Dr. Caroline Suransky and Henk Manschot

The Kosmopolis Institute of the University of Humanistic Studies, in collaboration with the Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries (Hivos), and the Hague, has established the Promoting Pluralism Knowledge Program, an international academic-practitioner collaborative in India, Indonesia, Uganda and the Netherlands

 The Promoting Pluralism Knowledge Program is part of the Hivos Knowledge Programs network and is an international collaboration of academics and development practitioners in Indonesia, India, Uganda and the Netherlands. The project was initiated after civil society based organizations supported by Hivos signaled a growth of intolerance in their local communities. Responding to it, a group of academics and civil society-based actors decided to cooperatively generate knowledge aimed to develop new insights into the appeal of fundamentalisms and comprehend different experiences and views on pluralism. The program departed from an understanding that pluralism, democracy and diversity are not perceived as ‘neutral’ or ‘universal’ concepts. In post colonial contexts in particular, pluralism is often seen as liberal political theory which is intrinsically linked to key concepts, such as the neutral and secular State, the separation of state and religion, the distinction between the private and the public sphere etc. Divergent global experiences with meanings and practices of pluralism are a crucial part of the debate with the program, which promotes ‘bottom-up’ ways of developing concepts of pluralism and stimulates new ways of theorizing that emerge from critical interactions with narratives in the fields.

Key objectives are:

  • Map existing studies and practices of pluralism and generate new knowledge on contemporary issues
  • Intensify links between practitioners and academics to enrich their knowledge bases with new perspectives, insights and skills
  • Support and empower civil society based organizations to design and advance new strategies, policies and practices
  • Help create international networks of civil society initiatives
  • Translate knowledge into strategies to promote pluralism

Read more about Promoting Pluralism Knowledge Program‘s work in Indonesia, India, the Netherlands, and Uganda.

Selected Links and Publications