This House is on Fire: Seminar on political communication in SCI

14th December 2021

What is too political for SCI? How much do we need to position ourselves politically in order to be a believable peace organisation? Join this international seminar of SCI!

****Because of the pandemic, this seminar finally goes online. More information in the coming days**** 

What is too political for SCI? How much do we need to position ourselves politically in order to be a believable peace organisation? Join the international seminar “This House is on Fire”, discuss existing communication strategies within our branches, but also as SCI on an international level – and develop new ones that are fit for the year 2022!

Background of the seminar

The world is literally on fire! The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the pressure on marginalized groups in society, it has fuelled right-wing extremism, hatred and conspiracy theories. Wars are continuing to rage the world. Racism, sexism, queerphobia, wealth inequalities and global injustice have direct effects on people every single day. And we didn‘t even list the climate crisis yet.

Silence is violence. Social media and communication have become a bigger part of SCI in the past two years of living through a pandemic, as it is one of the online spheres of influence that we have. During the Black Lives Matter protests and the social media hype around it in May and June 2020, it became increasingly clear that organisations should and need to position themselves in solidarity with the protests. SCI was comparably slow in responding and coming to a consensus on it. We often have the motto: „Sure, peace, but not too political!“

Questions that we ask ourselves: What is too political for SCI? How much do we need to position ourselves politically in order to be a believable peace organisation? How can we deal with sensitive political topics, when an SCI member organisation might face repercussions for speaking up? Whom is your communication for, whom is it not for? When is the right timing to be political?

We urgently need to discuss this. Rather than having limited time during an EPM or ICM for this topic, we would propose a complete week. This is why we invite you to a seminar where we can discuss existing communication strategies within our branches, but also as SCI on an international level – and develop new ones that are fit for the year 2022. Let’s develop clear strategies when we speak up on social media and how we speak up.

This seminar is outcome-focused. We will on site develop new social media campaigns around political topics (similar to the COVID-19 campaign that Gender Blenders did in 2020 or the Nuclear Weapons campaign by the International Secretariat in September 2021). We will draft proposals for resolutions and recommendations for ICM and EPM. And we will create a guideline document on political communication for branches.

Who is this seminar for?

  • Communication officers within SCI member organisations
  • Members of the boards of SCI member organisations that might be involved in decision-making around political commmunication
  • Staff and active volunteers in SCI member organisations, the IS and the IEC

All participants selected for this project must meet the following criteria:

  • be 18 years old or older
  • living in Europe, North Africa or Middle East (due to our funding rules)
  • most likely need to be fully protected against COVID-19 (vaccinated with a vaccine accepted by Switzerland or recently recovered) in order to enter Switzerland and to participate in the project
  • be able to work in English
  • commit to actively participate from the beginning to the end of the seminar

We explicitly encourage participants of all genders, sexual orientations, abilities and ethnic backgrounds to apply. Unfortunately, the venue is not wheelchair-accessible.

Logistics, financial conditions and sustainability

  • Simple life: The project will take place in a scouts center with simple living conditions. You will share a room with quite a big group of people.
  • Money, money, money: For participants coming from Europe and neighboring regions, all essential costs of the program (including food, most travel costs, visa costs, accommodation and seminar) will be covered by SCI Switzerland through our funding by the Swiss government agency Movetia.
  • COVID-19: The pandemic is not over yet and this might influence your participation. Please only book refundable travel tickets, as we cannot reimburse your travels in case we need to cancel the project (e.g. because of another lockdown in Switzerland).
  • Sustainable food: The food we provide will be vegan with vegetarian options. This is not just a practical decision, but also an ideological one: SCI believes in the values of sustainability and climate justice – and if we want to contribute to a more peaceful planet, we need to give up on industrial animal agriculture and its destructive effects on our planet.
  • Sustainable travels?:This is also why we ask you to come to this project through more sustainable means of transport rather than flying (e.g. by train or bus), if somehow possible. We will give you more guidance on how you can reach the venue, once you are accepted to the project.

How to apply?

Applications should be sent to your sending organization, which will each select their own participant(s) and then forward the application(s) to SCI Switzerland. All those accepted will later receive a detailed infosheet (incl. info on how to get to the venue, how to book your travels, more info about the agenda of the project). 

Contact

If you have any questions regarding the project and your application, don’t hesitate to contact us at loretta.scherler@scich.org. We are looking forward to your applications 🙂

The coordinating team

Sara, Thomas and the SCI Switzerland team

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