Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Karen Armstrong's Wish: “I wish that you would help with the creation, launch and propagation of a Charter for Compassion, crafted by a group of leading inspirational thinkers from the three Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and based on the fundamental principles of universal justice and respect.”
The writing of the Charter is open to people all around the world, of all faith traditions, nationalities, languages, and backgrounds. The online writing took place in late Fall 2008. In February 2009 the words of the world were collected and given to the Council of Conscience, a gathering of high-level religious leaders and thinkers, who are now crafting the final document. The Charter will then be launched in a spectacular way in November 2009.
Bringing together voices from all cultures and religions, the Charter seeks to remind the world we already share the core principles of compassion.
Thanks to A Thinker and Unjela for pointing this out. :)
More about: Charter for Compassion
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Are you passionate about changing the world? So is Mosaic.
The Mosaic International Summit 2010 will bring together 80 young Muslims who aspire to be leaders of change.
Mosaic works towards a more integrated and thriving society where all individuals, regardless of background, are supported in realising their potential. Mosaic is based in the UK and was founded by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2007.
The Mosaic International Summit 2010 will offer 80 young Muslims an exciting leadership development opportunity. The Summit aims for delegates:
1) to develop leadership ability and an aspiration to be an agent of change
2) to develop understanding of key global issues and inspire positive thinking to address them
The Summit will take place in the UK between 11 – 24 July 2010. The Summit has been developed from our first international gathering of young Muslim leaders – the very successful Mosaic International Summer School 2009. Here are some comments from 2009 delegates:
"For me personally, the program has benefitted me more than I expected. It gives me more confidence, insights and inspiration to affect positive change. It has made me think of the role youth and religion can play in problems like poverty, unemployment and environment".
"We wait for others to be leaders when we should be the ones to take up initiative….you have to take responsibility and think and also act like a leader".
"….a life changing experience…I feel that I have changed internally as a person. I feel empowered, I feel connected, I feel that I am not alone….."
Applications for the Mosaic International Summit 2010 are open between 30 October and 27 November 2009. For information about eligibility and all other details please see http://www.mosaicnetwork.co.uk/international/international_summit/
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
In the old days, global warming was unheard of. So was the carbon footprint of human beings. Modes of transport were usually not dependent on fuel consumption. Horses, buggies, donkeys, horse-drawn carriages or simply walking in the city were norm. Factories didn't exist. Industrialization hadn't stepped in.
These creations of modern times were necessary, no doubt, but the way they changed living environments could have been perhaps better planned. Urban areas came into formation, but what the modern urban planners lost out on was the old concept of making cities walkable.
In the old days, everything from shops, hospitals, schools, workplace, worship places and leisure areas, all used to be within walking distance.
The town of Cambridge is a wonderful example of this concept. The way the place has been designed, everything that a resident living there needs, is within easy walkable -- or "bikable"-- reach.
For big cities like Karachi which suffer from a lack of planning, there are options like the one Mexico City uses.
Here's an excerpt from the article:
On a normal morning, this road is an environmentalist's worst nightmare. But not so at the end of each week, because, for the past few months, traffic has been banished from Reforma each Sunday between 7am and 2pm. It's a bold move, and the brainchild of the city's mayor, Marcelo Ebrard, who has gone green big-time (certainly by Mexican standards). In another headline-making move, the mayor and his closest advisers now cycle to work on the first Monday of every month - no mean feat for Ebrard, a 48-year-old smoker who, by his own admission, doesn't exercise as much as he might.
Could Karachi have a day like this? Ban traffic in the main artery of II Chundrigar Road and have a mayor, or even a politician who could cycle to work? (Maybe with an entourage of seven VIP protection cars in tow)...? :)
Friday, October 2, 2009
I chose communities because at that time, environment and enterprise's importance was not very obvious. As the weeks passed though, and especially as our London study tour ensued, the importance of all three dimensions came together rather nicely.
My group went to The Bromley By Bow Centre on the second day of our study tour. What I realized there was how drastically I had underestimated the importance of environment on people.
Rob Trimble was taking us on a tour of the place and inside the church where it all began, he pointed to small wooden chairs. Twenty years ago, they had the option of buying mass-produced plastic chairs for the children day care centre that were cheaper. But they went ahead and got custom made Victorian wooden chairs. It's a simple gesture, but it goes on to say something very significant. The day care centre did not economize on something that children might use, getting the wooden chairs was about giving the best available for those kids in a slightly underprivileged area of the city. This concept is often missing in the charities and homeless shelters that are established in developing countries. The standards are fairly low, but then again, there is the fact that funding is also very minimum.
Similar examples followed in terms of the hospital that the centre has. There are no CCTV cameras in the entire place. The concept was to show people that they are trusted, and in effect people feel that obligation not to be engage in destructive behaviour.
It's incredible how small things like these that we often underestimate can have such an impact on how people behave.
A surprise treat at the end of the day was to see a small horse parade for under-5 children, which we all, of course watched. :)