Many crises are not foreseeable, but civil unrest after the election is and leaders and organization should prepare for this.

On Monday, October 19, Logos president Helio Fred Garcia presented a pre-conference briefing on how to foresee the foreseeable and be ready for it when it happens around the US election at the Professional Speechwriters Association’s World Conference.

During this session, Garcia helped attendees understand a mindset to help leaders think through what to do and say ahead of election day, how to organize their thinking (and schedule) for various Election-Day scenarios, and how to prepare for and respond to five possible scenarios for what might happen immediately after the election.

Watch the full webinar here:

Religions for Peace is the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition, advancing common action among the world’s religious communities for peace. Logos Consulting Group has advised Religions for Peace as a pro bono publico client for more than 15 years, and Logos president Helio Fred Garcia has served on its Board of International Trustees for the past six years.

The global Religions for Peace network comprises a World Council of senior religious leaders from all regions of the world; six regional inter-religious councils and more than 90 national ones; and the Global Women of Faith Network and Global Interfaith Youth Network.

 

L to R: Bishop Gunnar Stalsett, Bishop Emeritus of Oslow, Church of Norway, and Honorary President of Religions for Peace; Metropolitan Emanuel Adamakis, Vice President, Conference of European Churches; Cardinal Raymundo Assis, Archbishop Emeritus of Aparecida, São Paulo, Brazil.

 

In mid-October 2017 Religions for Peace held its annual meeting of its World Council of religious leaders and its Board of International Trustees, as a strategy planning session for the next World Assembly of Religions for Peace, in 2019.

Dr. William H. Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace, briefing the meeting on the current state of Religions for Peace.

 

The meeting was held in the American Academy in Rome, Italy.

The theme of the meeting was “Advancing a Moral Alliance Among the World’s Religions for an Integral Ecology,” using a phrase that Pope Francis coined in a recent encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’. The meeting began with a private audience with His Holiness, Pope Francis, in the Vatican.

His Holiness addressing the Religions for Peace World Council of Religious Leaders and Board of International Trustees in the Vatican

 

In his address to the Religions for Peace World Council and Board, His Holiness said,

“I express my esteem and appreciation for the work of Religions for Peace. You provide a valuable service to both religion and peace, for religions are bound by their very nature to promote peace through justice, fraternity, disarmament, and care for creation.

There is a need for a common and cooperative effort on the part of religions in promoting an integral ecology. The religions have the wherewithal to further a moral covenant that can promote respect for the dignity of the human person and care for creation.

Thanks be to God, in various parts of the world we have any number of good examples of the power of inter-religious cooperation to oppose violent conflicts, to advance sustainable development and to protect the earth. Let us continue along this path.”

Logos president Helio Fred Garcia meeting His Holiness, Pope Francis at the beginning of the Religions for Peace Board meeting.

 

The Vatican played a central role in the meeting, through the offices of Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, a part of the Roman Curia, the Vatican’s administrative body.

L to R: Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje, Grand Mufti, Uganda Muslim Supreme Council; Cardinal Jean Louise Tauran, President, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the Vatican; Ayatollah Dr. Seyyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad, Dean, Department of Islamic Studies, Academy of Sciences, Iran; Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh, Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, UK, Kenya, India.

 

The two-day meeting featured substantive planning of critical issues to be addressed in the next World Assembly of Religions for Peace, held every seven to nine years, that brings together more than 2,000 religious leaders from all major faith communities in the world.

L to R: Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, Trustee, Professor, Columbia University, and Special Advisor, UN Secretary-General on Sustainable Development Goals; Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje, Grand Mufti, Uganda Muslim Supreme Council;Bishop Gunnar Stalsett, Bishop Emeritus of Oslow, Church of Norway; Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria; Religions for Peace Secretary General Dr. William Vendley; and Mrs. Christine Brown, Trustee, and Chair, Institute of Healthy Air, Water, and Soil, Louisville, Kentucky.

