Welcome to the new blog from the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity.
These pages will feature the latest writing from our Atlantic Fellows on issues connected to inequalities around the world. They will discuss their work, explore issues in the news, analyse discussions from events that they have attended, or articles they have read. We will also include pieces from our partners, both the academic institutions and the NGOs, charities, activists, and think tanks that support the programme. This will be a rich source of debate on the causes, effects, and possible solutions for inequalities around the world, and a stepping stone to strengthening the fight against inequity.
But what is AFSEE?
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the programme, we work to bring together future leaders working in a wide range of professions, from around the world, to understand the myriad factors that cause inequality around the world, and to develop effective and creative solutions to these problems.
As the world wrestles with numerous crises, it is clear that the perversely unequal nature of our societies are either causing these crises or, at best, exacerbating them. Something needs to be done. We need to understand the myriad causes of these inequalities as their repercussions violently tear apart our communities and subject so many people to poverty, violence, discrimination, and death. . As the world wakes up to the significance of inequality, so it is important that we understand the character and costs.
And we need to act now.
Our Atlantic Fellows come together throughout the year and share their diverse experiences to broaden their collective understanding of inequalities. The Fellows undertake one of two tracks; either a Residential fellowship - on which they take the MSc Inequalities and Social Sciences at LSE, along with additional sessions that are part of the AFSEE curriculum - or a Non-Residential fellowship - on which they take a number of week-long workshops to interrogate the prime causes of, and design solutions to, global inequalities. We also invite researchers - from both academic and non-academic organisations - to conduct essential research which they will share with other Fellows and the wider International Inequalities Institute.
Throughout the year they will all work with, and learn from, leading thinkers from successful activist and campaign groups, vital think tanks, key NGOs, and leading academics from LSE, University of Cape Town in South Africa, and COES in Chile. All the while they are building a strong community, bringing the two tracks together, supporting one another and building bonds which will last throughout their lives as Atlantic Fellows.
This is our first year, we are working with the first 39 Atlantic Fellows and are in the process of recruiting the second cohort. If you would like to take part in the second year of this innovative and unique programme, you can find out how to apply at afsee.atlanticfellows.org/apply
Our shared values
The Fellows are a diverse group, coming from a range of countries and personal contexts, nevertheless the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity programme is driven by common values, by a shared understanding of what we have to do - and how we must work together - to make a change. Values which, we believe, anyone who wishes to see real change must hold.
Through dissecting the key issues that drive inequalities, we will discover effective solutions and realise lasting change. We know that new analysis is needed to society’s problems, and we should seek new understanding based on our diverse lived experiences as well as rigorous, academic research.
To do this, it is essential that that we are bold, in our thoughts and our actions. We are committed to challenging existing ‘truths’ and accepted wisdom.
We will be open minded and aware of any misconceptions that we may already hold. We will always hold ourselves accountable, we must acknowledge and accept our failings, and then work to correct them.
We have to listen to one another and connect with those with different perspectives. As the Atlantic Fellows, and our many partners, work in such diverse environments, so they should be open learn from one another.
We also know that the work cannot stop there; analysis alone is not enough. We are dedicated to finding new solutions to the problems identified. And we will be courageous enough to take and these new solutions and effectively challenge power, in all its guises.
The Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity themselves come from many varied backgrounds, living in immensely diverse social, political, and economic contexts, facing dramatically different challenges, all working to challenge inequality. They bring with them a wealth of lived experience of challenging authority, of the direct effects of inequality, and of working with others.
They do not have a single common background, with Fellows from across Africa, Europe, Asia and the American continents. They are legally trained, experienced journalists, lobbyists, researchers, civil servants, and artists. Whilst some have extensive academic experience, others have not engaged with higher education for decades.
This range brings strength to the group, each Fellow has something unique to offer the others. It also brings an added depth to these blogs, we would encourage you to read the Fellows’ profiles when reading their posts.
Every fortnight we will be posting a new insight into inequalities, written by one of our Fellows. As we launch the blog we have a few pieces to preview the range of viewpoints that will be shared. We have a piece from Jane Sloane, one of our Non-Residential Atlantic Fellows, exploring the issues in the Khayelitsha township in Cape Town that were discussed at one of the Atlantic Fellows workshops, and a piece from Melanie Brown about the issues of wealthy philanthropists tackling inequality.
Looking ahead, in coming months we will hear from our first team of Visiting Atlantic Fellows on their toolkit for inequality campaigners - a collaboration between LSE’s Abigail McKnight and researcher from across Oxfam’s international offices - as well as from Louise Russell-Prywata about how corruption and tax evasion can have a real impact on inequality. We will also have an interesting piece from Fola Adeleke on how the right to property is delaying effective land reform in South Africa.
If you would like to get in touch with the authors about any of the issues, you will find the best way to connect with them on their profile pages. Or you can get in touch with us and we will be able to get your message to them. We welcome your comments, though these must be in keeping with our house rules to ensure healthy discussion.
We hope you learn something from these blogs, that you understand the urgency of the issues they describe, and that you join us in challenging inequity wherever it is found.
And if you would like to apply to become an Atlantic Fellow - and contribute to this blog in future years - then please do so now!