The World Future Council
This charitable foundation was set up to provide a body of expert opinion with a global point of view informed by ethics, experience and wisdom. It is comprised of fifty individuals, chosen after extensive consultation, to provide as broad a representation as possible by geography, expertise, gender and age.
By raising key international challenges from the political-economic to the ethical level, it hopes to initiate change in the rules of global governance. It seeks to represent the shared ethical values of citizens worldwide and perceives its role as speaking up for community living based on the values of non-violence, sustainability, respect and justice. The World Future Council works to close those gaps that separate humanity from a sustainable and peaceful future and promotes long-term solutions.
It was recognition of the growing gap between existing values and effective actions, between that which is being done and that which needs to be done, that was a driving force in the formation of The World Future Council. To this end, it addresses important issues like environment, governance, human development and human rights. Through internationally organised campaigns and media alerts, it emphasises key information, activities and policy measures that prioritise a healthy planet and a culture of world citizenship. It encourages the implementation and enforcement of constructive treaties and laws that are already in place, and works closely with national legislators from all over the world to develop step-by-step reforms and legislation, commissioning additional research to develop new, innovative proposals where these are needed.
It strives to counteract and to overcome political cowardice, short-sightedness and corruption and to encourage constructive informed involvement. Contact:P.O. Box 11 01 53, D-20401 Hamburg, GERMANY; Tel. +49 40 30 70 91 40; Fax +49 40 30 70 91 414; Email: info at worldfuturecouncil.org
Trafalgar House, 11 Waterloo Place, London SW1Y 4AU, UK; Tel. +44 (0)20 7863 8833; Fax +44 (0)20 7839 5162; Email: info.uk at worldfuturecouncil.org
WORLDCHANGING.com (WCC) is a web-based NGO which provides links to (and analysis of) those ideas, tools and models which are needed to build a better and more sustainable future. WCC works on the simple premise that that there are many people in the world working for creative change, but the fields in which they work remain unconnected; WCC shows ways in which seemingly unconnected resources can be linked together to help create positive change. The focus of the website and its links is on creative solutions to problems rather than negative critiques. Also, special attention is given to those ideas which may have been overlooked in the mass media. While every link posted on the website is informed by technology, there is recognition of the need to “understand techniques as well as technologies, ideas as well as innovations”, and also the importance of collaboration, building coalitions and movements, growing communities, and “how to make... businesses live up to their highest potential and how to make the promise of democracy into a reality”. There are seven resource sections on the website: Stuff: Green design, sustainable food and farming, emerging technologies; Shelter: Green Building, Energy, Water, Refugees and Relief. Cities:Urban Design, Transportation, Megacities, Leapfrogging. Communities:Health, Education, Empowering Women, Philanthropy, Social Entrepreneurship, Arts and Culture. Business: Transforming Business, Socially Responsible Investment, Bright Green Economy, Branding & Marketing. Politics: Communications, Networking & Activism, Citizen Media, Transparency and Human Rights, Nonviolence. Planet: Climate Change, Sustainable Development, Biodiversity and Ecosystems, New Science, Future. Contact: Worldchanging, 1517 12th Ave., Seattle, Washington 98122, USA; Web: www.worldchanging.com
The Web of Hope
The Web of Hope, a UK registered Charity, is an online global resource which highlights initiatives that are helping to create a more sustainable existence between humanity and the planet. Through this website, a series of publications, and various educational roadshows, a dynamic and ever-expanding platform is provided for initiatives, projects, mechanisms and technologies which can lead to positive change whether it be at the family, community, business or governance level. The Web of Hope offers a positive approach to the ecological crisis because it celebrates solutions and offers them as guidance and inspiration to others – creating a widening virtuous circle of positive change. For example, under the section on the website headed 10 Things You Can Do, links are provided to those steps that can be taken now to help people live more sustainably, on the premise that every individual action counts and significant change is always propelled by a critical mass of informed decision. The Things You can Do include: Transport: making the transition to pedal power; Habitat: ideas about energy saving and greening the home; Energy: advice about switching to green and renewable electricity schemes; Water; advice on water conservation; Economics: information on ethical investments; Biodiversity: planting herbs, wildflowers, trees and going carbon-neutral; Organisation: campaigning on local issues; Food: a link to the Soil Association website; Health: the value of laughter and walking; Oceans: buying fish from sustainable sources; Peace: a link to the website of Peace One Day; Education: forwarding the web page to friends. For more information and background: The Web of Hope, Suite 256, 3 Edgar Buildings, Bath BA1 2FJ, United Kingdom; Email: wohadmin at thewebofhope.org; Web: www.thewebofhope.com
Lawyers Without Borders
Lawyers Without Borders (LWOB) is a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation, incorporated under the laws of the State of Connecticut. It was founded in January 2000 by the American lawyer, Christina M. Storm, to create a global association of lawyers dedicated to the promotion and protection of human justice through the provision of pro bono services around the world.
