Welcome Address in 2011 African Integral Development Network (AIDEN)/University of Calabar International Conference on the theme Advancing into the 21st Century: Exploring Best Approaches to Effective Leadership for Africa, at Channel View Hotel, MCC Road Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria, November 16 – 18, 2011.
Etim Omini, FCAI
Today, we hold the second AIDEN International Conference in Calabar. We consider this very significant because Calabar has always played the role of a birth place for many revolutionary social movements in history. For example, it was here that a revolutionary International Development Professional, Mary Slessor, in the 18th century, started the great social movement that led to the abolition of stigmatization of twins here, which later spread to all parts of Africa, thereby saving millions of lives over the years.
Today we are here launching yet another social revolutionary movement, which has the potential of transforming the entire African continent through a leadership approach that transforms the self and all, both within and without. This cutting edge approach is based on Integral Theory, which views reality from all perspectives, bringing together all breakthroughs of the classical studies, science and technology and the distilled wisdom of all religious studies of all ages. Solutions to human problems emerging from this kind of comprehensive analysis become balanced, accurate and sustainable.
Leaders around the world are now fast embracing the Integral approach as a way of living; African Integral Development Network (AIDEN) is a pioneer in this revolution within the African continent. This conference is designed to introduce this cutting edge knowledge and application to intellectuals, professionals, leaders and the general public all around Africa.
This conference is significant as it offers all the opportunity to share experiences and explore possibilities that will enable all to make significant contributions to the transformation of Africa. It will also advance Integral research, knowledge and application in the continent. AIDEN implores all to contribute in the discussions as the outcomes will set a new thinking on leadership in Africa.
The Conference is hosted by AIDEN in collaboration with the University of Calabar and supported by One Sky Canadian Institute of Sustainable Living, Canadian University Services Over Sea-Volunteering Services Over Sea (CUSO-VSO), Cross River State Tourism Bureau and the Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM). More than 500 leaders from different sectors and professions from different countries have been invited to attend this conference. We express sincere welcome to all for participating in this epoch making conference.
AIDEN emerged out of the work of One Sky’s project entitled “Leading From Within: Integral Application to Sustainable Living in the Niger Delta, Nigeria” which started in March 2009, with 30 leaders from the NGO sector in the Niger Delta. The program offered the participants the opportunity to transform themselves, develop their leadership capacities and conflict resolution skills for three years. As part of the program, participants used the new skills and ideas acquired to Execute Community Development projects in communities in Cross River State. This community development projects served as laboratories for participants to replicate their learning. It is these 30 participants that laboured hard to give birth to AIDEN and formed the foundation membership. Now new members are joining rapidly and all are hereby invited to join. The birth of AIDEN is to promote the development of Integral Theory and Practice for the transformation of Africa. We are the first to embrace this approach in Africa and we are determined to achieve our vision.
AIDEN has an effective and efficient governance structure with a board of trustees and advisers, an elected Executive Council, Committees and Members.
Our vision is a transformed, harmonious and sustainably developed African society. To realize this laudable vision our programs and projects target positive social change, human development, research, policy and analysis. AIDEN strategically utilizes partnership, collaboration and participatory approaches driven and guided by the Integral approach. We therefore extend hand of fellowship to all organizations represented here.
AIDEN is a platform that provides mutual support for members’ professional development and advancement in their diverse field. AIDEN membership is drawn from different disciplines and sectors but united by the Integral framework. The framework is trans-disciplinary and its application advances sustainable solutions to all problems. In AIDEN we share a common vision and devoted to creating a cadre of dedicated and qualified leaders with the appropriate mindset and values that will bring about the transformation of Africa. We are ready to nurture the growth and development of second-tier oriented individuals and groups in all sectors, actively connected to the global integral movement to build synergy, and pull resources together to impact society.
AIDEN is working to support and promote the establishment of an Integral Institute in Africa. We are using this opportunity to appeal to all stakeholders especially the Cross River State Government, University of Calabar, Nigeria Institute of Management and One Sky Canadian Institute of Sustainable living to come together and put strategies in place for the establishment of an Integral Institute which will be the first in Africa and second in the world, after the pioneer Integral Institute in Boulder Colorado, United States of America. On our part, we are willing to share our Leading From Within experience and we entreat all to join AIDEN.
Finally, I wish the conference a complete success and all the participants, our partners and friends, a good time in the paradise city, Calabar.