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News from the Network of Service

Co-workers in South Africa have recently decided to set up an Africa-wide network to attempt to address some of the many problems facing the continent. Part of their invitation runs thus:

"The state of our world today

We hear and read daily of people living in abject poverty, of heinous crimes being committed against women and children - of rape, abuse and cruelty. We are shocked by the xenophobic attacks on foreigners in our country, and watch helplessly how our leaders show political expediency in their decision making. Nameless killers stalk our city streets, terrorising citizens, even the rural areas are not excluded. It seems that crime does pay as fraudsters seem to get away with their crimes. Elements of anarchy are creeping in on the lives of ordinary residents in many countries in Africa and we see the basic fabric of good governance and society fall away. Racism, deeply entrenched social attitudes producing suspicion and fear of others, together with crime and poverty are all human rights violations. What a sad picture!

The heart of humankind is, however, sound. Countless non-profit and community organisations, religious groups and thousands of volunteers are working in creative ways to bring relief to the suffering of people caught up in unbelievable poverty, to vulnerable children, abused women, threatened communities, and those whose human rights have been totally violated. All of us are contributing materially, physically and skilfully where we can, yet we feel hopeless and powerless and we wonder how else we can contribute to the solution of the crisis our continent is experiencing.

How can I help?

There is a most effective and creative way of working for the good of all people, a way of countering the tendency to selfish and materialistic behaviour, of getting stuck on our agendas and thereby creating subtle barriers to sharing, cooperation and taking responsibility for the wellbeing of all around us. The essential dynamic for creating a more peaceful and equitable world for all is to focus on goodwill as the driving force of all constructive effort. Creating an atmosphere and an attitude of goodwill is a key requirement if we are to move towards a better world. (Goodwill = the will-to-good = the-will-to-God.) Your field of service and the impact that it makes upon public opinion provide an opportunity to contribute to the massive effort now needed to mobilise goodwill among all responsive members of the human family.

The Invitation

We invite men and women of Africa from all countries, of all races and religions -

  • who believe in the potential for good in every human being;
  • who believe that right relationship between peoples and nations, between humankind and the earth are the key to world peace and progress;
  • who accept responsibility for establishing right relations and who will work daily to establish unity and goodwill in the world,
  • to join in our effort in meeting the need of the day by creating right human relationships with each other and with the earth.

We do not ask you to leave your religious persuasion, your employment, your home or your country, but we do ask you to cross borders of separation, to reach out to each other across Africa, from north to south, from east to west, to respect and honour the human spirit, to create an atmosphere and an attitude of goodwill in order that we all move towards a better world."

For further information, contact: irisbornman@mweb.co.za sending your name, email address, country and nearest town/city in which you reside. Details will be confidential and will not be passed on to any mailing lists or other persons without your permission. In the case of no email facility, please post your details to African Goodwill Network. P.O. Box 13718, CASCADES, 3202, KZN, South Africa.

Co-workers from the Victoria Goodwill Unit of Service were invited to participate in a conference entitled: "From the Middle East to Asia Pacific: Arc of Conflict or Dialogue of Cultures and Religions?", sponsored by the group Globalisation for the Common Good" (cf. www.globalisationforthecommongood.info)"

Their talk was entitled "The use of cross-global meditation and subjective visualisation for the promotion of peaceful resolution", and included reference to Triangles and to World Goodwill’s Cycle of Conferences initiative. A co-worker reports: "The Conference was held over a period of four days, with the first day, 30th June, being registration and the official launch. The Conference was opened by Professor Joseph Camilleri, Centre for Dialogue, La Trobe University, Melbourne.

Keynote speakers at the launch were Justice Michael Kirby, High Court of Australia; Professor Muddathir Abdel-Rahim, International Institute of Islamic Thought, Malaysia; and Dr Kamran Mofid, Founder, Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative, UK.

On the ensuing three days, from 11am onwards, concurrent sessions of three, each offering three papers in response to call for papers, were presented. Prior to that each morning, a Plenary Session with two to three keynote speakers was conducted.

In all over 200 delegates attended the Conference. Over the three days a total of seven keynote speakers headed the Conference, and a total of 41, 20 minute papers, were presented during that time. At the conclusion of the first day a Reception at Government House, followed by a multicultural evening was organised...

Many subjects dealt with the conflict between western and eastern modalities, much of them highlighting the areas where differences had eroded resolution, and where responsibility and compromise was to be found. Other areas considered inter-racial cultural differences, some on religious themes, and a few on subject-matter relating to the Asia/Pacific region. The major emphasis was more informative/educational rather than religious."

In an email communication, she further notes: "The paper I presented seemed to be received in good tone. World Goodwill/Triangle pamphlets and the Triangle postcard was made available at that time, and I notice people picking them up at the conclusion of the talk. The adapted version of The Great Invocation postcard was made available also on the "general" table, and on checking each day I saw that some of these had been taken.

It was pleasing that the focus of the Conference seemed to be more geared towards academic/educational rather than religous. A CD of the papers is to be made, and selected papers will be published in a book through an international publishing house. I have submitted modified papers to suit both of these opportunities."

  • The fate of peoples and nations is determined by the values which govern their decisions.
  • The human and world crisis of today is basically spiritual, testing the character and intention of all men and women. This provides opportunity to re-appraise the values we accept as a personal standard of behaviour.
  • The world of the future depends on what each one of us chooses to do today.

Values to Live By

A Love of Truth - essential for a just, inclusive and progressive society

A Sense of Justice - recognition of the rights and needs of all

A Spirit of Cooperation - based on active goodwill and the principle of right human relationships

A Sense of Personal Responsibility - for group, community and national affairs

Serving the Common Good - through the sacrifice of selfishness. Only what is good for all is good for each one.

These are spiritual values, inspiring the conscience and the consciousness of those who serve to create a better way of life.

Copies of this card for distribution in your community are available on request.

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