A range of trends-based research and practical experience shows that the presence of trust between policymakers, business leaders, and citizens is essential to: effective governance; conflict resolution and peacebuilding; citizen feelings of equity and justice; and sustainable development. This session acknowledges that dramatic decline of trust indicates the erosion of social cohesion and calls on us to identify new ways of working together to achieve paradigm-shifting intersections of new ideas. This shift can be fueled by seeking out and creating more distributed relationships, networks, and partnerships for transformative problem-solving. Moreover, large governmental and non-governmental institutions must do the deepest thinking to achieve the most ambitious shifts because trust in large organizations and institutions to make decisions about how we best live and prosper has declined significantly while confidence in people-to-people recommendations and decisions has increased. Going forward, all of us must prioritize creating new realities through relationships versus defaulting to reaction and response.
Essential questions are: How do we reorient from top-down approaches and tap into vast networks of community-based knowledge, and how do we spread these insights with support from institutional systems? One proposition is to reverse roles by viewing communities as experts and policymakers and influencers as the facilitators for incubating ideas and accelerating pilots with merit. Instead of countering a long trend from local/rural trust to institutional/urban-centered trust, to distributed trust, why not ride the wave? Let’s look at the power of historical, current, and future partnerships to rebuild human-centered trust to accelerate stability, peace, and resilience. This session invites panelists with academic, practitioner, policy experience in Europe, Africa, Australia, Southeast Asia to share their perspectives from the disciplines of applied mathematics, economics, law, marketing/social media, foreign policy, and humanitarian development. Panelists will share examples of projects to build bridges (trust) via community-level insights and non-traditional partnerships that change peacebuilding policy and practice. The moderators will also ask panelists, in-person participants, and virtual attendees to all offer one idea that could be transformative.