Saturday, September 17, 2005

Support the Clinton Global Initiative

During his presidency, Bill Clinton read and recommended books on integral theory, including the work of Ken Wilber. He consulted with Don Beck's organization on implementing strategies based on Spiral Dynamics. It looks as though he has put into practice his interest in integral theory with the launching of the Clinton Global Initiative.

Here is the "mission statement" from their website.

The Clinton Global Initiative is a project of the William J. Clinton Foundation. The mission of the Foundation is to strengthen the capacity of people throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence. To advance this mission, the Foundation has developed programs and partnerships in the following areas:

Economic Empowerment
Health Security with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS
Racial, Ethnic and Religious Reconciliation
Education, Leadership Development and Citizen Service


The Foundation works principally through partnerships with like-minded individuals, organizations, corporations, and governments, often serving as an incubator for new policies and programs.

Along with these programs and initiatives, the William J. Clinton Foundation designed and developed the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. Encompassing the vision of President Clinton, the Center is located within a 30 acre city park along the southern bank of the Arkansas River. In addition to the Little Rock offices of the William J. Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Presidential Center includes the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum and the Clinton School of Public Service.

To read more about the current work of the Foundation and the Clinton Presidential Center, please visit www.clintonfoundation.org.

If you look at the four items listed above where the Initiative is focusing its energies and resources, they comprise the four quadrants of Wilber's model. Economic empowerment is an exterior-collective concern; health security is an exterior-individual concern; racial, ethnic, and religious reconciliation are interior-collective concerns; education, leadership, and citizen development are interior-individual concerns.

This isn't the first attempt at an integral movement at the global level, but it is the first one led by someone as high-profile and charismatic as Bill Clinton. He alone may be able to pull off such an ambitious effort.

Investment partners in the inaugural event (September 15-17, 2005 in New York City) include Starbucks, Google, HP, Nokia, Yahoo, Microsoft, Citigroup, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Attendees at the weekend meeting include:
His Majesty King Abdullah II
Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah
President Leonel Fernandez Reyna
President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
President Paul Kagame
President Thabo Mbeki
President Olusegun Obasanjo
President Viktor A. Yushchenko
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Prime Minister Recep Erdo─čan
Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia
Secretary General Kofi Annan
Vice Premier Shimon Peres
The Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP
The Hon Hillary Rodham Clinton
His Excellency Amre Moussa
Dr. Condoleezza Rice
Dr. Madeleine K. Albright
His Excellency Jose Maria Figueres
Al Gore
Her Excellency Mary Robinson
The Hon Paul Wolfowitz

Quite a diverse assortment of individuals. Here is the press release detailing five commitments agreed to during the conference:

Clinton Global Initiative Announces Five Commitments at the Governance Plenary Session
Date: September 16, 2005


* City Year commits to opening a full-time national service program in Louisiana to engage a diverse corps of 50 young civic leaders in the relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast. Their mission is to bring help, hope and healing to those whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Working in partnership with the Louisiana Service Commission and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, City Year corps members will serve as the primary point of contact for the National Service Disaster Relief and Preparedness Team which will be designed to mobilize a wide range of national service resources and thousands of volunteers to meet the current needs and long-term rebuilding efforts of the Louisiana communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina. In addition, City Year Louisiana corps members will serve in shelters and resource centers as guides for those displaced; work in partnership with local relief agencies to collect donations and supplies for those affected; develop educational and recreational activities for children; and work with corporate partners to support rebuilding efforts.

* The BBC/BBC World Service Trust in partnership with DFID, Internews, Reuters Foundation, Article 19, Media Institute of Southern Africa, PANOS, West African Media Foundation and the Rhodes University School of Journalism has created the African Media Development Initiative. The Initiative will work to increase free and independent media in Africa over a five-year period. Based on an extensive needs assessment research project, activities will encourage the implementation of legal frameworks which support a pluralistic press environment; providing training to journalists with sustained post-training assistance; support to commercial management; and policy awareness among key stakeholders to ensure that a free independent media is placed on policy agendas.

* The Open Society Institute will create a Revenue Watch Program to improve democratic accountability in natural resource-rich countries by equipping citizens with the information, training, networks, and funding they need to become more effective monitors of government revenues and expenditures. The Program has three components: the Revenue Watch Institute, which will focus on promoting revenue and budget transparency and accountability in developing and transition countries; the Budget Transparency Program, which OSI will fund and will focus explicitly on budget transparency and fiscal accountability in non-resource rich developing and transition countries; and the Central European University Transparency Curriculum, for which OSI will work with the Central European University to create.

* Starbucks Coffee Company will partner with Conservation International and American Wildlife Foundation on Coffee and a Farmer Equity Practices program. Starbucks plans to dramatically increase C.A.F.E. Practices purchases to include a majority of all green coffee purchases annually. C.A.F.E. Practices will continue to use independent third party organizations to verify farmers' practices and utilize Scientific Certification Systems, a third-party evaluation and certification firm, to train and audit these verifiers. Starbucks will continue to analyze transparency information received from C.A.F.E. Practices participants so that consumers will be able to make purchasing decisions based on farmers receiving an equitable share of the price paid. Starbucks will continue to work with coffee farmers, NGOs, and other industry leaders to further refine and improve upon C.A.F.E. Practices to benefit farmers, their communities and the environment.

* Walter Shorenstein will work with The Conference Board, Harvard University CSR Initiative and the International Business Leaders Forum to create CEO Dialogues. The partner organizations will work together to collect practical examples and to host a series of senior executive dialogues. The CEO Dialogues will encourage initiatives by multinational companies to: 1) build local economic opportunity in the emerging economies in which they invest through job creation, supporting micro-enterprise and youth enterprise development, increasing access to credit, building infrastructure, transferring technology, and spreading skills; and 2) build local human capital through the development of talent and partnerships to improve local capacity in the delivery of health and education.

The media have barely recognized the event. NBC News talked with Clinton on Friday morning and only spent less than a minute on his Foundation's new Initiative. Go to the website and read about their agenda. These people actually have the resources to make a difference on this planet.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

On "Healing"

From a recent NBC/WSJ poll:

One Katrina-related story that has grabbed headlines is that many of the Gulf Coast residents who couldn't escape the storm were poor and minorities. According to the NBC/Journal poll, only 37 percent agree with the statement that the Bush administration would have acted with greater urgency had the affected areas been mostly white suburban communities. But there is a huge discrepancy by race here: Seventy percent of African Americans agree with the statement, while 67 percent of whites disagree.

Since the Katrina disaster, there has been a lot of talk about race as an issue in the response, mostly among Black victims and advocates, as the poll numbers show. In response to what appears to have been a racially biased response by the federal government, many people (of all ethnic groups) have been talking about healing the racial divide in America (even though poverty is the true issue). Nice thought, but it neglects the fact that race relations in America have never been healthy in the first place.

To heal something implies that it was once healthy, and it just needs to be returned to its original healthy state. We have never had a healthy relationship between whites and other racial groups in America. Therefore, there is nothing to heal.

Healthy race relations would be a completely new emergent in this country. It is not something that we can "heal" into existence; it is something we must grow into for the first time. What Katrina has done, if anything good can come from such horror, is expose the truth of the situation. More than forty years after the major Civil Rights legislation, we are still a racially divided nation. We can not change that with laws.

We must grow beyond the predominately narrow ethnocentric moral stance that prevails in this country and adopt a more expansive, compassionate worldcentric stance -- one that is blind to skin color and that celebrates the beauty of our diversity. We must grow into this view in our hearts and minds -- it's a change that must be made from the inside out.