The E-Newsletter of

Vol. 3, No. 4, April 2007
Luis T. Gutierrez, Editor

Newsletter Home Page


Violence is the main obstacle to human development. There is an intrinsic link between violence and religion, patriarchal gender violence being the most pervasive expression of religious violence. Mitigating violence therefore requires overcoming the patriarchal mindset, especially in religious institutions. The mission of this independent newsletter is to provide a digest on current research and emerging issues related to human solidarity, ecological sustainability, and both religious and secular non-violence. The United Nations' Millennium Development Goals are used as a point of reference.

Theme of this Issue:
Revisiting the U.N. MDGs, with focus on MGD4:
Reduction of Child Mortality


The focus of this issue is MGD4: REDUCE CHILD MORTALITY. Worldwide, 10+ million children die each year for preventable medical reasons. Over 50% of the early (under 5) deaths are due to undernutrition. This happens mostly in areas of extreme poverty and virulent gender inequality. As we shall see in the next issue, child mortality rates are inversely correlated with maternal health care (MDG5). High children mortality rates and poor maternal health coincide are tightly connected with the patriarchal mindset. It would be absurd to think that children dying of undernutrition, and neglect of the health of mothers, are the result of God's plan for humanity. This holocaust (10+ million per year!) is the work of human hands. Surely, this is not the hand of God.

An analysis of child mortality rates in presented, followed by a combined analysis of MDGs 1 to 4. Cartography makes it possible to visualize geographic distribution at all levels, up to and including the entire planet. The maps confirm that there is a significant correlation between extreme poverty, illiteracy, high fertility rates, and high child mortality rates. For each factor, the consistency between maps from different sources is remarkable. They consistently show that, whether for cultural or religious reasons (or, most probably, a combination of both) gender inequality is the common underlying reality in all the severely regressive areas. In brief:

  • Most poor women suffer both poverty and patriarchal abuse (MDG1)
  • The largest fraction of the poorly educated are girls and women (MDG2)
  • Fertility rates are higher in regions of virulent gender inequality (MDG3)
  • Child mortality rates are higher in regions where most of the poor are women, most of the illiterate are women, and most of these women experience sexual violence (MDG4)
  • Extreme poverty, lack of education, and unprotected sex are mutually reinforcing and strongly correlated with gender inequality (MDGs 1 to 4)

Additional items: A review the UNICEF website confirms the connectivity between child mortality and gender inequality. Evidence of this is presented throughout the website, leading to the insight that gender equality has a "double dividend" - children well-being improves if, and only if, gender inequities decrease. Last issue's essay on vocational gendercide in the Roman Catholic church is extended to other religious traditions. Most religious institutions exclude women from roles of religious authority, one notable exception being the Baha'is. It is imperative to overcome phallocentric ideas such as "God the Father." Else, religious infanticide becomes a derivative of gendercide. Finally, this issue includes a section of "fun for kids." Links are provided for a few, high quality games and puzzles. These are collected at the bottom of the right-hand column.

Editor's Note: The invited article this month is Can the World Learn Wisdom?, by Nicholas Maxwell.



1. Significant Recent News
2. Millennium Development Goals
3. Analysis of Child Mortality Rates
4. Combined Analysis of MDGs 1 to 4
5. Review of the UNICEF Website
6. New Resources on the Web
7. Knowledge Organization & Access
8. Prayer, Study, and Action
9. Links to Archived Newsletters


Reflection on Vocational Gendercide
In Memoriam
Persons of the Month
Person of the Year
Forthcoming Events
Meditation on Long Journeys
Fun for Kids


Can The World Learn Wisdom?
by Nicholas Maxwell

1. Significant Recent News

The voice of God continues to resound in the events of history. The following is a sampling of recent news related to solidarity, sustainability, and non-violence, some specifically in the context of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs):

A Secret History, Carla Power, New York Times, 25 February 2007. Editor's comment: The following is not a recent article, but it is highly recommended: Cruelty to girls by other means, Reem Al Faisal, Arab View, 1 November 2002.

Africa: Discrimination And Gender Inequity Remain High Worldwide, BuaNews (Tshwane), AllAfrica Global Media, 28 February 2007.

Jews and Muslims: a clash of values, Australian Jewish News, Melbourne, Australia, 2 March 2007.

New Evidence That Global Warming Fuels Stronger Atlantic Hurricanes, ScienceDaily, 2 March 2007.

Men will never be free until women enjoy full gender equality, IPS News Agency, 3 March 2007.

Speakers in commission on status of women call for full involvement of men, boys in fight to end gender inequality worldwide, WebWire, 4 March 2007.

What Goes Up Must Keep Going Up: Draft of U.S. government report says greenhouse-gas emissions on the rise, Grist, 5 March 2007.

Tehran’s Fundamentalist Regime Launches a Pre-emptive Crackdown and Arrest on the Eve of International Women's Day, WFAFI, 5 March 2007.

Bush Climate Report Shows U.S. Greenhouse Gases Skyrocketing, ENS, 3 March 2007.

Living in fear of confronting biases in patriarchal society, Kaari B. Mugambi, Daily Nation, 6 March 2007.

UN officials press for urgent action to end human trafficking, a ‘modern-day slave trade’, UN Press Centre, 5 March 2007.

IBM sees green in environmental tech, Martin Lamonica, CNET News, 6 March 2007. Editor's comment: "IBM, a company that makes big money tackling big problems, is turning its attention to the planet's environmental woes." This is a significant piece of news. It is happening not only at IBM, but in the business world in general. There is profit to be made in environmental restoration and conservation. Let's hope that remediation of damage already done does not create more damage or simply redistributes the damage unfairly. Let's hope that business tax structures will provide additional incentive to sustain conservation of the human habitat.

International Women's Day, International Women’s Tribune Centre (IWTC), 8 March 2007. Editor's comment: Keeping in mind our analysis of MDG3, this is among the most significant events of the month.


The following is a short list of related events and information:

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s statement
UN General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa’s statement
Worldwide Initiatives of Global Women's Strike
International Women’s Development Agency, Australia
Women in Technology 2007, CIPS, Canada
The Women’s International Network of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC-WIN)
Together, Fighting for Women's Rights, Amnesty International, Chile
The Fiji Women's Rights Movement, Fiji
Organization for Women’s Liberation in Iran
Kebirigo-Nyamira Women’s March against Female Genital Mutilation
ILO and Confédération Nationale des Travailleurs de Guinée (CNTG), Switzerland
International Women's Play Days, Tanzania
Prostitution: What’s Going On? - The Women’s Library, UK
International Museum of Women & Global Women’s Action Network for Children, San Francisco
Women's GlobalNet - International Women's Tribune Centre, New York

Sexual violence–HIV link, Niall Hunter, Irish Health, 8 March 2007.

Religious intolerance spotlighted, Canadian Christianity, 8 March 2007.

International Women’s Day Call: IFIs Must Stop Contributing to Violence Against Women, Gender Action, 8 March 2007.

Church Leader Urges Women Activists to Seek Justice for All, Michelle Vu, Christian Post, 8 March 2007.

Bishop's take on sexuality ignites debate, Michael Valpy, Globe and Mail, 9 March 2007. Related articles:

Bishop demands a 'better theology' of sex, Michael Valpy, Globe and Mail, 8 March 2007.
Lorna Dueck on the Christian Church and sex, Interview with Lorna Dueck, Globe and Mail, 9 March 2007.

Priests to Purify Site After Bush Visit, Juan Carlos Llorca, AP Ciudad de Guatemala, Washington Post, 9 March 2007.

Growth Phase of Human Development Drawing To A Close, Mike Nickerson, PEJ News, 10 March 2007.

Children's wellbeing at root of poverty reduction, Mary Frances Schjonberg, Episcopal News Service, 11 March 2007.

Airborne Pollutants Know No Borders, NASA Ames Research Center, ScienceDaily, 12 March 2007.

Globalization and Child Labor: The Cause Can Also be a Cure, Susan Ariel Aaronson, YaleGlobal, 13 March 2007.

Yemeni Activists Couple Contraception With Islam, Anna Sussman, WeNews, 13 March 2007.

