Challenge 2: Liberating society from fear and nurturing the desire for freedom
There is a growing sentiment across democracies worldwide about vulnerability to a diverse range of threats. Particularly the fear generated by violent attacks driven by ideology can accentuate societal divides, sharpen latent conflicts, and destabilise society. Is fear rooted in the ignorance of the culture of ‘the other’? How can we provide public opinion with the ideal of an open and inclusive society and make the public imagination less vulnerable to extreme and violent ideologies exploiting anxiety, and instigating hatred, sectarianism or nationalism? The best defense of a democratic society against threats is an educated citizenry, a sense of shared humanistic values, and a high level of trust in institutions as well as between individuals themselves. A democratic state should inform citizens about the extent and causes of the threats it faces. It should combat discrimination, segregation and stigmatization which can generate a sentiment of non-belonging and increase the attraction of populism and extremist ideologies.