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Dr. Robert Florida will be giving a lecture titled “Buddhist Hospice Care in Thailand: A Response to the AIDS Crisis” on Wednesday, October 27, 2010, 4:00 pm at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, at the Social Sciences and Math Building, Room A104.

Dr. Robert Florida has been a fellow of CSRS since retiring from Brandon University as dean of arts and professor in the Department of Religion. His major area of research is contemporary ethical issues in Buddhism. He has written a book on Buddhism and human rights as well as a number of articles and chapters on Buddhist approaches to various ethical issues.

Thailand, a predominantly Buddhist country, has been relatively successful in dealing with its AIDS crisis. Several Buddhist monasteries established programs for AIDS patients and their families; one of these has the largest hospice in the country. The lecture will cover the principles and practices found in Thai Buddhist hospices and will note some significant differences between what is done there and in Western countries. The talk will be illustrated with material gathered in Thailand, some of which will be in the forthcoming CSRS book Religious Understandings of a “Good Death” in Hospice Palliative Care, edited by Drs. Harold Coward and Kelli Stajduhar.

This lecture is free and open to the public.

The Venus Project Lecture Tour will stop in Vancouver on Saturday, October 23, 2010 from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM.

This event is organised by The Zeitgeist Movement Collective Vancouver, a local chapter for the Zeitgeist Movement and The Venus Project. In their own words: “Adhering to the principles of human birth-rights, we are moving strongly towards a more peaceful way of life. This is referred to as the Resource-Based Economy as proposed by Jacque Fresco, creator of The Venus Project. Looking towards human betterment is what the movement is all about. As the Vancouver chapter, we hope you will join us in the movement and be the change you want to see in the world”.

More information and tickets are available on:

Just breath it

September 25, 2010

We forget to breathe during challenging transitions; yoga teaches us to connect to sources and resources by focusing on the breath.

The Century of the Self: is a British television documentary film that focuses its attention on Sigmund Freud, Edward Bernays, Anna Freud, Wilhelm Reich,‭ ‬who exerted a surprising amount of influence on the way corporations and governments throughout the‭ ‬20th century have thought about, and dealt with, people.

To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?

The Century of the Self: Part 1, Happiness Machines

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, changed the perception of the human mind and its workings. His influence on the twentieth century is generally considered profound. The series describes the ways public relations and politicians have utilized Freud’s theories during the last 100 years for the “engineering of consent”. Freud himself and his nephew Edward Bernays, who was the first to use psychological techniques in public relations, are discussed.

The Century of the Self: Part 2, The Engineering Of Consent

Freud’s daughter Anna Freud, a pioneer of child psychology, is mentioned in the second part, as is one of the main opponents of Freud’s theories, Wilhelm Reich, in the third part.

The Century of the Self, Part 3: There is a Police Man Inside All of Our Heads- He Must be Destroyed

Along these general themes, The Century of the Self asks deeper questions about the roots and methods of modern consumerism, representative democracy, commodification and its implications. It also questions the modern way we see ourselves, the attitudes to fashion and superficiality.

The business and, increasingly, the political world uses psychological techniques to read and fulfill our desires, to make their products or speeches as pleasing as possible to us. Curtis raises the question of the intentions and roots of this fact. Where once the political process was about engaging people’s rational, conscious minds, as well as facilitating their needs as a society, the documentary shows how by employing the tactics of psychoanalysis, politicians appeal to irrational, primitive impulses that have little apparent bearing on issues outside of the narrow self-interest of a consumer population. He cites Paul Mazer, a Wall Street banker working for Lehman Brothers in the 1930s: “We must shift America from a needs- to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. […] Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.”

The Century of the Self – Part 4

In Episode 4 the main subjects are Philip Gould and Matthew Freud, the great grandson of Sigmund, a PR consultant. They were part of the efforts during the nineties to bring the Democrats in the US and New Labour in the United Kingdom back into power. Adam Curtis explores the psychological methods they now massively introduced into politics. He also argues that the eventual outcome strongly resembles Edward Bernays vision for the “Democracity” during the 1939 New York World’s Fair. It is well-known his series was inspired and informed by a book written by the American historian, Stuart Ewen, “PR! A Social History of Spin.”

The Venus Project is dedicated to confronting all of these problems by actively engaging in the research, development, and application of workable solutions. This is a schedule of its 2010 lectures around the world, as published on its official website:

Date Country City Confirmed
6th April Colombia Bogota yes
15th April New Zealand Auckland yes
17th April New Zealand Wellington yes
21st April Australia Brisbane yes
23rd April Australia Sydney yes
25th April Australia Melbourne yes
29th April Australia Perth yes
8th May Japan Tokyo yes
20th May India Bangalore yes
5th June Slovenia Ljubjana yes
11th June Greece Athens yes
20th June (Second Lecture) Greece Athens yes
26th/27th June Netherlands Eindhoven yes
3rd July Portugal Lisbon yes
10th July Spain Valencia yes
24th July Sweden Stockholm yes
31st July Denmark Copenhagen yes
7th August Scotland Glasgow yes
14th August Ireland Dublin yes
21st August England Bristol yes
28th August Germany Munich yes
11th September France Paris yes
25th September Canada Montreal yes
2nd October Canada Toronto yes
9th October Canada London yes
23rd October Canada Vancouver yes
29th October Canada Calgary yes

Life is beautiful

September 24, 2010

Life is beautiful, let’s enjoy the beauty and spread our love!

