Mayors, city leaders, and practitioners from across Europe and North America will convene at the Peace Palace in The Hague on November 15 and 16 to counter the convergence of hate, disinformation, conspiracy, and extremism that is undermining social cohesion and threatening local democracy on both sides of the Atlantic.
Cities and their leaders face a complex threat environment, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and an increasingly interconnected set of threats that have brought extremism from the margins to the political mainstream. This intersection of disinformation, conspiracy, hate, and polarisation has both exploited and laid the groundwork for an increase in anti-government and anti-establishment sentiment. It has exacerbated local tensions and undermined democratic values and institutions, increasingly manifesting in
violent attacks on both continents, from Bratislava to Buffalo and Oslo to Highland Park.
For cities across Europe and North America, this threat picture presents an unprecedented and pressing challenge for local leaders. On November 15 – 16, the Strong Cities Network (SCN), an independent global network of more than 160 cities, municipalities, and local governments, will convene mayors, city officials, and local practitioners from both sides of the Atlantic for an urgent transatlantic dialogue; one focused specifically on mayoral and city-led action against hate, extremism, and polarization.
Held at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the event will be hosted by the City of The Hague and Mayor Jan van Zanen, who will take up the role of Co-Chair of the SCN International Steering Committee in 2023. The U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, The Honorable Shefali Razdan Duggal, will be delivering opening remarks. Organized in cooperation with the Human Security Collective and The Glocal Connection, the event has received
generous financial support from the U.S. Embassy in The Hague.
During the event, more than 25 cities from both sides of the Atlantic will endorse a Mayoral Declaration, reflecting the urgency of the challenges they face and the unique role they play in preventing and responding to them while protecting the rights of their citizens.
Cities such as Arnhem, Bodegraven-Reeuwijk, Bratislava, Budapest, Budavar, Chattanooga (TN), Columbus (OH), Delft, Denver (CO), Eindhoven, Essen, Fredrikstad, Gouda, Greater Manchester, Highland Park (IL), Leiden, London, Los Angeles (CA), Malmö, Montréal, Paris, Rotterdam, Stamford (CT), Strasbourg, Utrecht, Wroclaw and The Hague will endorse the Declaration, expressing their commitment to work together to tackle the rising threats of hate, extremism, and polarization, to build and strengthen social cohesion, safeguard local democracy, and report back next year on the steps they have taken to implement