from Matthew Swift, Co-Founder & CEO of Concordia
Trust in institutions is dangerously low. According to a recent Gallup poll, trust in the media, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Presidency, and Congress is at or near its lowest point in 50 years. Meanwhile, mis- and disinformation are running rampant across all levels of societal discourse. People, according to Dr. Richard Friedman, Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College, are “anxious about the future, and there are a lot of bad actors with the ability to weaponize that fear and anxiety.” This alarming state of affairs comes as we face some of the most pressing global challenges in history. Simply put: at a time when we need our global institutions the most, confidence in them is at its lowest.
At Concordia, we believe the path forward requires rebuilding trust in our institutions and creating confidence in the power of community. Organizations have a responsibility to be better stewards of trust and lead by example on trust-based initiatives. Concordia’s mission to facilitate cross-sector partnerships for social impact relies on governments, companies, and nonprofits coming together to collectively address the most challenging issues of our time. We are partners in ensuring the strength of trust in each other’s institutions.
Addressing the gap between where we are and where we need to be requires a collaborative approach. People need faith that government works for — not against — them. They need confidence that when trouble arises, their social services are there to help. And they need hope that, as the world’s problems grow larger, our institutions are working to address them. What is a public-private partnership, after all, if not an opportunity for a government to demonstrate a social compact? As the metaverse grows in scale and scope, this has perhaps never been more true. Shared by Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former Prime Minister of Denmark and Co-Chair of Meta’s Oversight Board, at the 2022 Concordia Annual Summit, “My worry, of course, is we leave our humanity outside of the metaverse, and we’re not serious about our values.”
Access to easy answers that are often misleading has eroded trust in those who rightly suggest our problems are not easily solved. This makes a conversation on the larger issues — and their complex solutions — a challenge and one that we must face together. The allure of falsehoods promulgated by cable news and social media poses a dire threat to that faith, confidence, and hope. In the words of Her Majesty Rania Al Abdullah, Queen of Jordan, at the 2022 Annual Summit, “Misinformation is the greatest threat to our world today.”
At Concordia, we are intentional in how we curate voices representative of a wide array of industries, sectors, geographies, and political affiliations. We know that genuine thought leadership is more important than ever, and that’s why we’re proud to announce our 2023 major events calendar, covering key regions and pressing issues around the globe, while creating space for meaningful dialogue and new partnership opportunities. This year, we’re focusing on rebuilding trust in institutions across our core programming themes. Our goal is to create a space conducive to collaboration and a platform for progress, not politics, because — as put by John Gable of AllSides at the 2022 Annual Summit — “From a practical stance, if you want to solve problems, whether it’s climate change or immigration, or international war, the only way to really resolve them is to actually listen and understand the other person.”
I urge you to join us in listening to and understanding one another as we engage in a thoughtful and deliberate dialogue to tackle the twin challenges of distrust and misinformation. Registration is now open for the 2023 Concordia Americas Summit, so secure your place and add your voice to the conversation.