Last week, I had the privilege of spending a few hours with a delegation from Egypt—four young men who were involved in the April 6th revolution and continue to work for democracy in Egypt. They were at the end of a three week tour of the U.S. focused on the role of social media in politics and elections.They were frankly surprised that here, in the country that gave birth to Facebook, Twitter and Google, we not doing more with social media to advance our democracy. Their visit with IISC was to focus on some of the social technology that fuels social change work. Still, I thought to myself, “No pressure!”
Last night we came together as IISC to bid farewell to the great Melinda Weekes; we are proud that she is moving on to be the Managing Director of the Applied Research Center. But today’s is not a post about Melinda. It is a post about community.
I’ve been reflecting on five years of work here at the Interaction Institute for Social Change. As inside so outside. My life has changed dramatically over the last five years. And so has the world. Seriousness about social transformation, commitment to the evolutionary process, a burning thirst for justice – a posture that demands sharp attunement with the present moment.
I recently came upon the following abstract of a paper we presented at the Sutures Conference in the University of Toronto back in 2003. I was intrigued by the continuing relevance of the concept and how these ideas continue to inform my work: Read More
“You don’t understand, the United States will not be making cars.” The film Climate Refugees quotes President Roosevelt speaking to auto executives at the outset of World War II. Most of us know about the mobilization of American industry to build a war machine capable of defeating the Axis Powers. Fewer of us understand what it took. Read More
Much appreciation goes out to our friends and colleagues in the Leadership Learning Community for hosting this May 16th webinar with esteemed Professor john powell, Executive Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study on Race and Ethnicity, and the Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. IISC has been privileged to have partnered in the past with staff of Kirwan to shed light on the complex systemic nature and inter-sectional realities of racialized outcomes in our country. You can also check out other interviews, like this one, with Professor powell.
I was just talking to a scientist friend of mine. He told me, and I quote, that “unfortunately, in science, we fail 95% of the time, we inch along towards a breakthrough.” There is a lot of good talk about failure lately, but I don’t think I had ever heard it this way before. When I heard him say that I felt like I wished it was a widely known fact. Read More
We at IISC have the privilege of witnessing heartful, sometimes heart wrenching dialogue about critical issues in our world from multiple perspectives. We work with passionate laypeople and professionals focused on education, environment and sustainability, public health, peace and justice, youth development, racial justice, city planning and community development, to name a few disciplines.
I’m encouraged by a few themes that are coming up more and more in our work. And, I’m even more encouraged that increasingly, they are emerging as imperatives, not just “nice ideas.” As we facilitate processes and bear witness to the struggle to bring forth justice, here are some of the voices we’ve heard calling out: Read More
The “No Labels” political effort feels more like the work of well resourced spin doctors than an emergent political movement that can address the paralyzing institutional polarization that might bring our country to its knees. I was struck by this quote from a New York Times story focused on Bloomberg’s role:
In fact, though, the rise of the independents represents a movement in exactly the opposite direction — away from party organizations altogether… This isn’t so much a political phenomenon as it is a cultural one. In the last decade or so, the Web has created an increasingly decentralized and customized society, in which a new generation of voters seems less aligned, generally, with large institutions. MoveOn.org and the Tea Party groups, for instance, were born as protests against the establishments of both parties, and they empowered citizens to create their own agendas, rather than relying on any elected leadership. Read More
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This often quoted comment by Dr. King forms the foundation of Adam Kahane’s new book, Love and Power: A theory and practice of social change. Melinda Weekes and I attended a recent book talk by Adam, attracted to the topic because, at IISC we’ve been thinking through and practicing the connections among power, love, networks and collaboration for years now. Much of what Adam shared resonates with our thinking. The book builds on the thinking of theologian Paul Tillich. His definitions are worth taking a closer look: