In many ways, global civil society has flourished in recent years. The UN is making unprecedented formal efforts to facilitate civil society participation in the post 2015 global development framework and there is widespread recognition of the vital role civil society will play in delivering this agenda. And, on the streets, ours is an era of mass protest.
Poles are happier than they've been in years. More than 80 percent report that they are "very happy" or "quite happy," and that number has risen steadily since 2000. But happiness in Poland seems to derive largely from private life. There's not a lot of volunteering, and even the rates of Church attendance have been going down.
Accountability for people of privilege must include breaking out of the safety of our cocoons of privilege and building relationships with people across lines of difference. It must begin with examining our privilege and then figuring out how to use our privilege to address the ongoing forms of injustice that we see.
The Poles call them "junk contracts." If you're young and lucky enough to have a job in Poland these days, it's likely to be short-term and come without benefits. Ten percent of young people (up to the age of 25) are working in the black market, and another 25 percent have part-time or short-term work. Of the rest, most have job contracts that provide little in the way of security.
One of our important activities was the seminar organized in 1987 at a church in Warsaw. The title of the seminar was Bringing Real Life to the Helsinki Agreement, and it was based on the Memorandum prepared by the Western peace movement and politicians as well as people from the opposition in the East.
This week all eyes were on Paris as the murderous shooting at the offices of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 dead, culminated in two simultaneous hostage crises in which the Hedbo attackers and four hostages were killed. These heinous attacks were, in essence, aimed at tolerance, openness, dialogue, and diversity -- and are more a test of our commitment to our most bedrock principles than a test of our security capabilities. The way to pass this test is by refusing to compromise those core values. I'd also like to salute our colleagues at Le Huffington Post in Paris, who did a stellar job covering the tragic and rapidly shifting story. It's been a grim few days, but as today's march of solidarity in Paris will no doubt show, what unites us is much more powerful than the forces of division and intolerance.