Healing From Rain Forests: The Value of Traditional Knowledge” a very promising lecture by Dr. Memory Elvin-Lewis, at the Vancouver Institute on October 2, 2010 at 8:15 p.m., Lecture Hall No. 2 in the Woodward Instructional Resources Centre, University of British Columbia.

Dr. Elvin-Lewis’ multifaceted scientific career has encompassed aspects of virology, epidemiology, microbiology, ethnobotany, and ethnopharmacology. Her studies have been worldwide with particular emphasis on plants used in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the West Indies and North and South America. Her research focuses on understanding the therapeutic rationale behind plants selected for a wide variety of maladies, particularly those of infectious origin. Dr. Elvin-Lewis also continues to be interested in the risks of inappropriate herbal formulations and/or use. Her original 2001 article, “Should we be concerned about herbal remedies”, enjoyed more “hits” on the Ethnopharmacology’s website than any other publication at that time.

We happily share updates from SOCAP 10 newsletter. SOCAP is the largest interdisciplinary gathering of individuals and institutions at the intersection of money and meaning. Impact Investors, social entrepreneurs, funders, and other innovators come to SOCAP to build a movement. SOCAP 10 will seek to answer the question ‘What’s Next?’ for the social capital markets. Participants can dive into one of seven tracks to see where the money is moving, how deals are getting done and who is pushing boundaries across the landscape.

Here, we see further information about two tracks available at this conference: Innovation in International Development and Metrics and Systems Thinking.

Exploring the Future: Innovation in 21st Century International Development
The world is changing rapidly. A culture of innovation is a necessity to deal with the global challenges we are facing. In this dynamic session, we will collectively explore the future of international development, and look at how the innovation lessons we have learned in the realm of business can be most fruitfully applied to some of the world’s deepest challenges

Where the Action Is: The Fastest Growing Industries & Markets
Consider the following three facts: (1) the 50 fastest growing economies in the world are all developing countries, (2) 48 of the world’s 50 fastest growing cities are in those developing countries, and (3) the world’s fastest growing markets for automobiles, textiles, computers, internet services, mobile phones and consumer goods are all in developing countries. In other words, these developing countries are fast becoming prominent at both the supply and demand ends of the economic chain. We will take a closer look at these market and industries, about what gaps still persist, and what opportunities this creates for entrepreneurs.

It Takes a Village: Innovation From the Ground Up
Join us for an exploration of innovation in action. Be part of an ongoing whole systems design charrette focused on the rebuilding of Haiti with some organizations who are leading the way in improving the lives of people at the village level. Their collective focus spans leadership development, housing, agriculture, energy, sanitation, water, information technology and economic development.

Taking It to the Next Level: Designing to Scale
When designing innovative programs, it’s important to think about how to develop the initial pilot as well as how to take it to scale once its success has been proven. In this session, IDEO, Living Goods, and Mercy Corps will share how they developed and ran prototypes, and how they took the lessons they learned to scale the programs to new geographies.

Investing for Peace: Deploying Capital in Conflict Zones & Fragile States
Each year billions of dollars are invested in post-conflict areas to rebuild shattered infrastructure and deliver essential services. Increasingly, there is a realization that local entrepreneurs have a major role to play in both rebuilding their countries and creating the innovations that could stop conflict and violence erupting. Yet, the challenges can seem insurmountable. How can truly “risk capital” make an impact? What are the opportunities for a return and where is this already working? Join us for a discussion on cutting-edge innovation and impact investment in some of the most difficult but opportunity rich markets on the planet.

The Biosphere Economy: Investing in Natural Assets for Human Security
Ecosystem degradation and loss of biodiversity are some of the most serious threats of the 21st century. In this session we will be exploring innovative investment mechanisms showing how capital can be directed in a way that promotes large scale ecological restoration, increases biodiversity, and creates meaningful jobs for local communities.

Innovation in International Development Speakers Preview
Adeeb Mahmud, FSG
Anna Elliot, Bamyan Media
Dan Crisafulli, Skoll Foundation
Dave Ferguson, USAID
David Hodgson, The Idea Hive
David Lehr, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina
David Rothschild, Skoll Foundation
Doug Hammond, Haiti Onward
Eric Berkowitz, Bamboo Finance
Janell Kapoor, Kleiwerks
Jason Scott, EKO Asset Management
Jennifer Biringer, SustainAbility
Jocelyn Wyatt, IDEO
Joe Speicher, Living Goods
Johanna MacTaggart, Biosphere Network
Kevin Braithwaite, RootSpace
Kit Cody, Rwanda Ventures
Lisa Carpenter, Gap
Lisa Monzon, Packard Foundation Fisheries Program
Paul Van Zyl, Peace Ventures
Ryan Falvey, Shorebank International
Sanjay Khanna, Resilient People
Shashi Buluswar, Dalberg
Steve Lee, AIDG
Stuart Davidson, Labrador Finance
Susan Burns, Global Footprint Network
Tim Chambers, Oxfam
Uma Viswanathan, Nouvelle Vie Haiti