Some of world’s forests reversing centuries of decline, UN report says, UN News Centre, 13 March 2007.

Keep Africa's good-news story good, Jan Oberg, Christian Science Monitor, 15 March 2007.

The millennium development goals depend on power relations changing, Moyiga Nduru - IPS, Africa News, 15 March 2007.

Pope lives in terror of rebellion, Jennifer Green, CanWest News Service, Ottawa Citizen, 15 March 2007.

The Technology of Human Beings, Martin LeFevre, Scoop Independent News, 16 March 2007. Editor's comment: This article is a good meditation on the absurdity of placing too much trust in technological "fixes" to the real issues confronting humanity, today more than ever: the meaning of life, human solidarity, stewardship of the human habitat, taking into account the common good when making economic and political decisions, spirituality as an indispensable ingredient of human development, the supremacy of divine wisdom.

Spain parliament approves national gender-equality measures, The New Standard, 16 March 2007.

Article of Faith: Women's History, Women's Future in Religion, Mary E. Hunt, The Task Force, 16 March 2007.

World Doing Poorly on Gender Equality, Angus Reid Global Monitor, 17 March 2007.

UAE establishes Knowledge and Human Development Foundation, MENAFN, 18 March 2007.

Muslims Mute on Terrorism?, Khaled Batarfi, Arab View, 18 March 2007.

The Sad Persecution of Father Jon Sobrino, Nick Gier, New West, 18 March 2007.

ENTREAT explores religious, scientific dimensions of water issues, Phina Borgeson, Episcopal News Service, 19 March 2007.

God's Mission and the Millennium Development Goals, Ian T. Douglas, Episcopal News Service, 19 March 2007.

Not the End of the World, Sam Marlowe, Times Online, 20 March 2007.

Why women accept the system of male dominance?, Gulru, NewEurasia, Tajikistan, 20 March 2007.

Iraq: Four years on, BBC News, 21 March 2007, and Baghdad: Mapping the violence, BBC News, 21 March 2007. Editor's comment: Notice the graph showing the monthly figures of Baghdad casualties, 2003-2007. Violence begets violence. Click on the current and pre-2006 ethnic areas, and notice the increase in ethnic polarization.

Pope’s Trip to Turkey and Appeal to Reason: Too Little Too Late?, Hellenic News of America, 21 March 2007.

Muslim militants jailed for beheading Christian girls, Adnkronos International & Jakarta Post, 21 March 2007.

Dangers, toils and snares, Michael Fitzgerald, The Tablet, 24 March 2007.

Children 'must be protected from domestic violence', Gulf Daily News, Bahrain, 23 March 2007.

Still Waters: The Global Fish Crisis, Fen Montaigne, National Geographic, April 2007.

Why can't a woman . . ., Camille Paglia, Globe & Mail, Toronto, 24 March 2007.

Feminism's stormy history with religion, Sheila Tobias, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, Arizona, 25 March 2007. Editor's comment: In the midst of the "stormy story" between feminism and religion, Sheila Tobias offers an unbiased and fair perspective that should serve as a model for both feminist activists and religious authorities. Specifically, her three concluding sentences are a jewel.

Lack of maternal and child health services cited as big drawback, Nasser Kigwangallah, IPP Media, Guardian, Tanzania, 25 March 2007. Editor's comment: Notice the opening paragraph: "Lack of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) services, particularly in rural areas, has been described as an obstacle in the reduction of child morbidity and mortality in the country." Maternal health care and child health care of course go hand in hand. Maternal health (MDG5) will be the theme of the next issue.

New UN aid chief visits Darfur, issues warning, UN WIRE, 26 March 2007.

New report calls for decisive, concerted, sustained actions to combat climate change, SDI-WBCSD, Montreux, Switzerland, 27 March 2007.

ICT As a Development Tool, Efem Nkanga, This Day: African Views on Global News, 28 March 2007.

Smugglers toss hundreds of Africans overboard, AP Sana, Yemen, and Los Angeles Times, 27 March 2007. See also: Faith and work collide in Minneapolis, Stephanie Simon, Los Angeles Times, 27 March 2007. Finally, see the following article: The War In the Words of the Dead, Jon Meacham, Newsweek, 2 April 2007. Editor's comment: Violence begets violence. Violence, physical or psychological, hurts people. Secular institutions and, even more so, religious institutions have a public duty to mitigate violence, including violence within the institutions themselves. It is time for homo economicus to become homo solidarius.

2. Millennium Development Goals

The U.N. Millennium Development Goals should be memorized by anyone with humanitarian concerns. In fact, they should be memorized by anyone who cares about the present and future of humanity and the human habitat. There are 8 goals:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (focus of the January 2007 issue)
2. Achieve universal primary education (focus of the February 2007 issue)
3. Promote gender equality and empower women (focus of the March 2007 issue)
4. Reduce child mortality (focus of this issue)
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development

Clearly, violence avoidance and mitigation is crucial for any of the MDGs to be attained. This is especially true for gender violence; thus the centrality of MDG3, already analyzed in the March 2007 issue. But it is not hard to see how gender inequality (and the inevitable gender violence) leads to other calamities, one of them being high mortality rates of young (under 5) children in certain geographic areas of the world.

Figure 1. The numbered circles stand for
the MDGs, 1 to 8; V stands for violence.
MDG4 is to reduce child mortality.

In the next section we shall attempt to show, with empirical data, that there are many physical causes for high child mortality rates, but there is one root cause driving them all: mothers who cannot take good care of their children because they cannot take good care of themselves. In almost every case, the mother cannot be blamed. It is not a matter of deliberate neglect, let alone abandonment.

In due time we shall consider information and analyses that challenge the MDGs as the best model to attain global peace with justice. For instance, the following are worthy of consideration:

Certainly, the MDG model and implementation projects are not beyond criticism, and in fact such criticism is useful to take corrective actions along the journey. But the sponsorship of the United Nations, and the participation (at least in principle) of 191 nations, makes the MDGs the best tool available at the moment. It is unfortunate that many nations of the First World are still making only a minimal contribution.

3. Analysis of Child Mortality Rates

Why is it that millions of mothers cannot take care of their children? Possibly the best resources available to seek an answer to this question are following reports:

The State of the World's Children 2007, UNICEF, 2007
World Health Statistics 2006, WHO, 2006
Inheriting the World, WHO, 2004

For independent sources see, for example:

Study Provides New Estimates Of The Causes Of Child Mortality Worldwide, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School Of Public Health, ScienceDaily, 28 March 2005
The Lancet Article Collection - Child Survival, 2003-2007.

The statistics can be summarized as follows:

- 10.6 million children deaths worldwide each year for medical reasons
- 73% of the 10.6 million are due to six causes:
-- pneumonia - 19%
-- diarrhea - 17%
-- malaria - 8%
-- neonatal sepsis - 10%
-- preterm delivery/asphyxia at birth - 19%
- Over 50% of the early (under 5) deaths are due to undernutrition
- 37% of all child deaths occur during the first month of life
- 42% of all child deaths occur in Africa
- 94% of child deaths caused by malaria occur in Africa

These are the immediate, physical causes for high child mortality rates, but not the root cause. The root cause for high child mortality rates is that parents (and, especially, mothers) cannot take good care of their children. Why? Because they are poor and often hungry (MDG1), uneducated and often illiterate (MDG2), and abused physically and psychologically by men who are seldom punished for their actions (MDG3). Most women want to take good care of their children, even to the point of going hungry themselves so that their children can eat. But poor, uneducated women are often abused as sex objects, which increases their fertility rates and make it even more difficult for mothers to feed their children, let alone provide them with a healthy growth environment. The results are catastrophic:

Figure 2. Child Mortality Rate for 192 Countries
The 192 countries are ordered in descending values of <5 mortality rates
Child mortality rate = deaths of children <5 per 1000 live births
As of 2003, the highest child mortality rate for a country was 283, the lowest 3
Source: World Health Organization, Health Statistics, Child Mortality Estimates 2003

The bad news is the correlation between extreme poverty and high fertility rates. This correlation transcends both geographic and racial boundaries. The good news is that fertility rates are declining, albeit more rapidly in nations with high standards of living and high levels of education for both men and women. In countries where poverty is ubiquitous and education is deficient, the start of the declining trend has been later, and they are still far too high (6 births per woman in Sub-Saharan Africa!). Given that "the bed is the consolation of the poor," the intensity of sexual promiscuity is understandable. It would be nice if they could understand and practice the Christian ideals of chastity outside of marriage and natural family planning by married couples. But to impose such ideals as the only acceptable norm, and to do so in an authoritarian way (as in Humanae vitae) is both arrogant and ludicrous. No wonder Humanae vitae has not been followed even by most Roman Catholic couples in the developing nations.

