A garment worker in India, who is working in an urban factory, thinks “I’ve moved to the city to work here and earn a living for my family, and now I can’t survive on these wages.”
The worker’s employer, a garment manufacturer, thinks, “I’m getting pinched by my buyer. My profit margins are absurdly thin and decreasing, and I’m struggling to meet delivery deadlines with the impossible lead times I’m given.”
The manufacturer’s buyer, a multi-national clothing brand, thinks, “The disposable income of Western consumers has fallen. People just aren’t paying for fashion like they used to. And the fashion cycle is so fast – new items hardly have any time on the shelves before they’re put on the sales racks.”
What chance is there for these parties to resolve competing interests? What chance is there for them to understand each other’s challenges? What chance is there for them to even have a conversation?
The multi-stakeholder Garment Sector Roundtable (GSR) is just one example of how Meta-Culture is making such complex conversations happen in the Indian context. Based in Bangalore, Meta-Culture (www.meta-culture.in) is the first professional Conflict Resolution organization in South Asia, and offers services in Mediation, Dialogue Facilitation, and multi-party Consensus Building. The GSR is one of Meta-Culture’s pioneering initiatives, the goal of which is to model new ways of addressing difficult problems that divide and compromise Indian industries, institutions, organizations, and communities.
Multi-stakeholder collaborative processes (especially those with an emphasis on dialogue) are a relative novelty in India. Meta-Culture has found that the road to honest conversation and shared understanding in this context is both long and full of challenges. The good news is that, in spite of the challenges, Meta-Culture has managed to sustain its work for nearly seven years and make great headway in creating awareness about alternative ways to resolve disputes and make decisions.
To broaden the perspectives of U.S. audiences, Meta-Culture is interested in sharing our experiences and learning from doing this work in India. We have launched a new Culture and Conflict Speaker Series in hopes of raising interest in our work, as well as resources to sustain it. Meta-Culture’s Executive Director, Ashok Panikkar, will be in the U.S. in April and November 2012, and is eager to give talks and workshops to interested audiences.
Ashok is prepared to speak on the following topics:
- Conflict Resolution in India and South Asia
- Creating Collaborative Processes in an Increasingly Competitive World
- Managing Diversity in the 21st Century
- Free Speech, Dialogue, and Democracy: How Mediators and CR Professionals Cannot Remain Neutral About Attacks on Free Speech.
- Critical Thinking for Mediators and Peace Builders
More information about this series is available at www.meta-culture.in/Speaker_services.pdf. If you are interested in featuring Ashok as a speaker, please contact Nivedita Chowdary ([email protected]).
Posted via the Add-to-Blog form at www.ncdd.org/submit by Susan Loucks of Meta-Culture.
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