Saturday, October 28, 2006

Letter to the Professionals of the World

This letter is addressed to all experts in their own fields, aiming at uniting together to make a better world. I do not address every single field of expertise directly. It would be nonsense to even try it. I share some professions or experts as an illustration. I encourage each one of you to analyze what your contribution to a better world is or could be, and to motivate yourself to do a little effort every day in the direction of the kind of coexistence you wish to have for yourself or for those coming after us.

To all lawyers of the world, who understand that laws are rules that promote peaceful coexistence, therefore civilization; who, also, undersand the importance of having just laws, and ethical behavior in absence of laws;

To all psychologists of the world, very good at difusing powerful concepts like self-esteem, the origin of fear and ways to overcome it, and to help get in touch with reality;

To all architects of the world, to take the opportunity and the prvilege to design a sustainable habitat, good enough for future generations to enjoy the same ecosystem we have today;

To all economists of the world, to separate the concepts that are used to make economic predictions from those that are used to measure economic results, the pre- and the post- of the market phenomenon, where it is much easier, much more accurate and much more responsible the latter than the former;

To all medical doctors of the world, to comply with the ethical principle to help without discrimination, to promote health as a recoverable and sustainable good at reach for every single human being, and to make more efforts in prevention rather than on intervention;

To all engineers of the world, par excellence, visionary transformers of conflicts, able to visualize and create what is missing to satisfy a human need;

To all journalists of the world, to contribute with their ethical feedback to all governments with the intention to help them improve their performance;

To all educators of the world, to understand two ideas: first, that to govern is to educate, therefore educators are the ideal platform to promote better governments and better leaders and better citizens on the long-term future; and second, that most likely they will make it on the list of "highly influential people" in the lives of each one of their students or disciples or followers;

To all artists of the world, to project the positive and to propose changes to what can be improved in our cultures, but to do it freely, as art should be;

To all parents, to understand that education starts at home, which means that good governance also starts at home;

To all mothers of the world, and to all women in general, to comprehend that societies are founded and developed through the active role of women, a primary role in importance but secondary in recognition and praises, which has overcome all religions, all geographies, all climates, all ideologiees, all markets and all monies, and that women are the pillars of the future of civilization as in the past it was for the present we enjoy today; to comprehend and commit to their already assigned roles as lawyers, economists, psycologists, medical doctors and nurses, educators, leaders, architects, conflict transformation facilitators, parents, and to form good future citizens, to inculcate on today's children the values we want to have tomorrow.

So be it.

One Love

Ever heard Bob Marley's "One Love"?

It says: "One love, one heart, let's get together and feel alright."

Maybe that's what we need: more oneness, more togetherness, more good feelings, more resonance among us all.

Interreligious Dialogue

1. Religions, cultures, ethnic groups
2. The good news about September 11
3. Long-term view about the Other in me
4. Creating resonance at a political level
5. "Similarities unite; differences enrich"
6. Violence is anything that alters harmony
7. We are all extremists and always 100% wrong

I have just finished moderating a panel in interfaith dialogue, and I wanted to write some thoughts that I collected from it.

1. Interfaith DOES NOT refer only to dialogue between the three Abrahamic religions (namely, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, in order of appearance...) I wonder about dialogue between other religions of the world, big or small, like Hinduism, Sikhism, Baha'iism, Shintoism, Taoism, Buddhism, and all other indigenous social methods to access the Divine through faith.

Also, the communication between people from different religions can be extracted from and adapted to the communication between different groups of people around the world that are excluive, meaning that they exclude others from their congregations. Think about different citizenships, nationalities, ethnic groups, political parties, sports fans. All those groups are based on the belief that the acceptance to the group also implies belonging. There is no other way to be a member.

2. September 11 brought us out of the cocoon we used to live in, said Mushtaq Luqmani, a Pakistani-American at the panel. It made me think that if September 11 had had at least one good, positive, constructive contribution to the world we live in, is that it brought us closer together. Perhaps conflict is not the way we want to come closer to others. Nevertheless, the opportunity posed to human civilization with this event is remarkable: it has forced us all to think why someone would have such ideas and such energy to execute them. The simple question is a challenge regardless of the answer. Conflicts are a bond between the parties at conflict.

