The Democracy & Belonging Forum is a network for influential leaders in Europe and the US who are committed to centering the needs and concerns of marginalized groups while continuing to bridge across lines of difference in order to counter the rise of populist authoritarianism and the degradation of our democratic norms and structures.
Our focus on strengthening democracy is not incidental—OBI has long viewed threats to democratic norms and institutions with concern as we recognize democracy as a core expression of belonging at the structural level. Our conception of belonging means that actors in any system have the right to not only be included in that system, but to make demands on it and even change the structure of the system itself. But democracies in Europe and the US today are buckling under the weight of toxic polarization, high mistrust towards institutions and other people, and out-group scapegoating—divisions that are now being exploited by far-right, anti-democratic leaders in both regions.
We find that a major barrier to countering democratic erosion and advancing belonging is not a lack of interest or will, but rather the siloization of existing efforts, coupled with a dearth of channels for circulating resources, knowledge, and learnings across the field.
The Democracy & Belonging Forum aims to tackle this siloization by developing novel pathways for the exchange of knowledge, resources, and ideas between leaders and influencers in Europe and the US who share a commitment to bridging across lines of difference while centering the needs and concerns of marginalized groups. Towards this end, we host private gatherings, curate public conferences and virtual events, and disseminate resources like micro-grants for innovation and experimentation between members. Learn more about the Democracy & Belonging Forum and get involved here.