Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.
The Goodfight, a band from Atlanta, GA, announced that they would give away % of the revenue generated by their new record “Good & Evil” towards providing people with access to clean water through the work of “charity: water“. Charity:water is involved in building wells and training nationals to maintain those wells on continents, in some of the most desperate places on earth. Find out how they are fixing the problem at charitywater.
I have no horse in this race, but these doctors from the US inspire me greatly:
This request letter was sent to President Obama’s office on 8.21.09
Dear Mr. President:
This September, as the healthcare debate rages in Congress, our core group of six doctors from Oregon will be embarking on an historic road trip across America. We will be conducting town halls in twenty-six cities as we make our way to Washington, D.C. Our mission is to educate our fellow citizens as to why a single payer health care system is the only means to lasting, substantive health care reform for this country.
All told, our group has 191 years of combined, real-world medical experience, much of it spent working in a system that serves neither patients nor their doctors. As physicians who have sworn an oath to behave in accord with the highest possible ethical, medical standards, we have all reached the same conclusion: it is our professional obligation to speak out against a for-profit system of health care that is fatally compromising the health and well being of our patients, their families and our nation.
We will be in Washington D.C. on the morning of Oct. 1 and it would be a distinct honor if you would meet with our modest delegation to discuss the future of health care as well as the moral, social and fiscal imperative of a enacting a single-payer system for America at this moment in our history.
Dr. Paul Hochfeld Emergency Room Physician -Corvallis, OR
Dr. Eugene Uphoff FamilyPhysician-Portland, Oregon
Dr. Samuel Metz Anesthesiologist-Portland,Oregon
Dr. Michael Huntington RadiationOncologist-Corvallis,Oregon
Dr. Joseph Eusterman Internal Medicine-Portland, Oregon – Retired
Dr. Robert Seward InternalMedicine-Portland, Oregon
The blogs written by MSF/Doctors Without Borders volunteers are heartwrenching and inspiring! One could get lost for days in reading the accounts of these dedicated individuals; their backgrounds range from psychiatry to engineering to nursing but one thing that they all seem to have in common is a love and respect for the people that they are caring for. These blogs are not only inspiring, they are incredibly educational.
Can we each be a hero or a saint, even in some small way, however briefly, however “small scale”? I believe that we can. No matter what scale they occur at, our efforts are important.
“The hero is the one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by. The saint is the man who walks through the dark paths of the world, himself a light.”
~ Felix Adler
I am currently reading James Orbinski’s “An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-first Century” and am having trouble putting it down. Orbinski is one of the founders of the Canadian branch of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders/MSF); in he served as Chef de Mission for MSF in Kigali, Rwanda during the horrific civil war and genocide. As president of MSF, the doctor and humanitarian accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on their behalf in ; his remarkable Nobel Lecture is available here.
One can do a search at iTunes for “James Orbinski” and listen to Dr. Orbinski “In Conversation with Alan Gregg” about “An Imperfect Offering” — there is a choice of audio or video.
CBC’s “Sunday” interviewed Dr. Orbinski about his new book; watch it here. (sorry, CBC has removed this wonderful interview, and the “Sunday” site)
This link will take you to a radio interview with James Orbinski on CBC’s “Sounds Like Canada”. (apologies: sadly , it seems that CBC has removed the “Sounds Like Canada” web page and its interviews, as well as the podcasts available at iTunes).
CBC’s documentary, “Evil Revisited”, was awarded the 2005 Canadian Radio Television News Directors Association Award. Dr. Orbinski returns to Rwanda with CBC journalist Sasa Petricic in this incredibly moving piece. (note: CBC has also removed this excellent documentary about one of Canada’s most remarkable citizens; thank you to the kind commenter — Mr. Petricic? — who provided the Vimeo link for “Evil Revisited”!)
George Stroumboulopoulos interviewed Dr. Orbinski on CBC’s “The Hour”; watch it here. (believe it or not, CBC has removed this as well!)
Dr Orbinski is one of the founders of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, a not-for-profit pharmaceutical research and development entity focused on the diseases of the South. He recently co-founded Dignitas, an organization focused on community based treatment, care and prevention of HIV in the developing world.
“An Imperfect Offering”, and this man speak to me on a very deep level. Each of us is responsible for each other, and each of us needs to act. As Vikram Seth so eloquently puts it in his book, “Two Lives: a Memoir”:
“May we see that we could have been born as each other.”
Update: CTV’s “W” aired “To Hell and Back: helping the world’s most desperate/Charity’s Not Enough”, on Saturday, April , 2010. This interview with Dr. Orbinski, as well as a written article is available at the W web site. Dr. Orbinski talks about his experiences, and drives home the idea that charity must only be a starting point — that it is not a substitute for public policy in making necessary change in our world.
Update: October 2010, CTV’s Canada AM has a feature clip/interview with Dr. Orbinski in its “Transformational Canadians” series, produced in conjunction with the Globe and Mail and La Presse.
Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas was inspired to put Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can” speech to his music and produce this inspiring video. You also can view the video here, and also read his thoughts about being inspired to create it.
It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.
Yes we can.
It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.
Yes we can.
It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and
pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.
Yes we can.
It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the
ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King
who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.
Yes we can to justice and equality.
Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.
Yes we can heal this nation.
Yes we can repair this world.
Yes we can.
We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.
We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics…they will only grow louder and more dissonant ……….. We’ve been asked to pause for a
reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this
nation false hope.
But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.
Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon
are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA;
we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we
are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we
are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in
the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast;
from sea to shining sea —
Yes. We. Can.
A politically active Congolese band made up of disabled musicians…read about them here. To watch the video, click the image below twice (you’ll be taken to the Youtube site to watch it). You’ll know why I find them inspiring when you watch and listen to them, and read about their story…
(the video has been removed from Youtube…sorry!)
I like that they can hear a song, enjoy it, yet at the same time think about important social activists — regular people — and be gently reminded to think about what they can do to make the world better.
The video ends with one of our favourite quotations:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~Margaret Mead
Daniel Paul’s book and extensive website are a gift to society, and should be required reading for all North Americans and Europeans. The book “We Were Not the Savages” is “a history of the near demise, caused by the European invasion of the Americas, of ancient democratic North American First Nations; with special focus on the Mi’kmaq, from a Mi’kmaq perspective.”
Please have a read!
Dr. Chandrasekhar Sankurathri, otherwise known as “Dr. Chandra”, lost his wife and two children in the tragic bombing of Air India Flight 182 from Canada to London in 1985. After three years of working through unbearable grief while employed as a government scientist in Ottawa, Dr. Chandra decided that he needed to “do something useful.”
Inspired by his late wife’s concern for the poor in her native India, Dr. Chandra opened the Sarada School — named for his daughter — in wife’s home state of Andhra Pradesh.
After school is over for the day, the school bus is busily picking up blind and nearly-blind patients awaiting free cataract surgery at the Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology, named for Dr. Chandra’s son. India has about a quarter of the world’s blind! Staff of the hospital is local, and receives a small salary and room and board. Five opthamologists are paid $1,500 per month; each surgeon performs approximately 150 surgeries per day.