LWOB links its members to non-profit and community-based organizations working with low-income, underserved, and disadvantaged communities in need of human rights protection. It relies exclusively on volunteer lawyers, students, and other law-related professionals to offer a wide array of legal services to non-profit organizations, thereby enabling these organizations to increase their programmatic capacity, strengthen their infrastructure and otherwise serve their communities more effectively and at a lower cost.
Through the promotion and protection of human justice at the international level, LWOB has acted as a global ambassador for the legal profession. Advances in communication and technology have enabled LWOB to access geographical areas that were previously isolated from developed economies and directly service citizens in those areas. LWOB has now become a global organization, connecting regions of the world to highly skilled lawyers with a personal interest in international development and public welfare initiatives.
Current projects are ongoing or planned in the following regions: Ethiopia, Liberia, Palestinian Territories (Israel), Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique.
One interesting focus of its work is “CLEARS”. This connects Student/University teams to the human rights or international law research needs of non-profit organizations anywhere in the world. This linkage brings a resource to non-profits and also benefits the students by giving them “hands-on” experience with real international law questions, as opposed to the current framework which usually has students just working on hypothetical problems.
LWOB is increasingly asked to aid lawyers at risk. This often involves a rapid response to urgent action requests or intervention in situations where a lawyer or judge – frequently representing a human rights activist in Court proceedings – is suddenly the target of criminal prosecution. This initiative aims to find innovative, “out of the box” and “under the radar” methods for addressing and protecting lawyers at risk around the world. As a result of LWOB’s strict adherence to its neutrality mandate, its activity in the ‘Lawyer At Risk’ field is frequently characterised by behind the scenes negotiation. LWOB’s team of New York based volunteer lawyers and law students has assumed much of the oversight of this project model. LWOB has had observers in Ethiopia for the last several months and has plans to dispatch lawyers to other regions for trial observations in the coming months. Regions currently being investigated include cases in The Gambia, Libya, Philippines and Vietnam.
In 2003, LWOB was granted associative status with United Nations Department of Public Information, UN-DPI, and it was granted consultative status with ECOSOC in 2004. Contact: Lawyers Without Borders, Inc., 330 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06106, USA; Tel: +1 (860) 541 2288; Fax: +1 (860) 525 0287; Web: www.lawyerswithoutborders.org
Globalisation for the Common Good
In order to provide a better understanding of the role of religions in the age of globalisation, in 2002, in Oxford, a small and humble movement, “Globalisation for the Common Good” (GCG) came into being. This movement is for “Rekindling the Human Spirit and Compassion in Globalisation”. The aim is to have an alternative to the current dominant economic/free trade globalisation and to make globalisation good for all. After Oxford, meetings were held in St. Petersburg, Russia, then in Dubai, in 2005 in Kenya, and in 2006 Chaminade University, Honolulu, Hawaii, hosted the conference. In 2007 the venue will be at the Fatih University in Istanbul.
The mission of Globalisation for the Common Good is to promote ethical, moral and spiritual values in the areas of economics, commerce, trade and international relations amongst others, to advance understanding and action on major global issues by civil society, private enterprise, the public sector, governments, and national and international institutions, leading to the promotion of collaborative policy solutions to the challenges posed by globalisation. GCG is committed to the idea that the marketplace is not just an economic sphere, ‘it is a region of the human spirit’ – thus, the problem and challenge of globalisation should be seen not only from an economic point of view, but also from ethical, spiritual and theological perspectives.
