Living Together Movement

At ICERM, we place strong emphasis on open-hearted discussions in the spirit of give-and-take, reciprocity, mutual trust and good will. We believe that contentious issues have to be resolved privately and quietly, and complicated problems cannot be solved by simply holding violent demonstrations, riots, coups, wars, bombings, assassinations, and massacres or by headlines in the Press. As Donald Horowitz said, “It is only through mutual discussion and good will that amicable settlement can be reached.”

About the Movement

The Living Together Movement is a nonpartisan community dialogue project hosted in a safe place of encounter to promote civic engagement and collective action. At the Living Together Movement forums, we encounter differences, similarities and shared values. We exchange ideas on how to foster and sustain a culture of peace, nonviolence and justice in the community.

Living Together Movement to Bridge Societal Divides

The International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM) created Living Together Movement to promote civic engagement and collective action. Focused on nonviolence, justice, diversity, and equity, Living Together Movement bridges societal divides as well as promotes conflict resolution, peacemaking, and peacebuilding which are the values and goals of the ICERM.

Through Living Together Movement, our goal is to repair our society’s divides, one conversation at a time. By offering a space and opportunity to have meaningful, honest, and safe discussions that bridge gaps of race, gender, ethnicity, or religion, the project allows for a moment of transformation in a world of binary thinking and hateful rhetoric. Taken on a large scale, the possibilities for repairing our society’s ills in this way are immense.

In order to make this happen, we have launched a web and mobile-friendly application that allows interested members to create Living Together Movement groups online, invite people from their communities or college campuses to join, organize, plan, and host in-person chapter meetings in their communities, towns, cities, or college campuses. 

Why We Need Living Together Movement

Our society is growing increasingly divided. With greater proportions of our day-to-day lives spent online, the misinformation that finds its way through echo chambers on social media has the power to shape our worldview. Trends of hatred, fear, and tension have come to define our era, as we watch a divided world split even further apart on the news, on our devices, and in the social media content that we consume. Set against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic where individuals have been locked indoors and isolated from those beyond the borders of their immediate community, it often feels like as a society, we have forgotten how to treat each other as fellow humans and have lost the compassionate and empathetic spirit that unites us as a global community.

Our Goal

To combat these current conditions, Living Together Movement aims to provide a space and outlet for people to understand one another and come to mutual understandings rooted in compassion. Our mission is rooted in:

  • Educating ourselves about our differences
  • Cultivating mutual understanding and empathy
  • Building trust while dispelling fear and hatred
  • Living together in peace and saving our planet for future generations

How to Achieve these Goals?

Living Together Movement project will host regular dialogue sessions by offering a place for citizens and residents to gather. In order to rollout this opportunity worldwide, we need interested members to volunteer to serve as Community Peacebuilders, organize, plan, and host Living Together Movement chapter meetings in communities and college campuses around the world. Community Peacebuilders will be trained in group facilitation and intercultural communication, as well as given an orientation on how to start a Living Together Movement chapter, organize, plan and host Living Together Movement meetings.

Non-members who are experienced in or interested in group facilitation, dialogue, community organizing, civic engagement, civic action, deliberative democracy, nonviolence, conflict resolution, conflict transformation, conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacebuilding, intercultural communication, diversity, equity and inclusion, etc., can also sign up to create a Living Together Movement group on our website in order to start a chapter in their communities, towns, cities or college campuses. 

By providing a space for raw and honest conversations, compassion, and empathy, the project will celebrate diversity while achieving a goal of building bridges across individual and group differences in our society. Participants will listen to the stories of fellow citizens and residents, learn about other points of view and life experiences, and get the chance to speak about their own ideas.

Combined with featured talks from invited experts during each regular meeting, all participants will learn to practice non-judgmental listening while working to develop common points of view that can be used to organize collective action.

How will these Meetings Work?

Each meeting will be broken down into sections that include:

  • Opening remarks
  • Music, food, and poetry
  • Group mantras
  • Talks and Q&A with guest experts
  • General discussion
  • Group brainstorms about collective action

We know that food is not only a great way to provide an atmosphere of bonding and conversation, but it is also a great way to access different cultures. Hosting Living Together Movement chapter meetings in communities, towns, cities or college campuses in countries around the world will allow each chapter to incorporate local food of a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds into their meetings. By working with and promoting local restaurants, participants will expand their horizons and community network while the project simultaneously benefits local businesses.

Plus, the poetry and music facet of each meeting allows Living Together Movement to interact with local communities, education centers, and artists by featuring a diverse range of work that explores heritage to promote preservation, exploration, education, and artistic talent.

Download the Living Together Movement Meeting Agenda

This is a guide that could be used in all Living Together Movement chapter meetings.

Create or Join a Living Together Movement Chapter

To start a Living Together Movement chapter in your community, town, city or college campus, you must first join our Community Peacebuilders Network. Sign up for any membership level of your choice beginning from Associate membership. After you complete your membership registration, sign in to your member account and request to join the Community Peacebuilders Network

As soon as your request to join the Community Peacebuilders Network is approved, you will be added to the online group and notified about upcoming orientation on how to create and start a Living Together Movement chapter in your community, town, city or college campus if there is no existing chapter there. If a chapter has already been created, you will be referred to the chapter leader who will work with you to grow the movement. 

To join existing Living Together Movement chapters, sign in to your member account, search for Living Together Movement chapters in your city, and request to join a chapter near you. If you are not a member yet, sign up on this page.

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