8/31 – Social Acupuncture: SDG’s & the Future of Humanitarianism, Nexus at the United Nations, 2016

August-November 2016 / Notes from the Field

Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk

Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk social acupuncture

Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk

Note to reader: Traditional humanitarianism seeks to alleviate a symptom. Integral humanitarianism views an individual project as a Systemic remedy. Identifying where within the ecological, social, cultural and economic systems one can have the greatest positive impact and what methods should be used is Social Acupuncture. The people’s transformation into conscious cultural creators (people who have become consciously aware of how their choices are creating their current culture, economically, spiritually, environmentally, etc.) and can respond strategically with an understanding of how the challenges faced are interconnected via their project (non-profit, for-profit or governmental), is the permanent empowerment that should be sought when seeking to understand and address any of the Sustainability Development Goals. The SDG’s were identified by the UN via experts around the world as the goals humanity must strive to reach in order to protect the quality of life our species desires environmentally, economically and to improve upon sociologically. Thinking in isolated silos geographically, culturally, and economically will not yield sustainable results in a world constantly shifting due to globalization. Globalization is the natural outcome of our increasing population, but we must work to encounter it responsibly by making it possible for all people to harness the opportunities our increasingly interconnected world provides in addressing the SDGs’. The speakers highlighted in this article have all either done so or are in the process of doing so on the local, national and international scale. There is a great deal of information here, so in order to avoid it becoming too dry, I decided to provide the majority of this article in story form:

Trammell’s blue eyes darted back and forth, following the pace of his thoughts as he looked past me to the ceiling, and walls of the café as if searching for answers…his expression intense and sporadic at once….searching to put into words what he had just experienced at the recent Republican Convention. Then sighing, looked directly over the steaming matcha to meet my eyes, “Everyone there was searching. Heck, I’m searching. But what people are peddling these days doesn’t add up, doesn’t make sense. I’m going to vote for Trump because I worry about immigration. But I met business mogul after business mogul who believe the environmental crises we face today as a nation, as a planet, is real and are feeling conflicted. I’m feeling frustrated.”

I found myself nodding at the brilliant businessman across from me, then staring into my own black tea as if scrying…searching for the right words. I heard my late father’s, John Philp Thompson’s, words in my mind. Himself a brilliant businessman, he had reminded me that the leaders of corporations hold in their hands the degree of power and influence conducive to a small nation. He had said it was not a matter of wanting this type of power, but rather a choice of accepting the responsibility to humanity and the planet such power places upon the shoulders of those who wield it.

With this in mind, I chose my words carefully, but directly, “Well then, Trammell, you will need to begin to articulate your thoughts clearly so others can understand the difference between your stance and those being peddled by those promoting bigotry. For example, I know you aren’t racist against Mexican-Americans because you wouldn’t have invited me to lunch if you were. However, there are those who don’t see this side of you, who just see you aligning with someone who calls those sharing my DNA all sorts of demeaning names and they will assume your issue is not on the financial concerns immigration represents, but rather based on racial hatred. Today, we are more interconnected than ever – our issues, our economic systems, the diverse cultures we live beside, and that means unless you spell out your reasons for your concerns popular media will make assumptions too easy for those who don’t know you.”

Trammell nodded, pulling out a pad of paper and writing all sorts of things down, “True…’, he lifted the pen and pointed at me, “True. But, I shouldn’t have to choose between my concerns on immigration and my concerns about our environment. I should want to be able to wish the best for the future of my daughter who I was just with and not be constrained by so much…so much stuff.”, he waved his hand in the air, gesturing to what we both knew all too well made up the blast of media across the TV screens, the internet and newspapers worldwide. He sighed at the enormity of it and shook his head adding before taking another sip of green tea, “Know anyone in Nexus that cares about the oceans around islands?”