 

The planning meeting in mid-October, 2017 included working groups in three separate work streams:

  • Conflict transformation: the use of religious leadership and religious community to stop violence being conducted in the name of religion; to prevent conflicts from occurring in the first place; and to create social conditions for peace and stability in otherwise unstable parts of the world. Religions for Peace acknowledges the reality that religion is all-too-often being misused in support of violent threats to Peace – by extremists, by unscrupulous politicians, by the sensationalist media, and others. Through the years Religions for Peace has amassed a record of successful engagement in a number of conflict areas, including: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Burundi, Somalia, Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the Mano River and Great Lakes African sub-regions, Thailand, the Philippines, Myanmar, Iraq, Israel and Palestine, and Syria.

    Ayatollah Dr. Seyyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad, Dean, Department of Islamic Studies, Academy of Sciences, Iran, denouncing ISIS and others who hijack the identity of Islam to commit violence, and calling for all Islamic leaders to denounce violence in the name of Islam.


  • Sustainable development: equipping religious leaders and communities with the necessary resources and knowledge to address critical issues of health and well-being, education, climate action, and distribution of resources to reveal the potential inherent in all human communities. Extreme poverty threatens peace and human flourishing by depleting health, perpetuating existing inequalities, and jeopardizing access to basic human rights.

Jeffrey Sachs, Trustee, Professor, Columbia University and Special Advisor, UN Secretary-General on Sustainable Development Goals, addressing the challenges of sustainable development.

 

  • Protecting the earth: addressing climate change, safe drinking water, and other environmental challenges. Religions for Peace is faced with a clear moral imperative to respond to threats to the planet. For the world’s major religions, care for the earth is a religious obligation. Working with top climate scientists and development experts, Religions for Peace has developed and deployed climate sensitive advocacy and action training materials across its global networks as well as implemented multi religious initiatives in partnership with other concerned entities—especially the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the Vatican.

Logos President Helio Fred Garcia presenting a strategic path for religious leaders and communities to protect the earth.

 

Each working group developed a statement of problem, a proposed path forward to engage the world’s religious communities, and actionable steps to take between now and the World Assembly to show the impact that multi-religious cooperation can have on each of these challenges.

L to R Religions for Peace International Co-Moderators, Dr. Vinu Aram, Director, Shanti Ashram, India; Rev. Kosho Niwano, President-Designate, Rissho Kossei-kai, Japan.

These recommendations will now become part of the work coordinated by Religions for Peace’s International Secretariat, based at the United Nations in New York, and will be implemented through the six regional and more than 90 national inter-religious councils in the Religions for Peace network over the next two years. Results from that work will form the policy agenda for tenth World Assembly of Religions for Peace in 2019.

The Religions for Peace World Council of Religious Leaders, Board of International Trustees, and invited civic and foundation leaders, at the American Academy in Rome

 

Santiago

One of the joys of launching a book is that you never know who will read it and where.

The Power of Communication launched in May. The publisher, the FT Press imprint of Pearson, is global and the book got broad distribution.  But because it was launched in the US in English, I focused most of my attention on the US and in countries where I’ve recently done teaching or have clients (China, Switzerland, Italy etc.).

So imagine my delight and surprise when in early August I received an e-mail from a graduate student in Chile who had been assigned to read the book.

Fernando Godoy is an industrial engineer in Santiago, studying in the Global MBA program of the Universidad de Chile.  In his Business Management course students are assigned a number of books, and each week a group of students presents a book to the rest of the class.  Fernando and his colleagues Natalia Ruz and Christian Aravena had been assigned The Power of Communication, and they took the initiative to reach out to the author for resources.  They had done their homework.  They had seen the companion video.  They had read the book.  And asked whether I had any visuals I could share.  They also asked if I could do a short video introduction.

 

So I did.  I sent slides and illustrations, and recorded a video greeting.  As it happens, and unbeknownst to Fernando and his team, I have a Chilean connection.  Although born in Brazil and a native speaker of Portuguese, my grandfather was raised in Chile – in fact, my last name is Chilean – and my Spanish is passable.

Fernando, Christian, and Natalia presented to their class, and told me that the students were surprised to hear the video greeting in Spanish.  They say they had a very good response and lots of interaction.

