Human Rights

Compassionate living is a relay race

In his 1859 classic, A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens compared life in Paris and London before and during the French Revolution when he wrote “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”  And if you look at the history of humankind at any time – particularly when we’ve made tectonic global transitions: the Agrarian Age, the Industrial Revolution, and now the Digital Revolution – you also see the best and worst simultaneously. There always have been opposing forces: “dark” (e.g.: nationalism, tribalism, fear and hatred of “the other”) vs. “light” (e.g.: empathy, bridge-building, inclusiveness and striving for freedom and human dignity of all human beings). It’s no different now: we live in a time of... more

Reconciliation Defeats Revenge

by beCause Associate Robi Damelin - While watching the bereaved African-American mothers on the stage at the Democratic Convention, I thought just how much we mothers, who have lost children, have in common, regardless of color, creed or national identity.  I thought that all bereaved mothers in the world should rise up together and say, "Enough! Stop the killing! Let our children live out the course of their lives.  We cannot continue to have the dreadful task of burying our sons and daughters and of continuing our motherhood by tending to graves and pretending that planting flowers and plants brings solace." I promise you, as one who has lost a child, the pain never goes away.  Yes, we put on our... more

Compassion: Wisdom in Action and Association

Guest post by Dr. Surendra Soni -- Indian philosophical wisdom, especially in the Sāmkhya school of philosophy and the Bhagavad Gita, describes that our lives operate under the influence of an admixture of various modes of energy. We are not under the influence of the same mode of energy all the time. This varying blend of energy has an overwhelming impact as much on our relationships as it has on our actions and performance. This energy, which has a certain quality of consciousness, flows into our actions and our relationships and goes on to mould and shape them. These varying modes of energy lend charm and colour to human life and pursuit, but they also have us swing between harmonies and... more

Telling stories: transmedia activism

beCause Associate Lina Srivastava interviewed by Henry Jenkins, Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at University of Southern California - As my student Geoff Long likes to say, transmedia is an adjective, not a noun, and as such, it needs something to modify. Much of the conversation here has centered around transmedia entertainment, transmedia storytelling, or perhaps transmedia branding and transmedia learning. But, when the word transmedia modifies activism or mobilization, there is no more important voice in the world today than Lina Srivastava. In her hands, transmedia becomes a verb — something we do to make a difference in the world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiOKsv_1wRo#t=22 I first met her in Madrid several summers ago when we were both speaking at a gathering of thinkers... more

Social entrepreneurs engines for SDGs

by beCause Global Associate David Wilcox, founder ReachScale and Dr. Amit Kapoor, Honorary Chair Institute for Competitiveness India - The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), deadlined for completion in 2015, have given way to the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), launched in September at the UN General Assembly and an array of other events including the SDG Business Forum, the Social Good Summit and the Clinton Global Initiative. In evaluating over 100 presentations at these events, I was struck by: Few presentations gave any indication of serious learning from the wins — and losses — during 20 years of MDG work. A delineation of the models that work (i.e. more sustainable and scalable) is missing. In the absence of learning frameworks, presenters reiterate the same problems, now expanded to... more

Alternative tool for access to justice

by beCause Global Associate, Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, Chairman Africa Dispute Resolution Company, acting judge High Court of South Africa, who served as Commissioner on Truth & Reconciliation Commission and President of Black Lawyers Association: transcript of remarks he gave at 4th International Africa Peace And Conflict Resolution Conference *** It is my singular pleasure and honour to address an occasion such as this, when luminaries from the African continent have been marshalled for the next TWO days to be here in JOHANNESBURG, a city which the Mothers and Fathers thereof, like to call a “world class African city”, whatever they mean by that. The Conference is organized by organizations BOTH of which are in the business of PROMOTING PEACE and seeking to... more

Bushra: a woman peace leader story

by beCause Global Associate Robi Damelin, co-leader Parents Circle, those who have lost children to the conflict and work together for peace rather than vengeance — So many see our situation in Palestine and Israel as hopeless, impossible, and quite frankly unsolvable. We who live here, who care about the safety of our children, cannot afford to become immune and wait for somebody else to take care of them and their safety. We do not have the luxury of apathy or of waiting for some leader to emerge who will save us from ourselves. Today, more than ever the Parents Circle - Families Forum (PCFF) , an organization of bereaved Palestinian and Israeli families, believes that women must come to the forefront and be... more

Remember, celebrate, act!

Remember, celebrate, act!

By Eleanor Dunfey Freiburger, Southern New Hampshire University Professor Emeritus, professor of ethics and civic engagement; director of the Faculty Center for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching; and co-chair, Global Citizen's Circle. On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, these are Eleanor's words to the National Cultural Diversity Advisory Council on the anniversary of his assassination, April 4. She recalls the summer of 1968 when the Dunfey family arranged for the King Family  to spend a summer in New Hampshire. WE CONNECT THREE ‘ACTION’ WORDS, IN PARTICULAR, WITH ANY REMEMBRANCE OF DR. KING: REMEMBER / CELEBRATE / ACT – AND I’LL USE THOSE AS THE FRAME OF MY REFLECTION. REMEMBER  TONIGHT, IN A SPECIAL WAY, WE RECALL A YOUNG WIDOW AND HER FOUR CHILDREN.  IN THE... more

Viva Mandela: forever in our hearts!

When Jerry & I visited Madiba at his Soweto home soon after his release from prison. We were privileged to work with Oliver & Adelaide Tambo, Albertina Sisulu, Albie Sachs and other leaders of ANC Executive Committee while Mandela was in prison. Please write tributes to Mandela in comments below!

Congruence, change & continuity

I am thrilled to live at a time of such rapid and profound changes.  It’s like tectonic plates are shifting and we can scarcely envision how this metamorphosis will unfold even while we try to shape it for positive outcomes.  I tingled listening to Richard Seymour who designs for the future and Anton Musgrave who guides people to prepare for it. And yet, plus ça change: Jennifer Sertl, thought leader on corporate consciousness and author of Strategy, Leadership and the Soul, reminded me the more things change the more they remain the same. After I extolled her impressive work, she said I “stand on your shoulders.”  I told her that we were part of a chain that stretched far behind... more