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Transatlantic Dialogue

Transatlantic Dialogue

In October 2021, the Strong Cities Network launched its Transatlantic Dialogue Initiative, with support from the US Department of State, to strengthen cooperation between mayors, local governments and practitioners across Europe and North America in preventing extremism, hate and polarisation, and safeguarding local democracy.

Through workshops in Bratislava, Brussels, Denver, Helsinki, London and Oslo, as well as deep-dive work with cities in Slovakia, and capstone events in The Hague and New York City, Strong Cities is facilitating important city learning, sharing and recommendations for both mayors and practitioners on both sides of the Atlantic.

Why a Transatlantic Focus?

Historically, the transatlantic security relationship has kept European and North American stakeholders focused on collective actions to tackle common threats and achieve shared interests. While contexts differ between cities, the drivers of hate, extremism and rising levels of polarisation are similar. In both settings, and extending to the broader North America context, individuals are grappling with and/or drawing selectively from a variety of motivations and ideologies rather than being motivated by a single and distinct ideology. This has implications for city-level prevention policies and measures.

Shared Challenges and Opportunities

Cities have identified a number of shared threats and challenges to social cohesion, including hate (whether based on ethnicity, race, identity or religion), extreme right-wing movements, dis/misinformation and political polarisation. The Transatlantic Dialogue Initiative provides a platform through which mayors, city officials and local practitioners can share their experiences and approaches, develop a deeper understanding of the evolving threat picture, and identify, adopt and adapt practices that are working in other cities facing similar challenges.

Transatlantic Mayoral Dialogue in The Hague

In November 2022, the Strong Cities Transatlantic Mayoral Dialogue on Preventing Hate, Extremism and Polarisation, and Safeguarding Local Democracy, convened more than 100 mayors, city officials and practitioners in The Hague’s Peace Palace. The two-day dialogue focused on an increasingly interconnected set of threats facing communities, including rising polarisation and anti-government sentiment, concluding with the endorsement by more than 40 cities of The Hague Mayoral Declaration and Plan of Action to drive forward city-led prevention and response.

Is your city a Strong City?

Strong Cities membership is open to local authorities at the city, municipal or other subnational level. Membership is free of charge.