4. Combined Analysis of MDGs 1 to 4

Now, let us try to compare the geographic distribution of child mortality versus the geographic distributions of poverty (mostly women), illiteracy (mostly girls and young women), and fertility rate by women (which is known to increase significantly in women who are poor, illiterate, and sexually abused):

Figure 3.1 - GNI per capita
(countries ordered by descending GNIPC)

Figure 3.2 - Adult Literacy Rate
(countries ordered by descending %ALR)

Figure 3.3 - Fertility Rate / Woman
(countries ordered by descending FR/W)

Figure 3.4 - Child Mortality Rate
(countries ordered by descending <5MR)

Figure 3. Comparative Analysis of Poverty, Illiteracy, Fertility, and Child Mortality
Data source:
Demographic and Socioeconomic Statistics Table,
WHO Statistical Information System,
World Health Statistics, WHO, 2006

In order to correlate poverty, literacy, fertility, and mortality rates with other factors such as culture and religion, it is useful to examine the geographic distribution of the various factors. Superimposing maps of a given factor from several different sources is also a way to check for consistency. The following is a sampling of such maps, for your perusal:

About poverty (MDG1):
People Living on up to 1 Dollar / Day (2000)
Worldwide Wealth Growth (1975-2000)
Global Map of Poverty (2007)
Global Maps of Hunger (2007)
Global Map of Thirst (2007)
About education (MDG2):
Illiterate Women (2002)
Girls not at Primary School (2002)
Girls not at Secondary School (2002)
Women not in Tertiary Education (2002)
About gender equality (MDG3):
Gender Empowerment Measure (2002)
Women Managers (2001)
Teenage Mothers (2003)
Young Women Unemployed (2002)
About child mortality (MDG4):
The World's Forgotten Children (2003)
Two Worlds: Rich and Poor (2003)
Traditional Hazards, New Risks (2004)
Atlas of Children's Health and the Environment (2002)
Worldwide Undernourishment (2000)
Stillbirths (2000)
Births Attended (2000)
Early Neonatal Mortality (2000)
Infant Mortality (2002)
Mortality 1-4 Year Olds (2002)
Underweight Children (2002)
Malaria Deaths (2003)
Global Map of Malaria (2007)
Global Map of Tuberculosis (2005)
Childhood Diarrhea (2003)
People with HIV (2003)
Global Map of HIV/AIDS (2006)

The maps confirm that there is a significant correlation between extreme poverty, illiteracy, high fertility rates, and high child mortality rates. For each factor, the consistency between maps from different sources is remarkable. They consistently show that, whether for cultural or religious reasons (or, most probably, a combination of both) gender inequality is the common underlying reality in all the severely regressive areas.

Summary of the joint analysis for MDG1, MDG2, MDG3, and MDG4:

There is a positive (i.e., reinforcing) feedback loop linking gender inequality with extreme poverty, lack of education, and unprotected sex. Given the commonality of geographic distribution, there must be cultural-religious values that make this feedback loop very strong. These cultural-religious values may differ in other respects but share a common, highly phallocentric mindset. Is there a way to break this vicious cycle? The only way is to overcome the phallocentric mentality -- often mutually reinforced by culture and religion -- and strive for gender balance in all human communities and institutions, both secular and religious. Religious institutions, which presume to provide moral guidance for people, have the greatest responsibility in this regard. But they enjoy minimal accountability for what they do (or neglect to do) and, as a result, they are failing miserably to do anything; in fact, some of them, by refusing to change ancient traditions based on primitive thinking, are contributing to perpetuate the phallocentric mindset that leads to gender inequality, other sexual perversions, and practically every other social calamity.

Still having doubts? Consider this example: Congo-Kinshasa: Stop Violence Against Women, Sheila Sisulu, The East African Standard (Nairobi), 8 March 2007. This is not an isolated incident. According to all kinds of news media, it happens all the time in most developing countries (it happens in developed countries also, but not so frequently and not with impunity). The entire story is heartbreaking, and the end is even worst: "Anne finally made it to a refugee camp, where she has been living in a mud house and sleeping on the ground with her nine children for the past year." These nine children may still be physically alive, but they must be psychologically traumatized -- alive outside but dead inside, which is another dimension of child mortality common in children who have seen their mother abused. When the Vatican pontificates about "the sacredness of human life," do they really know what they are talking about? And, when they preach from their high pedestal in the eternal city, and dare to moralize about "the gift of love and the gift of life" being incompatible with using contraceptives, do they really understand how people feel when they fear that love is dead and life is hell?

And there is more: examine the maps for MDG1 to MDG8 at TakingITGlobal - Explore the World website (under "Information", click on the "Select a topic" pull down, and you can redraw the world map for indicators related to each of the MDGs). If possible, print them all and place them side by side. Is it reasonable to think that the health and wellbeing of children is uncorrelated with the health and wellbeing of their parents, and specifically with gender equality? Finally, see the integrated Online Atlas of the Millennium Development Goals (World Bank).

5. Review of the UNICEF Website

UNITE FOR CHILDREN is the web portal of UNICEF (United Nation's Children Fund). This web site is available in English, Spanish (UNIDOS POR LA INFANCIA), French (UNISSONS-NOUS POUR LES ENFANTS), Arabic, and Chinese. A review of this web site is in consonance with this issue, which is focused on MDG4.

The web site contains a huge amount of informative content, structured as follows:


  • Information by Country
    • Countries by Region
    • Countries Listed Alphabetically
    • Countries in which UNICEF is not Active
  • Focus Areas of Activity (What We Do)
    • Child Survival and Development
    • Basic Education and Gender Equality
    • HIV/AIDS and Children
    • Child Protection
    • Policy Advocacy and Partnerships
    • How We Work
      • Work with Adolescents
      • Work with Communities and Families
      • UNICEF Response to Emergencies
      • Evaluation and Good Practices
      • Promotion of Gender Equality
      • Promotion of Good Health Care Practices
      • Promotion of Life Skills
      • Promotion of Good Nutrition Practices
      • Promotion of Water, Environment, and Sanitation Practices
      • Promotion of Human Rights (Children Rights, Women Rights)
      • Procuring Supplies for Children
      • Monitoring and Statistics
      • Research (Innocenti Research Center)
  • Needs of the World's Children (Why We Do It)
    • Children have Rights
    • A World Fit for Children
    • Poverty Reduction Starts with Children
    • Children Should Not Die from Preventable Causes
  • UNICEF People
    • UNICEF Management
    • UNICEF Staff and Skills
    • Careers and Stories of UNICEF Staff
    • Goodwill Ambassadors
    • Young Leaders
    • Partnerships
  • Voices of Youth
      How Will Gender Equality Help Children?
      • Interactive Games and Other Tools
      • Youth Discussion Forum
      • Discussion Fora Planned for 2007
  • Children and the HIV/AIDS Epidemic
      Global Campaign on Prevention, Treatment and Care for Children Affected by HIV/AIDS
      • Campaign Overview
      • Fact Sheets
      • E-newsletters
      • Resources
      • Partner Organizations
      • Statistics (general/by country)
  • Press Centre
    • Facts on Children
    • Mission Statement
    • Calendar of Events
    • Portrait Gallery
    • Register for E-Alerts
    • Contact the Team
    • Ethical Guidelines
    • Paris Conference 2007
    • Measles Initiative 2007
  • UNICEF Videos/Audios
    • UNICEF Television Video on Demand
    • UNICEF Vodcast
    • UNICEF Radio
    • UNICEF Podcast
    • International Children's Day of Broadcasting (ICDB)
    • Media Magic Digest (Quarterly Newsletter)
  • The State of the World's Children 2007
      Women and Children: The Double Dividend
      • The State of the World’s Children 2007
      • Gender and the Life Cycle
      • The Double Dividend of Gender Equality
      • Customized Statistical Tables
  • UNICEF E-Newsletter
    • Archive of Current and Previous Issues
    • Subscription Form

This is a web site full of surprises, most of them worrisome. But there are also many pleasant surprises, such as the beautiful booklet entitled Child-friendly Millennium Development Goals, the interactive games and videos of the Voices of Youth page, and a very comprehensive overview of the Millennium Development Goals. Also highly recommended is the State of the World's Children 2007 report.