As it has been observed by many throughout history, religion has been both a source of blessing and curse. Religion has been, and is, a major factor in many conflicts and wars around the world. There is a real danger now that these unwelcome truths about the true meaning and function of religion, combined with political/economic injustice, human rights abuses, poverty, hatred, fear, ignorance, globalisation, war as an instrument of imperial policy, and the failure to respect international legal or ethical principles, will aggravate conflicts, intolerance, and even anarchy around the world
It is GCG’s view that truly religious people, who are committed to spirituality, compassion and respect for others, must not allow their religion to be hijacked and abused by exclusivist ideologues. They must make a stand together for peace, understanding, mutual respect, dialogue and justice. They must welcome religious diversity and concede that no single religion can claim a monopoly of Truth. Indeed, at this time in history – facing globalisation, global warming, AIDS and more – people need each other far more than in the past, and the future of the world demands that humanity learns the value and benefits of dialogue, co-operation and interdependence.
GCG affirms the conviction that a genuine inter-faith dialogue and co-operation is a significant way of bringing the world together; leading to the creation of a harmonious environment needed to build a world of peace, justice and prosperity for all. The call for Globalisation for the Common Good is an appeal to our essential humanity to deal with some of the most pressing concerns of peoples the world over.
Religion has always been a major factor in the growth of human civilisation. Business and wealth creation – when they are for a noble reason – are blessed and vital for human survival. It is GCG’s belief that bringing religions and business together for the common good will empower humanity with spirituality and love, raising humanity from pessimism to an ultimate optimism; turning from darkness to light; from night to day; from winter to spring. This spiritual ground for hope at this time of wanton destruction can help people recognise the ultimate purpose of life.
The Journal of Globalization for the Common Good is the official publication of the GCG Initiative, based in the United Kingdom. It is published bi-annually (spring and fall), and each issue focuses on a particular theme, topic, or region of the world. It is available to interested individuals free of charge (open access), and is hosted by the Center for Global Studies, Purdue University Calumet, Hammond, Indiana, USA, at the following address: http://lass.calumet.purdue.edu/cca/jgcg/ To contact GCG, email k.mofid at btopenworld.com; Web: www.globalisationforthecommongood.info
Gather the women
Gather the Women Global MatrixSM is a new kind of organic, self-organizing grassroots initiative to awaken the leadership potential of the women of the world. Gather the Women (GTW) uses the new technology of the internet to magnify and mobilize the enormous potential of feminine wisdom; at the same time, GTW recognizes the ancient tradition of gathering in circles where one woman reaching out to connect with another woman can experience the power of shared intention. Over 6,000 women worldwide have experienced the core intention of Gather the Women: joyfully expressing the power of women's wisdom.
GTW is a gathering place for women and women's organizations who share a belief that the time is now to activate the incredible power of women's wisdom on a planetary scale.
It is an invitation to all women around the world who are ready for true and authentic personal expression, a clearinghouse of ideas, inspiration, education and resources to encourage the awakening of the female spirit.
Men welcomed at GTW:
One of the core values of Gather the Women is balance -- to bring the world back into balance by practising the discipline of keeping ourselves in balance. GTW encourages both women and men to seek balance between their masculine and feminine qualities, so that they can merge the masculine ability to accomplish with the feminine capacity for connection into a powerful new form of human action. GTW invites women to step into leadership so that their voices of wisdom can be heard along with those of men, to create a world of mutuality and interdependence. GTW relies upon the effective power of circle principles for leadership of this grassroots global movement. While the Matrix itself is a place where women can gather to explore their own expression of that balance, GTW needs and welcomes the support of men who share this commitment to balance.
Elements of History
The phrase "Gather the Women" literally entered the public domain in November 2001. Carol Hansen Grey was serving as the Executive Director of Women of Vision and Action (WOVA), a non-profit organization based in California that provided a network for women leaders who shared a commitment to "be the change you want to see in the world". During the months leading up to November, Grey had experienced a compelling phenomenon: numerous women contacted her describing the same vision that there was a need to begin to gather the women of the world. Though these women came from diverse backgrounds, all shared a deep passion for awakening the power of women in service of a better world. When she continued to be contacted by women who envisioned a need to gather the women, Grey used her computer skills to set up an e-list in June 2002 so that these twelve women could begin an on-line dialogue. A Vision Statement was co-created by the original Steering Committee of Gather the Women in 2002.