I recognized in his honing in on a single specific topic the workings of a man used to being in charge of tackling a goal one piece at a time. I didn’t blame him one bit, as the world’s economic systems, ecological systems and sociological systems were more intertwined than ever before. Business leaders working on global scales were like the first rings forming around stones thrown into the surface of a pond…the stock markets and first hand experiences of witnessing sensitive ecosystems changing dramatically over time. Trammell’s own business interests kept him personally aware of the innermost rings, and like so many top leaders of industries I’d recently spent time with, he was worried.

“Sure.”, I answered while pouring some more tea, “I wasn’t there, but NEXUS Caribbean apparently ran some numbers, took an inventory of the various industries and businesses in Jamaica and realized they have enough clout when combined to either encourage existing businesses or buy out existing businesses to convince the entire economy on the island to become ecologically responsible. I don’t know how long it will take, but their goal is to make it the first fully green country in the world, and if it that works over the next five to fifteen years, to take the process to another island.”

Trammell’s eyes shot up, “See? That…that right there is what I never had. I didn’t have access to others like myself to collaborate with. I have just always gone at things alone. But that right there gives me some hope.”, he stretched, looking out the window of the café where hundreds of people walked about the Manhattan streets. He turned and asked, “When did you graduate from high school?”

“In 1996…”

“Gawd….so young. Well, it’s not fair, but your generation is going to have to fix a lot of this crap.”, he gestured with his hands at the world around us, the shared statistics we’d just spent two hours swapping between us filling the air. Then, picking up his mug of tea again, he gestured, “But maybe, if you continue to work together like y’all seem to be doing…maybe you can do it.”

I leaned over towards him, “That’s what the founders of NEXUS, Jonah Wittkamper and Rachel Cohen Gerrol are trying to do. Our generation doesn’t have the luxury of indulging in 10 years of focusing on ourselves followed by another ten years of focusing just on our own families and careers. If the world is going to prevent the issues presented by climate change it has to begin now, not when they turn 40.  And they are going to have to work together with people like you, and people like you are going to have to do the same with your contemporaries and people like both of us are going to have to forge collaborations across generational, economic, racial, religious, political and cultural boundaries.”

Trammell ran his hands over his face, “I know, I know, I know. That’s why I launched Earth Day Texas. When the leaders of corporations and senators come there to meet about whatever they are meeting about they have to walk through it all, then have lunch there and then leave back through the crowds, the booths, see all the people there. It’s my hope that they learn something along the way…recognize why caring about this stuff could be good for their businesses.”

I couldn’t help but to smile at the man’s brilliance, “And understanding that is why I wanted you here with us at the UN. Let me tell you what happened in Washington DC this past January when NEXUS was at the White House…”, I paused reflecting on how blatant it had all been, then looked back up, “When NEXUS did it’s event at the White House this year, all the competing presidential delegates were invited to send a representative to present their case to the group. They hosted that part at the Peace Institute. When the issue of Climate Change was raised, the Republican representatives said they still didn’t fully believe it is real. The response by the next generation of millionaires and billionaires from our country was immediate and incredulous. The group was pretty evenly packed with people who leaned both Republican and Democrat in their families and personal political beliefs. But what became apparent was that if the Republicans don’t begin to accept the validity of climate change as a concern, and not as some conspiracy dreamed up by progressives, they will lose out on an entire generation.”

Trammell didn’t miss a beat, “I believe that.”

I added, “You and I both know, because we are blessed to be able to travel around the world, that most other first world countries are not debating the issue of climate change being real or not. Most other countries are debating between conservative versus progressive strategies to deal with the challenges it presents. If our country doesn’t move towards that, we will be losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars that could otherwise be made,  and more importantly, we will be losing out on fixing the problem.”

Trammell wrote down more things, then pointed again with his pen at me, “We’re working on that. Earth Day Texas is gonna bring in some of the biggest companies. We’re gonna get them there. But can you bring a group in NEXUS…can you get them there and we can see what we can make happen?”