Now for the worrisome stuff. Browsing this website is like going in a fact finding mission. For those willing to face the facts, there are a number of very informative downloadable charts and graphs. Realities such as the following still persist worldwide, and are exacerbated in the developing countries:

- Girls are more likely than boys to miss out on attending school
- Gender inequality symptoms vary but are significant everywhere
- Young women are more vulnerable to HIV infection than young men
- There percentage of births to adolescent mothers is increasing
- High rates of maternal death are due to deficient health-care
- Many husbands make decisions alone on their wife’s health
- Many husbands make decisions alone on household expenditures
- Many husbands make decisions alone on visits to friends/relatives
- Many fathers make decisions alone about their children's well-being
- Many fathers simply abandon their children and their mothers
- Undernutrition is common among children in the developing regions
- Women's literacy rates are generally lower than men’s
- Women are working longer hours than men
- Nominal wages for women are significantly lower than for men
- Estimated earnings for women are substantially lower than for men
- Significant male-female gaps in wealth ownership
- Many women across the developing world work in the informal sector
- With few exceptions, women in governance are still a tiny minority
- In many countries sex-disaggregated data are simply not available

It is noteworthy that the website systematically covers gender inequality issues in conjunction with the survival and health of children. There is a good reason for this: many deaths of young children are due to their mothers being abused and therefore being unable to take good care of them. This will become even more obvious in the next issue, when we analyze the need to improve maternal health (MDG5). Gender equality has a "double dividend" - children well-being improves if, and only if, gender inequities decrease.

6. New Resources on the Web


HUMAN CAPITAL, OECD, 2007. OECD Summary: "The world's economy is changing. Globalisation means jobs move from country to country, while computers and advanced communications are changing the way business works - and the sort of work we do. Today, the value of skilled, complex and creative work is growing fast. As a result, economic success for countries and for individuals relies increasingly on human capital - our knowledge, skills learning, talents and abilities. How can societies raise human capital and ensure everyone gets the education they need at every stage of life, from early childhood to adulthood? Drawing on the unique resources of the OECD, Human Capital explains these issues using straightforward language and examples drawn from the real world. "Human Capital" - an essential introduction to a subject we're going to be hearing a lot more of in the years to come." Brian Keeley, OECD, 20 February 2007.

THE GROSS INEQUITIES OF GLOBAL IMBALANCES, Terry McKinley and Alex Izurieta, UNDP International Poverty Centre, Brasilia, Brazil, February 2007. "The huge size of current global economic imbalances is unprecedented. Such imbalances are both unsustainable and inequitable (see the IPC webpage on the State of the World Economy, e.g., Working Papers #12 and #23). A few rich countries are running large current account deficits. One in particular, the US, is running a deficit about 3.5 times larger than the deficits of all other OECD countries combined .... Current global imbalances not only pose huge dangers; they also cause a grossly inequitable distribution of global resources. Capital is 'flowing uphill' to rich countries—overwhelmingly to one rich country, the US."

MODEL FOR SELF-FINANCING ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABLE INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS FOR THE WORLD’S POOR, T. E. Manning, Stichting Bakens Verzet (NGO "Another Way"), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1 March 2007. This is a planning model for "sustainable fully ecological poverty alleviation in rural and poor urban environments, incorporating an innovative package of social, financial, and productive structures, with basic services necessary for a good quality of life for all, a leading role for women, and numerous renewable energy applications." It can be downloaded and used free of charge. To download the model and instructions go STICHTING BAKENS VERZET. The Model leads you step by step through a programme for the drafting of your own self-financing, ecological, sustainable integrated development project. The basic texts for your project have been prepared for you. They need to be adapted where necessary to the requirements of your project area.

URBAN ENVIRONMENT REPORT 2007, Earth Day, Washington DC, February 2007. From the press release: "Earth Day Network has released a new comprehensive environmental report card that ranks 72 U.S. cities according to more than 200 environmental, health and quality of life indicators. The Urban Environment Report also introduces for the first time a "Vulnerable Population Index" (VPI) which factors in each city's susceptibility to an expanded list of environmental challenges based on the percentage of its population that is most at risk."

CONFRONTING CLIMATE CHANGE: AVOIDING THE UNMANAGEABLE AND MANAGING THE UNAVOIDABLE, United Nations Foundation and Sigma Xi, February 2007, 166 pages. From the UN Foundation: "The imminence and severity of the problems posed by the accelerating changes in the global climate are becoming increasingly evident. Heat waves are becoming more severe, droughts and downpours are becoming more intense, the Greenland Ice Sheet is shrinking and sea level is rising, and the increasing acidification of the oceans is threatening calcifying organisms. The environment and the world’s societies are facing increasing stress."

WORLD DEVELOPMENT REPORT 2008: AGRICULTURE FOR DEVELOPMENT (TO BE PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2007), World Bank (in preparation, consultation process underway). "E-consultations: WDR 2008 will hold consultations from April 9 through April 21 to engage with civil society, private sector, academia, government representatives, and other stakeholders. The consultations will be moderated by RIMISP (Latin American Center for Rural Development) and will focus on specific topics including the key messages of the WDR. To register for consultations send an email to WDR2008 with your name, designation and country."

WORLD POPULATION PROSPECTS: THE 2006 REVISION, United Nations Population Division. From the press release: "The world population continues its path towards population ageing and is on track to surpass 9 billion persons by 2050, as revealed by the newly released 2006 Revision of the official United Nations population estimates and projections." For more population data, including recent updates on international migration trends, see the Population Division Home Page.

STATE OF THE WORLD'S FORESTS 2007, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, Rome, 13 March 2007. See the press release and the report outline. The document includes a section on progress in using sustainable forest management practices (globally and by region), a section on the current status of 18 key forest management issues, and an annex with supporting data.

GENDER EQUITY INDEX 2007: PROGRESS AND REGRESSION, Social Watch, 2007. From the website: "The Gender Equity Index (GEI) has been developed by the Social Watch Research Team to measure inequities in different areas of women's and men's everyday lives around the world. The 2007 GEI ranks 154 countries by measuring women's relative economic activity, education and empowerment. This year's GEI report additionally focuses on progress or regression in achieving gender equity over the 2004-2007 period. The relevant data have also been analyzed regionally. An analysis of the 2007 general values reveals first of all that the gender gap persists in all countries of the world!" See the geography of gender equity.

GLOBAL INTEGRITY INDEX 2006, Global Integrity, 2007. From the website: "The Global Integrity Index assesses the existence and effectiveness of anti-corruption mechanisms that promote public integrity. More than 290 discrete Integrity Indicators generate the Integrity Index and are organized into six key categories and twenty three sub-categories. Prepared by a lead researcher in the country and then blindly reviewed by additional in-country and external experts, the Integrity Indicators not only assess the existence of laws, regulations, and institutions designed to curb corruption but also their implementation, as well as the access that average citizens have to those mechanisms."

INEXCUSABLE ABSENCE: Why 60 Million Girls Still Aren't In School and What to do About It, Maureen Lewis and Marlaine Lockheed, Center for Global Development, December 2006. From the website: "The widespread neglect of the education of girls is one of the most distressing problems in the world today, which blights their future and damages the rest of the society as well. This is a very welcome report on an extraordinarily important problem, and I hope it will receive the attention it richly deserves." -- Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate and Lamont university professor of economics and philosophy, Harvard University.