The First Gather the Women International Congress was held in San Francisco in October 2003. The Congress took Gather the Women to the next level by creating a model to involve and connect the many diverse global women's organizations. Gather the Women invited other organizations to partner in the creation of the Congress and to bring delegations of women from their networks. An expansive flow of creative ideas has been generated through these collaborative partnerships.
Among the organizations that joined the Gather the Women Global MatrixSM in 2003 were Millionth Circle, Peace X Peace, Foundation for Conscious Evolution, AYA Partners, Pathways to Peace, Earth Luck International, Spiral Muse, Women of Wisdom, Red Web, and Women Rise for Global Peace.
The 2003 Congress was a huge success, drawing 330 women from 26 countries representing more than 25 partner organizations. Numerous on-going collaborative projects grew from the three days event. Gather the Women continues to expand daily. New partner organizations are being drawn into the matrix: in 2004, Gather the Women International Congress hosted 600 women from 50 countries. Plans are also being made to use this unique collaborative model to create 6 Congresses on 6 Continents from 2006 onwards. Partners have proposed several creative publishing and media projects. The grassroots leadership model of GTW is viewed as a crucial element of the planning for a 5th Women's World Conference to build on the original global gatherings sponsored by the U.N. in 1975, 1985 and 1995.
GTW remains committed to building global participation in and recognition of International Women's Day, offering a clearinghouse for information about the diverse events being created that day. A list of resources has been developed on the website through a collaborative process and will be growing with time. Contact: Gather the Women Global Matrix,
25A Crescent Drive #268, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523, USA; Email: info at gatherthewomen.org; Web: www.gatherthewomen.org
La Vía Campesina
La Vía Campesina is an international movement which coordinates peasant organizations of small and medium sized producers, agricultural workers, rural women, and indigenous communities from Asia, America, and Europe. It is an autonomous, pluralistic movement, independent from all political, economic, or other denominations. It is integrated by national and regional organizations whose autonomy is jealously respected. Vía Campesina is organized in seven regions as follows: Europe, Northeast and Southeast Asia, South Asia, North America, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Vía Campesina is also collaborating with other organisations in Africa.
Vía Campesina’s origin goes back to April 1992, when several peasant leaders from Central America, North America, and Europe got together in Managua, Nicaragua, at the Congress of the National Union of Farmers and Livestock Owners (UNAG). In May of 1993, the First Conference of Vía Campesina was held in Mons, Belgium, where it was constituted as a World Organization, and its first strategic guidelines and structure were defined. The Second International Conference was held in Tlaxcala, Mexico, in April, 1996, which was attended by 37 countries and 69 organizations in order to analyze a series of issues that are of central concern to small and middle-scale producers, such as: food sovereignty, agrarian reform, credit and external debt, technology, women’s participation, rural development and others.
The principal objective of Vía Campesina is to develop solidarity and unity in the diversity among small farmer organizations, in order to promote economic relations of equality and social justice; the preservation of land; food sovereignty; sustainable agricultural production; and an equality based on small and medium-sized producers. In order to achieve these objectives, Vía Campesina has defined its strategies among which are the following:
* The articulation and strengthening of its member organizations.
* Influencing power and decision-making centers within governments and multilateral organizations in order to redirect the economic and agricultural policies that affect small and middle-scale producers.
* The strengthening of women’s participation in social, economic, political, and cultural matters.
* The formulation of proposals in relation to important issues such as: agrarian reform, food sovereignty, production, trade, research, genetic resources, biodiversity, environment and gender.
