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Announcing a Collaboration with the Othering & Belonging Institute at the University of California, Berkeley

August 4, 2021

You can’t thrive if you don’t belong.

If you consider the biggest challenges our society faces today – the racial, economic, and ideological divides that are rapidly deepening as they tear us further apart – it’s clear that a lot of people in the United States don’t feel like they belong. They are marginalized not just by other people, but by structures and institutions that regard them as the “other” and distribute resources and power inequitably.

We’re thrilled to announce a powerful new collaboration designed to fundamentally change that.

Upswell is proud to be partnering with the Othering & Belonging Institute (OBI) at the University of California, Berkeley to explore the complicated mechanics of belonging. Together, our aim is to synthesize research and experience, innovation and energy, with clear purpose: identifying practical strategies and structures that can move us towards a society built on belonging for all people.

The scale of such an effort is enormous – which is why this partnership makes perfect sense.

By connecting the expansive community-level expertise of Upswell’s changemakers – your expertise, to be specific – and the multi-disciplinary knowledge of OBI’s brilliant scholars and leaders, we have an actual chance at lasting success.

What does this mean for you, as a member of the Upswell community?

Most importantly, this partnership starts with an invitation for you to participate. You know what it means when everyone truly belongs and is welcomed as a co-creator of an institution or community – and perhaps you know the absence of belonging, too. We need your ideas and insights included in this project.

It also means that the door is open to an incredible community of scholars, organizers, communicators, and policymakers. OBI will be holding their annual conference the same week as the Upswell Summit this October. We’ve developed a discounted ticket package so that you can participate in both experiences – and we've adjusted the programming to be respectful of your valuable time.

Throughout both events – starting with a Learning Lab at the OBI conference and continuing with a networking event at the Upswell Summit – a diverse set of changemakers will focus on determining practical strategies for creating inclusive belonging within our society. OBI’s director, john a. powell, will also join our president and CEO, Dan Cardinali, for the opening Upswell Main Stage session on October 20.

And this is just the beginning.

Our expectation is that this October will be the high-energy start of a collaboration that will be transformative for our communities and nation.

If we’re going to create a racially just and healthy society where every person can thrive, then it’s up to us to make sure that every person belongs. Because nobody can thrive from the outside looking in.

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