Coexistence and Human Rights

Helen Chauncey

The Coexistence Initiative

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

Let's talk a little about tools, or more specifically about processes and arenas of activity if you are interested in coexistence. Where do you work? With whom do you work? To my knowledge no one yet has one single simple tool kit. As in, here are the four things you should do and if you do them we absolutely guarantee you that coexistence will be a positive experience for everybody. Everyone will be free from fear about loss of identity and so on. It isn't out there yet. In some ways there is a good parallel here to the human rights movement.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written in 1948. If you read that document thinking of yourself as being in the late 1940's, the document basically spelled out a set of goals that no one could possibly achieve in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years or 50 years if you take that declaration as the base line for the human rights movement. They have done what in some ways we are going to try to do also because by now human rights really has become something of an embedded value. People do not only hope for that but call for that. Given that, where do the arenas in which someone interested in making coexistence a positive experience, making the world not only safe for diversity, but having people want to reach out and embrace diversity go to? With whom do you work? How do you go about doing that work? This is one of those goals that requires that you work at a number of different levels.