Metrics and Systems Thinking Sessions Preview
World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s PATHWAY TO VISION 2050
World Business Council for Sustainable Development recently released the work of a 29 member taskforce that created a vision of what the world could look like in 2050 and more importantly, 350 milestones decade-by-decade needed to be on track for a Sustainable 2050. Bob Ewing, Director, Timberlands Strategic Planning for Weyerhaeuser Forest Products, who was one of the 29 company strategists on the taskforce, will discuss the task force and how his company is moving forward as a result of this long-range thinking. Bob Horn, Stanford University, was a synthesizer for the project. He created a 4×14 foot pathway info-mural (that will be on display at SOCAP10). He will introduce the role of the mural and its implications for future strategic work in which business, NGOs, and academia must play a role.

How Does the Impact Investing Industry Think About Metrics & Impact?
Over the past few years, organizations investing in small and growing businesses have decided to use common tools to measure their impact. In this session, you’ll hear about the evolution of the development of tools such as Pulse, GIIRS and IRIS, and how they work together to help organizations gain insight into their investments.

Scalable Solutions and What That Means for Metrics
Join Kevin Starr of Mulago Foundation to try to address both the characteristics of (and how to predict) solutions that go to scale and what that says about metrics. This session will include short work-throughs with organizations represented in the audience.

Formalizing Educational Strategies that Leverage Design
While technological advances have driven innovation in nearly every discipline and domain, the space of education seems to have lagged behind. Foundational learning is continually criticized as “one size fits all”, while the cost of post-secondary education has spiraled out of control. Students demand a new paradigm for learning and a new culturally sensitive set of skills suitable for tackling emerging social problems, yet our schools and colleges are struggling to deliver. This session brings together individuals who are instrumental in shaping new and alternative models for education, in order to explore the future of education from a series of unique perspectives. The goals of the session are to: Illustrate new approaches to design in higher education, and highlight the thought-leaders in this space; foster a productive dialogue around higher education that explicitly emphasizes a trans-disciplinary approach to problem solving; and highlight and describe some of the largest opportunities in the education space, in a way that makes these opportunities clear for entrepreneurs, funding agencies, and policy makers.

Failure is success if we learn from it. -Malcolm S. Forbes. At SOCAP’s first FAILFaire, moderated by design strategy firm Catapult Design, all attendees are invited to present in an open forum personal or organizational failures that led to greater understanding or later successes. Whether it be a failed initiative, a failed business relationship, or a failure in implementation, we will provide a safe venue for discussion, insight, and lessons learned. The objective of the 90-minute session: to learn from the mistakes of others, and perhaps contribute to someone else’s success in the process.
Radical Social Innovation Workshop with WeCreate
Why don’t we see many radical or disruptive innovations like Google or the iPhone in the social space? Nick Jankel ( / and Ryan Fix (PUREPROJECTS.ORG) will lead a rich and open discussion on what a radical social innovation looks like, the characteristics they show and the many cultural, financial and psychological barriers in the social economy that prevent us from cracking the really hard, endemic social problems and disappearing them forever. Come join an animated conversation that cuts to the heart of things and looks to build a new consensus, and new collaborative partnerships, to cultivate radical and transformative social innovation.

Learning for Social Impact – for Social Entrepreneurs
McKinsey & Co’s Learning for Social Impact initiative has identified 5 best practices for measuring social impact. Explore whether these best practices resonate with social entrepreneurs. Do Impact First and Finance First social entrepreneurs see social impact the same way? Do they measure it the same way? This interactive session features 2 social entrepreneurs, one investor and one thought leader. All session participants have a chance to contribute their views and help answer these questions.

Metrics and Systems Thinking Speakers Preview

Beth Richardson, B Corp
Bob Ewing, Weyerhauser Forest Products
Bob Horn, Stanford University
Cathy Clark, CASE
Dennis Littky, Big Picture
Erica Estrada, Hasso Plattner Institue of Design at Stanford
Gina Rodolico, E&Co
Heather Fleming, Catapult Design
Jon Kolko, frog design & Austin Center for Design
Kelly McCarthy, WRI
Kevin Starr, Mulago Foundation
Laura Callanan, McKinsey
Lindsey Anderson (moderator), ANDE
Mariana Amatullo, The Art Center
Morgan Springer, Catapult Design
Nick Jankel, WeCreate
Patrice Martin, IDEO
Paul Rice, Transfair
Penelope Douglas, PCV Ventures
Ryan Fix, Pure Project
Sarah Gelfand, GIIN
Scott Leonard, Indigenous Designs
Tyler Valiquette, Catapult Design

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