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 commented digest on current research and emerging issues related to human solidarity, ecological sustainability, and both religious and secular non-violence. The U.N. "Millennium Development Goals" (MDGs) are used as a point of reference.
Theme of this Issue
Revisiting the U.N. MDGs, with focus on MDG8:
Build a Global Partnership for Development
The theme of this issue is MDG8: BUILD A GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR DEVELOPMENT. An integral part of this theme is SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, a dynamic process which entails the reconciliation of sustainability and human, social, and economic development. The well-being of humanity requires peace, justice, and responsible stewardship of the human habitat.
The analysis of MDG8 follows the pattern of MDGs in previous issues:
- 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 of virulent sexual violence (MDG4)
- Maternal health is poorest in regions of virulent gender violence (MDG5)
- HIV/AIDS is rooted in the patriarchal abuse of human sexuality (MDG6)
- Attaining sustainability requires human solidarity and, specifically, cross-gender solidarity (MDG7)
- Sustainable development requires human solidarity, and cross-gender solidarity is the foundation for all forms of human solidarity. Therefore, cross-gender solidarity is crucial for building a global partnership for development (MDG8)
In addition to the analysis of MDG8, this issue includes mini-reviews of several web sites, an update on the knowledge taxonomy and links database, annotated lists of new web resources and forthcoming SSNV-related events, and a reflection on prayer, study, and action as a method for human development. A comparative analysis for all the MDGs is presented. An integrated analysis of the MDGs will be the central theme for the September 2007 issue.
A SSNV knowledge taxonomy and links database is now online, and the reader can download either the HTML page or an excel file that contains the entire table.
The invited article this month is The Post-scarcity Paradox, by Philip Sadler, reprinted with permission from Shaping Tomorrow's Insights Newsletter.
1. Recent News & Emerging Issues
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).
Some of the citations have been edited for brevity. The marquee format is used to save space. Simply hover your mouse inside the box to stop the scrolling, and click on any title to navigate to the news source.
Editor's Comment: Given the current state of world affairs, in which gender violence is every day in the front page and often degenerates into genocide, gendercide, and various forms of military and economic violence, it is hard to imagine something like a "global partnership for development" coming into place. But even in this darkness, there are points of light, such as the MDGs and the recent creation of the Development Cooperation Forum. The number of people who are becoming aware of the need for reforming human behavior, as well as the structure of most human institutions, seems to be rapidly increasing. News travel fast these days. But it would be wrong to try any "quick fixes." Rather, we should keep in mind the old African proverb, "If you want to go quick, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." Trying to go far and quickly is risky business. Due diligence requires action, and sooner rather than later. But the only sensible thing to do is to keep "muddling through" together.
2. The U.N. Millennium Development Goals
U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
3. What is a Partnership for Development?
MDG8 is to "build a global partnership for development." What is a "global partnership for development? Let's consider the official targets (targets 12 to 18) that serve to measure progress toward MDG8:
- Target 12: Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, nondiscriminatory trading and financial system
Includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction, both nationally and internationally
- Target 13: Address the special needs of the least developed countries
- Includes: tariff and quota free access for the least developed countries' exports; enhanced programme of debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) and cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous ODA for countries committed to poverty reduction
- Target 14: Address the special needs of landlocked developing countries and small island developing States (through the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and the outcome of the twenty-second special session of the General Assembly)
- Target 15: Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in the long term
- Target 16: In cooperation with developing countries, develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth
- Target 17: In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries
- Target 18: In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications
Given these targets, it is hard to imagine the creation of a "global partnership for development" as long as we remain in the homo economicus stage of human development -- see the first column of the U.N. CSD Matrix, which captures the main barriers/ constraints to sustainable development. As long as self-interest is the main driver of human behavior, there is no incentive for moving toward a global partnership for development. For such partnership requires that economic policy decisions consistently seek a balance between self-interest and the global common good of humanity. Therefore, it is wise to keep in mind that attaining MDG8 requires a mindset transition from homo economicus to homo solidarius, individually and institutionally, at all levels of governance in both the private and profit sectors.
4. How to Build a Partnership for Development
How can the creation of a "global partnership for development" be expedited? The wise answer is: carefully, very carefully; for we know that expediting things in social systems often backfire in ways that actually increase (rather than decrease) the length of time required for a goal to be achieved.
International diplomacy and political persuasion may be helpful. Education on the benefits (including economic benefits) to be derived from working together may be helpful. Humanitarian appeals may be helpful, although news about corruption in developing countries may attenuate humanitarian motivations.
Creating a "global partnership for development" by political or military force is, of course, out of the question. Any such partnership, if it could be created at all, will not go anywhere and will disintegrate very fast. There is, however, the possibility of natural forces, such as calamities that might come about as a result of climate changes, may lead all us to a rude awakening. Many well informed people are already warning that there is no time for procrastination. See, for example, the recent warning by Al Gore a window of less than 10 years to moderate the effects of global warming and David Schneider's article on the energy outlook in the current issue of American Scientist.
One sign of hope is the recent (5 July 2007) launching of a Development Cooperation Forum by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who said it is a "decisive step forward in the implementation of the global partnership for development."
But a radical change in the ethos of business and economic decisions is the key to a "global partnership for development" that is sustainable. Historically, we certainly have many role models to imitate: Jesus of Nazareth (Palestine, 8–2 BCE to 29–36 CE), Francis of Assisi (Italy, 12th century CE), Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'ís, a religious movement that is unequivocal about gender equality (Persia, 19th century CE), Mahatma Gandhi (India, 1869-1948), Dag Hammarskjöld, second U.N. Secretary General and champion of peace (Sweden, 1905-1961), Martin Luther King, Jr. (USA, 1929-1968), Teresa of Calcutta (Macedonia-India, 1910-1997), Nelson Mandela (South Africa, born 1918), and so many others.
