While there are many obvious differences between Belgium and Canada, both countries also share a number of characteristics and similar challenges. They are bilingual and have a long history of managing conflicts between linguistic groups as well as other cleavages in society (religious, socio-economic, cultural). Even though these conflicts have caused periods of crisis and tensions, they have also led to a whole series of institutional arrangements allowing the federations a remarkable stability.
These shared features are becoming all the more salient in the current era characterized by stronger international migration patterns, and an associated rising level of ethnic and cultural diversity. The Canadian example stands out in this regard, as the government has taken a very welcoming approach to refugees, who are considered to contribute to the richness and diversity of Canadian society. Even more strongly than in the past, the current international situation calls into question how societies can achieve inclusion and social cohesion. Theoretically, the question is whether past experiences of accommodation and group rights can be used to address new challenges with regard to diversity and cultural pluralism.
This conference will try to answer this question at a particular moment in time, namely the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation (1867). A number of Canadian and Belgian researchers from different disciplines (political science, history, law, sociology) will, in pairs of two (Canada-Belgium), enlarge on the different aspects of managing diversity.
Registration is free of charge. To register, please follow this link.
The deadline for registrations is 15 September 2017.