Nodding, I thought of Aaron Berger whose company, Sharemeister, had created an algorithm that allowed him to take tally of what needed to happen to move climate change forward in the priorities of our nation. A progressive independent, Aaron was surprised to learn that what was missing was conservative voices vocalizing concern and offering solutions, willing to prioritize the challenge rapidly being shared by more and more of humanity over politics so that the debate could be moved from progressive versus conservative towards exploring and debating different tactics from within the industries instead of fighting them.

“Aaron Berger is one of the heads of NEXUS’ Working Group on Climate Change. He needs help finding older generations of Republicans who believe the science behind Climate Change is solid and who are willing to create a new voice of reason on the conservative side. He’s found all sorts of progressives, but if you can help him find some of the older conservatives, then this could become an intergenerational effort.”

Trammell’s face lit up with a huge grin, “I know them.”, then he tilted his head to the side, “But tell me, before we go to the United Nations tomorrow, what is,” he glanced at his notes, “Social Acupuncture?”

I laughed, “It’s exactly what you are doing: finding the places within society where if energy, finances and focus is placed the combination has the potential to have a resounding beneficial impact that expands further out. What NEXUS has done is doing it via getting whole generations of new wealth holders to be aware of the challenges we are inheriting and getting us working together on them before it’s too late. You are doing that when you host the Earth Day Texas event and invited industries to the table who normally are demonized, but instead invite them to work with experts on finding a way to evolve towards something better. If we combine efforts, linking strategic relationships between the connections we have, we can quadruple our effectiveness…and the strategy behind that would be using an understanding of business, ecology, and sociology to forge alliances the world needs right now. That strategy…much of which you already do, is social acupuncture.”

He snapped his fingers, then picked up his sack, “Got it!”

The next day I waited in the large plenary room, my mind reflecting on the conversation that had happened the day before. It had been a conversation the main media outlets would have said would have been impossible: A male conservative baby boomer Caucasian business mogul/philanthropist and a Hispanic female progressive 39year old activist/philanthropist. But sitting there in that café we had been humanitarians sharing our deep concerns based on access to the top levels of governments and industries worldwide. We knew the Sustainability Development Goals set forth by nations around the world were not merely something that the global community thought would be nice. No, we knew they were a list of crucial things that must be attained for our species to continue to live at the level of comfort we currently have ecologically, economically and sociologically. In other words, like all the others joining on the UN panel titled, “Social Acupuncture: SDG’s & the Future of Humanitarianism”, we knew that all 17 of those SDG’s were intrinsically interconnected.

Directly before our group moved to the front of the room, the Climate Change panel was finishing up with Guetta Mezzetti, Consultant to the Pentagon, explaining the relationship between Climate Change and its effects on international security. She pointed to the Syrian immigrants and explained that the recipe for war and social unrest come from a scarcity of resources and that back in the 1990’s scientists had warned that Climate Change would be leading to the drought which would in turn lead to a recipe for exactly what the world was witnessing today. She then asked what we thought would happen if left unchecked and countries with many times the population of Syria began to need to escape their homelands. She asked if our generation wanted to live in the kind of war torn area that Syria was currently in or if we wanted to face the kind of crises Europe was currently facing trying to tackle it all. She delineated the connection once again explaining, “These things are not separate. I cannot emphasize it enough. If your generation doesn’t want to see what happened in Syria occur in many more places, then study the historical patterns as we have in the Pentagon. The equation is not a new one. Reduced resources of food and access to clean water leads to war. Uninhabitable lands lead to the mass migration of people to places they believe will help them survive. If we do not want our nation facing these kinds of issues, these kinds of problems, those like yourselves must act today. You must invest, you must combine your investments towards funding the solutions that we will need tomorrow. You will be alive when we begin facing these problems. Combine your efforts now so that you won’t make the mistake others made with Syria.”, she paused, her lip trembling with emotion, then stood at attention, adding in a steady voice, “If there is just one thing that I regret. If there is just one thing that I could say to you, to your generation and to the world that I am sorry for, it is that our team in the Pentagon did not succeed in convincing the political leadership that we needed to move on towards doing those things back then. Perhaps lives could have been saved. You have the chance to do that now. Work together. Invest together. Learn from what we weren’t able to convince past leaders to do.