Contact Address: International Operative Secretariat, La Vía Campesina, Jl. Mampang Prapatan XIV No. 5, Jakarta Selatan, DKI Jakarta, Indonesia, 12790; Tel: +62-21-7991890; Fax: +62-21-7993426; Web: http://viacampesina.org/
The Shuttleworth Foundation
“If we are to lift Africa from her current circumstances, we will need a generation of learners that are gifted with curiosity about the world in which they live, and the tools to understand and shape that world.” These visionary words of Mark Shuttleworth embody the philosophy of the S huttleworth Foundation, which he founded in 2000.
The Foundation focuses on several broad themes in education and technology in order to offer creative solutions to the challenges faced by the developing world. Some of these initiatives include:
* leadership and management – Having exceptional leaders in schools delivers exceptional results. That’s the theory the Foundation want to test, using a variety of means: incentives, leadership training, mentoring systems etc.
* communications and analysis – There are two things we should learn in school: how to communicate and how to analyse problems.
* open source – Open source software embraces the philosophy of sharing. With open source, concepts such as piracy are not a problem. In fact, you are encouraged to share and spread open source software as much as you like.
* telecommunications – Issues surrounding wireless and telecommunications impact on advancing education and development. The Foundation will engage this debate at every level.
Writing about the new frontiers brought about by the leading edge technologies at our disposal, the Foundation comments: “We live in a new age – technology is changing the way we do business, communicate, educate and entertain. It is not knowledge that drives society or economies, but the ability to gain knowledge, and critically, what we do with that knowledge – this has promoted education and technology as the new frontier…. Our goal is to invest in projects that offer unique and innovative solutions to educational challenges faced by the developing world. To concentrate our efforts we have identified broad themes (Education, Technology and Content) with specific focus areas that we believe are critical to youth development. We are aware that our strategy of supporting pilot projects is a 'high risk' strategy, as some of the projects we invest in will not succeed; however, we feel that all good ideas are worth trying, at least once. The successful projects that we pilot, those that have a positive measurable impact on the communities they are working with, will, we hope, become accepted and supported by other funders and the provincial departments of Education within South Africa and the world.”
Address: Shuttleworth Foundation, PO Box 4163, Durbanville, Cape Town, 7551, South Africa; Tel: + 27 21 970 1200; Fax: + 27 21 970 1201; Email: info at shuttleworthfoundation.org; Web: www.shuttleworthfoundation.org
EarthAction works to combine the internet, global civil society and celebrity involvement to empower people to protect the planet and defend their rights. It works from the premise that we have all the necessary knowledge and resources at our disposal and only need the will to solve our problems.Through the internet, ordinary people can help to create a more just, sustainable world by participating in EarthAction’s global action alert network. This already includes thousands of citizens and over 1,900 citizen groups in 161 countries, two thirds of which are in the developing world. Current issues involving persistent campaigning include the prevention of dangerous climate change and the promotion of renewable energy by reaching people in developing countries with information about the problem and its likely impact on their lives.It has also launched a new coalition of citizen groups, called Citizens Century, who work for a more democratic and effective UN to help meet the needs of the world’s poor. Other campaigns include control of the global AIDS epidemic by collaborating with UNAIDS and Population Fund, as well as combating the degradation of fertile land, the protection of forests, the elimination of nuclear weapons, controlling the weapons trade and banning landmines.
EarthAction has initiated Planet Postcards (electronic and printed) and several times a year participants in the network receive these action alerts. Each Planet Postcard focuses on a single issue and gives all the information needed for participants to send a timely, effective message to a government.Sometimes an issue is introduced via a well known celebrity e.g. Leonardo diCaprio in the case of the climate change campaign and the Brazilian footballer, Ronaldo, for the new AIDS campaign. EarthAction uses a wide range of media and its well-researched Action Kit containing the Planet Postcard is sent to its network in over 160 countries.
EarthAction’s many campaigns between 1992-2000 are listed on its website and its underlying message is an invitation to every concerned citizen and group, politician and policy maker to help change the priorities of the world’s governments before it is too late.
It has 3 offices in Chile, UK and USA. EarthAction, 30 Cottage Street, Amherst, MA 01002, USA; Tel: +1 413-549-8118; Fax: +1 413-549-0544; EarthAction, Antonia López de Bello 80, Recoleta, Santiago, Chile; Tel: +56 9-826 1727; Email: contact at earthaction.org; Web: www.earthaction.org