As part of their global MBA Fernando and his colleagues will be traveling the world this year, studying in the US, Britain, Australia.  It’s a very small world.  I look forward to connecting with them when they’re up north.

 

Lima

Tonight I’ll be heading to Lima, Peru, to speak next week at the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) annual meeting and concurrent Latin American Congress.

I’ll be speaking Wednesday, September 19 on The Power of Communication in a Crisis.  I’ll blog and tweet (@garciahf) about that from there.  I’m looking forward to spending time with a number of folks from the States whom I know directly or by reputation.  But mostly I’m looking forward to spending time with folks from elsewhere, expanding the community of the book to a broader audience, even as my publisher begins the process of securing translations into other languages.

Stand by for updates from Lima.

Ciao….

Fred

(In Latin America, I go by my first name, Helio…)

Clay Shirky by Joi

Clay Shirky, NYU professor and author of Here Comes Everybody, was another highlight of my time in Austin. His talk, “Monkeys with Internet Access: Sharing, Human Nature, and Digital Data,” touched on a number of themes and was grouped in three parts:

  1. Buses and Bibles
  2. Monkeys and Balloons
  3. Lingerie and Garbage

Part One: Buses and Bibles

Shirky began with a discussion of the inefficiencies of modern cities, and how many of the solutions people present to address the inefficiencies are engineering solutions, but that a new approach treating inefficiencies with information solutions may provide a better alternative.  For example, in Canada an approach to congested roads is a ride share network – sharing information about who’s going where when. This approach is better for almost everyone BUT bus companies, who filed suit against the company offering the service.

Key point 1: “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.”

Shirky calls that kind of sharing “jackhammer sharing — sharing that’s powerful enough that it actually destroys existing things in the environment.” That kind of sharing “doesn’t happen very often, but it sometimes does around media revolutions.” He connected this idea to Gutenberg and the printing press.

Key point 2: “Abundance breaks more things than scarcity. When things become really abundant, the price goes away. The things that were previously thought of as scarce that are now available to everyone change the world. [E.g. Scribes vs. printing press.] We generally know how to manage scarcity, we don’t know how to manage abundance.”

Part Two: Monkeys and Balloons

This section began with a background on Napster, and Shirky argued that Napster changed the motivation around sharing, which wasn’t a new motivation, more of a bringing back of an old one. Shirky discussed three modes of sharing from the book Why We Cooperate.

Key point 3: There are three different types of sharing: 1. Sharing goods; 2. Sharing services; and 3. Sharing information. Sharing goods is the hardest, sharing services a little easier and sharing information is the easiest of all. “Napster took the world of music, where music was always shared as goods or services, and made it possible to share as information.” We’re programmed to share information – it gives us a positive feeling.

Part Three: Lingerie and Garbage

Here, Shirky gave a number of examples of institutions, groups or initiatives that centered around sharing information that creates a kind of civic value (e.g. UshahidiPatientsLikeMe). We now have tools that swing the way we share information with each other.

Key point 4: “Intrinsic motivation and private action was just an accident. Now we can do big things for love, not just private things for love. We’re moving from doing little things for love and big things for money, to doing big things for love.”

On Presenting

Shirky is a master presenter. No tools, no technology, no (visible) notes. Just a man in a three wolf man t-shirt, a well-crafted story and an astute sense of his audience. (I haven’t yet been able to find good video of his talk at SXSW this year, but you can see one of his TED talks here.)

[Note: This post is cross-posted on my personal blog.]

I’m back from Austin, slowly catching up in the office and working on synthesizing my thoughts from SXSW Interactive 2010. This was my second time attending, and there were a few things that I did differently and that were different in terms of the conference than in 2009. The SXSW experience contains many different parts, so I thought I’d break them down into more manageable bits versus one big overview post. I’m planning to break the pieces into the following parts, and if meaty enough a particular speaker or discussion might have its own post:

  • Part One: Solo Speakers
  • Part Two: Panel Discussions
  • Part Three: Technology

Part One: Solo Speakers

From my experience last year, I found that I get a lot from the best solo speakers as SXSW, and that panel discussions can be a bit more hit or miss. There were both keynote speakers each day and multiple sessions daily of what they called “featured speakers.” I arrived a bit later than anticipated Friday afternoon and stayed till Tuesday morning, but was able to fit in a lot of content between Saturday — Monday.

danah boyd

Danah Boyd theme chart by jdlasica

danah boyd delivered the Opening Remarks for the conference, and she was someone I was really looking forward to hear speak. She’s with the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society and Microsoft Research New England, and her research into social media (and youth & teens in particular) is something I’ve shared in both my consulting and teaching work. Her talk at SXSW, “Making Sense of Privacy and Publicity,” centered on a few themes, and what I think she did particularly well was to shed light on the nuance of the debate around privacy online, which too often devolves into two extremes.

I took five pages of notes, but I’ll try to paraphrase what I saw as the main points from her talk:

  • Privacy is about control of information flows. When people feel like they don’t have control of their information they feel like their privacy has been violated. This includes the opt-out versus opt-in debate.
  • Technologists assume that the most optimized system is the best one, but forget about social values and social rituals. (e.g. discussion of Google Buzz launch)
  • Merging worlds. Just because someone puts something online doesn’t mean they want it to be publicized (difference between public and publicity). There’s a security in obscurity – most people online have very few followers. Making something that’s public more public can be a violation of privacy.
  • By continuing to argue that privacy is dead, technologists work to make data more public and things public that were never meant to be. We’re seeing a switch to public by default, private through effort.
  • With privilege, it’s easy to take for granted things that not everyone gets to experience, and with privilege comes a different value proposition – what one person may gain from publicness, another person may lose. This affects not only groups sometimes thought of as marginalized (immigrants, victims of abuse, LGBT community), but also groups like teachers – they have more to lose by public information online. Public by default isn’t always a democratizer.

Her full unedited talk is available on her site here. I urge you to spend the time reading it, as I’ve captured only a small sliver of a very wise discussion.

[Note: this post is cross-posted on my personal blog.]

SXSWi 2009-Sketchnotes-Final Badge by Mike Rohde

This year was my first trip to the SXSW Interactive Festival, and I’m finally getting a chance to cull my impressions and thoughts about everything I experienced.

Event:

  • It’s all about the people. Yes, I saw some inspiring and informative sessions, but I also came away having met a lot of amazing people, some for the first time and some who I’ve known or worked with but never met in person. The sheer quality of most everyone I met was pretty incredible. I was a bit nervous attending by myself, but I quickly learned that you’re only alone if you want to be at SXSW.
  • It’s ok to check out. Wonderful people aside, I reached a point around the 4th day where I kind of maxed out – on lack of sleep, on energy of making new introductions, on mental capacity to focus on one more session. So, I unplugged. I rented a bike, and spent a couple of hours outside in the sunshine. Biked the path around the river, ate Tex-Mex at Chuy’s & blackberry ice cream at Amy’s, perused the rows of boots at Allen’s Boots. It was probably the single best decision I made the entire time I was there, and gave me the energy to finish out strong. (I also had to learn at SXSW that it’s ok to walk out of a session if it’s not doing it for you. I got stuck in one that I really should have left, and didn’t make that mistake again.)
  • You can’t be everywhere. I had to come to terms with not being able to attend everything I had hoped to. (There were a couple days in particular where a number of really strong sessions overlapped.) I’m sure I missed some great things, but know I will be able to catch most everything online. (Some videos are already up on YouTube, podcasts on SXSW and more video promised to come.)
  • Preparing is good. I spent some time before leaving for SXSW planning out a schedule (with built-in overlaps) using both the my.SXSW site and the SCHED*SXSW site. (The SCHED site ended up being the better performing of the two and included more unofficial events.) I imported both to iCal and my iPhone, and it made decisions and getting around much easier (especially if I was ditching one session and heading to another).

Themes:
From the various keynotes, presentations and panels I attended, seven themes emerged for me. (I tried to sample across a range of corporate, non-profit and education sessions – areas where I’m involved professionally – and also a few purely inspirational sessions that weren’t necessarily business-related.) Read more