I glanced around the room to see the impact her words had made on those who would soon be joining the Social Acupuncture panel I was moderating. Sitting up in front, Adolfo Ayuso Audrey, the Deputy General Director of International Affairs for the Office of the President of Mexico merely nodded knowingly. Two nights before he had explained to Joshua and me that “Mexico has worked to get the message out about the 2030 Agenda to ensure that people understand its purpose and objectives, particularly at the local level.” Believing it to be in the best interests of their country for its people to have easy access to the data their elected leaders relied upon, they had set up an online webpage that made tracking all data related to the Sustainability Development Goals accessible to all ages. People in their country could now see the economic toll that Climate Change was causing, and how making access to education and encouraging their culture to support women’s active voices in all areas of government was beneficial for the whole. With the data clearly tracked, it removed the discussion of SDG’s from one being debated between progressive and conservative interests into one that was looking for new methodologies to move forward towards achieving them. Mexico had taken a risk, counting on the everyday citizen to be capable of processing the information so that they would equate achieving the goals to their own wellbeing. Adolfo had explained, “The ability to achieve national ownership is directly related to the ability to understand the new development framework.” His argument seemed to echo the urging of the Pentagon Advisor, suggesting that it was not enough for a nation to adjust its laws and industry requirements, but rather that the citizens themselves must be informed so they can understand at the basic level the SDG’s are about preserving the healthiest, most prosperous future for themselves and their families.

Later, when speaking on the panel, Adolfo added, “There must also be a willingness to participate through the recognition that it is not only about rights, but also obligations.” The rest of the panel nodded, acknowledging that now that our species can access itself and has the capacity to recognize how issues once perceived as siloed are actually interconnected, we have an ethical obligation to act with strategies that take those interconnections into account.

Daisy Khan, Adolfo Ayuso Audrey and Laurence Bloom social acupuncture

Daisy Khan, Adolfo Ayuso Audrey and Laurence Bloom

Daisy Khan, the Founder and Executive Director of Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality pointed out how her former occupation as an architect had led to the way she had begun to recognize the relationships between demographics others assumed were insurmountable. Accustomed to recognizing how structures relied on the whole, she approached social issues the same way, looking for the framework that was flawed or lacking within a sociological environment. With the goal of ending female circumcision in Egypt and Afghanistan, she had worked with Imams within the countries, bringing learned Islamic scholars to aid in walking through the Koran with the leadership to illustrate that there was no place within their holy scriptures requiring that such an action be taken against the female body. In fact, in the process, they had discovered there was text against the practice. Horrified, the Imams had set about correcting the false belief in their own congregations and their congregations had spread the word throughout their own towns. She pointed out that, “While it can be easy to place blame, we would never have had the success we did if we had labeled the Imams as the enemy. We had to work with the leaders within the people’s communities so that we were not arguing against them, but instead helping them to become better leaders for their own people. They did the work of taking the correct understanding out into the cities and towns. No one undermined their authority and women became more respected in the process, not because of rebellion against the mosques, but because of their communities and therefore made stronger by the congregations. Now that respect for women is growing from within the community as opposed to our attempting to intervene as an outside force which does not work.”

Trammell nodded, “Yes, we did the same in Texas where we brought powerful families from progressive and conservative sides, Republicans and Democrats, and got the Texas Land Conservancy to demonstrate how if steps aren’t taken, our state will run out of the water it will need to sustain the population we are projected to have in 2050. It will take responsible development that uses materials that allow the water to move through roads, concreate walkways and land owners who agree to make their properties have permeable land along areas that buttress up on rivers, lakes and creeks. It will take different means for raising cattle, and regulations, and more. But most of all, it will take Texans refusing to politicize the water issue. So we brought them all together and it was really funny seeing the expressions of the people looking at each other because they normally don’t hang out with each other. But when they saw the data, they agreed that it was more important for there to be enough water for our population in 2050 than it is for us to try and get anything out of politicizing it today.”

