‘Sometimes I tried to counteract the argument but often our views just felt too diametrically opposed for debate to be constructive. That’s where I’ve failed – and on a broader level, where we’ve probably failed as a nation too.’ Jo White, TransferWise.
The words from Jo White, Global Communications Director at TransferWise, feel just as relevant eight months on. The referendum vote to quit the European Union has left a United Kingdom a more divided society. But such words inspired a Greencoat Forum on: ‘The UK and Europe: Building Relationships’, on 9 March, to bring members of the public together in an open dialogue on how is it possible to heal a divided nation.
Francis Evans, chairing the evening, reflected that there are relationships that need mending, both within the UK and between our neighbours. But what part can each of us play?
It was acknowledged that the fear of immigration plays a big part, entangled with the fear of the unknown. A key problem is often not seeing the individual and as a result we put up walls - both metaphorical and physical.
Helping to offer perspective on such issues was Jens Wilhelmsen. From Norway, he has worked over decades with the Initiatives of Change bringing reconciliation in Europe and around the world. He talked about his experience and how to break down those walls. Listen below: