The E-Newsletter of
A Monthly Digest of Current Research, Emerging Issues, and New Initiatives

Vol. 3, No. 9, September 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 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
Integrated Analysis of the U.N. MDGs


This issue provides some ideas on how to do integrated analysis of the MDGs. Such analyses can be at the local, national, or global level, but their objective is always the same: to understand how the eight MDGs interact as a system, and to steer the interactions so that MDG projects reinforce each other. Three methods are suggested for MDG interdependency analysis:

  • The square matrix method to identify precedence-with-overlap information flows among the MDGs
  • The system dynamics method to identify feedback loops and dynamic interaction among the MDGs
  • The use of the mimetic theory of human behavior to analyze social responsiveness to the MDGs

Surely, many other methods are available. They all reflect the classical system analysis approach in five phases: define the problem, gather data, isolate the root cause of the problem, determine how to eliminate or bypass the root cause, and test the proposed solution. Systemic analysis and synthesis is the best way to move forward, even as we continue to "muddle through" together.

The Millennium Project of the World Federation of UN Associations (WFUNA) is an excellent example of systemic thinking about the critical global issues facing humanity. This issue includes a review of their resource-packed web site.

The SSNV knowledge taxonomy and links database has been updated to correlate the MDGs with applicable information content. Readers can view the entire database, and can download either the HTML page or an excel file that contains the entire table and embedded HTML code.

The invited article this month is Wisdom in the university, by Nicholas Maxwell and Ronald Barnett, reprinted with permission from the London Review of Education, Volume 5, Issue 2, 2007.



1. Selected News & Emerging Issues
2. The U.N. Millennium Development Goals
3. Matrix Analysis of MDG Interdependencies
4. MDG Loop Diagrams & Feedback Dynamics
5. Mimetic Analysis of the MDG Process
6. Review of the "Millennium Project" Website
7. Web Resources & Knowledge Taxonomy
8. Prayer, Study, and Action
9. Links to Archived Newsletters


Wisdom in the university
by Nicholas Maxwell and Ronald Barnett

The Pelican Symbol
Religious Traditions
Memorable People
Sign of the Times
Hillary for President
SSNV Call for Papers
MDG Pubs & Data
Worth Visiting
Announcements & CFPs
Insightful Art
Honor Killings Slideshow
PelicanWeb Site Search
World News

1. Selected News & Emerging Issues

The following is a selection of recent news related to solidarity, sustainability, and non-violence, some specifically in the context of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and related global issues.

Only the topics are listed, and sometimes abbreviated. Simply hover your mouse inside the box to stop the scrolling, and click on any title to navigate to the news source, where both the complete citation and the complete text are provided.

Sustainable development and capitalism are incompatible

EPA Releases the Draft of 2007 Report on the Environment

Females in political scene - gender equity won't go away

World leaders urge action to reach development goals

Explaining issues in Islam

The sacred and the human

There are 610 Million Cars, Trucks, and Buses on World Roads

We can't afford to pollute first, improve later

Big Business And The Eradication Of Extreme Poverty

Career women in Japan find a blocked path

Biofuel production spreading around world

Sex trafficking spreading HIV in South Asia

The long-term benefits of free education

Cixous, Girard, and theories of gender

The Cost of Violence in the United States

Unified approach to human development

The Anglican Communion must embrace UN Millennium Goals

Environment, Sustainable Development And Globalisation

Sustainability Is A Complex, Team Endeavor

China urges accommodation to "emissions of subsistence"

FGM Declaration calls on religious and traditional leaders
to educate members

Religious organizations should spearhead gender equality

Economic development through reform of
public sector management in Africa

From Socially Responsible Investing to Sustainable Investing

New forms of violence against Yemeni women
and persisting discriminative laws

Bolivia struggles to unite for social change

Jihad, crusades and tolerance: a Christian scholars view

Characteristics of modern slavery

The Economic Integration of SAARC

"Why Can't Women Be Priests
in the Roman Catholic Church?"

Catholic social teaching & its contribution to social change

All about sustainable development

Globalization and the narcotics trade

Economic Development Group Launches Multi-Language Website


Religious leaders urged to combat gender-based violence in Africa

Postmodern Words on Gender Relations in the Church

Globalization and the preservation of national cultural identity

2007-2057: A Story of European Decline

The Backlash Against Globalization

Global Challenges in Transition to the Conscious-Technology Age

Stewarding technologies for collaboration, community building
and knowledge sharing in development

Kenya: First Lady Asks Catholics to Support Women's Empowerment

APEC ministers see need for fiscal transparency and sustainability

Ecosystem Stability and Resilience

The Greatest Challenge for The 21st Century

The Press and Politics

Oxford Vatican Scholar Asks Pope to Be First Woman
Admitted to Vatican's All-Male Diplomatic Academy

Energy Transitions Past and Future

In The Belly of The Beast: Jamaat ul-Fuqra

Forget globalization. Here's how to profit from 'localization.'

Made in Lebanon - a recipe for peace-building

What about Equal Funding for Faith-Based Education?

168,000 people a year die as a direct result of pollution
Millions more in Africa as a result of famine.

Central America: ‘The Big Challenge Is to Distribute Wealth’

Inequities: Why the corporate-tax loophole needs to be closed.

Misogyny: The World’s Oldest Prejudice

Is there a Christian Way to Development?

Mauritius: Sex Workers Unprotected From Violence

Tech-savvy pro-Tibet protesters get message across

Kathy Ireland to Address Future World Leaders at United Nations

The downside of diversity

Hillary Clinton talks to Grist about energy and the environment

Why We Must Label Al-Qaeda Terrorism "Jihad Martyrdom"

Development: A New Breed of Hero

At UN, youth stress efforts to promote development

Don’t focus on MDGs alone

Meet the New Face of Terror

At World Bank, climate change isn't part of the equation

Why Globalization is Older than We Think

Male Involvement in Maternal Health
Critical to Saving Women's Lives

Slope spills range from crude oil to saltwater:
4,481 spills, about 2 million gallons were lost in 10 years;
long-term effects are unknown.

UN Declares International Day of Nonviolence

Archive Footage Available for Sustainability Films

Women priests to match males by 2025

The time to get rid of ‘perverse subsidies’ is now

Our Lives, Controlled From Some Guy’s Couch

Water Levels in 3 Great Lakes Dip Far Below Normal

Retirees a likely scapegoat target

Nun provides water to illegal immigrants

Breaking shackles of religion

System Dynamics at 50

Germany's Once-Violent Feminist Adopts Quiet Life

Exclusive global CNN documentary 'God's Warriors'
examines religion, power and politics

'God's Warriors'
CNN Podcast. Three Nights. Six hours.
Reported by Christiane Amanpour
August 22, 23, 24 at 1300/1900 GMT

Note: The podcast is also available for download from iTunes.

A faith in dire need of reform

India Looks to Future on Independence Anniversary

Energy research sorely lacks solidity of purpose

Reengaging With the World
U.S. foreign policy must go from fear to hope

The poor deserve justice, not charity

Humans are infinite spirits in a finite world

Church faces women bishops split

Religion is not primarily about God,
but about the human need for the sacred

Pollution Causes 40 Percent Of Deaths Worldwide, Study Finds

Social injustices stunt economic growth

Research reveals church's feminine side

Sex for survival

Rwanda: The Charity-Industrial Complex

The Politics of God

Measuring sustainable economic growth and development

Iraq Scenarios Post-2010

Leadership Patterns and Ordination

Bridging security and development

Barking Dogs & Other Sins:
Quality of Life Comparison

Climate Change as a Global Challenge: Mitigation Strategies

Nuclear fuel problems kept secret

The strengthening of faith through religious diversity

Immigrants a scapegoat for blacks' unemployment

Religious and Ethnic Persecution Continues in Iraq

CNN's "Warriors" leaves unanswered questions

NEPAL: Traffickers exploit increased mobility of underage girls

Africa: Marburg is a Global Threat, Says WHO

Attaining the MDGs: Are we really on track?

Africa: Health Care is Key to MDGs, Says UN

Nigeria: Country Can't Meet Health Requirements By 2015 - UN

United Nations development goals at heart of
Merkel's visit with Brown

Managing Globalization:
To reduce poverty, money isn't everything

The name of the game: sustainability

A voice for victims of the sex trade

Parents Help, Sex Can Harm, and Spirituality Benefits Youth

Gender: A New Apartheid?

Clean energy solutions still face obstacles

Joint statement with Chancellor Angela Merkel on International Health Partnership

Easy Scapegoat

The sacred and the human

PERU: Anti-Poverty Plan Shrouded In Mystery

Sanitation the World's Silent Humanitarian Crisis

KENYA: Legislation to Get More Women in Parliament

Islamic Economics: The Total Revolution

Maliki the convenient scapegoat for frustrated US

Energy Outlook: The Long Energy Horizon

Literacy crucial to promoting better health conditions worldwide

The poor world of plenty:
Why are the poorest countries in the world failing
and what can be done about it?

Globalization and Terror

The Case for Fair Trade

No development without gender parity

Her true calling is found: Former journalist moves to ministry

Nun fights gender bias in Buddhism

Terrorism and human security

Maliki, Scapegoat for US Defeat

Consumption and consumer sovereignty

Quality Education The Way Towards Sustainable Future

Editor's Comment: We have come a long way since the 1987 Brundtlant Commission report that defined sustainable development as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." The MDGs may well be the most important project that attempts to make sustainable development a reality. Significant resistance is still apparent in many quarters, in particular with regard to MDG3 -- the promotion of gender equality. But more and more people and institutions are recognizing that sustainable development is the way to go.

As we are about to begin (here in the USA) the 2007-2008 academic year, let's keep in mind that young people are the future. K to K12 boys and girls need to be introduced to sustainability concepts and practices, for they are the ones who will be facing the music as they grow up. Excellent educational materials are becoming available for this purpose. Waiting until the kids go to high school or college is the wrong thing to do. All school districts here in the USA (and their equivalent in other parts of the world, need to have sustainability education as a vital element of their curriculum. Else, 20 or 30 years from now, they will have a legitimate complaint: "We were not prepared for this."

2. The U.N. Millennium Development Goals

The following is a synopsis of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the analysis for each MDG in the January to August 2007 issues:

U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
Summary of Cumulative SSNV Analyses
Thus far this year, each issue of the newsletter has been focused on analyzing the MDGs, one at a time. However, some basic precedence relations have already been identified, as follows:

Millennium Development Goals

MDG1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty
MDG2: Universal Primary Education
MDG3: Promote Gender Equality
MDG4: Reduce Child Mortality
MDG5: Improve Maternal Health
MDG6: Combat HIV & Other Diseases
MDG7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
MDG8: Build Global Partnership

Key Drivers


Supporting Evidence

V3 N01 Jan 07
V3 N02 Feby 07
V3 N03 Mar 07
V3 N04 Apr 07
V3 N05 May 07
V3 N06 Jun 07
V3 N07 Jul 07
V3 N08 Aug 07

These precedence relations do not preclude starting on each MDG before any of the others is fully attained. However, they are indicative that some MDGs are "key drivers" for other MDGs. In other words, some MDGs must start, and make significant process, for other MDGs to take off.

One way to represent the overlapping between MDGs is the Venn diagram. The Venn diagram to the right would seem to suggest that MDG3 is the top priority, then MDG1 and MDG2 which directly influence MDG4, MDG5, and MDG6. MDG7 and MDG8 are also high priority MDGs, but cannot be attained without significant progress in MDG1, MDG2, and MDG3. The Venn diagram is a good representation of the overlapping of the MDGs as they are pursued. However, it does not provide any indication of time phasing priorities.

After analyzing the MDGs one at a time, the next step is to consider them all together as a system. Actually, as the preceding summary shows, it is hard to say much about any of them in isolation from the others. But the challenge is to do it in a systematic way that will provide some insight into the dynamics of their interdependencies. In this issue, we attempt an integrated analysis of the MDGs using three methods:

  • The square matrix method to identify precedence-with-overlap information flows among the MDGs (Section 3)
  • The system dynamics method to identify feedback loops and dynamic interaction among the MDGs (Section 4)
  • The use of the mimetic theory of human behavior to analyze social responsiveness to the MDGs (Section 5)

3. Matrix Analysis of MDG Interdependencies

The square matrix analysis of system component interdependencies is a classical method of system analysis. Readers who are not familiar with this method may want to read a brief tutorial before reading this section. Some good references are The Design Structure Matrix Home Page, and papers by Steward, Browning, Eppinger, Yassine et al, and Kusiak. The best software available to support this kind of analysis is Steward's PSM32.

Basically, the square matrix method entails building and NxN square matrix, where N is the number of subsystems in a system. Each subsystem is represented by a row and column in the matrix. A mark in cell (i,j) denotes that subsystem j cannot be fully understood without some information from subsystem i. The precedence relations may be physical (as in a construction project), disciplinary knowledge (as in design integration projects), or any other kind. Notice that a "precedence relation" does not mean that item i should be finished before item j can get started. But it means that item j cannot be finalized until some information of item i is available. The degree of allowable overlap depends on the kind of system being analyzed. It is useful to conceptualize the analysis process in terms of five phases, as follows:

Matrix analysis process:

Phases of matrix analysis:

1. Identify the information flows required for a given system or project.
2. Assemble the subject matter experts for each of the N information flows.
3. Build the NxN precedence matrix of information flows.
4. Partition the precedence matrix to obtain a block triangular matrix of information integration.
5. Schedule periodic meetings of the subject matter experts to update the matrix as system developments unfold.

In the case of the MDGs, the objective of the analysis is to determine if they are totally independent of each other; else, the objective is to determine which MDGs are "drivers." Specifically, is MDG pair (i,j) one in which MDG j cannot get started (finished) until MDG i has made some progress? This brings to mind MDG3 which, according to previous analyses, is the main driver of all the other MDGs. Using elementary row and column operations, the analyst (or, preferably, the computer) attempts to find a reordering of the rows and columns such that all the precedence marks are below the diagonal - this means that the entire process can be serialized. Else, the square matrix is reworked into a block-triangular matrix, meaning that all the marks are either below the diagonal or in square blocks around the diagonal. The rows and columns in the square blocks are said to be "tightly coupled" and require concurrent analysis and implementation.

To illustrate, consider the matrices for scenarios A and B below. If the precedence relations among the MDGs are as shown in precedence matrix A, the rows and columns can be sorted so as to have a serial implementation plan. But if the precedence relations are as shown in precedence matrix B, then a serialized plan is not possible, because MDGs 3, 2, 1, 8, and 7 are "tightly coupled" and the issues pursuant to attaining them must be resolved together. In complex social systems, it is very rare to find cases amenable to serialization. And issues that require joint resolution must be resolved together; else, none of the issues has been really resolved.

MDG 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1   9 9          
2     9          
4 5   5 *        
5 5   5          
6     5          
7   5 5          
8 9 9 9       9  
Scenario "A" Precedence Matrix
MDG 3 2 6 1 7 4 5 8
2 9              
6 5              
1 9 9            
7 5 5            
4 5     5        
5 5     5        
8 9 9   9 9      
Scenario "A" Partitioned Matrix
Figure 1 - Precedence and Partitioned Matrices for MDG Scenario "A"
Click on the cell numbers to view the information applicable to a MDG-MDG pair

MDG 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1   9 9          
2 9   9          
3 5 5           5
4 1 1 5          
5 1 1 5          
6 1 1 5          
7   5 5         5
8 9 9 9       9  
Scenario "B" Precedence Matrix
MDG 3 1 2 8 7 4 5 6
3     5 5 5      
1 9   9          
2 9 9            
8 9 9 9   9      
7 5   5 5        
4 5 1 1          
5 5 1 1          
6 5 1 1          
Scenario "B" Partitioned Matrix
Figure 2 - Precedence and Partitioned Matrices for MDG Scenario "B"
Click on the cell numbers to view the information applicable to a MDG-MDG pair

The cells on the diagonal are black, meaning that each MDG feeds on itself. Blank cells denote mutually independent MDG-MDG pairs. Cells with marks denote precedence dependencies between MDGs. The marks can be any symbol, but there are many variations to accommodate the nature of the dependencies. If all dependencies are to be considered of equal weight, a simple "X" can be used. If some dependencies are known to have more weight than others, numbers can be used; for instance, Figures 1 and 2 show a numerical scale for dependencies going from 1 (minor) to 9 (major).

But the most critical step in this kind of analysis is to substantiate each mark with the best available evidence-based information. In this regard, a good practice is to make each mark a link to the supporting information on the web. The link can be to a single web page or to a web page showing a directory of links containing relevant information. These links can and should change as the analysis unfolds and, ideally, the links in the partitioned matrix should be to single web pages that contain synopses of the rationale for the MDG to MDG precedence relations and identify degree of overlap, sources, variations, exceptions, etc. When this is done, the matrix becomes a roadmap for the information flows that are required (at this point, popups containing the synoptic information may be more useful as long as they are not too large). The square matrix method also provides an excellent tool to support workshops in which all stakeholders can provide input as to "what is needed to when, by whom, and for whom" so as to shorten the timeline and avoid waste of resources in pursuing the MDGs. The black cells on the diagonal can also be linked to URLs or popups with content pertaining to a given MDG.

4. MDG Loop Diagrams & Feedback Dynamics

The square matrix analysis method illustrated in the previous section is essentially static. It provides a snapshot of system structure at a given point in time. Thus, in any long-term program, periodic workshops are needed (with representatives of all the relevant specialties in attendance) in order to update the matrix as the program unfolds. The advent of computer simulation methods in the late 1950s and early 1960s provided the opportunity to analyze complex systems as they behave over time. Such behavior is generated by the feedback loop structure of the system, which must be redesigned if system behavior is to improve. Specifically, when using the system dynamics method, the five phases of system analysis are the following:

Dynamic analysis process:

Phases of dynamic analysis:

1. Plotting and analyze the problematic modes of system behavior over time.
2. Building a causal loop diagram to describe how system variables interact.
3. Building a stock and flow diagram to formulate the simulation model.
4. Run simulations to verify and validate the system diagrams for the current system.
5. Modify the feedback loop geometry & test for system behavior improvement.

Some readers may prefer to read a short tutorial of this method before proceeding to a dynamic analysis of the MDGs. Other useful references are the MIT System Dynamics Home Page, the Road Maps for Learning System Dynamics, and the classical paper by Jay W. Forrester, Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems. The System Dynamics Mega Link List provides a survey of models and applications for many kinds of systems.

For a dynamic analysis of the MDGs, the best starting point is the work by Willard R. Fey and Ann C. W. Lam of Ecocosm Dynamics, Ltd. Specifically, they have coined the term ecocosm paradox for the following dilemma:

  • If human consumption growth continues, the planetary life support system will be disabled and humanity will itself become endangered.
  • If consumption growth is stopped, the viability of the world's economic and financial systems will be threatened, and the stability of governments and society will deteriorate.
We have discussed this dilemma as an intrinsic issue of the sustainable development process. The issue of balancing economic growth and environmental sustainability will be most critical during the transition from short-term growth to long-term sustainability. Are there any proposals on how to accomplish this balancing act? One possibility is suggested in Figure 3:

Figure 3 - Fey & Lam's Ecocosm Paradox extended with George's SeD Tresholds.
Fey & Lam's ecocosm paradox diagram is reproduced with permission.
George's SeD thresholds are UGPI (Universal Guaranteed Personal Input)
and MAPW (Maximum Allowable Personal Wealth).

Robley E. George, of the Center for the Study of Democratic Societies, has proposed two principles for a socioeconomic democracy:

  • Universally Guaranteed Personal Income (UGPI): "Each participant in this democratic socioeconomic system would know that, regardless of what he or she did or did not do, a democratically determined UGPI would always be available. Put another way, society would guarantee each citizen some minimum amount of purchasing power, with that amount determined democratically by all of society and with citizenship the only requirement for eligibility to participate."
  • Maximum Allowable Personal Wealth (MAPW): "All participants of the democratic socioeconomic system would understand that all personal material wealth above the democratically determined allowable among would, by due process, be transferred out of their ownership and control in a manner specified by the democratically designed and implemented laws of the land."

Figure 3 suggests a way in which the thresholds UGPI and MAPW might temper any excessive optimism and any excessive pessimism about global issues such as global warming, resource depletion, and the rich-poor gap. The suggestion is that having an UGPI should stimulate the consumption of necessities by those who have no other sources of income. The MAPW, on the other hand, would moderate both the accumulation of non-necessities and the seemingly inevitable consumption of non-necessities that is generated by the excessive (sometimes extravagant) accumulation of non-necessities. Thus the "plus" sign on the arrow leading from UGPI to "per capita consumption" and the "minus" sign in the arrow leading from MAPW to "per capita consumption."

In his book, Socioeconomic Democracy: An Advanced Socioeconomic System, George identifies many reasons for the MAPW to be good for both society and environment. In the same book, he presents the case for some form of UGPI that fosters distributive justice and steers consumption patterns toward sanity. To the extent that wealth is a measure of human well-being, there is also the concept of sustainable wealth, which integrates wealth and sustainability as defined by the 1987 Brundtland Commission's report Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (see chapter 2, item 1).

Going back to the MDGs, the UGPI and MAPW could have many positive effects:

MDG1 - UGPI could ensure that everyone can satisfy the basic necessities of life: food, shelter, clothing, etc.
MDG2 - UGPI could bring balance to schooling for both boys and girls, men and women, K to K20+.
MDG3 - MAPW could induce religious institutions to limit wealth accumulation and embrace gender equality.
MDG4 - MAPW could increase if wealth is spent on health for poor children - an incentive to give more.
MDG5 - MAPW could increase if wealth is spent on health for poor mothers - an incentive to give more.
MDG6 - MAPW could increase if wealth is spent on health for the poor - an incentive to give more.
MDG7 - UGPI & MAPW could combine to steer people toward healthier consumption and ensure sustainability.
MDG8 - A global UGPI & MAPW could combine with national-local UGPIs & MAPWs to foster human solidarity.

A book could be written about these and other possibilities. Hopefully, the UGPI and MAPW policy concepts will increase awareness about our ignorance about how to do long-term planning for the MDGs and, eventually, sustainable peace and justice

5. Mimetic Analysis of the MDG Process

A synopsis of mimetic theory has been provided in a previous issue and just a brief refresher will be given here. Mimesis provides a general explanation of social behavior and cultural evolution. The mimetic ("imitative") nature of human decisions and actions follows a cyclical pattern that includes five phases: mimetic desire, mimetic rivalry, disruptive escalation, scapegoating, and violent resolution. There may be overlaps and variations, but it is useful to think about these phases both individually and as an integrated process. In summary:

Mimetic Process


The mimetic process is basically the same at all levels of power, and for all kinds of rivalries and competitions. It explains conflicts over religion, gender, sex, politics, attention, money, properties, power, ethnicity, etc. Any given conflict, at any given point in time, is in one of the five phases of the mimetic process, which repeats itself like a vicious cycle. The only way to break the vicious cycle is to renounce the use of violence.

Phases of the mimetic process:

1. Mimetic desire - can be physical or metaphysical, entails a person/group desiring what another person/group has.
2. Mimetic rivalry - can be friendly competition, becomes rivalry when either person/group refuses to share.
3. Disruptive escalation - competition escalates and becomes disruptive of social harmony and a threat to the authorities.
4. Scapegoating - to avoid facing the "politically incorrect" crisis, blame for the disruption is assigned to a given. person/subgroup
5. Violent resolution - the scapegoat person/subgroup is punished to restore harmony and preserve authority structures. Violence can take many forms, from killing the scapegoat to stonewalling the conflict resolution process by invoking higher authority, which then becomes the scapegoat (this is somewhat similar to what is commonly known as "passing the buck").

All the five phases are ubiquitous in the process of working toward the MDGs. Let's focus on the "scapegoating" phase. Even though we are just at the midpoint in the timeline toward the goals established for 2015, any indication of slow progress is "politically incorrect" and requires finding a person/group that can be blamed for the failure of those who have responsibility and authority to get things going. There are plenty of vulnerable persons/groups around, so pointing fingers in one direction is never too difficult. For good examples we just have to take a look at the news:

MDG1 - The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer, because the poor are lazy.
MDG2 - Girls are kept out of school because religious traditions have a mindset of male supremacy.
MDG3 - Catholic women are denied ordination because Christ has not authorized the Vatican to ordain them.
MDG4 - If child mortality rate remains high, it is because most doctors are only interested in making money.
MDG5 - If maternal mortality rate remains high, it is because nurses are only interested in making money.
MDG6 - The HIV/AIDS epidemic cannot be abated because homosexual sex is an abomination.
MDG7 - Unsustainable development persists because people are not diligent in recycling pollution.
MDG8 - A global partnership for development cannot be attained because terrorists have WMDs.

For more examples, go to Google News and enter "scapegoat." Mimetic theory is a powerful tool that can be used for social analysis and social development. As any other tool, it can be misused, either intentionally or unintentionally, by people/groups seeking revenge against those they hate for whatever reason. Scapegoating is easy. But analysis of scapegoating behavior must be evidence-based. Is there a chronic pattern of scapegoating behavior by a person/group? Is the situation one in which those with authority and responsibility would be embarrassed if their negligence or their reasons for refusing to act is exposed? Is the scapegoating a way to cover-up for crimes against those who are weak and vulnerable, especially children? If the answer to these questions is in the affirmative, scapegoating has become an obstacle to human development and should be confronted, "with velvet gloves and iron hands." And, it seems reasonable to anticipate that, as we get closer to 2015, there will be a lot of scapegoating about not being able to attain the MDGs.

6. Review of the "Millennium Project" Website

There are many web sites related to global issues to be faced during the 21st century, especially within the UN systems. One of the most interesting is the Millennium Project on global futures studies and research. It functions under the auspices of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA), an "independent, non-governmental organization with Category One Consultative Status at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and consultative or liaison links with many other UN organizations and agencies." The following is a high level synopsis of the Millennium Project web site:

The Millennium Project
World Federation of UN Associations

The Millennium Project is sponsored by the World Federation of UN Associations (WFUNA). The WFUNA website states: "Inspired by the opening words of the United Nations Charter "We the Peoples", the World Federation of United Nations Associations was established in 1946 as a peoples’ movement for the United Nations."
The State of the Future (SOF) is the flagship publication of the Millennium Project. Published annually since 1996, the 2007 SOF (recently published) is the eleventh edition.
Each blue box in the rectangular logo (at the top of the front page) of the the Millennium Project web site is a link to a section of information content. This provides the experienced visitor with a convenient shortcut to the information of interest, but the first time visitor may get lost clicking on the links in random order. The best navigation path for the first time visitor might be to start with "What's New" and then proceed counterclockwise. For the numerically inclined, one of the most interesting sections is the State of the Future Index (SOFI). The 29 factors included are listed below. SOFI projections do not constitute formal statistical inference at a given confidence level. But, in exposing the rationale for the number crunching, useful insights emerge.
Current Nodes:
Argentina (Buenos Aires)
Australasia (Melbourne)
Azerjaijan (Baku)
Belgium (Brussels)
Brazil (Sao Paulo)
Canada (Montreal)
China (Beijing)
Czech Rep (Prague)
Egypt (Cairo)
Finland (Helsinki)
France (Paris)
Germany (Berlin)
Gulf Region (Kuwait)
India (New Delhi)
Iran (Tehran)
Italy (Rome)
Japan (Tokyo)
Korea (Seoul)
Mexico (Mexico City)
Russia (Moscow)
Slovenia (Bratislava)
South Africa (Pretoria)
Turkey (Istanbul)
UK (London)
Venezuela (Caracas)
USA (Silicon Valley)
USA (Washington DC)

According to the website home page, "the Millennium Project of WFUNA is a global participatory futures research think tank of futurists, scholars, business planners, and policy makers who work for international organizations, governments, corporations, NGOs, and universities .... The purpose of the Millennium Project is to be an international utility to assist in organizing futures research by continuously updating and improving humanity's thinking about the future and making that thinking available for feedback as a geographically and institutionally dispersed think tank."

The website serves as point of convergence for integrating an enormous amount of information, data, and insights that continuously emerge from a worldwide network of 27 research nodes, including the central node in Washington, DC. This array of resources is coordinated by Jerome C. Glenn, Director of the Millennium Project. A review of the resources available in the other 26 nodes dispels any notion about them being informal groups of flaky "futurists" with tennis shoes. The caliber of the node members (see their resumes and affiliations), and the research and educational activities undertaken each year, makes this one of the best "special forces" in the struggle to overcome the most critical global issues facing humanity.

Links to the sections where the content resides are provided at the top of the front page:

There are a number of additional links at the bottom of the front page. Most of them are redundant with the main navigation paths listed above. Others seem to be old and lead to pages that cannot be found. This may be a temporary result of the recent porting of the web site from the AC/UNU server to the WFUNA server.

By far the most informative and insightful content is the annual State of the Future (SOF) report, which has now been produced by a team directed by Jerome C. Glenn and Theodore J. Gordon for eleven consecutive years. The 2007 State of the Future (SOF2007) report has been published, and both the Executive Summary and the Table of Contents are free downloads. The full report comes with a CD and can be ordered for $49.95. This may exceed the budget of many scholars, which is unfortunate.

One of the most useful information gateways provided by this web site is the Futures Matrix, which provides links to information content relevant to several dimensions of the Global Challenges. On the other hand, since the WFUNA Millennium Project is fully supportive of the MDGs, it is surprising not to find a mapping between the 8 MDGs and the 15 Global Challenges. Figure 4 shows one possible way to build such a mapping. The rows are Global Challenges, the columns are MDGs. The marks in the cells could be links to knowledge content that is relevant to both the Global Challenges and the MDGs. But please note that Figure 4 is just a straw man, not a fully analyzed matrix with links to information sources.

GC01. Sustainable development   X X       X X
GC02. Clean water supply X     X X   X  
GC03. Population & resources X   X X   X X  
GC04. Democratization process   X X       X X
GC05. Long-term planning   X X       X  
GC06. Global ICT network   X           X
GC07. Minimum rich-poor gap X   X         X
GC08. Health issues X   X X X X   X
GC09. Decision-making capability   X X       X X
GC10. Peace & conflict management     X       X X
GC11. Gender equality   X X   X X X X
GC12. Transnational crime     X     X   X
GC13. Energy supply & demand             X X
GC14. Science & tech breakthroughs             X  
GC15. Global ethics X   X X X   X X
Figure 4 - Information Intersections between the Global Challenges and the MDGs
Click on the cell Xs to view the information applicable to a GC-MDG pair
(this is just an example - life links have not been inserted)

A classical square matrix analysis (see Section 3) also could be done for the 15 Global Challenges. Figure 5 shows an example of precedence and partitioned matrices. Again it is noted that these are just straw man examples. The marks in the matrix are bogus. It is simply suggested here that the resulting roadmap of information content (links in the black diagonal cells) and information flows (links in the non-diagonal cells) might be useful for a future edition of the SOF. If the 15x15 matrix is sparse (recommended at the beginning of the analysis) there is a higher probability of obtaining either a triangular or block-triangular matrix, as shown in Figures 1 and 2 for the MDGs. If the 15x15 matrix is too dense, then the entire matrix may turn out to be a block. But, as noted in Figure 5, it still can be very useful to identify smaller nested blocks of GCs that share a lot of the same information. If the small blocks are resolved first, then the larger blocks becomes more amenable to analysis as a total system.

GC 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15
01     9 9 5 1 5   5 1 9   5   5
02     5   1     5     5   1   1
03 5     9     9 1   1 5   5   1
04           1       5 9       1
05   1 1     1   1 5       1   1
06         5       1         5  
07 9   5 9           5 9       9
08   5 5       5       9 5   1 5
09       5 5 1         5     1  
10     5 5   5     5   5   1   5
11       5     9 5       1     9
12     5       9     1 9       9
13 5     1 5       5 1       5 1
14         1 5   5         5    
15 5   1 5     5 1   9 9 5      
Precedence Matrix for the SOF GCs
GC 02 03 04 05 06 08 09 10 13 14 15 07 01 12 11
02   5   1   5     1   1       5
03     9     1   1 5   1 9 5   5
04         1     5     1       9
05 1 1     1 1 5   1   1        
06       5     1     5          
08 5 5               1 5 5   5 9
09     5 5 1         1         5
10   5 5   5   5   1   5       5
13     1 5     5 1   5 1   5    
14       1 5 5     5            
15   1 5     1   9       5 5 5 9
07   5 9         5     9   9   9
01   9 9 5 1   5 1 5   5 5     9
12     5         1     9 9     9
11   5           1     9 9     9
Partitioned Matrix for the SOF GCs
Figure 5 - Precedence and Partitioned Matrices for the SOF Global Challenges
Click on the cell numbers to view the information applicable to a GC-GC pair
(this is just an example - life links have not been inserted)

Interdependency matrices can be very useful, but care must be taken that links are added/deleted as the research unfolds. The matrix is just a tool that can and should be reworked many times; else, it becomes a crutch that may render the analysis unresponsive as the realities of the Global Challenges change over the years. If this happens, the square matrix (or any other tool) may actually become an obstacle to develop more insightful annual increments of the SOF.

In brief, the WFUNA Millennium Project web site is one of the best resources available for global futures research in general, and MDG research in particular. Any agency of the United Nations, and any NGOs working on the MDGs, are well advised to use the SOF as a point of reference for their own research and implementation projects. Sponsoring organizations are encouraged to support the annual production of the SOF so that the book and CD can be made available at a fraction of the current price and widely disseminated to libraries and development organizations around the world. Ideally, the SOF deserves to be funded to the point in which it can be made available as a free download from the web.

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

SEXUAL VIOLENCE RESEARCH INITIATIVE, SVRI, 2007. The Sexual Violence Research Initiative is a network of experienced researchers, policy-makers, activists, donors and others committed to the promotion of research on sexual violence and to generating empirical data to ensure that sexual violence is recognized as a priority public health issue. The SVRI was established in 2002 as an initiative of the Global Forum for Health Research. It is hosted by the Gender and Health Research Unit, Medical Research Council, South Africa. The SVRI website provides valuable technical assistance to members and visitors, in the form of research agenda on sexual violence, research tools and methods, ethics guidelines and protocols. The SVRI website contains over 100 country pages containing country specific resources related to sexual violence. The site also hosts an updated list of funding resources, and shares information on sexual violence research and advocacy activities taking place globally. The SVRI also hosts a list-serve which provides members with resources, publications and news articles on sexual violence. Other activities of the SVRI include: training workshops, research projects, and development of guidelines and tools. Link:

THE LEAST DEVELOPED CPOUNTRIES REPORT 2007, UNCTAD, 2007. From the UNCTAD website: "The least developed countries (LDCs) are a group of countries (presently 50 States) that have been officially identified by the United Nations as "least developed" in the light of their low income, weak human assets, and high economic vulnerability. UNCTAD, in past LDC Reports, has taken the view that the key to sustained economic growth and poverty reduction in LDCs is the development of productive capacities and related creation of productive employment. The Least Developed Countries Report 2007 corroborates this view by focusing on knowledge accumulation, technological learning and the ability to innovate as vital processes toward genuine productive capacity development in these countries."

GOVERNANCE MATTERS 2007, Worldbank, 2007. From the World Bank Governance and Anti-Corruption web site: "The Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) project reports aggregate and individual governance indicators for 212 countries and territories over the period 1996–2006, for six dimensions of governance: voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law, and Control of Corruption." See also the Governance Indicators Database and the Governance Indicators for 1996-2006.

LEARNING IN IMMERSIVE WORLS: A REVIEW OF GAME-BASED LEARNING, Sara de Freitas, JISC, 2007, 72 pages. From the report conclusions: "The rapidly changing landscape of games and simulation development is bringing new potential for learning in immersive worlds using multiple media. Moreover, the speed of uptake in leisure contexts and the expectations of younger learners in particular have deep implications upon how game-based learning will be used in practice. With a greater emphasis upon learning experiences, game-based learning may provide significant challenges to our institutions and teaching strategies, however, it may also provide new opportunities for reconsidering how we learn and for supporting the development of new immersive spaces where learners may produce their own materials, share learning experiences and practice skills for the ‘real world’. This may give an indication of the kinds of forms that may have an influence upon how we learn over the next few years, as the ‘digital natives’ who may be more interested in active ‘street gaming’ than watching television become the teachers, managers and policy makers of 2020."

FAMILY PLANNING: A GLOBAL HANDBOOK FOR PROVIDERS, Information & Knowledge for Optimal Health (INFO) Project, Johns Hopkins University, 2007, 372 PAGES. From the announcement: "The JHU INFO Project and WHO is publishing the on-line edition of this 372-page book in stages. The first 13 chapters are available for preview through the links provided on the website. Additional chapters will become available over the next few weeks. Family planning is regaining priority status on health agendas throughout the developing world, driven largely by the unmet needs of millions of women and families. Published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Communication Programs' INFO Project, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Family Planning handbook brings together the best available scientific evidence on family planning methods and related topics into one easy-to-use publication."

2007 WORLD POPULATION DATA SHEET, PRB, 21 August 2007. From the announcement: "Malnutrition plays a role in the deaths of about 16,000 young children every day, virtually all of them in the developing world. That is a yearly toll of almost 6 million, about the same as the population of Denmark, Jordan, or Laos. By weakening resistance to infection and disease, malnutrition contributes to more than half the deaths of children under 5 worldwide. The Population Reference Bureau's 2007 World Population Data Sheet and two companion reports released today offer detailed information about the prevalence of malnutrition worldwide, and its causes and consequences. These reports also highlight information about cost-effective solutions that could improve global nutrition. The following reports are free downloads: 2007 World Population Data Sheet, Malnutrition Is a Major Contributor to Child Deaths, and World Population Highlights: Key Findings from the 2007 World Population Data Sheet."

REVISITING GENDER TRAINING: The Making and Remaking of Gender Knowledge - A Global Sourcebook, Royal Tropical Institute, 2007, 141 pages (PDF free download). From the announcement: "How are the epistemological roots of gender and development related with the knowledge and learning contexts in which gender training takes place? What are the implications of building feminist knowledge and approaches, which ultimately challenge traditional models of power and knowledge, in contexts that value acquisition of knowledge over processes of learning and that subscribe to hierarchical, positivist and didactic knowledge and learning models? What are the assumptions of the links between knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and practice in gender studies and training and how do these mesh with the learning and knowledge contexts of the societies and organizations where such education and trainings occur?

INEQUALITY IN ASIA: KEY INDICATORS 2007, ADB, 2007, 491 pages, free download. From the ADB web site announcement: "The Key Indicators of Developing Asian and Pacific Countries 2007 is the 38th edition of this flagship annual statistical data book of ADB. It features: 30 regional tables of socio-economic and financial indicators for 45 developing member countries of ADB, 8 Millennium Development Goals Tables, 45 country tables, with 18-year time-series on population, labor force and employment, national accounts, production, energy, price indices, money and banking, government finance, external trade, balance of payments, international reserves, exchange rates, external indebtedness, and a special chapter which focuses on Inequality in Asia" (the GINI coefficient is used as a measure of inequality). The complete table of contents is provided, so you can download the entire report or specific sections of interest.

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:
  • Developed regions (Europe, USA/Canada, AU/NZ)
  • Countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
  • Northern Africa
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • South-Eastern Asia
  • Oceania
  • Eastern Asia
  • Southern Asia
  • Western Asia
  • Latin America & the Caribbean
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"

Web Sites and Other Resources

INSTITUTIONAL REFORM OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, European Union, 2007. From the website intro: "This website offers information on the latest developments of the European Union institutional reform. There are several stages which have been of particular significance: the Treaty of Nice (which came into force on 1 February 2003), the European Convention (which finished in July 2003), the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) 2003/2004 (October 2003–June 2004) and the European Constitution (signed in October 2004). Following the rejection of the European Constitution by France and the Netherlands in 2005 and a two year period of reflection, on the 23rd of June 2007 the EU leaders agreed on a detailed mandate for a new Intergovernmental Conference. The task of this Intergovernmental Conference will be to draw up a Reform Treaty by the end of 2007. For an overview of all the stages which will result in this new Treaty you can also consult the detailed calendar of the reform".

WIKIMINDMAP. WikiMindMap is a tool to browse easily and efficiently in Wiki content, inspired by the mindmap technique. Wiki pages in large public wiki's, such as wikipedia, have become rich and complex documents. Thus, it is not always straight forward to find the information you are really looking for. This tool aims to support users to get a good structured and easy understandable overview of the topic you are looking for.


The browser is a modified version of the GNU GPL licensed Flash browser for FreeMind. All content of the mindmap is derived from the wiki which was selected and is available under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License. Examples of topic maps: solidarity, sustainability, violence.

WORLD INFORMATION ACCESS 2007, World Information Access Project, 2007 report now available. Website intro: "The World Information Access 2007 Report presents important trends in the distribution of information and communication technologies around the world. The 2007 WIA Report explores information access by looking at trends in the digital divide between the world’s primary and secondary cities, the cost of internet access in terms of income, the impact of telecommunications policy reform on the internet in Africa, the global broadband divide, and the state of the wired libraries, political parties, civic groups, and governments around the world." The online publication consists of nine chapters organized in five thematic categories, in a global comparative context:

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. One more column has been added, to identify the mapping between link items and MDGs. The cell entries in this column are of the form MDGx, x=1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, for links to content especially relevant to MDGx; else, the cell entries are of the form MDGs, meaning that the linked content applies to all the MDGs.

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 - recommended if you are well versed in HTML), or you can download the excel file that contains the entire table (including embedded HTML and instructions to add/delete items and rebuild the HTML page - recommended unless you want to make extensive formatting modifications). To get the excel file, click here.

8. Prayer, Study, and Action

There are overlaps between prayer, study, and action, just as there are overlaps between the MDGs (section 2). The overlaps between prayer, study, and action are also amenable to representation using a Venn diagram:


The tripod of prayer, study, and action can be formulated in many other ways. For example:

  • PRAYER: What have I done for the glory of God and the good of people?
  • STUDY: What am I doing for the glory of God and the good of people?
  • ACTION: What shall I do for the glory of God and the good of people?

Many other ways to represent the prayer-study-action tripod are possible. But the essence of this method of integral human development (which includes spiritual growth) is that, if any of the legs crumbles, the tripod crumbles; and if the tripod crumbles, integral human development stagnates. Such stagnation is contrary to human nature, for humans are infinite spirits in a finite world.

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
V3 N09 September 2007: Integrated Analysis of the U.N. MDGs

|Back to SUMMARY| |Back to OUTLINE|

|Back to SECTION 1| |Back to SECTION 2| |Back to SECTION 3|
|Back to SECTION 4| |Back to SECTION 5| |Back to SECTION 6|
|Back to SECTION 7| |Back to SECTION 8| |Back to SECTION 9|

|Link to Newsletter Home Page|

|Link to Invited Paper|


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, 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

Religious Traditions

Unity in Diversity

World Religions

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.

Key References

Millennium Development Goals:

Links to key MDG resources:

U.N. MDGs Home Page
MDG Core Documents
MDG Basic Indicators
U.N. Millennium Project
MDG Targets & Indicators
MDG Atlas
MDG Dashboard
MDG Slideshow
MDG Report 2007
GEO Report 2007
HDR Report 2006
Children and the MDGs
Youth and the MDGs
Health and the MDGs
State of the World's Children 2007
State of the World's Girls 2007

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 5000 words maximum. 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.

& Society

Conservation & Society is a journal exploring linkages between society, environment, and development. Open access to full text articles (PDF) for all issues. Editor-in-Chief: Kamaljit Bawa, University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA. Executive Editor: Kartik Shanker, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India.

Volume 5, Number 1, 2007

This issue of contains a special section on the politics of engagement between biodiversity conservation and the social sciences. The special section contains 4 articles and a synthesizing introduction, all exploring links between biodiversity conservation and the socio-political sciences. The articles can be downloaded free of charge. For more information about Conservation & Society, visit the journal homepage.

Memorable People

Leland Stanford

American Tycoon-Politician-Educator
Founder, Stanford University
"The children of California shall be our children .... We deem it of the first importance that the education of both sexes shall be equally full and complete, varied only as nature dictates."

For more information about
Leland Stanford:

Leland Stanford
Leland Stanford - Governor
Leland Stanford - Senator
Leland Stanford - Racist Mistake
Central Pacific Railroad
Stanford University
Stanford University History

Sign of the Times

Rev. Elizabeth Shipp
Wymondham Abbey,
Norwich, England

Hillary for President

Wife, Mother, Lawyer, Stateswoman
Senator from New York
Next President of the USA

Want to know why Hillary is
the best choice for president?
Watch the Videos

Worth Visiting

The following sites are worth visiting:

International Peace Day
September 21, 2007

International Catholic Peace Movement

Population Health Forum

UC Atlas of Global Inequality

Comprehensive resource including:
Encyclopedia of Earth
Earth Forum
Earth News

Our World in Balance

Intute: Comprehensive Web Resources
for Education and Research

Share the World's Resources (STWR)
Campaigning for global economic and social justice. How?
See the STWR Global Focus

Matriarchy International
Based on Heide Goettner-Abendroth's
Theory of Matriarchal Society
Could this be an alternative to patriarchy?

Center for Citizen Media
Grassroots media and citizen journalism

Humiliation in a Globalizing World

United Nations

U.N. Web Site Locator


and CFPs

Special Issue, The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. We invite submissions to a special issue focused on how organizational development and change (OD&C) is managed in international contexts. Referring to implementation of established change and development models across boundaries and within different cultural contexts, national or geographical settings, and organizations with international, transnational, or multinational memberships,we encourage rich, thick descriptions of how a change process unfolds, how change processes are adapted, how change processes can be evaluated, and how emerging change models can be noted for further development. These descriptions could be supported or underpinned by quantitative data if desired. Please follow JABS guidelines; submit manuscripts by e-mail prior to March 15, 2008, to: Chung-Ming Lau, Jean E. Neumann, Christopher G. Worley.

ICAES 2008
This is the 16th world congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. The theme of the conference is "Humanity, Development, and Cultural Diversity." The conference will take place in Kumming, China, 15-23 July 2008. The points of contact are Prof. Zhang Haiyang and Prof. Zhang Jijiao. Application and registration forms and other information can be obtained from the conference website.

Mundos de Mujeres/Women's Worlds 2008 is "the most important congress on academic research on gender and women and feminist social movements." This major international event will bring together people from all over the world - researchers, specialist, activist and major international public figures to discuss the key issues that impact women. A key goal is to fight against social injustices and gender inequalities. The 2008 interdisciplinary Congress has selected three concepts: frontiers, dares and advancements to address a spectrum of themes and issues that can help us understand the world we live in. Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 3-9 July 2008. Points of contact: Dr. Claudia Malacrida, Dr. Leslie Roman, Conference Secretariat.

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.


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

Women's World Summit Foundation
Sponsored by WWSF

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.

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.

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 or Challenging Death.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

Insightful Art


Below is an image of Tiffany Sankary's beautiful painting, Spine.

Tiffany Sankary


Spine is an excellent representation of the psychoanalytic insight about human beings having both male (animus) and female (anima) elements in their psychological make-up. In heterosexual persons, the animus is dominant in men, and the anima is dominant in women; but there is anima in men and animus in women. Could it be that being homosexual entails a shift in dominance (actually, a shift toward balance between anima and animus)? If so, it would be wrong to say that homosexuality is an "objective disorder." Granted that heterosexuality is by far the most frequent kind of human sexuality, it does not follow that homosexuality is a pathological condition. We need to learn more about this issue. Sankary's painting provides a good starting point for reflection.



Over 5000 women and girls are killed every year by family members in so-called 'honor killings', according to the UN. These crimes occur where cultures believe that a woman's unsanctioned sexual behaviour brings such shame on the family that any female accused or suspected must be murdered. Reasons for these murders can be as trivial as talking to a man, or as innocent as suffering rape.


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