Monday, October 8, 2012

This morning we had a planning meeting with the team from ASU that will be attending the conference. I am impressed by the quality of the people that are involved. We have a mix of students and professionals with a cross-cultural mix from Poland, India, Africa, Canada, and the United States.

The major focus of this meeting was to introduce everyone to each other and discuss the logistics of small group discussions and organizational planning. This is a very fluid process that will change each day as we discover what is most needed to achieve our goals. We currently have 72 confirmed participants from 13 countries.

Here is a summary of a couple of the people who were present. There were about 12 all together.

Dr. Rimjhim Aggarwal is from the ASU School of Sustainability and is playing a major role in the organization of the project along with Dr. Marek Wosinki.  She is from India and envisions this process as a way to develop leaders, integrating Gandhi’s philosophy, who can help promote peace in the world through agribusiness and sustainability programs.  It is a very complex program to integrate a variety of initiatives (peace work, leadership development, empowerment of women, food and water resource management).  The intent is to create a global community of mentors, coaches, and young people and use technology to facilitate this process.   She has a very peaceful presence and is very smart. She is also has a long history with spiritual practice and meditation.

Jerrie Ueberle is another member going to India.  Jerrie is Founder/President of Global Interactions, Inc., and the World Academy for the Future of Women. Global Interactions is a non-profit corporation specializing in developing international connections to promote the sharing of promising practices, technologies, and research among professional and business counterparts worldwide.

The World Academy is a dynamic and bold leadership program to empower women through the discovery of their passion, purpose and path to success, to engage in addressing the United Nations Millennium Development Goals through collaborative and inclusive partnerships. Begun in 2009 the Academy is positioned to accelerate the advancement of women worldwide uniting women and men in achieving these goals.

Robby Uppal was with us via Skype. He is the President of Visionary Investment Genesis, an Arizona based venture capital company that focuses on providing seed money for development projects and smart technology. With a background in International Commercial Law and Business Transactions, as well as Corporate Legal Accountability, he has been a policy officer for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor for South and Central Asia monitoring India, Nepal, Maldives, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. He is also the co-founder of Solar Topps, an Arizona based Solar Energy Firm. He has been with UCP-SARnet since 2009 and has served multiple functions as an Associate Facilitator, particularly the oversight of major reorganization of both the network’s structure and growth. Currently, he facilitates public and private partnerships for UCP-SARnet.

There is a plan to video much of the program and make it available online after the event. We will interview participants as well to hear their thoughts, feelings, and impressions.

Here are the  keynote speakers:

First, a word from the Chairman of Jain Irrigation Systems, a major sponsor of this project.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It has been my long cherished dream to create a lasting memorial to the Mahatma Gandhi has been my ideal, my hero, my guide and in many ways my friend for the last five decades and more. For years I have wanted to pay my tribute to him for all that he has contributed to the fulfillment of my life. Unfortunately, circumstances did not allow me to do this till last month, when we formally inaugurated the Gandhi Re-search Foundation here at Jain Hills in Jalgaon.

Today I am proud to say that I am well on the way to fulfilling my dream. The Gandhi Research Foundation is established in a structure befitting the Father of the Nation. The message of the Mahatma is slowly, but surely taking root in the hearts and minds of the numerous visitors that are beginning to throng Gandhi Teerth (museum), participating in Tests on Gandhian Thought, rural development programs, dissemination of Gandhi’s teachings through lecture series and exhibitions, plays, Padayatras and Cycleyatras, seminars, workshops and, most of all, through publication and sale of books and the sale of Khadi and village industry products.

It is my earnest desire that this EmPeace LABS 2012 workshop will provide the right impetus for the five-year project of Empowering for Peace through Leadership in Agribusiness and Sustainability Eradicating Poverty in Rural Communities. This was so close to Gandhi’s heart. His everlasting desire was to make the rural community self-sufficient and empower the underprivileged.

May his divine hand guide us in this endeavor.

