Friday 27 February 2015

Global Integrators-4

Sector Connectors
Some personal reflections on crossing sectors

United Nations, Geneva

We think that the time is coming for a diversity of colleagues to come together intentionally, visibly, and practically on behalf of global integration (GI). GI put simply is how we skillfully integrate our lives and values on behalf of the issues facing humanity. Likewise we think that the time is coming for colleagues to carefully reflect and act on what it means to be good global learners-practitioners--to seriously consider what it means to be what we are calling global integrators (GI-People).

Global Integrators as Sector Connectors
“A sector is a distinct part of society (analogous to the area between two radii in a circle or a piece of pie) with a special albeit broad purpose. It is a large, amorphous yet recognizable block within the international community that provides different types of services and products to people. Each one is comprised of a wide array of people who are part of different organizations; influenced by various disciplines, practices, and goals; and intertwined with many related networks. A sector fundamentally is a human entity.”  (pp. 5-6)

Another accurate title for our book could be:
Global [Integration with a Special Focus on] Member Care
Crossing Sectors for Serving Humanity

“Trying to grasp sectors both conceptually and practically can thus be a bit of a challenge. It is akin to trying to grasp the sky. Both are readily observable. Both are highly influential. Yet both are hard to “contain,” especially as they are so vast and full of variation. It can also be daunting and confusing entering into a new or even overlapping sector. It can feel very “foreign”—a bit like the proverbial fish out of water—as my wife, Michèle, and I found out in our initial efforts to connect and contribute to the global health (GH) sector.

Being psychologists with international experience helped us to enter into GH, of course. Yet coming from the faith-based mission sector with involvement in the humanitarian sector did not guarantee it would be easy to find our way into the mainstream of GH. Entering into different sectors is a dynamic process, not simply a static concept. It felt like a cross-cultural experience, exhilarating yet at times unnerving as we were stretched by our encounters with a variety of highly experienced people, challenging ideas, and new areas of learning. This diverse sector though, like learning a new culture or language, started to make more sense over time. We attended conferences, workshops, and webinars; learned about projects and research studies; read materials and watched videos; served on committees and task forces; asked lots of questions; and above all met and talked with people from many NGOs, countries, and disciplines within the sector. We built relationships and saw how much we all had to offer each other, highlighting our mutual emphases and goals.

In short, the global health sector, especially the global mental health (GMH) part of it, which lies within the much larger human health sector, gradually became more familiar, less foreign, and even less perplexing. So the moral of this short account is to be encouraged as you cross into sectors and subsectors. Maintain your core values and worldview, but be open to new ideas. With time you will learn to navigate your way around the relevant parts of the sectoral terrain—and the sectoral sky!”
(pp. 6-7)

Excerpts above from Chapter 2, Charting Your Course through the Sectors, Global Member Care (vol 2): Crossing Sectors for Serving Humanity (2013) edited by Kelly and Michèle O’Donnell. See the latest resources in the Updates section on the book series website.
Practical Example
The World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society, and Behavior (World Bank) is a good example of crossing sectors and disciplines for collaboration. Prominent in the latest annual report are the insights from the behavioral sciences--the psychological and social factors that influence how we make decisions about developmental problems, policies and practices. Progress in human/planet well-being is not simply a product of producing and providing the right information. Watch the 2.5 minute summary here.

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