities are expected to join in the coming years. The program focuses on five areas essential for rehabilitation: Health, Nutrition, Arts, Sports, and Information and Communications Technology (ICT). The program aims to help youth and children improve their lives and post-conflict communities to progressively re-establish peace. Partner cities supporting the program include (among others): Baltimore, Barcelona, Geneva, Reggio Emilia, Rishon LeZion, Rome, San Francisco, Washington DC.
Glocal Youth Parliament (GYP)
Young people play an essential role in the well-being and continuing growth of cities, and the Glocal Forum’s Glocal Youth Parliament (GYP) aims to ensure that they are involved in the decisions that affect them. Established by the Glocal Forum and the World Bank Institute in 2002, the GYP empowers youth to use their energy, vision and creativity to improve the quality of life in urban areas worldwide. It encourages young people to put forward innovative solutions for local communities and governments, and to act as catalysts for development and peace building.
The GYP is a growing network of 140 young people from 70 cities across the world. It has a core
membership of two delegates from each city, one female and one male. It partners them with local governments and organizations, international institutions, and private sector companies. Delegates, partners and other young citizens gather annually to develop action plans and promote thematic campaigns.
BRIDGES: building real intercultural dialogue through glocal encounter
In light of escalation of tension between cultures and civilizations, the Glocal Forum is developing a package of actions to promote intercultural understanding and harmony, following the ‘Ankara Declaration’ agreed by delegates at the 2006 Annual Glocalization Conference and based on its city-to-city approach. The BRIDGES program aims to engage a variety of tools to promote creative and effective opportunities for intercultural and interfaith dialogue within and between cities with a focus on promoting dialogue and cooperation among civilizations of the Western and Islamic worlds.
City Diplomacy and Peacebuilding
The Glocal Forum promotes city-to-city relationships to realize peacebuilding, capacity-building and development projects. This approach, which network cities first agreed in the 2002 Rome Understanding, aims to foster effective and lean projects which really reflect citizens’ needs.
The Glocal Forum builds partnerships with public and private international institutions, to leverage assets, replicate projects and increase the impact of activities. Its network includes over 140 cities across the world. In addition, the Glocal Forum works with major international organizations including the World Bank, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Annual Glocalization Conferences
Annual Glocalization Conferences bring together city mayors and leaders of international institutions and multinational companies to discuss global issues, exchange experiences and practices, lobby and establish lasting partnerships. During past conferences mayors from across conflict divides have come together during a session on city-to-city peacebuilding; the We Are the Future program was launched by a concert produced by Quincy Jones and resolutions to fight poverty and social exclusion have been adopted. The 2006 Conference in Ankara, Turkey provided an opportunity for the Western and Islamic worlds to build interfaith and intercultural dialogue and to adopt a resolution to continue the exchanges.
The Glocal Forum’s assets, finance and internal procedures are submitted to independent audit to ensure full compliance with the high standards established for the non-profit sector by the Swiss legislature. The legal office is in Zurich, Switzerland, while the main operating office is in Rome, Italy.