Who are we?
The Third Generation Project is an international think tank based in Scotland providing research and advocacy in the areas of human rights and climate justice. With a fundamental belief that policy, practice and academia need to find a different path, we advocate for a people-centred, community-informed approach to the challenges that face all of us. The neoliberal project is broken.
Built on histories of colonialism and oppression, the existing system continues to marginalise so many, whilst relying on the voices of the few. The same is true of existing structures designed to achieve ‘universal’ human rights. Neoliberalism’s emphasis on the individual fails to recognise that it will be through the prioritisation of group rights – including the rights of Indigenous peoples and the rights of those discriminated against because of age, class, race and sexuality; and through the prioritisation of collective rights – such as the right to a clean environment and the right to development – that different voices will be heard, new knowledge frameworks developed and different solutions able to be applied.
Those of us involved in the Third Generation Project recognise our own privilege. Founded by academics born and educated in the West, and currently based at an elite Western institution, we recognise the boundaries that International Relations as a discipline has placed, and continues to place, on the voices of others. We recognise too, however, that the change that is required to the emphasis still placed upon Western knowledge systems and the policy and practice approaches that result from them, requires change from within. Those of us involved in the Third Generation Project see ourselves as part of that change.
TGP is built on an open and reflective approach to research and advocacy. In believing that we, as an organisation, need to do things differently our aims are to:
· Develop an original approach to human rights and climate justice research that works collaboratively with those most affected by ongoing structural violence and systemic inequalities;
· Educate Western policymakers and practitioners in how best to incorporate knowledge that is currently being ignored within existing frameworks;
· Provide realistic policy and practice approaches that are informed by, and preferably developed by, those who have been negatively impacted by existing prescriptions;
· Facilitate relationships between key stakeholders in developing priorities for policy change;
· Partner with other like-minded organisations to campaign and advocate for systemic transformation;
· Highlight the ways in which Western knowledge systems – including universities and schools – can develop their curricula to address ongoing issues of injustice, stereotyping and mis-representation;
· Remember that politics can be done differently and is being done differently in grassroots movements and community-based practice across the globe. We need to focus on, and learn from, these examples.