OPHI Director, Sabina Alkire and OPHI Co-founder John Hammock participated in a Symposium on Overcoming Isolation and Deepening Social Connectedness, in Toronto, Canada. Kim Samuel, a Scholar in Residence at OPHI was one of the organizers of the Symposium with the strong support of the Synergos Institute, TakingITGlobal and the Samuel Family Foundation. In its research OPHI has identified Social Connectedness as a Missing Dimension of poverty that is often overlooked and left unmeasured. The Symposium was held at Evergreen Brick Works, a community environmental centre in Toronto, Canada. The Symposium brought together an unusual mix of participants, ranging from representatives of NGOs and social inclusion groups working in Africa to private philanthropists as well as participants with learning disabilities to academics and representatives of the First Nations of Canada.
The Symposium focused three key themes: tracing linkages between social isolation and poverty, learning from stories of community resilience, and fostering a sense of belonging and reciprocity. Sabina Alkire participated as a discussant in the conversation on the link betwee isolation and poverty. The Symposium heard a wide variety of participants on their experiences of isolation—and provided opportunities to hear the voices of young people, First Nation representatives and African leaders working in this area. The Symposium gave special focus to the role of the arts as a medium for giving voice to images of isolation and connectedness. Participants ended the Symposium with a commitment to the need for further policy advocacy and research, particularly applied research at the individual, community and national level.
You can view a video of the discussion on social connectedness at the Symposium in which Sabina Alkire participated here.
You can also read OPHI Working Paper 67, Social Isolation: A conceptual and Measurement Proposal by clicking on the link.