Joshua and I had been lucky to be at that meeting and recalled how for the first time ever, the experts had possessed the technology to layer collected data on top of each other resulting in the projections. It had been a powerful experience to witness the projected amount of available water become increasingly smaller as one industry was layered on top of another alongside human consumption. Then, as we had watched the Texas Land Conservancy’s recommendations reduce water consumption and allow for more and more permeable land, we had seen the amount rise. Undeniable, the way each economic influence had led to ecological change, and how it all began with a sociological impetus to agree to make future decisions based on this new knowledge, everyone in the room had agreed to Trammell’s request.

Aaron Berger agreed, “For me, technology has been an incredible tool, not just for communication, but also disseminating information. I feel that people could be routinely surprised by who they can reach out to and what information they can find. This allows for a greater degree of cooperation; solutions are possible, together.” He went on to explain that his company, Sharemeister, had created a for-profit model to link corporations with the humanitarian concerns of their clientele, turning marketing into a means of financial support that wouldn’t cost non-profits a dime and yet would increase profits for corporations seeking to engage the public with their product or service.

Thomas Johns, the protégée selected by Dr. Don Edward Beck, (one of the people who had helped identify Nelson Mandela as a potential leader for South Africa’s attempt to overthrow apartheid and had continued on as one of Mandela’s main advisors), as one of the most promising leaders to take Spiral Dynamics into the future and affect great social change, spoke up, “as (all this) relates to achieving the sustainability goals…The idea that I most want to communicate for this audience is to love. What I mean by that, is that to love is to understand. The difference between love and hate is love continually tries to understand, whereas hate refuses to even try. When you understand a problem, enemy, person, or opportunity so well that you can completely and utterly crush, destroy and obliterate it, you also love it. As you dive deeper into the subject of your problem, you will begin to notice it in other things. From one thing you will learn ten thousand. As you make progress to solve these problems you will see ripples in the other goals because the interconnectedness of this world.”

Tania Rodriguez, the President of Club of Budapest’s Mexico Chapter, and highly active board member on the Board of The Memnosyne Institute, added, “I agree because in the work I am doing to help advise in the rebuilding of Nepal, we are bringing eco solutions to help place not just the physical infrastructure back into the communities, but also have to first approach with a depth of understanding which begins in recognizing the interconnections the environment has with the people themselves. In my business, Green Habitat, we have done with designing the School Out of A Box architecture and engineering for Memnosyne’s international program. It seems on the surface like it is just a structural design challenge, but in reality the physical is in direct result of the sociological and environmental. Are we giving people dignity? Are we listening to them? This is how what Thomas calls, ‘love’ is pragmatically applied.”

Juan Carlos Kaiten, Social Architect for Systemic Transformation at The Hague Center and the Foundation for Conscious Evolution, added, “Social Acupuncture means both having the sensitivity to understand the things Thomas and Tania have pointed out and using that information strategically to maximize the impact. The Sustainability Development Goals are all important, but in my time in both Egypt and in Mexico I have witnessed what it takes to motivate communities, to get them to come together to achieve a goal. And it will take the mass education of a populace towards understanding the ‘why’ behind what their governments are asking. We are talking about people in survival mode. These people are intelligent, they want to survive. But we have to be transparent, like Adolfo has led Mexico’s initiative to be. And we have to be willing to shed old ideas about each other like Trammell and Daisy have done. And we have to harness technology like Aaron is doing and like in the project Barbara Marx Hubbard and Dr. Don Beck are doing via the Foundation for Conscious Evolution, The Memnosyne Institute and Be Earth Foundation with the Planetary Indaba project bringing the Vital Signs Monitor based on Spiral Dynamics with the Wheel of CoCreation. These kinds of initiatives, the melding of technology with an understanding of social acupuncture is using all of our resources and it will take that to achieve the Sustainability Development Goals.”

