Towards the “beloved community”

This paper is based on two online sessions organized by Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace (PSJP) with participants representing a diverse cross-section of civil society organizations. The discussions took place in the throes of COVID-19 and focused on learning from each other about difficult issues including dying, trauma, bereavement and healing. These topics touch us all, but we find few spaces to talk about them. As we deal with the intersecting problems of the legacy of COVID, growing polarization, and ever more war, we need a paradigm shift in how we provide help. This includes the way that a community responds to its members, and how can we foster the idea of compassion in development work.

The paper suggests that we need to put compassion towards the top of our agenda if we wish to alleviate individual and collective suffering. The paper is divided into four parts: understanding suffering; strategies for building compassionate communities; care and justice; and, the idea of compassion in development. Underpinning the paper is the question: can we build the “beloved community” as the ultimate expression of the systemic transformations we seek in the world today?

Author: Afsan Bhadelia, Stephen Connor, Barry Knight, Leah Odle-Benson & Chandrika Sahai

Published by: Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace

Published: May 2024

Download: ‘Towards the “beloved community”

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