It is a Self-organizing World

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Self-organizing exists everywhere, which makes the world a self-organizing system. Swallows know how to fly in different formation; ants know how to move a giant fly; and people get together because of common interest.

“Atlas Corps Discussion Group” is such a self-organizing group, a fellow lead initiative to debate and discuss the topics we care about. Every other Thursday evening, fellows get together at the same place to have deep discussions on one specific topic initiated by one person who sends out required readings before meet.

Those topics are related to civil society works, while we could rarely find chance to discuss at work.

Secularism and Secularization

A couple of days ago a French eight-year-old kid was interrogated by the police for more than two hours. The reason? According to his primary school teacher and the authorities he “expressed ‘solidarity’ with the Islamist gunmen” authors of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Last year European Courts ruled in favor of French ban on burqa, a political decision based on “security issues”. Well, in France women that wear that garment are only 367, or 0.015% of the population (according to an investigation carried out by the French Police). What a threat to national security!

“Change your perspective, change the world”.

atlas-corps-logoIf you see Atlas Corps Logo, you can realize right away that it is an American map, however, what makes the logo special is that it is upside-down which make sense when you see Atlas Corps slogan: “Change your perspective, change the world“.

It has been five months since I started my fellowship and it is something that has caught my attention. I am from Colombia, a country that has been called a “third world-country”, an “underdeveloped country” or a “developing country”. When I was a child I use to watch on TV how the United States helped out other countries, especially in Latin America and Africa. I grew up believing that we were in the middle of a hierarchy and in that scale of things we were below on the “totem pole” and we only have to wait for the developed countries to help us out.

Why I worry about Climate Change

Growing up in a low-income community in Lagos Nigeria, I lived with flooding from tidal inundations and its accompanying public health issues. It all seems normal, until I understood that these were climate-induced events impacting on the quality of life of my home community. This realization and being a witness to unintended consequences of urban development policies led to a career in policy research for urban development. Indeed, i want to spend my career supporting governments in growing cities particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa to undertake better climate-sensitive development planning that benefits its most vulnerable populations. This is the impetus behind Enyenaweh -the research and innovation group I founded 18 months ago.. I am particularly interested in how institutions coordinate across levels of governments and service delivery agencies for urban resilience. I explain urban resilience as the capacity of a city-system to plan, prepare, respond, withstand and bounce back from shocks and stresses induced or accentuated by climate change.

First 3 days of serving at Global Good Fund

office2It has been three days since I began to serve at Global Good Fund(GGF) as a fellowship program manager. GGF has been running such a prestigious fellowship program to accelerate the development of high potential young leaders to achieve out-sized social impact since 2012. Actually the organization is quite small. There are only 4 full-time staff members including myself but they are doing a great job. Especially it was so impressive to see their enthusiasm toward young leaders on the globe. In terms of sustainability, they have their own commercial products to create profits, which is very differentiated from other non-profit organizati  ons. Therefore, I was very thrilled to join here and already learned a lot from my team members. Also, I found some rooms to apply my work experience and knowledge to enhance their performance quality and brand awareness.

Five Classrooms You Didn’t Know About

(That will teach you more than any classroom you have been to.)

At crowded parties when people find out I work with NGOs, I am often told, “Aww that’s so nice! I want to work with an NGO too! Can you give me a job?” To this I always ask them what they do. Some common answers are, “I work in a bank,”, “I work in an investment company,” “I am a coder.” And I say, “Aww that’s so nice! I want to work in a bank too!” or “I want to code too! Can you give me a job?” And they laugh awkwardly, because they can’t tell if I am joking or not.

In short about my first 2weeks in US

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Sunday, January 11, 2015, my first day in DC, when arrived I found one of fellow fellows Traina from India and Harrite from Uganda class 17 (my class, we came in the plane but she managed to get off before me) waiting for me in the arrival terminal. Out of the airport temperature was -8 “°C”  I realized that my life as a nonprofit sector leader is going to change 180% as embark to be a global fellow with Heartland Alliance International.

What serving as an Atlas Corps Fellow at NCSEJ taught me

A year spent as an Atlas Corps Fellow was full of both professional and academic challenges and opportunities for me. I thought I would dedicate a separate blog post for the purpose of describing them.

First of all, among one of my key challenges was the need to adapt to very fast, vibrant and energetic lifestyle that American working environment contains in itself. A lucky person who got a chance to become an Atlas Corps Fellow has to realize that he/she has to be fully ready both emotionally and physically for this amazing opportunity of serving as an Atlas Corps Fellow abroad. I remember that when I was serving in DC I was always thinking of one line, “With opportunity comes responsibility.”

When children become weapons or targets of war

“Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere”-Martin Luther King Jr.

Every January since the year 2000, the United States of America commemorates the life and work of the late Martin Luther King, Jr., an American pastor, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. King is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using non-violent civil disobedience.

Legit satire does not exist

By Lara Palmisano

New Yorker Cartoon by Michael Shaw

New Yorker Cartoon by Michael Shaw

Michele Santoro, a memorable journalist censured and banned from the public Italian television, commented the rifles storm at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a weekly satirical magazine on January 7, 2015. He expressed, “It was a war act. A massacre of bodies, and a massacre of thinking. A cartoon is not a trifle, it is a story. The cartoonist’s job is difficult and dangerous: in only one image he has to build a story, which can be violent, fittingly or unjustly brutal. He can speak about God, about what is hidden in the deep soul wrinkles, but any story can really offend God. To be hurt are our prejudices.”