Just Society

Just Society

Everyone deserves to live in a just society.
One in which each person is socially and economically secure, and where the
state is politically, legally and administratively inclusive and fair. In line
with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, The University of Southern Denmark (SDU)
wants to support this aim through the design, development and implementation of
flexible and targeted course packages relevant to public servants, civil
society actors and others working in or with social and legal institutions in
the Global South.

Denmark is well-known as a redistributive and
competent state. Danes have high trust in state institutions that are
characterised by low corruption and equal access to justice. This competent
state – in collaboration with decentralised administrative units and civil
society organisations – ensures citizens a high level of social and economic
security; documented also by Denmark being one of the most equal societies in
the world. The Danish welfare state contributes to this end by providing
encompassing and inclusive social policies that are financed through a broad-based
tax system.

Thus, rule of law and redistribution are
essential attributes to the Danish state and vital sources to a society based
on trust, equality, well-being and happiness. At SDU we want to share our
knowledge of and lessons from the Danish experiences in order to support
societal institutions elsewhere in building just societies. In order to do
this, the JUST SOCIETY programme aims to design and develop courses in dialogue
with partner institutions in the Global South. Course packages are to provide
research-based teaching on the state’s role in developing a just society,
broadly speaking. The course packages are to be flexible and targeted to
specific partner institutions but could include modules such as: social policy
and taxation as mechanisms of redistribution and inclusiveness; building of a
fair and competent public administration; public systems that respect gender
and minority rights and enhance equality across groups; just and equal legal
systems; institutions protecting citizens’ rights (i.e. Ombudsman or legal aid
institutions) etc.

While the Danish state is often regarded – in
Fukuyama’s words – as an ‘ideal state’, we do not suggest of other countries to
be like Denmark. The programme aims to share Danish experiences and learn from the
experiences of partners institutions in order to decide how we together can strengthen
societal institutions in improving citizens’ lives. Thereby, the JUST SOCIETY
programme directly links to the UN Sustainable Development Goals of building
strong institutions (#16) and making partnerships (#17). In addition, the
programme supports other goals such as reducing inequality (#10), promoting
gender equality (#5), advancing decent work (#8), and reducing poverty (#1).

The JUST SOCIETY programme is managed by the Departments
of Political Science and Law at the SDU and draws on strong expertise in public
administration, comparative public policy, and legal research based in these departments.
Dialogue and partnerships will however be essential elements in designing and
implementing the programme. International partners will be included already in
the early stages of developing course packages of relevance to the challenges
experienced in their specific country contexts, while relevant Danish
institutions and organisations will be drawn in to provide expertise and to create
networks across implementing organisations in Denmark and partner countries.

In addition, Danish and International partner
institutions have the opportunity to build research-based projects with the SDU
programme team that enhances our knowledge of creating just societies across
the world.