But in order to evolve toward a "global partnership for development" that is sustainable, we need to dig deeper. Beyond individual role models and initiatives at a few institutions, we need to be thinking in terms of new institutional systems that foster adaptation to the new order of things. There is no "magic bullet", but a number of web-based proposals for the kind of systemic change that would be required are briefly reviewed in section 6.
5. Combined Analysis of MDGs 1 to 8
Either we have both solidarity and sustainability or we have neither. It follows that solidarity is indispensable for sustainability. Furthermore, since cross-gender solidarity is the fuel that energizes all other forms of solidarity, it follows that cross-gender solidarity is a crucial dependency for sustainability and sustainable development; and even more so for sustainable human development. Therefore MDG3 (Promotion of Gender Equality) is a key pre-requisite for MDG7 (Ensure Environmental Sustainability). The following table captures the key drivers for MDGs 1 to 7, and provides links to supporting evidence:
Needless to say, each MDG is to some extent dependent on all the other MDGs. But all the MDGs are crucially dependent on MDG3 (Promotion of Gender Equality). Working for gender equality enhances progress toward all the other MDGs. Working against gender equality hinders progress toward all the other MDGs. This conclusion applies to both secular and religious institutions. It is tragic that, while most secular institutions are ready to recognize (at least in principle) that gender equality is fundamental for human well-being and healthy human relations, most religious institutions are still resisting to acknowledge that men and women are both made in the image of God and share one and the same human nature; and, hiding behind prejudiced traditions made by human hands, still refuse to have women in roles of religious authority. This abuse of religious authority is a shameful disgrace. It is a harmful act of psychological violence, and a huge obstacle to integral human development.
6. Selected "Global Partnership" Websites
Instead of focusing on a single website as usual, this section provides mini-reviews of selected "global partnership" websites. The term "global partnership," as used here, refers to initiatives pursuant to global improvements in social and environmental justice. In other words, these initiatives would support progress toward MDG8. It is a sign of hope that many such websites have been surfacing on the web. In addition to supporting progress toward MDG8, these websites seem to be relevant to the SSNV mission and outlook.
The Center for the Study of Democratic Societies website is a summary of the book Socioeconomic Democracy: An Advanced Socioeconomic System, by Robley E. George (Praeger, 2002, 305 pages).
According to George, "Socioeconomic Democracy is a model economic system, or more precisely, socioeconomic subsystem, in which there is some form of Universal Guaranteed Personal Income (UGPI) as well as some form of Maximum Allowable Personal Wealth (MAPW), with both the lower bound on personal material poverty and the upper bound on personal material wealth set and adjusted democratically by all society." This is a preliminary review pending further analysis of George's UGPI-MAPW thresholds.
The SeD theory is very appealing from the standpoint of distributive justice. There is historical evidence (recently reinforced by globalization), that the pie can get bigger and bigger for the rich and, simultaneously, smaller and smaller for the poor. As Vandana Shiva has pointed out, "resources flow from the poor to the rich, and garbage flows from the rich to the poor." The small fish is always eaten by the big fish. Taxing accumulated wealth, as opposed to income or consumption flows, makes sense in principle. Such taxation reform would create incentives for the wealthy to help increase the "wealth" of the poor, which presumably would allow for an increase in the MAPW. But, in order to set the UGPI and the MAPW in a truly democratic way, there must be a transition from homo economicus to homo solidarius. Else, social tensions may be exacerbated to the point of triggering a Girardian "mimetic crisis." Application of the subsidiarity principle is mentioned, but the SeD model needs more work in this regard. Sustainable development is is taken into consideration, but again in terms that assume that the transition from homo economicus to homo solidarius has taken place. Sustainable human development, however, is barely addressed. As long as money and power continue to be the main policy parameters, it is hard to see how a global partnership for sustainable development can be attained. But the UGPI and MAPW concepts, which are already partially applied in various ways here and there, are a significant contribution that may well become fully operationalized as humans discover that there are limits to what money can buy, but there are no limits to human wisdom and human solidarity. In between here and there, there is probably a lot of "muddling through" ahead of us.
For other similar ideas, see Solidarity Socio-Economy and Ethan Miller. Even if the UGPI and MAPW and never fully operationalized, these conceptual limits could be used as focus for dialogue and research on a wide range of issues. Therein lays their greatest potential value in fostering a "global partnership for development."
Toward the Bioregional State
The "bioregional state" initiative is based on the book Toward a Bioregional State: A Series of Letters About Political Theory and Formal Institutional Design in the Era of Sustainability, by Mark D. Whitaker (iUniverse, 2005, 384 pages). The book is supported by two blogs:
The following is a preliminary review pending careful study of Whitaker's book and other references. Whitaker's approach asserts that "instead of sustainability being an issue of population scale, managerial economics, or technocratic planning, an overhaul of formal democratic institutions is required. This is because environmental degradation has more to do with the biased interactions of formal institutions and informal corruption. Because of corruption, we have environmental degradation. Current formal democratic institutions of states are forms of informal gate keeping, and as such, intentionally maintain democracy as ecologically "out of sync". He argues that we are unable to reach sustainability without a host of additional ecological checks and balances. These ecological checks and balances would demote corrupt uses of formal institutions by removing capacities for gate keeping against democratic feedback. Sustainability is a politics that is already here—only waiting to be formally organized."
Ecologically, the "bioregional state" theory is very appealing. Politically, it is conceptually appealing even tough it does not provide concrete suggestions on how to evolve political institutions toward the bioregional state. Even if people and nations decide to reset their boundaries around watersheds ("watershed districting") or along any other ecological lines, it is self-evident that local or regional sustainability policies cannot be properly defined in isolation from global issues. Whitaker seems to assume that increasing ecological checks and balances will somehow eliminate corruption, ensure the viability of sustainable development, and mitigate the difficulty of overcoming excessive consumption. Undoubtedly, increasing ecological checks and balances will be needed, but can be expected to work only in the context of social, economic, and political checks and balances. The principle of subsidiarity cannot be applied in the ecological dimension alone; it must be applied in all dimensions of governance. But the converse is also true, i.e., economic and political checks and balances cannot work anymore in isolation from ecological checks and balances. The significance of Whitaker's contribution is the insistence on reforming institutions so that the ecological dimension is no longer ignored. Indeed, as Whitaker points out, "sustainability is a politics that is already here—only waiting to be formally organized." True, but how? While we wait, there is probably a lot of "muddling through" ahead of us.
The Conservation Economy
The Conservation Economy website presents the theory, originally developed by Ecotrust, that sustainable development requires a balance between equity, ecology, and economy. This site is worth visiting just to see the interactive Pattern Map that allows exploration of the patterns of a conservation economy.
The website introduces the "conservation economy" as follows: "In A Conservation Economy, Economic arrangements of all kinds are gradually redesigned so that they restore, rather than deplete, Natural Capital and Social Capital. This will create extraordinary opportunities for those who foresee and drive these changes. The Fundamental Needs of people and the Ecosystem Services which sustain them are the starting point for a different kind of economic prosperity that can endure generation after generation. While A Conservation Economy functions on a global scale, it can be imagined as a healthy mosaic of Bioregional Economies forged within coherent biological and cultural units. Even in a globalizing economy, diverse Bioregional Economies that are more self-sufficient in meeting their own needs will be more competitive and less vulnerable."
The balancing of social, economic, and ecological values is undoubtedly required for sustainable development. A very helpful feature of the website is the right-hand column, which shows a detailed decomposition of themes considered under social capital, natural capital, and economic capital. Each item in the outline is linked to the web page in which it is analyzed. Another feature of the web site is that it provides lists of institutions that have started incorporating one or more of the "conservation economy patterns." None is global, but local and regional sustainability contribute to global sustainability if the principle of subsidiarity is applied.
More research is needed on the completeness of the equity-ecology-economics (EEE) patterns. There are other kinds of "capital" that must be taken into account. One is "knowledge capital." There is a section on "access to knowledge" under social capital. But "access to knowledge" is not the same as "knowledge capital." Having ready access to inadequate knowledge is of very limited value. Another form of capital that is crucial for human development is "spiritual capital." The accumulation of spiritual capital (religious faith, moral norms, self-knowledge, the support of a community of faith, the "inner journey") is really what determines the sustainability of human development even when material resources are scarce.
The World Social Forum and the World Economic Forum
The motto of the World Social Forum (WSF) is "Another World is Possible". According to the web site, "Over 75,000 participants gathered in Nairobi during the 7th edition of the World Social Forum under the clarion “People’s Struggle’s, People’s Alternatives” from 20 to 25 January 2007. The Forum brought the world together in Africa as activists, social movements, networks, coalitions and other progressive forces from Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, Europe and all corners of the African continent converged in Nairobi, Kenya for five days of cultural resistance and celebration." There is a WSF Charter of Principles, approved by the World Social Forum International Council on June 10, 2001. The web site features a World Social Forum Common Space (4000+ subscribers) for continuous discussion of global social issues and international collaboration and coordination of activities and initiatives. The web site also features an e-library for social transformation, a multilingual digital archive (700+ resources, with a search engine) to share common knowledge about social movements worldwide. The WSF is a focal point for collaborative social activism by those who represent the concerns of the Third World.
A recent new arrival to the WSF is the U.S. Social Forum (USSF), launched in support of the first forum meeting June 27 - July 1, 2007, in Atlanta, Georgia. The motto of the USSF is "Another World is Possible, Another U.S. is Necessary". This is a most interesting development. It shows that there is increasing awareness in the U.S. about global issues of social and environmental injustice. But this is a preliminary review, to be revisited as the WSF-USSF dynamics unfold.
In parallel with the WSF, the World Economic Forum (WEF) "The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests. The World Economic Forum is under the supervision of the Swiss Federal Government." The annual meeting is in January at Davos, Switzerland. It seems fair to say that the WEF is more influenced by the priorities of the First World, albeit with a social conscience. The web site features a Knowledge Navigator that organizes forum materials into themes, regions, industries, events, and contributors. There are currently over 40 background essays and 130 graphs and charts.
What is most interesting and instructive about these fora is that they exemplify the kind of "muddling through" that will be required during the transition to a world of solidarity, sustainability, and nonviolence. None of the participants in these fora presumes to have a detailed roadmap for the transition. They all recognize that there is no simple fix. They all recognize that the greatest need is the advent of homo solidarius, i.e., people who make decisions taking into account both self-interest and the global common good. And they all recognize that most institutions, both secular and religious, will have to undergo a reformation that eliminates obstacles to human and social development. Solidarity cannot remain the ideal of a few individuals. Solidarity must be institutionalized if we are to attain the "other world that is possible." Undoubtedly, this is what MDG8 is all about.
Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies
The Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (Human DHS) website derives from the work of Evelin G. Lindner, including her book Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict (Praeger, 2006, 284 pages). See also the Book Summary of Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict by Evelin Lindner written by Brett Reeder, and the excellent article Humiliation by Sarah Rosenberg.
Following Lindner, Rosenberg summarizes the term "humiliation" as follows:
"A leading researcher on humiliation, Dr. Evelin Lindner, defines humiliation as "the enforced lowering of a person or group, a process of subjugation that damages or strips away their pride, honor or dignity. Further, humiliation means to be placed, against ones will, in a situation where one is made to feel inferior. One of the defining characteristics of humiliation as a process is that the victim is forced into passivity, acted upon, made helpless." Johan Galtung, a leading practitioner, agrees with Lindner that the infliction of humiliation is a profoundly violent psychological act that leaves the victim with a deep wound to the psyche.
"Historically, maintaining hierarchical societies meant that elites scrupulously guarded their honor against attempts to soil or humiliate it, while some form of more or less institutionalized humiliation was part of the reality for the lower echelons of a community. As long as such a reality is accepted as the norm, and it is believed that this structure helps to achieve and maintain common societal goals, the system is considered acceptable. Though some people in lower ranks may wish to be on a higher level, they do not view the system itself as flawed. By contrast, in societies such as Somalia, with its non-hierarchical egalitarian clan structures, Lindner's research shows that attempts to humiliate people are fervently resented, at least by the males of the major clan families. The more egalitarian a society, be it pre-hierarchical or post hierarchical, Lindner asserts, the less use there is for institutionalized humiliation, particularly as a way to maintain order, and the less acceptable it is."
A concrete example is psychological gender violence in some Christian churches:
Elizabeth Johnson, in her definitive book She Who Is (Herder & Herder, 1992; 10th anniversary edition, 2002) has provided ample and insightful documentation of this long and painful process. More recently, she has given a concise dscription of the process: "Christianity took shape in a culture where elite men held power over other men, and over women and children and slaves. As the Church grew and became more established, its leaders adopted that same structure, called patriarchy (rule of the father) or kyriarchy (rule of the lord). The Church remained patriarchal through the centuries, as society did, and gave religious authorization to that organizing pattern—men in charge" (Women's place, Elizabeth Johnson, Boston College Magazine, Summer 2004).
In his review of her book, Andrew Lumpkin offers the following summary: "Over the course of Christian history, women have been disenfranchised and oppressed. Patriarchal systems and androcentric mentalities have marginalized women sociologically and psychologically, even within the Christian community. Elizabeth Johnson believes this oppression stems from the language used for God. Because God is referred to exclusively and literally as a male, women have reduced roles within Christianity. Johnson seeks to use new imagery and metaphors for speech about God, in order to emancipate women from this oppression. Johnson recognizes that all language about God is inadequate, but using feminine imagery for God restores human dignity in women and men and helps with the flourishing of humanity.
"Structurally, Johnson achieves this goal in four parts. In Part I, Johnson provides context and background for new speech about God. Because speech about God influences identity and praxis, new language for God must be sought. A solution to this problem can be explored using feminist theology, and Johnson provides basic feminist principles for theology. Lastly, Johnson discusses traditional approaches to speaking inclusively about God, and establishes that it is her intent to use only feminine imagery for God. Moving from the background to the foreground, Johnson builds her methodology, in Part II, by using three resources: experience, scripture, and classical theology. The experience of women is central to her theology, and while scripture is integral, Johnson seeks the reclamation of feminine imagery. Johnson also salvages certain principles in classical theology to use in her theology: the divine incomprehensibility, the need for analogy in God-speak, and the need for many names for God. In Part III, Johnson applies reclaimed feminine imagery to each Person in the Trinity. Beginning with the Spirit, and then moving to Jesus and God, Johnson explores what feminine imagery points to in God. Finally, in Part IV, Johnson uses feminine symbols, culminating in SHE WHO IS, to explain the immanent Trinity, the economic Trinity, and God's relation to the suffering world."
For supporting analyses of this particular case of psychological violence, see Houtart (starting with the Vatican II question), Haller, and the March 2006 to August 2006 issues of this newsletter. It is also useful to meditate on points of light in Christian art, such as Andrei Rublev, Farid de la Ossa, and others.
This example of persistent psychological violence is particularly disturbing. If psychological gender violence can go un-noticed in Christian churches for centuries, what can we expect of secular institutions? Lindner's approach again emphasizes the crucial importance of human development; but not the false "human development" that seeks to be more by having more money and more power, but the true human development that seeks to be more by growing in solidarity and non-violence. This is a preliminary review pending further study of Lindner's work, but her focus on human dignity, and her insistence on avoidance of human humiliation, is what really matters for human development.
7. Web Resources & Knowledge Taxonomy
This section is a digest of recently added/updated web resources, under three categories:
- Information & knowledge content (usually in the form of e-books available for free download)
- Web sites & other resources (new/upgraded web sites, data bases, other tools)
- Evolution of SSNV knowledge taxonomy & links directory (summary here, full directory in a separate page
Information & Knowledge Content
MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS REPORT 2007, United Nations, July 2007, 21 pages (free download). For each of the MDGs, graphics and supporting text are provided for targets and indicators to show progress from 1990 to 2005 (2004 or 2006 in some cases). From the report summary:
"This report presents data on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals for the world as a whole and for various country groupings. These are classified as “developing” regions, the transition economies of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Asia and Europe, and the "developed" regions. The developing regions are further broken down into sub-regions:
These regional groupings are based on United Nations geographical divisions, with some modifications necessary to create, to the extent possible, groups of countries for which a meaningful analysis can be carried out. A complete list of countries included in each region and sub-region is available at mdgs.un.org."
- Developed regions (Europe, USA/Canada, AU/NZ)
- Countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
- Northern Africa
- Sub-Saharan Africa
- South-Eastern Asia
- Eastern Asia
- Southern Asia
- Western Asia
- Latin America & the Caribbean
GENDER CUTTING EDGE PACKS, Bridge, Development and Gender, 2001-2007. From the website: "Written and produced in collaboration with partners, Cutting Edge Packs provide accessible overviews of the latest thinking on a gender theme and summaries of the most useful resources. Each pack includes an Overview Report, a Supporting Resources Collection and a copy of Gender and Development In Brief, which can be downloaded in PDF, html or Microsoft Word (without images) formats." The following gender cutting edge packs have been published:
Gender and Indicators, 2007
Gender and Sexuality, 2007
Gender and Trade, 2006
Gender and Migration, 2005
Gender and ICTs, 2004
Gender and Citizenship, 2004
Gender and Armed Conflict, 2003
Gender and Budgets, 2003
Gender and HIV/AIDS, 2002
Gender and Cultural Change, 2002
Gender and Participation, 2001
GLOBALIZATION FOR DEVELOPMENT: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Geneva, 4 July 2007. From the press release: "Globalization now significantly helping developing countries, notes Report of Secretary-General to UNCTAD XII conference, but positive trends are fragile and increasing wealth hasn't yet led to poverty reduction in all countries. Current encouraging global economic progress must be carefully managed so that several threats that could derail the current 5-6% annual growth rates in developing countries do not materialize -- and so that the benefits are more thoroughly extended to the world's poorest people and the poorest nations, urges a new report by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development."
ECONOMIC POLICIES, MDGs AND POVERTY, UNDP Poverty Centre, July 2007. From the website: "This webpage highlights a broad IPC research programme on “Economic Policies, the MDGs and Poverty”. The programme includes IPC Country Studies, Policy Research Briefs and Working Papers, which draw on a large set of Full National Reports on Economic Strategies (listed below). One Pagers based on this research agenda seek to spark lively debates on issues such as the privatization of public services and the current constraints on government spending of ODA. The research programme is strongly policy-oriented, examining, in particular, the options for MDG-based Economic Strategies. Within this framework, it focuses on fiscal policies, monetary policies, financial policies and the public provision of services. Its intent is to stimulate an evidence-based and wide-ranging debate and help expand the policy choices of developing-country governments, especially for macroeconomic and adjustment policies. This research agenda has also produced a training programme, which currently includes modules on fiscal, monetary and financial policies. IPC organizes such training for national policymakers, NGO representatives and applied researchers."
THE CIVIL AND POLITICAL INTEGRATION OF MUSLIM AMERICANS, Farooq Kathwari and Lynn M. Martin, Chicago Council for Human Affairs, 10 July 2007, 59 pages (free download). From the web site: "The Chicago Council on Global Affairs released the findings of its independent Task Force on the civic and political integration of Muslim Americans on June 26, 2007. “Strengthening America” calls for Muslims and non-Muslims to work together to create full and equal opportunities for Muslim Americans to participate in American civic and political life. The Task Force was convened in February 2006 and co-chaired by Farooq Kathwari, chairman CEO of Ethan Allen Interiors Inc., and former Secretary of Labor and congresswoman, Lynn Martin. It assembled a group of thirty two distinguished Muslim and non-Muslim leaders to examine the Muslim American experience and provide a roadmap for accelerating Muslim American engagement. "
PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SUBJECTIVE WELLBEING: PROPOSAL FOR INTERNATIONALLY COMPARABLE INDICATORS, Emma Samman, OPHI, May 2007, 35 pages (free download). From the Development Gateway summary: "This paper sets out a proposal to gather data on subjective indicators of satisfaction and meaning. It proposes deriving eight indicators from questionnaires designed to measure 1) life satisfaction, 2) happiness and 3) psychological wellbeing."
WORKING CAPITAL REPORT, United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, July 2007, 56 pages (free download). From the website: "Responsible investment matters because we are talking about where people's savings meets society's goals. By July 2007 assets approaching USD 10 trillion, owned or managed by more than 200 major investment organizations from 25 countries, had committed to the Principles for Responsible Investment. In the future this commitment by investors to the PRI could have a huge impact on the way capital markets work and indeed on how we collectively address the pressing global social and environmental issues of the 21st century.
The Working Capital Report is a snapshot in time describing how the PRI came about and capturing the views of leading thinkers in the field of sustainable finance and responsible investment."
REVIEW OF ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS AND POLICY, Oxford Journals, published on behalf the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. From the website: "Launched in Spring 2007, Review of Environmental Economics and Policy aims to fill the gap between traditional academic journals and the general interest press by providing a widely accessible yet scholarly source for the latest thinking on environmental economics and related policy. The Review publishes a range of material including symposia, articles, and regular features." View the current issue Volume 1, Number 1, Winter 2007.
Web Sites and Other Resources
THE GENDER, INSTITUTIONS AND DEVELOPMENT DATA BASE (GID-DB), OECD, 2007. From the website: "The Gender, Institutions and Development Data Base (GID) represents a new tool for researchers and policy makers to determine and analyse obstacles to women’s economic development. It covers a total of 161 countries and comprises an array of 60 indicators on gender discrimination. The data base has been compiled from various sources and combines in a systematic and coherent fashion the current empirical evidence that exists on the socio-economic status of women. Its true innovation is the inclusion of institutional variables that range from intrahousehold behaviour to social norms. Information on cultural and traditional practices that impact on women’s economic development is coded so as to measure the level of discrimination. Such a comprehensive overview of gender-related variables and the data base’s specific focus on social institutions make the GID unique, providing a tool-box for a wide range of analytical queries and allowing case-by-case adaptation to specific research or policy questions."
WORLDWIDE SCIENCE - GATEWAY SCIENCE DATABASE, WorldWideScience, 2007. From the website: "One-stop searching of scientific sources. A prototype for a global science gateway connecting you to national and international scientific databases. This is a new portal that crosses both international and database boundaries was launched recently for people interested in scientific sources that are unavailable through commercial search engines such as Google. WorldWideScience.org was developed by the Energy Department and the British Library, along with science and technology organizations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands. It employs federated search technology a search method that simultaneously executes a query against an array of databases, then aggregates and ranks the results and gives users a single entry point for searching far-flung science portals in parallel with only one query."
OXFORD POVERTY & HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE (OPHI), Department of International Development, University of Oxford, launched May 2007. From the paper MISSING DIMENSIONS OF POVERTY DATA: A PROPOSAL FOR INTERNATIONALLY COMPARABLE INDICATORS: "Our overall aim is to build and advance a more systematic methodological and economic framework for reducing poverty that is grounded in Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen’s capability approach and related ideas. Advancing this approach requires fundamental, sustained multidisciplinary research and its effective dissemination. As an investment in future research, our first initiative has been to propose a shortlist of indicators pertaining to five dimensions that are often valuable to poor people and instrumentally important to poverty reduction but not often reported internationally. We now seek to collect data that would permit us to obtain these indicators."
DEVELOPMENT EXPERIENCE CLEARINGHOUSE, USAID, June 2007. From the website: "USAID's Development Experience Clearinghouse (DEC) is the largest online resource for USAID funded technical and program documentation, with over 46800 documents available for electronic download. Search the Development Experience System (DEXS), USAID's online database of agency-funded technical and program-related documents, download USAID documents in PDF format for free, and sign up for DEC Express, our bi-weekly e-publication that lists recently acquired documents."
NATURE: CLIMATE CHANGE REPORTS, Nature, July 2007. From the website: "An online resource from Nature Publishing Group, Nature Reports: Climate Change covers the news behind the science and the science behind the news of global climate change, arguably the most far-reaching challenge of this century. The site is dedicated to authoritative in-depth reporting on climate change and its wider implications for policy, society and the economy. The website complements Nature's existing coverage of climate change, both in print and online. Here you will find unique news, features, comment and analysis, book and arts reviews, research highlights, and more. Aside from providing authoritative coverage of climate science and its wider implications, Nature Reports: Climate Change is an interactive hub, with opportunities for readers to contribute by commenting on our Climate Feedback blog and by voting on recent papers in our Journal Club."
OPEN ACCESS AND THE DEVELOPING WORLD, BioMed, 2007. From the BioMed Central blog: "This new website calls attention to the benefits of open access to the scientific and medical literature for the developing world. Open access and the developing world brings together the latest relevant research articles from BioMed Central’s open access journals, news feeds, author profiles, resources and a new section of the BioMed Central blog, which will provide a regular round-up of news and resources relating to open access and the developing world." Links are provided to information and articles about the open access movement in developing world countries. It features a search engine and gateways to the following gateways:
Bioinformatics and Genomics Gateway
Global Health Gateway
Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Gateway
Neuroscience, Neurology & Psychiatry Gateway
Systems Biology Gateway
Knowledge Taxonomy & Links Directory
Click here to view the current status of the knowledge links database. The table is sorted by mega-disciplines, then disciplines, then specialties. There are 11 mega-disciplines (the so-called "pillars of knowledge), 77 disciplines, and 402 specialties currently identified. The specialties column is still very fluid. The sub-specialties column is currently being used to capture the institutional source of the information. Needless to say, this database will never be finished, but the reader is invited to download the table, change the sortings, and otherwise adapt the entries to other projects. You can either download the HTML page (simply save the page and edit the HTML code - not recommended), or you can download the excel file that contains the entire table (including embedded HTML and instructions to build the HTML page - recommended). To get the excel file, click here.
8. Prayer, Study, and Action
The following prayer integrates prayer, study, and action (including "muddling through"):
Life's a comedy, the world's a stage, men are actors, God is the author.
His responsibility is to allot the parts; man's is to act well.
Remember that life is only a play.
The entire world is nothing but the stage for a comedy
In which the scenery keeps changing.
We are all simply actors upon it.
Remember that in this play it is God
Who is the author and originator
And that what the play is about is beyond our ken.
If a man has been given a short part
Let him play it as prescribed.
But he who is given a long part
Can only play it properly if his deeds are good.
If God requires you to act the part
Of a poor man or a slave,
A prince or a cripple,
Play whatever he has given you to play.
Only one thing matters for you:
To play your part perfectly
In all you think or do or speak.
But as for the part of allotting good fortune
And as for the length or shortness of your appearance on stage,
That is God's concern alone.
Francisco de Quevedo, Spain, 1580-1645
The following painting, by Farid de la Ossa Arrieta (Colombia, 2002), is a good image of the divine partnership between God the Mother, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit:
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION
This is actually a representation of God in the Christian tradition (the mystery of the Trinity: one God, three Persons). It beautifully integrates prayer, study, and action: prayer that the Holy Spirit (the dove) will enable us to imitate the trinitarian communion, study for better understanding of the trinitarian communion (Mother, Son, and Holy Spirit: the triangle), and the self-sacrificing action of Christ to enable humanity and the entire creation (images around the circle) to become a communion (unity in diversity) in the image of the trinitarian communion. Is this too much for humanity to achieve? Sure, but the good news is that humanity has nothing to achieve. Only the power and mercy of God can do it, and we know that "nothing is impossible with God" (Luke 1:37). But God wants our cooperation in this project. Our action is to remove the many obstacles that human hands have made and hinder the power and mercy of God.
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: MDG1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty
V3 N02 February 2007: MDG2: Universal Primary Education
V3 N03 March 2007: MDG3: Promotion of Gender Equality
V3 N04 April 2007: MDG4: Reduction of Child Mortality
V3 N05 May 2007: MDG5: Maternal Care Improvement
V3 N06 June 2007: MDG6: Contain the HIV/AIDS Epidemic
V3 N07 July 2007: MDG7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
V3 N08 August 2007: MDG8: Global Partnership for Development
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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 Symbolism of the Pelican,
Adoro te devote ...,
and a very instructive sermon by Rev. Sylvia Roberts.
Pie Pelicani (Holy Pelican)
The myth is one of a mother pelican who, in order to feed her young, rips a hole in her breast and feeds them of her own flesh and blood. The ancients saw in it a marvelous feminine image of Christ as Mother. Her wings encompass all from Lazarus and Dives to the wedding feast and the bridal couple keyed in the arch as Christ's love shared in the Eucharistic meal embraces us all. Loyola Chapel, Concordia Univ.
Symbol of Solidarity
Symbol of Sustainability
Unity in Diversity
The following are links to information about some of the major religious traditions and approximate numbers of adherents:
Christianity (2.5 billion)
Islam (1.4 billion)
Hinduism (1 billion)
Budhism (375 million)
Sikhism (23 million)
Judaism (14 million)
Bahá'í (7 million)
For more information, see World Religions, which includes global maps showing geographic religious distributions.
Journal of Global Ethics
Lead Editor: Christien van den Anker,
University of the West of England, UK
Volume 3, 2007, 3 issues per year
The Journal of Global Ethics is an international and interdisciplinary scholarly journal concerned with ethical issues arising in the global context. The journal promotes the study of "global ethics", encouraging examination of the wide variety of ethical issues that arise in the context of globalisation and global relations. The journal provides a forum for the analysis of ethics and values and their relationship to globalisation, international relations, politics and development, engaging particularly in debates about global justice.
For more information and to view a fully searchable sample copy of Journal of Global Ethics, visit the journal homepage.
SSNV Call for Papers
This newsletter is now seeking scholars willing to write (pro-bono) short articles about the impacts of all forms of secular and 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, Bahá'í, 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
Click the images for more information and data:
MDG Report 2007
MDG Progress Chart 2007
MDG Indicators 2007
State of the World's Children 2007
State of the World's Girls 2007
Latest Human Development Report
"Yesterday is gone.
Tomorrow has not yet come.
We have only today.
Let us begin."
Mother Teresa of Calcutta
For more information about
Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Mother Teresa Official Site
Mother Teresa's Biography
Mother Teresa's Beatification
Missionaries of Charity
Missionaries of Charity Fathers
Wife, Mother, Lawyer, Stateswoman
Senator from New York
Next President of the USA
Want to know why Hillary is
the best choice for president?
Click the banner:
The following sites are worth visiting:
Geneva Guide for Sustainable Living
Excellent text and illustrations
Can request paper copies
Share with family and friends
ACUNU/WFUNA Millennium Project 2007
Directed by Jerome C. Glenn
The new flyer is a
Insights & Trend Analyses
Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman
Directed by Jennifer Fox
For more information, click
SOCIAL SIMULATION CONGRESS
Next year the 2nd World Congress in Social Simulation (WCSS'08) will take place on July 14-16, 2008, at George Mason University, hosted by the Center for Social Complexity, just outside Washington DC. Additional information will follow soon, including the official call for papers, website for early registration, scientific committees, lodging information, and preliminary program. The WCSS series is a joint collaboration of the regional international professional organizations: European Social Simulation Association ESSA; North American Association for Computational Social and Organizational Sciences NAACSOS; and
Pacific Asia Association for Agent Based Social Systems Science PAAA. For more information contact Professor Claudio Cioffi-Revilla, Director of the Center for Social Complexity at George Mason University.
U.S. YOUTH NETWORK FOR
The SustainUS Agents of Change program is now accepting applications to join the SustainUS youth delegation to the Thirteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and second meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP13 and COP/MOP3), which will be held in Bali, Indonesia, from December 3-14, 2007. The SustainUS delegation, comprised of key leaders in the youth climate movement, will have the unique opportunity to represent American youth at the COP, which will determine the future of international policy on climate change. Delegates will work with each other and with international youth in advance of the conference to educate themselves, develop policy priorities, acquire skills in effective lobbying, and engage the broader youth population in a conversation about international climate policy. For more information contact Agents of Change.
NOVEMBER 19, 2007
CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION DAY
Women's World Summit Foundation
Sponsored by WWSF
SCIENCE, POLICY, AND ENVIRONMENT
Sponsored by the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE). January 16-18, 2008. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, N.W., Washington, DC 20001. Focus on Climate Change: Science and Solutions Resources. Please direct questions on NCSE's next conference to NCSE 2008 Conference on Climate Change.
GENDER AND WELL-BEING
A symposium on "Gender and Well Being: The Role of Institutions from Past to Present." Madrid, Spain, 25th-27th June 2008. From the CFP: "There are fundamental questions about the origins and nature of individual and social well-being in Europe, as well as on its sustainability. The symposium's aim to develop a new concept of well-being, examining the socially gendered indicators, actors and processes affecting the production and access to well-being across the life-course. This reflection is meant to be conducted at a crossroads between history, social science and economy." Call for papers opened till 20th September 2007.
Send abstracts to Paloma de Villota with copy to the
Secretary by this Form. Selection of abstracts will be made by the end of October 2007 and will be communicated to authors before 15th November 2007. Papers must be sent by e-mail no later than 26th May, 2008.
CHALLENGING THE CULTURE OF DEATH
The aim is a cross-cultural dialogue imagining a political and symbolic world based on life not death: mercy not sacrifice.
"A multi-disciplinary event, we aim to bring diverse approaches to our deliberations under the following headings: Theory, Resistance, and Theology. Priority will be given to those taking a multi-disciplinary synchronic perspective, and imaginative approaches to presenting that maximize pre-event preparation (making papers available in advance) and interactive modes of engagement with participants. We also hope to balance incisive critique with concrete strategies for practical action." Venue: Trinity College, Dublin. Date: 2-4 November 2007. Sponsors: Institute for Feminism and Religion and Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies, Trinity College, Dublin. Please address questions to Mary Condren.
International Conference on Peaceful Coexistence, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 23–24 November 2007. The need for peaceful co-existence between Muslims and non-Muslims within and between nations has long been recognized. The much publicized failures in relations in recent years, which are both a cause and effect of the situation in many parts of the world – not just the Middle East – should spur all right-minded people to re-double their efforts to sustain the hope for peaceful co-existence. For further information please e-mail: Peaceful Coexistence or visit the Peaceful Coexistence Conference web site.
FORMATION OF NEW PUBLICS
Religion has the capacity to form intentional groups and communities as well as to mobilize agents to work for certain goals. This formation of communities and mobilization of resources to achieve goals is actually consonant with the term "formation of publics" as used by C. Wright Mills. This conference will explore the new publics of the 21st century. Publics here may be individuals and/or groups who attempt to create knowledge and/or achieve certain actions using religious ideals, beliefs, and/or symbols. Venue: University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Date: 23-26 January 2008. Deadline for abstracts: 21 July 2007. Enquiries: Esmeralda Sanchez.
BIOLOGY AND RELIGIOUS BEHAVIOR
Call for Papers: "The Biology of Religious Behavior: A Human Ethology Perspective on Religion." Care to spend time in Italy studying psychology and religion? Then consider submitting a paper to the International Society for Human Ethology meeting in Bologna, Italy, July 14-18, 2008. Better yet, there is a possibility for funds to support your travel to Bologna for the conference. Sponsored by the Society of Human Ethology. Bologna, Italy, 14 – 18 July, 2008. The deadline for abstract submission is 1 March 2008. For more information visit the ISHE2008 conference website. Points of contact are Marco Costa, University of Bologna, Italy and Luca Tommasi, University of Chieti, Italy. See also the PsyRel blog of Jay Feierman.
EU GENDER EQUALITY
An expert meeting on gender equality in the enlarged European Union is underway (between July 2006 and September 2007) as part of a current research project on gender equality in the enlarged EU. It is being carried out as a cooperation between Social Change and the Institute of East-European History. The aim is to examine the possibilities, chances and obstacles for the future gender equality policy on the EU level. The discussion in this interdisciplinary and transnational forum will focus on the implementation of the EU’s gender equality regulations, on independent national policies, on the history and role of the women’s (rights) movement and the current situation of women, especially in the new member countries Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Bulgaria, but also in the "old" member states like Germany, France, and Austria. Points of contact: Petra Ziegler and Verena Kaselitz at the Institut für Osteuropäische Geschichte der Universität Wien, Social Change Institut für Innovation in der Genderforschung und Gewaltprävention.
REPRODUCTIVE & SEXUAL HEALTH
The 4th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights will take place 29th to 31st October 2007, Hyderabad, India. The conference will provide a platform for people with diverse perspectives, expertise and experience to exchange ideas, discuss and debate issues of concern, and learn from each other about sexual and reproductive health and rights, with specific reference to the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD, 1994). The theme of the Conference is "Exploring New Frontiers in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights". For more information, please visit our website, 4APCRSH.
POLITICS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING
CFP by the St. Antony's International Review (STAIR), a peer-reviewed academic journal of international affairs based here at St. Antony's College, University of Oxford. A forthcoming issue of STAIR will focus on the theme of human trafficking. Abstracts due August 30, 2007. Papers due December 30, 2007. A copy of the CFP and other information can be obtained via email to Ms. Heidi Stöckl, Associate Editor, St. Antony's International Review (STAIR).
VIOLENCE IN CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY
This will be the 5th European Congress on Violence in Clinical Psychiatry. Congress theme: "Best Evidence Based Practices on
Prevention, Treatment and Management of Violence at the Individual, Institutional and Governmental Level." 25 - 27 October 2007, 0, Amsterdam. From the invitation: "Violent and aggressive behaviour is a complex phenomenon of great importance in society as well in clinical psychiatry. Violence has become a global problem crossing borders, work settings and occupational groups. Within clinical psychiatry, violence is one of the major obstacles for effective treatment and rehabilitation, and with regard to health care workers, violence is the major occupational health hazard. Therefore a comprehensive institutional approach to this problem at all organizational levels is needed." See the conference website. Point of contact: Nico Oud.
EDUCATION FOR PEACE 2007
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.
Library of Congress
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"Proclaim the things that are to be –
The rise of woman to her place,
The coming of a nobler race."
Angela Morgan (1875-1957), American writer and poet
"I wept because I had no shoes,
until I saw a man who had no feet."
Persian saying, Ancient