About Us

Who we are

The Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness (SCSC) is a non-profit centre for research and advocacy dedicated to overcoming social isolation and building social connectedness.

Vision

To create a world where everyone has the right to belong.

Mission

To build connectedness within and between communities through partnerships, research, programming, learning initiatives, and advocacy.

Team

We are a dynamic group of people who are working collaboratively to create a more compassionate and caring world.

Meet the team

What is social connectedness?

Achieving social connectedness means working towards a society where everyone is valued, seen and heard; where everyone can exercise their basic human rights and live a rich and fulfilling life; where solidarity, trust and cooperation pave the way for inter and intra community bonds; where people can exercise their agency and have the opportunities to achieve substantive freedoms. In essence, it means building a society where everyone – no matter their age, race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or political affiliation – has the opportunity to belong.

Social connectedness is grounded in three values: respect, recognition, and reciprocity.

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What is social isolation?

Social isolation refers to a lack of connection to people, place, purpose, and power. Social isolation impedes a person from forming meaningful relationships, exercising agency, engaging in authentic expression, feeling a stake in collective outcomes, or realizing a sense of mission as part of the bigger whole. These barriers can be explicit or implicit, formal or informal, legal or cultural. To understand social isolation, we look not only to simple rates of social contact, or even just to the perceived sense of being alone, but also to structural issues like discrimination, racism, ageism, poverty, censorship, the suppression of cultural traditions, and the denial of access to vital social services. In some cases, this refers to the obstacles that can impede whole groups of people from experiencing these kinds of connection. To better understand the many ways social isolation manifests, read our SCSC news and articles, and Kim Samuel’s Huffington Post and Medium articles.

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Thematic Areas

SCSC aims to build intersectional and cross-sectoral research and advocacy across several thematic areas:

  • Architecture and placemaking
  • Arts
  • Climate action
  • Disability rights
  • Education
  • Forced migration
  • Global health
  • Indigenous reconciliation
  • Multidimensional poverty
  • Older people’s rights
  • 2SLGBTQ+ rights

 

Our History

The Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness (SCSC) was founded in 2017 by Kim Samuel and builds on over 20 years of movement building involving partnerships, research and advocacy to overcome social isolation and build social connectedness.

Following two Global Symposia in 2014 and 2016, which gathered our partners and international participants to build a community of practice around social connectedness, SCSC was born with the vision of creating a world where everyone has an equal right to belong. These international convenings laid the groundwork for the centre through concerted collaboration to determine the strategies to build connectedness and belonging across major global issues.

The Global Symposia convened organizations and individuals, who are tackling isolation through their respective work, to reflect on the pervasive challenges of social isolation and to craft solutions and models that could foster connectedness. The Symposia helped solidify partnerships and a common understanding and language around social connectedness, as well as helped identify thematic areas that SCSC now focuses on today.

In 2016, Kim Samuel taught the first-ever university course on social isolation and social connectedness at McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development. The course helped students explore in-depth the various manifestations of social isolation across a variety of issue areas, as well as advanced pedagogy that is student-centred and grounded in the 3 R’s (respect, recognition and reciprocity). The students who took this class, and who attended other guest lectures by Kim, are now key players in our movement for social connectedness.

Many of the key areas in which we work were informed by pioneering research with the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative; the Yale-NUS College, Singapore; Synergos Institute South Africa; and Human Rights Watch.