PROMISING DEMOCRACY, IMPOSING THEOCRACY: Gender-Based Violence and the US War on Iraq, MADRE, New York, 6 March 2007. From the online press packet: "MADRE has released a groundbreaking report on the incidence, causes, and legalization of gender-based violence in Iraq since the US-led invasion. Amidst the chaos and violence of US-occupied Iraq, women—in particular those who are perceived to pose a challenge to the political project of their attackers—have increasingly been targeted because they are women. Today, they are subjected to unprecedented levels of assault in the public sphere, "honor killings," torture in detention, and other forms of gender-based violence."

COMMITMENT TO DEVELOPMENT INDEX 2006, Center for Global Development, 2007. From the website: "Rich and poor countries are linked in many ways—by foreign aid, commerce, migration, the environment, and military affairs. The Commitment to Development Index (CDI) rates 21 rich countries on how much they help poor countries build prosperity, good government, and security. Each rich country gets scores in seven policy areas, which are averaged for an overall score." In terms of environmental performance, the overall rank shows Fargo, ND, to be the highest (best) and Detroit, MI, to be the lowest (worst).

REGIONAL STRATEGIC PLAN FOR MALARIA IN THE AMERICAS 2006-2010, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), 2006, 85 pages. From the intro: "Through the Malaria Plan, the allocation and use of PAHO’s resources in malaria-related endeavors will be maximized and used most effectively. The policy and programmatic orientations presented can serve as useful reference for member states and partner institutions in the development of shared efforts and collaboration on malaria prevention and control in the Region." For more information please contact Mylena Pinzon.

COST OF THE WAR ON TERROR SINCE 9/11, Amy Belasco, CRS Report to Congress, 14 March 2007, 45 pages. The complete title of the report is: "The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11." From the Summary: "With enactment of FY2007 appropriations, Congress has approved a total of about $510 billion for military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care for the three operations initiated since the 9/11 attacks: Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) covering Afghanistan and other counter terror operations, Operation Noble Eagle (ONE) providing enhanced security at military bases, and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Iraq."


ACADEMIC INFO - From the website: " Academic Info is an online subject directory of over 25,000 hand-picked educational resources for high school and college students as well as a directory of online degree programs and admissions test preparation resources (SAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, USMLE, TOEFL). We also offer timely news and analysis of critical events including the Iraq War, Afghanistan Reconstruction, Hurricane Katrina recovery, the genocide in the Sudan, and the War on Terrorism." You can get a monthly email alert about the new resources added each month. Point of contact: Michael Madin.

CAPITALISM NATURE SOCIALISM, CNS Journal, Center for Political Ecology, Willow, New York - CNS is a research website in political ecology. It is a focal point for comparative analyses of capitalism versus socialism as ways to reconcile humanity (and human economic activity) with the human habitat. There is a CNS Journal published by Taylor & Francis (not free) and a free e-news bulletin. Point of contact: Ariel Salleh.

RESOURCE GUIDE - GENDER EQUALITY IN THE WORLD OF WORK, ILO, march 2007 - Intro: "The ILO, through the Bureau for Gender Equality, widely disseminates knowledge and practical information on gender equality through publications and other resources. This resource guide provides gender equality information via links to both ILO and UN publications, statistics, ILO Conventions and Recommendations, as well as other ILO/UN resources in Regional Offices around the world." Contents: How to find more information on Gender equality in the world of work through Labordoc. International labour standards promoting gender equality. Gender statistics. Gender resources by region. A list of 131 links to web resources on gender.

PUBLISH OR PERISH, Anne-Wil Harzing, Professor of International Management, University of Melbourne, Australia. Her website provides resources and tools for researchers in international and cross-cultural management. One of these tools is Publish or Perish (the Windows version 1.7 was released 9 March 2007), and is available for downloading free of charge. The program installs easily and works like a charm. It retrieves and analyzes academic citations from the Advanced Google Scholar Search and, for a given author (or journal, or set of keywords) calculates the total number of papers, total number of citations per paper, and several indices of research productivity and quality. These numerical indices may be useful mostly for academic evaluations, but just getting a list of papers published (1000 max) is of great value for the online researcher who needs to find out quickly who has published what, when, and where in a given knowledge domain. Clicking on any citation brings up the Google Scholar listing, so one more click and you are reading the paper in your browser. It would be nice to have a similar tool for analysis of Google News.

GLOBALISATION FOR THE COMMON GOOD - This web site just launched and still under construction, but the Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (started in Oxford, 2002), sounds like the kind of thing we need: "Committed to spirituality, compassion and respect for others, truly religious people must not allow their religion to be hijacked and abused in this way by exclusivist ideologues. We must make a stand together for peace, understanding, mutual respect, dialogue and justice. We must welcome religious diversity and concede that no single religion can claim a monopoly of Truth. Indeed, at this time in our history and journey- facing globalisation, global warming, aids and more- we need each other far more than in the past, and the future of our world demands that we teach to our students, parishioners and communities the value and benefits of dialogue, co-operation and interdependence."

GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE (GEMI) - The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) recently released a new interactive version of its sustainable development tool, the GEMI SD Planner™, as well as a new tool, the GEMI SD Planner™ Gateway. A working demo version is available at the GEMI web site. The GEMI software can be dowloaded free of charge, but then must be installed in a web server running php. GEMI Publications also can be can be downloaded free of charge. For more information contact Amy Goldman.

GEMI METRICS NAVIGATOR - The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) has just released a new tool to assist business planners in the formulation of long-term sustainability metrics. Free downloads include documentation and blank worksheets. For more information contact Amy Goldman.

KNOWLEDGE ASSESSMENT METHODOLOGY (KAM), World Bank Institute, 20 March 2007. From the website: "The KAM is a user-friendly interactive Internet-based tool that provides a basic assessment of countries' and regions' readiness for the knowledge economy. It is designed to help client countries identify problems and opportunities that they may face, and where they may need to focus policy attention or future investments, with respect to making the transition to the knowledge economy." The point of contact for more information is Faythe Agnes Calandra.

ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH WEB, a community website from IOP Publishing (UK). From the website: "This website is a resource to help scientists, policymakers and campaigners keep up to the minute with the latest news and views on environmental science topics. Basically, the site covers all aspects of environmental science, from climate change to biodiversity, from renewable energy to pollution, from economics to environmental legislation, and from health issues to sustainability." It is linked to the Environmental Research Letters (ERL), a new open-access journal serving the whole environmental science research community. Several points of contact are listed.

GEO-NETWORK OPENSOURCE, FAO, WFP, and UNEP, 2007. From the website: "GeoNetwork opensource is a standardized and decentralized spatial information management environment, designed to enable access to geo-referenced databases, cartographic products and related metadata from a variety of sources, enhancing the spatial information exchange and sharing between organizations and their audience, using the capacities of the internet. This approach of geographic information management aims at facilitating a wide community of spatial information users to have easy and timely access to available spatial data and to existing thematic maps that might support informed decision making." Plenty of documentation and tutorials at the home page, GeoNetwork opensource Community website.

7. Knowledge Organization & Access

This section documents the knowledge resources being collected and used for the SSNV research and how they are organized for ease of access. Readers are reminded that the newsletter home page now includes links to a growing number of resource directories:

The knowledge organization model that has been chosen for The Pelican Web and the Solidarity, Sustainability, and Non-Violence newsletter is a variation of the knowledge map of Knowledge Map of Chaim Zins. It includes two taxonomies, one for knowledge organization and one for knowledge access. The reason for the double taxonomy is that the knowledge must be found and accessed before it can be used and organized. This is work in progress, and will continue to evolve, but the current taxonomies are shown in the table below. Clicking on the main title will take you to the directory of links that "populate" the knowledge organization and access taxonomies.

  • Human Knowledge
    • Reference Knowledge
  • Divine Wisdom
    • World Religious Traditions
    • Sacred Religious Texts
  • Human Wisdom
    • Philosophy
    • Theology
    • Spirituality
  • Math & Physical Sciences
    • Atmosphere
    • Chemistry
    • Energy
    • Geography
    • Geology
    • Materials
    • Mathematics
    • Meteorology
    • Physics
    • Earth
    • Probability & Statistics
  • Living Non-Human Sciences
    • Agriculture
    • Biology
    • Biosphere
    • Ecology
    • Oceanography
  • Living Human Sciences
    • Human Person
    • Humanities
    • Anthropology
    • Medicine
    • Psychology
    • Sexuality & Gender
    • Philosophy
    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • Politics
    • Law
    • Religion
    • Engineering/Technology
    • Population/Demographics
    • Linguistics/Literature
    • History
    • Management
  • Interdisciplinary Knowledge
    • Patriarchy & Matriarchy
    • Society & Economics
    • Society & Ecology
    • Society & Politics
    • Society & Psychology
    • Society & Religion
    • Society & Technology
    • Solidarity
    • Subsidiarity
    • Sustainability
    • Violence/Non-Violence
    • Ecological Economics
    • Global Issues
    • Quality of Life
    • Futures Research
    • United Nations' MDGs
  • Empirical Knowledge
    • Evidentiary Records
    • Statistical Data
  • Institutions
    • United Nations
    • International
    • European Union
    • Europe
    • Asia
    • Africa
    • Latin America
    • Middle East
    • Oceania
    • USA & Canada
  • Library Catalogs
    • DDC Libraries
    • UDC Libraries
    • LOC Libraries
  • Web Libraries and Tools
    • Web Gateways/Portals
    • Web Libraries
    • Web Directories
    • Web Search Engines
    • Web Databases
    • Analytical Tools
    • Simulation Tools
    • KM Systems
    • KO Systems
  • News Services
    • National
    • International
    • Global



  • SSNV Newsletter Archive
  • SSNV Knowledge Organization
  • Pelican Web Resources
  • United Nations Websites
  • United Nations Databases
  • Google Advanced Search
  • Knowledge Map 2007 (Zins)
  • Worldmapper and other maps
  • Wikipedia and other Wikis
  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  • Gospelcom Bible Search
  • Vatican & Catholic Websites
  • WCC & Christian Websites
  • Islamic & Baha'i Websites
  • Girardian Websites & Lectionary

Table 1. Knowledge Organization and Knowledge Access Taxonomies

It should be stressed that there is no presumption of general applicability for these taxonomies. This is just a working model that attempts to organize the links to knowledge required for the "Solidarity, Sustainability, and Non-Violence" research project and the links to online resources (databases, tools, gateways, ....) that allow the researcher to locate and browse the knowledge content. It is hoped that other researchers may find this to be a good starting point to develop knowledge taxonomies suitable to their subject matter. Google and many other excellent tools are always available, but using them takes a lot of time. If the knowledge organization model for a project is refined so as to provide quick access to the knowledge you need 80 percent of the time, research productivity should increase significantly; and the other 20 percent should be more interesting and more fun.

8. Reflection on Prayer, Study, and Action

Perhaps a good way to understand the prayer-study-action method of integral human development is by listening to some of the great men and women of human history -- especially those who undertook to become everything God wanted them to become; not for their own gratification, but for the glory of God and the good of others.




JOHN 3:30

"Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart." Luke 18:1

"I believe in prayer. It's the best way we have to draw strength from heaven." Josephine Baker

"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates




JOHN 16:12

"The truth will make you free." John 8:32

"Experience ... is simply the name we give our mistakes." Oscar Wilde

"The fullness of Joy is to behold God in everything." Julian of Norwich

"I abhor ignorance in action." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe




JOHN 20:18

"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you." Matthew 7:12

"In my humble opinion, non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good." Mahatma Gandhi

"Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action." Mother Teresa

PRAYER refers to the interior dimension of life, the spiritual life that is kind of an "inner journey" toward the very center of our being, where God abides. A person who has no such inner life becomes utterly dependent on social and material gratifications that eventually fail to nurture peace of mind and heart. STUDY refers to meditation on how little we know, about ourselves and about others. Study (reflection, meditation, consultation with a competent spiritual director) is a "sanity check" on prayer; else, prayer can lead us away from the "straight and narrow" path that leads a person to become fully alive. ACTION is the observable fruit, the infallible measure of the authenticity of prayer and study. There is no such thing as an integrally mature person until he or she becomes "a person for others." The three pillars -- PRAYER, STUDY, and ACTION -- are mutually interdependent and mutually reinforcing. If any of the three pillars is weak or missing, the inner journey falters and soon stagnates. If the three pillars are strong, the inner journey keeps going forward until we fully "become what we are."

Opportunity for prayer, study, and action:

Earth Day ~ April 22, 2007
Capitol Hill, Washington DC
A Call to Action on Climate Change

For more information see the

9. Links to Archived Newsletters

The following are links to previous issues of the newsletter:

V1 N1 May 2005: Cross-Gender Solidarity
V1 N2 June 2005: The Phallocentric Syndrome
V1 N3 July 2005: From Patriarchy to Solidarity
V1 N4 August 2005: Synthesis of Patriarchy and Solidarity
V1 N5 September 2005: From Solidarity to Sustainability
V1 N6 October 2005: Dimensions of Sustainability
V1 N7 November 2005: Analysis and Synthesis of Objective Evidence
V1 N8 December 2005: Solidarity, Subsidiarity, and Sustainability
V2 N1 January 2006: Synthesis of Solidarity and Sustainability
V2 N2 February 2006: Sustainable Human Development
V2 N3 March 2006: Patriarchy and Mimetic Violence
V2 N4 April 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions
V2 N5 May 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 2
V2 N6 June 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 3
V2 N7 July 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 4
V2 N8 August 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 5
V2 N9 September 2006: Sabbatical Activity ~ September 2006
V2 N10 October 2006: Sabbatical Activity ~ October 2006
V2 N11 November 2006: Sabbatical Activity ~ November 2006
V2 N12 December 2006: Sabbatical Activity ~ December 2006
V3 N01 January 2007: MGD1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty
V3 N02 February 2007: MGD2: Universal Primary Education
V3 N03 March 2007: MGD3: Promotion of Gender Equality

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Link to the Invited Article:
Can the World Learn Wisdom?
by Nicholas Maxwell

The Pelican Symbol


The pelican is a legendary symbol of commitment to the service of others, especially those who are weak and most vulnerable to physical and/or psychological violence. See The Physiologus, The Symbolism of the Pelican, and the sermon by Rev. Sylvia Roberts. The following is an excerpt from the medieval hymn Adoro te devote ...

O thou our reminder
of Christ crucified,
Living Bread the life
of us for whom he died,
Lend this life to me then:
feed and feast my mind,
There be thou the sweetness
man was meant to find.

Bring the tender tale
true of the Pelican;
Bathe me, Jesus Lord,
in what thy bosom ran –
Blood that but one drop of
has the worth to win
All the world forgiveness
of its world of sin.

St. Thomas Aquinas, 13th century,
tr. Gerard Hopkins, 19th century.


Gender inequality is a form of violence, often rooted in religious violence. It is the most pervasive form of violence, and it is the main obstacle to all the UN MDGs.

Religious Traditions

Diversity of
Religious Traditions

Jewish Tradition

"Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. According to their sacred literature, especially the Tanakh and Talmud, the religion of ancient Israel and their descendants, the Jews, is based on a covenant between God and Abraham (ca. 2000 BCE) and the renewal of the covenant with Moses (ca. 1200 BCE). It is one of the first recorded monotheistic faiths, and it is one of the oldest religious traditions still practiced today. The values and history of the Jewish people are a major part of the foundation of other Abrahamic religions such as Christianity, Islam, as well as Samaritanism and the Bahá'í Faith." Wikipedia

Christian Tradition

"Christianity is a monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. Christians believe Jesus to be the Son of God and the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. With an estimated 2.1 billion adherents in 2001, Christianity is the world's largest religion. It is the predominant religion in Europe, the Americas, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Philippine Islands, Australia, and New Zealand. It is also growing rapidly in Africa and Asia, particularly in China and South Korea." Wikipedia

Islamic Tradition

"Islam is a monotheistic religion originating with the teachings of Muhammad, a 7th century Arab religious and political figure. It is the second-largest religion in the world today, with an estimated 1.4 billion adherents spread across the globe known as Muslims. Linguistically, Islam means "submission", referring to the total surrender of one's self to God (Allah), and a Muslim is "one who submits (to God). Muslims believe that God revealed the Qur'an to Muhammad and that Muhammad is God's final prophet." Wikipedia

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Call for Papers

This newsletter is now seeking scholars willing to write (pro-bono) short articles about the impacts of religious violence on human solidarity and ecological sustainability, as well as critical reviews of this work from the perspective of various religious traditions, i.e., Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, etc.

