The following reports was shared by Elza in July 2007. To augment this presentation we talked with Elza in August. A report of this conversation appears below the report.
On June 21st, 2007, Dr. Beck and I spoke at the Values-Caucus at the United Nations to a standing room only conference hall. Representatives of various Arab, African and Western missions, NGOs and UN agencies employees, nodded their heads in agreement with the emphasis that we put on the deeper reasons for conflict and poverty, and the deeper value-systems codes that produce such “us” vs. “them” polarities. Rather than the surface manifestation of clash between religions, ethnicity, races and nationalities, we showed how the integral framework examines the deeper cultural forces and tracks dynamic perceptual processes that detect deep underlying mindsets and motives.
Dr. Beck revealed–for the first time–his integral design strategy to support the UN’s Global work, offering a Five Fold Strategy that can systematically further the UN’s role in the emergence of cultures and nations in the world. With more than 30 years of scientific research and field-testing his framework on all five continents to deflate conflicts and support development, Dr. Beck uncovered, what he calls, the master code that has the complexity to manage in a polylateral environment. The UN being one of the major bodies in the world, now, that needs to further its involvement in culturally complex environments to become a strong catalyst for change. Dr. Beck explained in his presentation that “the Master code has to accommodate bands, clans, tribes, empires, nations-cultures, enterprises, geo-tribes, and a host of other value-systems and memetic priorities. Likewise, it simply must mesh in the new knowledge on change and transformation that is seriously lacking in all other developmental models.”
A brief outline of The Five Fold Strategy for the United Nations Global Emergence Plan:
- Strategy 1- Uncover the models and processes for Global emergence through steps, stages, waves and sequence of development
- Strategy 2-Create the measuring monitoring research technology to detect the global vMemetic contours and early warning signs of danger
- Strategy 3- Construct scaffolding of solutions that address the needs, wants and aspirations of people in different vMemetic zones
- Strategy 4- Onto this vast amount of data, overlay an understanding of the dynamics of change in its many dimensions
- Strategy 5- Design a macro-strategy for introducing superordinate goals into leadership structures and decision-making domains around the planet
After Dr. Beck presented his comprehensive, large-scale design, we proceeded to show how we are practically applying this design to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. For the last 2 years we have been working with Palestinians especially, to construct a scaffolding of solutions that are tailored to the various value-systems in Palestinian culture. We are working with leaders from different sectors of Palestinian society, especially young men and women who have demonstrated a great ability to lead change. We are designing the vision for Fatah 21, or 21st century Fatah, with leaders from the Third Generation of Fatah. A vision that will not only unite Fatah around shared values and goals, but also unite the Palestinian people around the most important superordinate goal—a successful Palestinian State. From Fatah 21 to Palestine 21…
Frances Edwards, a board member of the Values-Caucus at the UN, who coordinated this presentation with United Nations personnel, is now following up with many ambassadors, missions and NGOs who showed interest in the approach, including the Syrian ambassador and the Netherlands, Kuwaiti and Peruvian missions. Frances’ unwavering support and active involvement with our work is a testimony to the UN’s openness to fresh approaches towards resolving world problems. The Values-Caucus at the UN, established in 1994 and under the leadership of Carl Murell, introduced to all bodies of the UN the distinctive need for stratified solutions based on value-systems in cultures, instead of the one-solution fits all models. The next steps for our work with the United Nations will include major trainings on the Spiral Dynamics integral model and application as well as presentations to different boards, commissions, and councils on specific solution-design to enable confluence and emergence.
Elza Maalouf and Russ Volckmann
There is a lot going on today in the activities of the Centers for Human Emergence and particularly in the Middle East during a time of considerable turbulence. The United Nations presentation was crucial to the CHE-Mideast projects since it drew the attention and the interest of various Arab missions at the UN, particularly the Syrian, Palestinian and Kuwaiti missions. The Kuwaiti ambassador in London personally recommended to many Arab missions to attend the presentation. “From Clash to Confluence” was the headline that caught the eye of many Middle Easterners at the UN. A comment that was repeated by UN representatives from Palestine, Egypt, Iran and Syria.
The Values Caucus at the UN has been one of the major conduits to introduce the importance of values, value-systems and culture to the various bodies at the United Nations. Under the leadership of Nancy Roof and the pioneering work of Carl Murell the Values Caucus at the UN brought the focus on culture to the international organizations based on Spiral Dynamics and over the years had a series of SD-informed presenters. 150 people attended Don and Elza’s presentation which was designed to introduce a 2nd tier perspective to the work of the UN, or “UN-Next,” and to have the CHE as the Go-To center for various UN activities where it is important to fit programs with indigenous culture around the world.
Going into organizations and political systems the process starts by first identifying and engaging systemic thinkers. For example, we find such thinkers among young men and women in Palestine who introduced us to political leaders including the President’s circle and other leaders.Some major developments have occurred since the last time Don and Elza were in Palestine, and their Palestinian partners are now engaged in the transitional process that is occurring in the West Bank. The new Prime Minister, Salam Fayad, who is an independent and cautiously trusted, is now seeking a fresh approach to embrace all of Palestine, and replace the humanitarian services that Hamas organizations have been offering to the Palestinian people by government services aimed to help the disadvantaged and gain their trust and support.
