Saturday, Jay Shahidi, President of the Minnesota chapter of the United Nations Association, commented on an aspect of the state of our world. I paraphrase what I heard Jay say: ‘about 20 years passed between the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II. It has been over 70 years, and there has been no World War III. I think a functioning United Nations is an important reason for this’.
There have been wars since WWII, of course, but nothing on the scale of the two World Wars. By the UN’s very existence, imperfect as it is, I’d join Jay’s contention that the UN has been a very positive mediating force for a better world.
At the same meeting, Prof. Joe Underhill of Augsburg University gave an excellent talk, “Connecting the local and global Minnesota’role with the SDG’s” on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Take some time to review these goals, and follow up on any that seem interesting to you.
Prof. Underhill, who has strong professional credentials, including as professor, and long term involvement with the Nobel Peace Prize Youth Forum at Augsburg, laid out the basics for local grassroots involvement to make a real difference in our now global society.
Indeed, the very existence of the Sustainable Development Goals has its roots in grassroots lobbying for them at the time the earlier Millennium Development Goals came to an end in 2015. I learned this at another talk last year. The original MDG’s were developed by the UN, resulting in significant accomplishments; the new SDG’s evolved from a ground up process.
There exists a strong substructure of citizen led NGOs which have the capacity and the interest in making a big difference on local, national and Global Issues. While there will always be tensions between those in the traditional power structure (nations, leaders of nations); in the global era, citizens can and do and must have a direct impact.
In my opinion, there are two main impediments to citizen generated progress towards a better world. The first is a tendency of individuals to doubt their power to make a positive difference. The second, and greater, dilemma, is developing the ability to work together, melding people of different points of view.
At the conclusion of Saturday’s meeting I was able to announce a film, showing in Minneapolis on Saturday, November 11. The announcement is below, as well as a pdf for distribution to others: World is My Country002.
The film is complete, but not yet fully released. This is a film great for inspiration and for discussion. If you’re in the area of Minneapolis, I hope you can attend.