Articles should be 1000 words minimum and 3000 words maximum, with no images. Please submit only material that has not been already published elsewhere. The author's CV should be submitted with the paper. The newsletter is published monthly, but there are no specific deadlines. Papers approved by the editor will be included as an "invited paper" when time and space allows.

Email your submission to the editor, Luis T. Gutierrez.


Millennium Development Goals:


1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development

Interested in more information and data? Click the map below:


For an atlas of the MDGs:


For the latest environmental facts and figures:


For the latest human development data:


For the latest MDG data and trends:


UNICEF World's Children 2007


A Reflection on
Vocational Gendercide in
Religious Institutions

In her book, A Wing and a Prayer: A Message of Faith and Hope, (Morehouse Publishing, February 2007, 169 pages), Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church shares the following story (page 151):

"I have a friend in Oregon who tells a remarkable story about a young boy who is growing up on the coast. His church has a woman as a priest. When this little boy came to visit relatives in Portland, they took him to a church he'd never visited before. After the service, he exclaimed to his parents, "You mean boys can be priests, too?"

The boy's surprise makes it clear that he had never considered the possibility of boys becoming priests. In most of the Christian world, the reverse is true: most people have never considered the possibility of girls becoming priests. This is sadly the case in the Roman Catholic church and in many other Christian churches. Likewise, in most of the Islamic world, people have never considered the possibility of girls becoming imams or mullahs, let alone ayatollahs. And, in the Jewish world, most people have never considered the possibility of girls becoming rabbis. This is barely beginning to change as gender equality is recognized to be a "sign of the times" and one in which the voice of God resounds. But there is a lot of resistance to have women in roles of religious authority. "Old habits die hard."

In the case of the Roman Catholic church, an elaborate scaffolding has been erected to perpetuate the male-only priesthood, complete with a new "definitive doctrine" that makes Christ responsible for "not authorizing" the church to ordain women. In other religious institutions, the details of the arguments vary but in essence they are very similar and equally absurd. In some cultures, the phallocentric mindset still resists seeing women in roles of secular authority, let alone religious authority. In some religions, the exclusion of women from religious leadership roles is maintained without even bothering to argue about it. In some cases, the exclusion is enforced by crude forms of intimidation and violence.

The dignity and sacredness of human life extends from conception to natural death. This is a line without breaks, and one that encompasses all dimensions of human life -- physical, psychological, vocational, spiritual. For instance, a child that is sexually abused may be traumatized to the point of limiting vocational options later in life; and the vocation of a person is a crucial dimension of the person's life. In the Roman Catholic church, isn't the refusal to ordain women an artificial contraceptive (perhaps even an abortifacient) of female priestly vocations, and therefore a form of gendercide? They keep insisting that married couples should not systematically avoid having babies, but they systematically avoid having to deal with the possibility of priestly vocations in baptized women. Given that men and women fully share human nature, and given that Jesus was human "in all things but sin," why is it that a baptized male can image Christ, and a baptized female cannot image Christ? The absurdity is self-evident, so they make Christ the scapegoat.

Similar gendercides take place in other religious traditions, and similar intimidating rationalizations are used to continue the vocational massacre. The Vatican invokes the Gospels, the Islamic mullahs invoke the Koran, etc., etc., ad nauseam. But there are signs of hope, fully consistent with the "signs of the times.".

-- It has been thirty years since the ordination of women started in the Episcopal Church USA and other jurisdictions of the Anglican Communion. Other Protestant Christian churches are following the same path. The Old Catholic churches are following the same path. Many Independent Catholic churches are following the same path.

-- In October 2003, seventeen women received the higher ordination as Buddhist nuns or Bhiksuni (Sanskrit) or Bhikhuni (Pali) at the Shakyamuni Buddhist Centre in Canberra, Australia.

-- Within Judaism, the Reform movement was the first to ordain women rabbis, in 1972. The Conservative and Reconstructionist movements are following the same path, and there are indications that the Orthodox movement is getting started.

-- In Rabat, Morocco, fifty Mourchidat (female imams) have graduated recently and have now begun their ministries, albeit with some restrictions.

-- In India, the Sikh women have always been allowed to lead religious congregations, to take part in Akhand Path (the continuous recitation of the Holy Scriptures), to perform Kirtan, to work as Granthi (priest), to preach, and to participate freely in all religious, cultural, social, political and secular activities.

-- Another star in the skies are the Baha'is. This tradition originated in Persia in the 1800s. The founder, Bahá'u'lláh (1817-1892), is considered the last of the "messengers of God" in the line of Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad. They do not have a "clergy" in the usual sense of the term, but one of the basic principles of the Baha'i faith is the absolute equality of men and women. See, for instance, Two Wings of a Bird: A Statement on the Equality of Men and Women.

Women in roles of religious authority give glory to God and benefit the entire human race, male and female. In places where "machismo" still prevails, the religious leadership of women actually may be of most benefit to the men. Reserving ordination to men alone actually reinforces an image of God as male warrior. This is the reason that religious institutions which persist in excluding women from roles of authority are doing a disservice to humanity and, therefore, a disservice to God.

Religious institutions that persist in excluding women from their governance structures should not have formal representation in the United Nations. Furthermore, such institutions should not be subsidized using the tax revenues of national governments. And people should stop contributing to "weekly collections," and should stop providing any other form of financial support. Let the "voice of the nations" and the "voice of the faithful" be heard. When the patriarchs and the ayatollahs are hit in their pocketbooks, old sexist practices and new sexist doctrines may vanish rather quickly, and "by the hand of God."

In Memoriam

Professor Tanya Reinhart
1944 - 2007

"Reinhardt, one of the most outspoken representatives of the radical Israeli left, was a fierce critic of the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, saying they represented a perpetuation of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Reinhardt espoused the principle of non-violent resistance. She was active in recent years in Israeli-Palestinian efforts against the West Bank separation fence and the seizure of land from Palestinians for its construction." Haaretz Service, 18 March 2007

Persons of the Month

Maryam Rajavi, President,
National Council of Resistance of Iran

"Do you not hear the footsteps of fundamentalism in Iraq today? Are you not faced with the same threat in Muslim enclaves in European countries and America? Islamic fundamentalism as a serious threat requires an ideological and political solution. A tolerant and democratic Islam is the only effective response to the danger of religious fundamentalism."
Maryam Rajavi, 9 March 2007

Dr. Wafa Sultan, Psychiatrist,
on Al Jazeera, February 2006

"It is a clash between... barbarity and rationality... It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of those rights, on the other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings." See The Spirit of Islamic Reform, Arnold Trebach, The Washington Times, 16 March 2007.

Person of the Year

Hillary 2008

"The Challenge Now Is To Practice Politics as The Art Of Making, What Appears To Be Impossible, Possible"

Forthcoming Events

April 22 at the United States Capitol, Washington DC. From the website: "Earth Day was created in 1970 to spark a revolution against environmental abuse and the organizers, including EDN Board Chairman Denis Hayes, would not take no for an answer. Neither should we. Global warming is real and we're part of the problem. Now, we need to become part of the solution. Join Earth Day Network in the halls and offices of Congress from April 16-20, and make your voice heard. Help us make Earth Day, April 22nd, a catalyst for immediate action on climate change." Please register online for Earth Day on the Hill.

