“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse” —Jim Rohn
“If you know what you will do in advance, then you won’t do it. Your creativity starts whether you’re curious or not.” -Frank Gehry
Those only are happy who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness; on the happiness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not as a means, but as itself an ideal end[…].Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so. The only chance is to treat, not happiness, but some end external to it, as the purpose of life.” -John Stuart Mill
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe” -John Muir
The United Nations was created in the aftermath of a World War fueled by a regime built on the notion of a superior race. International organizations and governments across the world have advanced those rights since then, but it is up to ordinary people to secure them.
Last Friday, I volunteered as a logistics staff at the United Nations Headquarters in New York for a conference titled “Refugees, the 21st Century Challenge”. The organizer, the Committee on Teaching About the United Nations (CTAUN), is a branch of the United Nations’ own Department of Public Information. CTAUN is dedicated to providing teachers worldwide a platform and resources to educate the next generations on matters related to human rights, environmental protection, immigration, and refugees. Teachers would then incorporate global awareness into the school activities and the curricula itself across all levels of education. Among the speakers was Ninette Kelley, the Director of UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Bill Frelick, Refugee Policy Director of Human Rights Watch, students from Iraq, Sudan, and Syria attending U.S. universities, among many other panelists and speakers involved in refugee programs based in the US.
While I spent most of the time helping out with service and logistical tasks, such as handing out information packages and collecting surveys, I did have the opportunity to hear from the speakers. Here’s what I’ve learned:
I am reading an article on the roles of private, public and non-profit organizations in shaping the urban environment for a class in Urban Design. I particularly liked this passage:
In most cases, where power has come to be shared, it was taken by the citizens, not given by the city. […] Those who have power normally want to hang onto it, historically it has had to be wrested by the powerless rather than proffered by the powerful.”
-“A Ladder of Citizen Participation” by Sherry Arnstein
In his farewell speech, Obama urged citizens to organize and get involved. Maybe he understood this feature of power quite right, and he understood that the new Administration would never concede or share a smattering of power. It is up to the citizens to snatch it.
An excellent introduction to the historical development of the Executive branch in the American government. Among the many things I learned, a few resonate:
Questions that I have:
We also know how cruel the truth often is, and we wonder whether illusion is not more consoling.” -Henri Poincaré