social acupuncture Lawrence Bloom and Aaron Berger

Lawrence Bloom and Aaron Berger

Lawrence Bloom, Secretary General Be Earth Foundation, (a UN Inter Governmental Organization), spoke up, “Yes, it takes all this and it will take businesses being willing to act with this understanding. For example, Be Earth Foundation is part of a set of negotiations that would enable 1,500 Km of spine road across South America with service areas approximately every 100Km and it is our intention, subject to a successful outcome, to link the Memnosyne Institute’s School Out of A Box program into each one of those service areas as part of our social program. This is in fact, just a larger scale version of an approach I have seen in other places in the world. In the past, I helped to draft the environmental regulations for the hotel industry and was dismissed. But when I took it to Prince Charles and he invited CEO’s of all the major hotel chains residing in the UK to sign it, they did and that began a chain reaction. That one thing continues to have a resounding effect today. Now, I’m helping to oversee a hotel project for Haiti in which we plan to source all the things we can from within the country from eggs, to art to towels and more. If the industry doesn’t exist, we will help to build it. In the long term plan, the hotel’s demand will launch multiple small businesses by default. That is strategizing with an understanding and appreciation of how businesses can wield great financial influence from the beginning. And it is going to take these kinds of initiatives forming from within industries willingness to make themselves part of the solutions in order for our species to achieve the Sustainability Development Goals. And by that I mean, not just the SDG environmental goals, but proceeding with a thorough understanding of how the SDG environmental goals have a direct correspondence and influence on the SDG’s focused on human rights, education, women’s empowerment and more. Our species simply cannot afford to proceed with business as it has been done in the past. People talk about this being an age of change, but what we are really seeing is a change of age. We must grow up. We simply have no choice if we are going to survive.”

Bill Shireman and Juan Carlos Kaiten social acupuncture

Bill Shireman and Juan Carlos Kaiten

Bill Shireman spoke up, “I agree completely with Lawrence, but also believe we must do what we can to fix the messes already made as well. As President and CEO of Future 500, I focus on helping the world’s largest companies and most impassioned activists – from Coca-Cola, General Motors, Nike, Mitsubishi, and Weyerhaeuser, to Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, Oxfam, and the Sierra Club – stop battling each other, and find common ground. When I united Coors, Safeway and the Sierra Club to design and pass California’s “bottle bill” recycling law, the lowest-cost and most effective in the nation, I did it by breaking through the traditional left-right divide. So I know we can protect the earth, promote freedom, and increase prosperity at the same time – if the raging ideologues on both the right and the left would just open their eyes and minds. Conservatives are good at getting things done, and Progressives are good with staying centered on ethics. They need each other. The sooner we understand this the sooner more issues can be resolved. I’m not saying this out of naiveté. I’m saying it out of experience. I’ve witnessed this when I helped to unite Mitsubishi and Rainforest Action Network (RAN) to work together to save rainforests from North America to Malaysia and when I helped bring together Coca-Cola and Genocide Intervention Network to help promote peace in the Sudan.”

