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U.K. Helps U.S. Fight "Social Exclusion"

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The Right Honorable Hilary Armstrong is from the United Kingdom. During a former stint in Tony Blair's Cabinet, she launched a new vision for the U.K. on how to address the social, economic and cultural problems for people in underserved communities. The concept was part of a cabinet level position called the Ministry of Social Exclusion. As the U.K.'s first-ever Minister on Social Exclusion, Armstrong coordinated cross-departmental efforts to improve the lives of British society's most vulnerable in the areas of health, education, housing, transport, employment and justice.

Although Armstrong left her cabinet post a year ago, as a member of Parliament, she still works closely with a national social inclusion task force.

She visited Chicago recently to discuss social exclusion â€” what it is and how it informed social policy in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Lynn Todman is with the Adler School of Professional Psychology here in Chicago. She's Director of the Adler Institute on Social Exclusion (ISE). Todman and Armstrong are working together to help federal, state and local governments in the U.S. integrate the philosophy of social exclusion into various government functions.

Todman believes that, as Americans, we must begin to rethink the way we look at the disadvantaged. When Americans hear the term “social exclusion” they may not know what it means. Jerome asked Hilary Armstrong to describe the British perspective on social exclusion.

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