Diversity Within Unity: An Overview

The DWU Mission

Large segments of people living in various free societies today sense that they are threatened by massive immigration and by the growing minorities within their borders that hail from different cultures, follow different practices, and have separate institutions and loyalties. To disregard these sentiments, calling them “discriminatory,” “exclusionary,” “hypocritical,” and worse, is an easy politics, but not one truly committed to resolution. People’s anxieties and concerns should not be dismissed out of hand, nor should they be labeled racist or xenophobic. Therefore, the challenge before us is to find legitimate and empirically sound ways to address these concerns constructively, leading to vastly improved relations between the majorities and immigrants in free societies.

The DWU Framework

The DWU approach presumes that all members of a given society will fully respect and adhere to those basic values and institutions that are considered part of the basic shared framework of the society. At the same time, each group in society should be free to maintain its distinct subculture – those policies, habits, and institutions that do not conflict with the shared core – and a strong measure of loyalty to its country of origin, as long as doing so does not trump loyalty to the society in which it lives. Examples of the element of unity – which all must share – are a respect for basic human rights, for democratic government, and for existing laws (until they are changed). At the same time, diversity in cultural tastes and religious traditions would be welcome – not just tolerated – as would immigrants’ special interest in their history.

The DWU History

During the summer of 2001, Amitai Etzioni became troubled by the increasing amount of animosity directed at immigrants and minorities in nations throughout the world. In response, and after consulting with dozens of scholars and experts around the world, he drafted the DWU Position Paper. That document was then submitted for a two-day communitarian dialogue at a Communitarian Network meeting of 40 scholars and leaders from eight different countries during November of 2001 in Brussels. Following the conference, the Position Paper was redrafted and sent out for endorsement. To date, more than 150 public leaders and scholars have added their names to the ever-growing list of endorsers. The Diveristy Within Unity Project was made possible by funding, in part, from The Atlantic Foundation, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

The DWU Future

Today, the Communitarian Network is moving the project to its next stage: introducing DWU to the world of policymakers. Etzioni and the Communitarian Network staff are presently organizing a second transnational Diversity Within Unity Conference. Four or five dozen leaders from center-left and center-right parties in developed democracies will meet to discuss the DWU Position Paper, its implications, and its future. In furthering its mission to provide policymakers with the tools and background required to address the crisis currently crippling much of Europe and the rest of the world, the DWU Project promises to have a dramatic impact on the framework in which immigration law is created for years to come.

For more information, or to endorse the Diveristy Within Unity Platform, please e-mail icps@gwu.edu or send a fax to 202-994-1606.

To read the DWU platform, click here.