I looked out into the audience and met eyes with some of the panelists who would soon be speaking on the Next NEXUS panel I would be moderating. It was focused on Indigenous Issues and tribal leaders from the Igbo, Tolteca and Yurok looked back at the speakers with eyes filled with cautious hope. I knew the Tolteca representative, Ricardo “Thlalhuizcalpanteculttli” Cervantes Cervantes worried about the fate of his communities’ access to clean water as new development moved in on the seven towns surrounding Teotihuacan and his son, Tonatiuh, one of NEXUS Mexico’s members, worried that while the government was eager to benefit from financial capital designated for indigenous communities, it was not being reflected in their people’s ability to maintain businesses beside their beloved pyramids where bright light shows now occupied the times and places where the Tolteca had once used for prayer, tours, and imported mass produced tourist trinkets from China now competed in business fronts not owned by the indigenous people, while the Tolteca struggled to afford the rising prices for store fronts in order to sell authentic wares.. I knew that Javier Kinney worried about the rapidly reducing numbers of salmon, the back bone of his people’s food, due to the rivers becoming too warm, and I knew that Abhayam Kalu worried about the future of his people back in Nigeria where the Igbo did not always benefit from industries launching in their own backyards. Beside them, documentary film maker, Melissa Eidson caught the exchange…her mind undoubtedly reflecting on the differences made when industries worked with indigenous communities by providing them credit and financial compensation for designs taken and resold on fashion runways at thousands of dollars more….all of their faces bore the reminder that while the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goals were a major step forward, none of it would make a difference without the application of an integral understanding that each goal depended on the success of the others and that without this understanding, people’s lives would not change.

Yet as I turned back to the panel and saw a Texas business mogul who had linked progressives and conservatives together to preserve water for future generations, a female architect who had convinced Imams in Egypt and Afghanistan to lead the charge against female circumcision, a hotel industry leader who had turned the industry into a tool for active, intentional social and environmental change, and so many others, it was evident that nothing is impossible if like Aikido masters, we redirected the inertia of economic and sociological influences towards a healthier direction, turning them into tools to correct the very issues they had caused. Recognizing the interrelationship of all influences at play demands those in the integral community to set aside philosophical debates and to move into action.

In fact, as the two groups embraced during the panel transitions, with industry leaders mixing with tribal leaders, diplomats, engineers, and activists within the UN, it became apparent that what made the place sacred is made so by those within it, and the potential they hold within themselves. The ability for them to forge collaborations bearing measurable results is limited only by how naturally their minds utilize an integral approach.

NEXUS had once again brought the brilliance of multiple generations together to impart upon those in their 20’s and 30’s not only the challenges we are inheriting, but also the means for participating in actively creating solutions. Those who had been fighting this battle for decades had found hope in those rising up and those rising up had found themselves feeling less alone in the fight for our planet’s and humanity’s wellbeing. It was not a mess we caused, but we would have made it worse if we had not been given tools others have bravely forged, even when unpopular. The vision of NEXUS is growing still, and as I age towards becoming an Advisor, instead of just a member, I can do so knowing that the millennials are already hitting the ground running full speed ahead. Like Don Beck, Ervin Laszlo, and Barbara Marx Hubbard have often told my husband Joshua Frenk and myself, that they feel just a little better knowing that we will be carrying on the work of understanding why an integral approach is necessary more than ever in the 21st century, now we too feel reassured that there will be others who will carry on the torch when we are gone. I have seen 20 year old self-made business women and men who’ve already made their first millions…and witnessed that for them it isn’t enough to have what they have earned, instead, it is an innate part of their being to ask what needs to be done for the world. What Nexus has planted via inspiring the demographic that will soon own the good majority of the world’s businesses, is nothing less than a carefully constructed, self-propelling social conscience. And it is within that web, now woven via chapters around the globe, that young leaders like myself have been able to have our voices amplified, doors opened and collaborations forged. Every panelist becomes an advisor, every contact benefits through the lifting of another. The issues are too many to list here, from sex trafficking to climate change, from indigenous issues to interfaith relations, from media to justice, space technology, and more….and like every generation before them, the millennials intend to take what their elders imparted and change the world with it. Imagine the glimpse provided across these few pages multiplied by multiple other topics and one begins to understand how the organization is already totalling at 3,000. The difference is though, this group not only has the means to do so, they are already doing it.