3. In 25 years from now, how will the world look like? Will I become closer to the Other, or will the Other become closer to me? If my world is one, and I am here with all Others, it means that in 25 years I will have to share the same world with Them, as much as I do now. The difference is that today I am aware of so much, and most likely in 25 years I will be aware of so much more about the Other that it will be extremely difficult to draw the line where I start and Others end. Engagement of the Other is an attitude more than a methodology, and it is more a lifetime endeavor rather than the theme for a three-day conference.

4. Why do politicians fail to understand the way to peace? Why so much ignorance in those who are leading the way for all of us passengers of this 6-billion-person boat? Could it be that diplomats and politicians already had their time? I am not asking for an opportunity to lead. Never. It's already difficult enough to govern my own life sustainably to take onto the responsibility to govern other people's lives as well. I propose we let women govern civilization for some 25 years. I'm curious to see what would happen then.

5. There are many things that you and I have in common, and many others that are different from each other. Those things we have in common bring us together, like the language we speak, the basic human needs that we seek to satisfy on a daily basis (not only physiological ones, but also emotional ones, like the need for affection, the need for attention, and the need to feel productive), the hope for a better tomorrow. The things we have different, the work we do, the place we live in, the dreams we have about the future, are differences we share, and these differences enrich us mutually. So, similarities unite us, and differences enrich us. I propose we start teaching this at kindergarden level. I propose politicians and leaders all around the world understand this and implement it. It's a very small twist in our attitude, and it produces a quite profound transformation towards a more peaceful coexistence.

6. The most profound and holistic definition of violence I have heard is "anything that alters harmony." In that sense, there are so many expressions of violence around us that it is almost overwhelming to think about it. Good news: this also means we are empowered 100% to take absolute initiative to make this change from the inside. What is our harmony? What is our greatest state of wellbeing? Anything that alters that high quality of your life can be taken away. In fact, only you can do it. Peace is more at hand than you thought it was. For example: when the U.S. decided to invade Iraq, I decided I didn't want to be corrupted at a spiritual level with all the mass media information that is produced in a war scenario. I decided not to watch TV or read the news or engage in conversations about the topic, unless strictly necessary (at the time I was still studying Peace and Conflict Transformation). So, for the last three years I haven't gotten emotionally involved in the conflict, which means, among other benefits, that I haven't developed an irrational hatred towards the U.S. (even though I completely disagree with their blatant violation of International Law). Unless we manage to eradicate this irrational hatred against the U.S., we won't manage to help the boat float stable. It is constantly tilting radically one way or the other, and we don't know how long it will last before it breaks or capsizes.

7. Maureen O'Hara, on her keynote speech at the Conference last night introduced a fact that left me dumbfounded: she says that at any given time, every single human being has access to only one trillionth of the whole information that is available in the world. One trillionth! This means that if we convert this number to a percentage and we round it to the nearest millionth of a percent, each one of us is 100% wrong all the time! Or you think you are the lucky one that bumped into the "right" trillionth of information to "win" an argument? Gotcha!!!

Additionally, this fact allows me to say that we are ALL extremists: if we base our thoughts and our beliefs on one trillionth of the available information, it means that we are basing our perceptions and ideas and beliefs on the hint of the tip of the iceberg, if at all. We could be wrong. All the time. So we should try to avoid judgment about others. This will bring us one step closer to global harmony (and I don't think we are too far away).

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Johan Galtung's "Decline of the U.S. Empire"

I promised some comments about Johan Galtung's "14 reasons for the Decline of the U.S. Empire", after a lecture he gave at the Social Science Faculty Auditorium of Universitetet i Tromsø [University of Tromsoe] in Northern Norway, in September, 2004.

I had planned to exhumate my class notes to bring back to life such a masterful explanation of his prognosis about why the United States will collapse as a geopolitical empire.

Instead, I found this essay, which refers to much, much more than what I knew about it, I humbly acknowledge: I have learned a lot after reading the essay. Plus, it leaves my unpredictable ideological profile quite unpredictable still.

"Decline of U.S. Empire"

Monday, October 16, 2006

Engaging The Other: The Power of Compassion

International Conference on "Engaging The Other". ETO. Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. October 26-29, 2006.


Global Networking Strategy

Friends: I am launching a global networking strategy to "sell" the idea of the Consensus of Costa Rica. An idea to believe in. Stay tuned...

