Opening Session

Opening Session

Pascal da Rocha

23 June 2023
18:00 - 19:30 CEST

Shifting from WEIRD to Embracing Hybridity with Pascal da Rocha

Session Description:
The acronym WEIRD has become a catch-all term for the continued marginalization, exclusion and silencing of other ways to do business, to understand the world, and to establish community ties. Whereas the ascent of the term WEIRD can be taken back to the times where religion replaced kinship-related practices with the standardization of science, thinking, and ways to see the world, the meaning of the phenomenon remains vague and unspecific. In this keynote, I would like to focus on the ambiguous and ambivalent aspects of the term, the advantages and disadvantages of a dominant worldview of politics, democracy and the way of life of communities, and argue that we need to move beyond self-reinforcing labels and be open to hybrid lives, identities, and cultural dialogue. In order to do, there is the need to de-construct the term WEIRD and to re-invigorate our ability and adaptive behaviors to complexity and social cohesion through diversity, equality and equity.

Pascal da Rocha is a mediator, organizational consultant, and professor. In the field of political mediation, Pascal has worked on or contributed to mediated processes such as the Dayton Agreement, the Tajik National Accords, the Darfur Peace Agreement, the Kampala Talks, the Havanna Talks (Colombia), the Geneva II talks for Syria and the Conakry Accord (Guinea-Bissau), among many others.

He is a rostered mediator with the UN and the OSCE as well as a peace and development adviser for the UN. Pascal is the lead consultant for the ECOWAS Dialogue and Mediation Curriculum. He has worked as an expert on structural conflict prevention initiatives, either commissioned by the African Union or the European Union Commission. Furthermore, Pascal provides organizational development and change management advisory, cross-cultural trainings, and diversity programs for large companies, ranging from biopharma to aviation industry. His research and publications are on diversity management and leadership and political mediation.