While not sounding intellectual in the least, I can only conclude with a sincere prayer that they are fast enough and that you, members of the Integral community, will seek to make your various approaches digestible by those who will not be reading multiple text books or attending workshops and retreats. No, this generation will require their getting to know you in the trenches, exchanging institutionally hosted debates for pragmatic action. As one fellow NEXUS member, Kunal Sood, founder of NOVUS and co-founder of the Humanitarian Innovation Forum, put it, “I actually feel more like a person in search of truth through the pursuit of excellence.” While possessing multiple degrees, he embodies the mindset in NEXUS as he gets far more enthused about using drones to bring needed supplies to those too isolated in Nepal to receive aid any other way. It’s the elegance of the simple ingenuity that attracts him and others in the group. The ability to see connections and harness them into measurable actions sets their minds afire. While saying this might ruffle a few feathers, allow me to end with this: Now is the time the Integral community has been waiting for and this is the generation that entered the world never knowing anything but globalization and the internet – they were born and raised in an integral world and what the Integral community understands is vital to their navigating the current era and leading our species towards a brighter, healthier one. So check your egos at the door, get on FaceBook, post a video explaining your insights in basic terms, don’t look for followers, look for collaborators, respect their expertise even if it is foreign from your own and together you just might find a solution we’ve all been waiting for!

About the Author

Mary- Ann is the Co-Founder/President of The Memnosyne Institute and The John Philp Thompson Foundation, is a frequently requested international speaker, (having spoken at the United Nations several times, as well as for the Cordoba Initiative, STEP Global Congress, NEXUS Youth Summit, etc.), mediator, (including negotiating the first alliance/treaty in 300 years between the Hopi and Navajo Nations and for the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission in New York), collected and award winning sculptor (including recognition from the Buckminster Fuller Institute as being the first artist to invert the geodesic dome to create the human figure, and selected out of 500 international sculptors for Sculptor of the Year by the ARTV Awards), and board member for several organizations. She has been published in various magazines including The Transpersonal Psychology Association’s “The Transcender”, YPO’s Real Leaders Magazine which recognized her as a “Real Young Leader to watch on the international scene, contributed chapters to various books including “Dawn of The Akashic Age: New Consciousness, Quantum Resonance, and The Future of The World” by Dennis Kingsley and Ervin Laszlo, “Developing A Global Agenda: Expert Insight from the inaugural STEP Global Congress” collected by STEP, “Sparks of Genius: Powerful Sparks of Creative Insight from 100+ Global Thought Leaders” collected by Julie Ann Turner, and has been identified with her husband Joshua, by three-time-nominated-Nobel-Peace-Prize Dr. Ervin Laszlo as one of the “21st Century Visionary Thinkers” leading innovative humanitarianism for her “social acupuncture” model. She has received numerous awards for her humanitarian work including Women That Soar’s 2009 Philanthropy Award, The Aga Khan Foundation’s 2012 Appreciation Award, Southern Methodist University’s 2013 Profiles in Leadership Award, and Northwood University’s Distinguished Women Awards. She has been a featured speaker alongside Keith Critchlow for The Temenos Academy of Integral Studies on the topic of “A Sacred Building For Our Time – what it means to be sacred to this era and why such a creation is important” with Mary Ann addressing the Center for Outreach which includes the Vital Signs Monitor based on the work of Don E. Beck and also reflects geometric aspects of Nassim Haramein’s work and how their research has revealed the same patterns of gematria running through sociology and quantum physics that people like Keith Critchlow and the ancients, such as the people of Teotihuacan, have revealed exist in nature. She in 2016 has been on the cover of international publications including, “Femme International”, “Global Woman” and Forbes Mexico and serves as the editor for “Empower” a collaborative publication between The Club of Budapest International and The Memnosyne Institute. She is currently working on two books, one “Southland” about three generations of her family’s social activism and the other on “Social Acupuncture” is being written with Juan Carlos Kaiten and will be the keynote speaker for 64th World Congress of Women Entrepreneurs this November 2016.

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