"My greatest professional blessing to date was to start seeing the world as a conflict."
AACM (This is me, by the way: Álvaro Antonio Cedeño-Molinari, a.k.a. Alvaro in any of its 750 versions of it I have heard around the world;)

I have to thank my father for that professional blessing. He's the Master of Problem-Solving. I've been his student as long as I can remember, and probably way before too.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

"Nukelear" War

Is the U.N. in the process of declaring war to North Korea?

Does "means to an end" mean anything when it comes to eliminating a nuclear power ASAP?

If Nortk Korea needs to be "cleared" of nukes, isn't this the best time to do it, if "nuclear war" is out of the question for the U.S.?

What if "nuclear war" is part of the scenarios the U.S. is considering?

Should the rest of the world have a say? is the U.N. still politically strong enough to stand fast and not allow North Korea to develop any further as a nuclear power?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Nuclear Korea

Which one was the last country to confirm nuclear destruction potential before North Korea did last Sunday, October 8th?

What happened to the Non-Proliferation Treaty about preventing more countries to obtain nuclear destuction potential?

Where is the International Atomic Energy Agency? What was the Nobel Peace Prize for the IAEA all about then?

What will happen when Iran makes a similar claim?

When will disarmament really begin for the world?

Is it time to think, as a global community, about rules that will help us achieve sustainable progress, therefore peace?

Have you understood the Consensus of Costa Rica?

The Noble Price of Peace

Muhammad Yunus has been awarded this Friday, October 13th with the Nobel Peace Price in hands of Dr. Ole D. Mjøs, Chairman for the Nobel Peace Price Commission in Oslo, Norway.

Mr. Yunus has proven that there is a price that a capitalist system is willing and able to pay in order to achieve a far better degree of quality of life for millions of inhabitants, in his particular case from his home, Bangladesh.

An Economist receiving the highest international peace prize is a quite distinct phenomenon, because it means that Economic thinking on how society works has brought progress, therefore peace.

Johan Galtung's definition of peace is: "The capacity to transform conflicts creatively, empathically, and nonviolently." In other words, the sustainable social skill of progress. This means that the possibility to launch a virtuous spiral towards peace can come either from Top to Bottom, from decision-makers, leaders, governments and going down, or from below, from the grassroot level, from the individual's inside, from his or her motivation to progress.

Mr. Yunus came up with an idea, one so good that transformed the lives of millions. But not one single life would have been transformed if neither one of those people would not have wanted to. It's a tandem between incentives and motivation, where incentives are external forces that move us in the direction of progress, and where motivation is the strength that each one of us generates from the inside out. It is the drive that keeps us going, waking up every day, and taking the necessary steps to be able to answer "better, better, better" when we ask ourselves "how am I doing?"

The world has a fabulous learning opportunity to reflect upon the learnings of this Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Yunus has proven that having four or five clearly articulated concepts about how the Market Economy works, and how Capitalism can be Socialist enough to help those that are most in need.

It is the noble price of peace.

Friday, October 13, 2006

"The Axis of Evil"

The "Axis of Evil" is a term that was coined by President George W. Bush in his State of the Nation address in January, 2002. Before that, Iraq, Iran and North Korea were three more States of the world.

Today, Iraq is a violent mess that will take some 20 years to recover (best-case scenario), Iran is determined to obtain nuclear weaponry, and North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon this week.

How to solve this potentially devastating global scenario?

I once heard, by a US antropologist (I wish I remembered his name) that the US always needed to create an enemy to justify its military beligerance.

It is an educational problem: if you have been raised and educated to believe that military might is the way to make friends and be loved around the world, there is something terribly wrong there.

If you have never heard about Johan Galtung's 14 reasons to justify the fall of the US Empire, I promise to post them here soon.

Consensus of Costa Rica

Have you heard about the Consensus of Costa Rica? It is a peace-oriented idea proposed by Oscar Arias, President of Costa Rica (1986-1990; 2006-2010), aiming at the promotion of international cooperation and foreign aid to those developing countries that reduce their military spending, hoping to emulate Costa Rica in its non-military structure and its broad and high-quality public education system.

Take 7 minutes to read this link, where Arias proposes the idea to the United Nations General Assembly gathered in New York, September 19, 2006. Consensus of Costa Rica

Sunday, October 08, 2006


This blog intends to promote innovative, holistic ideas towards the transformation or resolution of conflicts. Please feel free to post those conflicts that seem to have no solution to work them out together.