Digital Earth is a visionary concept, popularized by former US Vice President Al Gore, for the virtual and 3-D representation of the Earth that is spatially referenced and interconnected with digital knowledge archives from around the planet with vast amounts of scientific, natural, and cultural information to describe and understand the Earth, its systems, and human activities. Join world-class representatives from industry, academia, government, and NGOs in an unparalleled exploration and exposition into the future of Digital Earth at the ISDE5 from June 5-9, 2007, on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. Online registration: ISDE5. More info: Dr.DigitalEarth.

The Gender Research Network in the School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester is pleased to invite you to our launch conference on the theme Engendering Policy and Politics: International and comparative themes and issues, to be held at the University of Manchester, 21st-22nd June 2007. Please see the conference website for details. The point of contact is Dr. Kirstein Rummery.

ECEM 2007
The 6th European Conference on Ecological Modelling, ECEM'07, "Challenges for ecological modelling in a changing world: Global Changes, Sustainability and Ecosystem Based Management" will be held in Trieste, Italy, on November 27-30, 2007. Particular attention will be devoted to themes related to Global Changes, Sustainability and Ecosystem Management. ECEM'07, however, will cover ALL topics in the area of ecological modelling and participants are invited from ALL areas of research, development and application of ecological models. The abstract submission process will close on May 31, 2007. Point of contact: ECEM'07 secretariat.

The 2007 International Symposium on Wikis. October 21-23, 2007, Montreal, Canada. The theme this year is "Wikis at Work in the World: Open, Organic, Participatory Media for the 21st Century." For more information see WIKIMANIAS. Questions should be directed respectively at (research papers and practitioner reports), (workshops and panels), or (posters and demos).

Announcing the First International Education for Peace Conference-2007: Strategies for Building a Civilization of Peace at Granville Island in Vancouver, B.C., Canada (14-17 November 2007). The primary goal of the conference is to contribute to the worldwide efforts to create a civilization of peace. Essential to this undertaking is life-long peace education at home, in schools, and in the community, with its focus on the integral role of all members of society-children, youth, and adults-and with the equal participation of women and men in the administration of human affairs. Point of contact: Stacey Makortoff.

The World Future Society will hold its annual conference, "World Future 2007: Fostering Hope and Vision for the 21st Century" in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the Hilton Minneapolis, July 29-31, 2007. This 2-1/2-day conference will focus on ideas, insights, and strategies for coping with, adapting to, and taking advantage of the tremendous changes occurring on our planet. The deadline for papers is February 28, 2007. If additional information is needed, please let me know: Timothy C. Mack.

Blaise Pascal Instituut, Amsterdam Vrije Universiteit July, 4-8, 2007. This is the annual meeting of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion, a scholarly society focused on the exploration, criticism, and development of René Girard's Mimetic Theory. See the conference website for subthemes, deadlines for abstracts, etc. For more information, contact Thérèse Onderdenwijngaard.

11 Nov 2007 - 15 Nov 2007, Rome, Italy. The World Energy Congress is the most authoritative international energy meeting held by the World Energy Council (WEC) every three years. Papers and posters are accepted in either of the WEC official languages: English or French. Deadlines: Submission of papers and posters: from 1st June 2006 to 31st December 2006. Notification of acceptance: by 31st May 2007. Contact: Organising Secretariat

the 2007 conference of the European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR) will take place at the University of Bremen, Germany, September 23-27. It will be a joint conference of the EASR and the DVRW (Deutsche Vereinigung für Religionswissenschaft). The conference title is "Plurality and Representation. Religion in Education, Culture and Society". For the conference concept and call for papers please take a look at the conference website. Proposals for panel sessions and individual papers may be submitted directly through the conference website.


Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 3-6 July 2007. Presenters may choose to submit written papers for publication in the fully refereed International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations. If you are unable to attend the conference in person, virtual registrations are also available which allow you to submit a paper for review and possible publication in the journal, and provide access to the online edition of the journal. For more information visit the conference website.

April 11 - 14, 2007 in Toronto ON Canada. Call for proposals due October 6. Convened by the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH). For information about being a conference cosponsor, exhibitor, advertiser or supporter, contact Shelly Tolo, CCPH Conference Manager by phone: (206) 962-0012 or e-mail:


Conference on Faith, Spirituality and Social Change, University of Winchester, UK, 14 April 2007. A conference bringing together people whose action for social change is informed by their faith, organisations working with faith communities for social change, and academics exploring faith-based social change issues. Proposals - in the form of a title, a short abstract (300 words max) and a brief biographical statement (100 words plus affiliation) should be sent by 1 Dec 2006 to Dr. Christina Welch or Adrian Harris at For any additional information contact Christina or Adrian or please visit the conference website.


The Jean Piaget Society invites program submissions for the 37th Annual Meeting to take place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, at the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, May 31-June 2, 2007. Organizers: Phil Zelazo, Michael Chandler, and Eveline Crone. Please use the Proposal Submission Forms. Submission deadline is November 15, 2006. Point of contact: Chris Lalonde.


June 17-21, 2007, Park City, Utah. This is the 13th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management. The theme for the 2007 symposium is "Landscape Continuity and Change - Social Science Perspectives and Interdisciplinary Conversations." Abstracts for posters and papers due January 31, 2007. For more information about the symposium, contact Dr. Douglas Jackson-Smith.

NWSA 2007
The National Women’s Studies Association, 28th Annual Conference, Pheasant Run, St. Charles, Illinois. June 28-July 1, 2007. Theme: PAST DEBATES, PRESENT POSSIBILITIES, FUTURE FEMINISMS. Featured Conference Speaker: SANDRA CISNEROS. For more info:

Conference of the Society for Philosophy and Technology, Charleston, South Carolina, July 8-11, 2007. The 2007 conference will be focused on the ways that technology shapes and is shaped by the multidimensional phenomenon of globalization. Proposals should be made electronically to Joseph Pitt, Program Committee Chair.

The 18th annual meetings of the Society for Economic Dynamics will be held June 28-30, 2007 in Prague, Czech Republic. The plenary speakers are Dilip Abreu (Princeton), Robert Shimer (Chicago), and Kenneth Wolpin (Pennsylvania). The program co-chairs are Ricardo Lagos (NYU) and Noah Williams (Princeton). A program committee will select the papers for the conference. The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2007. Contact:


University of Granada, Spain, 10-13 July 2007. The conference will examine the nature of disciplinary and interdisciplinary practices across the social sciences, as well as the relation of the social to the natural sciences, applied sciences and the professions. The focus of papers will range from the finely grained and empirical (research practices and results exemplifying one or more disciplines), to wide-ranging multi-disciplinary and transdisciplinary practices, to perspectives on knowledge and method. The deadline for the next round in the call for papers (a title and short abstract) is 22 October 2006. See the conference website for other details.


The XV International Meeting of the Society for Human Ecology, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 4-7, 2007. Some preliminary proposals for sessions include themes such as: Biodiversity, Coastal Management, Cultural Diversity, Education, Philosophy, and Traditional Populations, among others. This is an invitation to submit proposals for sessions, symposia, and roundtables that we can incorporate into the early stages of meeting planning even before we issue the formal call for papers. If you have ideas, please contact Alpina Begossi, President, Society for Human Ecology, or

Planned for November 2007. This event will be a major milestone in bringing corporate redesign to the public agenda, profiling Corporation 20/20 design concepts and charting a pathway forward. For more info:


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A Short Meditation
for Long Journeys


come whoever you are,
Wanderer, worshipper,
lover of leaving ...
Ours is not a caravan of despair,
ours is a caravan of hope.
come even if you’ve broken
your vows a thousand times.
Come yet again, come ...

Mevlana Jalaludin Rumi,
Persia, 1207-1273


National Geographic

EPA Happy Earth Coloring Book

EPA Environmental Kids Club

EPA Student Center

Kaboose Earth Day Games

Apples 4 the Teacher

Rustle the Leaf

NIH ToxMystery Game

NASA for Kids

European Space Agency

FEMA for Kids

NOAA Ocean Explorer Puzzle

United Nations Flag Tag Quiz

Keeping Kids and Teens
Safer on the Internet

"Courage doesn't always roar:
Sometimes courage is the little voice
at the end of the day that says ...
I'll try again tomorrow."

Mary Anne Radmacher


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