Phil Champain - portrait edited 2Phil Champain, Director of 3FF

During the three weeks since I joined 3FF as Director I have been impressed with the quality of the work our teams are delivering, and everyone’s commitment to bringing about positive change. There has also been no shortage of contextual pointers to the relevance of 3FF’s goal of creating good relations between people of different faiths, beliefs and cultures. Let’s take just two examples.

First, recent debates and statements have highlighted the societal tensions surrounding responses to the issue of violent extremism. Whilst there is a shared need to safeguard citizens, including vulnerable young people, some question the weight of responsibility put on Muslim communities. Others are frustrated by the lack of creative responses on all sides to enabling broader community level dialogue that can tackle the complexities involved.

Second, there has been a ratcheting up of media coverage on attempts by migrants to reach the UK via perilous sea routes from war torn Libya and Syria and then via perilous land routes on trains and trucks through the Eurotunnel. The marked increase in numbers of migrants entering Europe is raising questions of where responsibility should lie for their arrival in the first place, and for attending to their welfare once they are here.

Again, the issue is complex, with the question of responsibility at the core. Our identities, cultural practices and belief systems play into these complexities, making the issues difficult to handle and potentially corrosive when it comes to community relations.

If we are all to benefit from the levels of  safety, fairness and opportunity that the UK offers then we must find ways of managing the difficulties, differences and tensions these and others issues present.

It is no small challenge and 3FF is an important part of finding the creative responses we need. I am looking forward to learning more as I get further into the job. One thing is clear, we cannot succeed alone. Our partnerships are central to our success. Thank you for your interest and support.