Dr. Bahavarlal H. Jain

Chairman of Jain Irrigation Systems’ Ltd.


Dr. Bhavarlal H. Jain

Dr. Bhavarlal H. Jain is the Founder of the Jain group of companies and Chairman of the Company. He began his business in 1963 by trading in agricultural inputs and equipment. In 1980, he commenced PVC Pipe manufacturing operations. Post 1986, he pioneered the concept of micro irrigation in India.

He has received many awards and accolades for outstanding work in agriculture including the prestigious Crawford Reid Memorial Award instituted by Irrigation Association, U.S.A. for “Significant Contribution to the Irrigation Industry outside the United States.” Three honorary doctorates have been conferred on him from different universities acknowledging path breaking work he has done for improvement of agriculture in India .


Justice/Dr. Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari

Dr. Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari has been a judge of impeccable moral character, and is a staunch and steadfast Gandhian, both in equal measure. In both the roles, he has been uncompromising in his belief and value systems. Justice Dharmadhikari is a living icon of Gandhian values. He has emulated Gandhian thoughts and actions in every walk of his life, may it be on the social, economic, political, legislative or religious-spiritual fronts. At a time when Gandhiji is thought to be inconsequential to the present global situation by a section of opinion makers, the iconic presence of the likes of Dr. Darmadhikari helps in building a counter opinion that it is only by following Gandhiji’s prophesies that a better, sustainable and equitable world can be rebuilt. Gandhiji’s legacy is without age. Such traditions don′t become irrelevant with the passage of time.


Mdm. Nileema Mishra

Nileema Mishra, from India, was recognized with 2011 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership Nileema was born to a middle-class family in the village of Bahadarpur, Maharashtra. With a master’s degree in clinical psychology, she could have gone on to a comfortable life as an urban professional. But even as a child, Nileema was sensitive to the crippling poverty in her village. Five years after finishing her studies in 1995, Nileema returned to her village to organize Bhagini Nivedita Gramin Vigyan Niketan (BNGVN), or Sister Nivedita Rural Science Center, named after an Anglo-Irish missionary who devoted her life to helping Indian women of all castes.

The success of Bahadarpur inspired Nileema to expand her work. In less than ten years, BNGVN has formed 1,800 self-help groups in two hundred villages across Maharashtra. Its microcredit pro-gram has caused to be distributed the equivalent of US$5 million, with a hundred-percent loan recovery rate. But the most critical change has taken place in the villagers’ sense of themselves, their new-found confidence that they need not despair, that working together, they will find a way.


Mr. Pape Samb

Mr. Pape Samb assumed the position of Director, Programs for Africa and Freedom Endowment (PAFE) at Phelps Stokes in 2010 to provide leadership and vision in the development, imple-mentation and assessment of Phelps Stokes’newly created Programs for Africa Department.

Mr. Samb is a social entrepreneur focused on international development, who has over seventeen years of leadership experience in nonprofit management, program design and development, database management, fund-raising, and training facilitation.

Prior to being tapped as the Director of Africa Programs at Phelps Stokes, Mr.Samb was the Associate Development Director of Sasha Bruce Youth-work, where he supported the organization’s development and programmatic operations including writing proposals and developing and coordinating staff training programs. He also facilitated the creation of the Development Department’s strategic plan and assisted with the agency’s operational strategies.

Mr. Samb is an active member and board member of several African- and African Diaspora-focused organizations including Constituents for Africa (CFA), African American United Caucus (AAUC) Next Generation of Leaders, Vort Port International (VPI), and the National Academy of Public Ad-ministration (NAPA) Africa Working Group. He is the founder of SENEGEL, an organization of Senegalese young leaders around the world, and the co-founder of African Neoleaders, an organization for emerging leaders, and CEO of EXELEADMEN. He is fluent in English, French and several West African Languages and conversational Spanish and Arabic.


That is all for now. My next post will probably be from the airplane on my way to India. Please pray for me that all the flights are on time and it is a safe landing. Thanks so much.


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.