The discussions brought out new approaches crucial for the renewal of a human rights agenda for Europe. Threading through them are a few important themes: the unfulfilled promise of gender equity; the need for partnerships and cooperation; and inclusivity in language, decision-making and funding.
Despite the magnitude of the issues discussed, the meeting ultimately gave rise to a qualified sense of hope, as fragile as the grounds may be. Cultivating hope involves optimism and pragmatism, breaking down the seemingly impossible into achievable steps, and being propositional about the future. The focus must be on building political will and public support for change and coalitions to enable this.
Hope is ultimately grounded in experience: in the ways that we have seen human rights work changing lives; in a belief in the fundamental decency of the people with whom we live; and in our ability to see ourselves in the vulnerability of others, seek out a story to link us and act upon it.
For a more detailed summary of the discussions, see the Summary Report.