CHE-Middle East immediate next steps in Palestine includes the launching of “Fatah 21,” a major transformational effort to support the emergence of a well structured and efficient organization. The first phase of the integrally designed plan will include the training of 500 members of Fatah to prepare and lead the organization into the 21st Century. This includes members of the Central Executive Committee and Fatah third generation leaders. The next immediate step is to have an office of Integral Studies and Design in the West Bank, based on Dr Beck’s Natural Design process that he pioneered in South Africa, led by Palestinians who will take charge of aligning and synergizing the work of NGOs, government agencies and private efforts to support a sustainable transition towards statehood. The overarching goal of such efforts is to help our Palestinian partners envision and design Palestine 21.
The fund raising process is underway to support this effort. And it is taking longer than they hoped. We needed to be in Palestine yesterday and the appropriate funding can have the utmost effect at this defining moment in the history of the conflict. Especially that we are engaging the most powerful element in the Palestinian Culture, the young men and women who have been marginalized by their leaders. Our claim to fame…is that our plans to work with the young people got to the White House. A week after CHE-Mideast sponsored a letter by Young Palestinians to Tony Blair, George Bush spoke about Palestine and he said that Tony Blair needs to work with young people. We sent our letter to Tony Blair and the White House through trusted advisers and we know that is where he got it from.
We are really solid in our connections in Palestine and those young people tell us that they are in their hearts and minds with us because of two things. First, because Dr. Beck worked with Mandela and Mandela is considered as a saint in Palestine. Second, because I come as a full partner with a “Western” expert. Usually Western experts come representing the U.S., U.K. or Europe and they bring Arabs to do things for them. But the main person is a Westerner. For the first time they see a true partnership between an Arab expert and Don, a globally known expert. It gives them some pride. That is a tribute to Don’s walking the walk.
Elza is from Lebanon and CHE Middle East would be concerned about Lebanon, too. There is a project “Min Ajl Lubnan” to bring a Lebanese Heritage Center to the University of Maryland that will be based on Lebanese culture and history. The work is focused on shaping the national Lebanese identity. Most young Lebanese don’t have a Lebanese identity at this time. They have a Muslim or Christian or Druze identity, a party identity or an association with Syria, Iran, Europe or the U.S. Divisions are along value-systems lines. Our job is to work on defining the cultural identity of a Lebanese person: “What is it to be a Lebanese?”
The University of Maryland participants used to be on the faculty at the American University in Beirut. That part of the world has something special to offer the West that is brought to mind by my (Russ’s) memories of Beirut. It offers that ‘Purple” undertone in an emerging Orange. The professors that Elza works with still have that deep undertone of Purple that is so warm and that the West is missing at this time.
Elza is consulting with the EU in Syria on restoring an old Roman theater more preserved than any in Rome. My real work was to understand the vMemetic structures of Syria. Elza was challenged to step out of that culture metaphorically in order to really see the value systems, really see the people. Especially step out of my Lebanese identity, as pro-or-against Syrian intervention in Lebanon’s sovereignty, and also step out of my own perception of freedom etc…The Government in Syria is doing something good for its people. She was observing what an autocratic regime was doing for its people in a tribal, feudal culture by bringing a Blue-structure and Orange-innovation.
What would Elza recommend about what those of us not directly participating in the Middle East should be doing besides learning about Spiral Dynamics and how it plays out in our own lives?
I am writing a book with a chapter about what the West can do to better engage with the Middle East. It is primarily about people in the West educating themselves on a developmental level, to learn how to see deeper into a side view of the memetic * structures of the culture in order to understand the dynamics on the ground. An example is in Syria where we see an authoritarian regime and the way the U.S. regime is characterizing it. What it is doing in Lebanon, dividing Lebanon, etc., but simultaneously what it is improving in Syria such as bringing in new technology, innovation, educating people. Education is mandatory for all children, otherwise the parents will be prosecuted. This is unheard of in the Arab world. Male and female children are included. If we miss such an important memetic translation we will repeat the tragic mistakes we committed in Iraq.
In Darfur you have the Green community thinking about the humanitarian aspects of Darfur. The human situation breaks my heart. But when you look clearly at what is happening it is mainly the U.S. and China fighting for oil. They found huge oil deposits in Darfur.
Basically the message is educate yourself and go deeper than we are used to doing with media sound bites. I gave an introduction to Spiral Dynamics in Syria that was well received by various people and value systems in the room from engineers and tribal leaders to high school students. A comment was, “Wow! You gave us a way to think about things and avoid sensitivities.” After that I was able to put all of the issues they are dealing with in the four quadrants. It is important to note that the People cannot use the AQAL model or any other Integral model until they understand WHY they are thinking the way they do.
We need to meet people where they are, and help them create the habitats that will promote emergence. As Graves says “when one form of being is more congruent with the realities of existence, then it is the better form of living for those realities…I do suggest, however, that for the overall welfare of total man’s existence in this world, over the long run of time, higher levels are better than lower levels and that the prime good of any society’s governing figures should be to promote human movement up the levels of human existence.”
Moving from the theoretical aspect to the application of the Natural Design Formula, the job of an Integral Design Engineer is to facilitate the removal of the log-jam in a system to allow the natural flow of emergence. If the UN and the many NGOs can play such role for the indigenous cultures around the world, we will hear a harmonious symphony of progress, sustainability and resilience.
Elza Maalouf is CEO, Center for Human Emergence-Middle East