Monday 28 September 2015

Global Integrators—18

Global Towers and Global Trenches

We think that the time is coming for a diversity of colleagues to join 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).

We recently wrote to several colleagues who teach psychology courses at universities and seminaries. We have met each of them before, and know that many are actively involved in international applications of psychology and are concerned about a variety of local, national, and world issues. As we see it, most work in the global towers (a positive term for us) with a view towards meaningful involvement in the global trenches. They get dirty. And if you have ever worked in the academy, you know you can get just as dirty in the towers as you can in the trenches! Dirt (problems of all types) is no respecter of settings.

We wrote our colleagues to let them know about the very important events that are happening right now at the United Nations in New York at the annual General Assembly (number 70) concerning sustainable development. We are not sure how many colleagues though, in spite of their interests in our world, are tracking with these landmark events. We knew everyone was super busy and focusing on many important areas. Yet we were hoping they could take some time this week to have a look at any of these four current updates/resources below. We believe the materials would not only inform their work in mental health practice, training, research etc., but also point to relevant ways for greater involvement in our globalizing world for faculty, students, and colleagues. 

We are aware that there are different perspectives about the UN. Among other things (such as end of the world concerns/deception in some Christian views, concerns about global anti-capitalism, loss of national autonomy etc.), some say there is so much talk with no real accountability, with too many nice speeches and too many overpaid bureaucrats resting comfortably in the ivory towers of privilege, with little impact on the ground in the human trenches of poverty. There is quite an array of skepticism and positive hope intertwined in the diverse viewpoints as people consider (discuss/debate) how best to try to steer the developmental course of our world.

Nonetheless, in spite of its shortcomings, we have been tracking with and involved in different aspects of the UN work for the last several years (including global mental health, humanitarian psychology, and sustainable development). This experience has and continues to shape our understanding of Global Integration, the missio Dei, and above all, the very vulnerable and needy in our world. We are convinced of the crucial opportunities--and moral responsibilities--that are before us all via the Sustainable Development Agenda highlighted in this entry. We also strongly believe that personal transformation is necessary for there to be transformation at all levels of society (principles, resolutions, policies are important yet not enough). So we say again, as we have in previous entries, there is no health and development without moral health and moral development.

Let’s continue to be involved in both the global towers and the global trenches. And as civil society becomes more actively involved in global affairs, let’s connect global integrators in the towers with global integrators in the trenches, helping to forge partnerships as encouraged by Sustainable Development Goal 17.

Four Current Items
1. The current five minute overview report, "This Week at the UN." Link below.

UN photo/Loey Felipe, 28 September 2015

2. Barak Obama's speech to the United Nations General Assembly (filled with many heads of state) 27 September 2015.Excerpts: "Cynicism is our enemy....800 million men, women, an children scrape by on less than {the equivalent of] $1.25 per day...that is a moral outrage..."

UN photo/Mark Garten, 27 September 2015

The video link below begins with a promo/info piece on the new/just ratified and HISTORIC sustainable development agenda (two minutes)  followed by Obama's 20 minute presentation. While there is plenty to challenge/clarify in his comments (including for example, the need to mention that five of the six biggest arms suppliers/sellers in the world hold the five permanent seats in the UN Security Council), this speech will hopefully give us all some more perspective on our world as well as an updated context for all of our lives/work.

Here also are a few excerpts (3 minutes):

Want to watch more? In addition to the many archived speeches from other world leaders, Here is Obama's speech the next day at the UN General Assembly Debates (28 Septembr 2015).

3. Pope Francis' opening speech to the UN GA from Friday (25 October) which was superb as well (we included info/link to this in our MCA Resource Update that we sent out a few days ago--Migrant Care; Hospitality for Humanity). Ok so not everyone highly regards this Pope. But most do. And we do too so far, based on his works, not just his words. He is not pro-Marxist. He is not a scary socialist. But he is concerned about the poor, the vulnerable, and the impact of any ideology or practice that exploits and endangers people.

Here is an excerpt: “I must renew my repeated appeals regarding the painful situation of the entire Middle East, North Africa and other African countries, where Christians, together with other cultural or ethnic groups, and even members of the majority religion who have no desire to be caught up in hatred and folly, have been forced to witness the destruction of their places of worship, their cultural and religious heritage, their houses and property, and have faced the alternative either of fleeing or of paying for their adhesion to good and to peace by their own lives, or by enslavement."

4. And finally, here is the document that the above is based on and which has been worked on for so long and just ratified---sort of like a global Magna Carta for human development and the wellbeing for all people and the planet, Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Its paragraphs are powerful, with the heart of the document being the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). Will the world community be able to implement it over the next 15 years? Will we hold our governments-and ourselves--accountable? We will see. But please just don't just sign on to it, and don't just write it off, without first carefully reading it! 

"50. Today we are also taking a decision of great historic significance. We resolve to build a better future for all people, including the millions who have been denied the chance to lead decent, dignified and rewarding lives and to achieve their full human potential. We can be the first generation to succeed in ending poverty; just as we may be the last to have a chance of saving the planet. ..."

Here also is the new, brief UN promo piece about the SDGs.

Final Thought
Personally, we are inspired and hopeful, challenged and aware of the tough road ahead for the SDGs' implementation.  As Barak Obama said yesterday to over 150 world leaders and to all of us: "This is not just the job of politicians; it is the job of all of us."  Yep. From the global trenches to the global towers and everything local in-between.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Global integrators--more global jargon? No way. Its a good term to guide and goad us into relevant involvement in our world. Ad majorem Dei gloriam, of course. :-)