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Communities, Cohesion and the 21st Century

April 9th, 2012

In this Podcast Francis Sealey of GlobalNet21 interviews Prof Mike Hardy about his view that we need to rethink the whole idea of community and cohesion in the 21st century both globally and locally.

Professor Mike Hardy CMG OBE  is the Executive Director of the Institute of Social Cohesion previously held a leadership role in British Council.

Mike is an established leader in intercultural dialogue with a wealth of international experience including a specific interest in diversity and cultural exchange. He began his career as an applied economist and was Head of Economics and Public Policy at Leeds Metropolitan before moving to a Chair in International Business at the University of Central Lancashire. In 1995, following work with FCO, British Council and European Commission in the transition states of East Europe, Mike moved full time to British Council to continue international work in private sector development.

His interests in cultural relations developed and following postings in the Arab world and Asia, he was appointed to frame and lead British Council's global programme in intercultural dialogue. Through his programme British Council grew its work in interculturalism, working with difference and with inter-community relations.  His portfolio included British Council's international work with schools and skills, networks of young global citizens and capacity development within civil societies worldwide and supporting partnerships which help conflict and post-conflict contexts and people and communities in fragile states. Mike's work and experience in international cultural relations is supported by practical international and in-country experience of issues of diversity, cohesion and multiculturalism in the broader Middle East and as BC Country Director in Indonesia at a time of major national turmoil. As a senior leader at British Council he managed the corporate relationship with the World Bank Institute, the UK Department for International Development, and United Nations Alliance of Civilisations. He is a member of the UK National Cohesion Forum.

Mike has been recently appointed as lead expert for 'Identity' for the Vodafone-sponsored new Future-Agenda Initiative. He was invited, and attended as a constituent, the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011, Davos-Klosters; he continues to contribute to conferences, global discussions and applied research in Intercultural Dialogue, multiculturalism and diversity.

Mike was awarded the OBE in 2001 for his work in the Middle East, and was appointed a Companion of Honour of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the Queen's Birthday Honours June 2010 for his work internationally in Intercultural Dialogue.