PREVENT HATE diary for the week of April 20-24, 2009

Wow, what a week for PREVENT HATE. We spent time with first ladies of Africa, partied with celebrities, and put on a great program at Hollywood High School. Below is just a general summary of it. Separate updates detailing our work with the First Ladies of Africa, and at Hollywood High School, will be coming soon.

 

The name of the game … training!

 

Monday, April 20, 2009:

 

Numerous First Ladies of African countries were here in Los Angeles for a health summit sponsored by US Doctors for Africa. PREVENT HATE went to the summit and co-sponsored a private party for them at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant in order to increase cross-cultural relations between the United States and Africa.

 

The party was star-studded and a huge success. Some of the celebrities who came to eat, drink, make merry, and support what we are doing were Sheryl Crow, Sydney Poitier, Goldie Hawn, Alfre Woodard, CCH Pounder, Gary Shandling, Anthony Edwards, Pras Michel (who is also our newest addition to the PREVENT HATE team as a board member) and a few others. We spent most of the evening talking with some of the First Ladies of Africa though. Wolfgang Puck made a ton of food, and we heard it was fabulous, but some of us didn’t eat a thing all night. We were working, and really didn’t want to sit and have a conversation with a first lady while we were worrying about jibs of food in our teeth.

 

First Lady Biya of Cameroon was one of the first to arrive to our party. Dr. Reuben Jaja, President of the Africa-USA Chamber of Commerce and a PREVENT HATE board member, and I went to greet her. In my enthusiasm to be a gracious host, I momentarily forgot that she doesn’t speak English. However, even with no interpreter close by, somehow I figured out how to make her giggle in French. That was fun, but don’t ask me what I said. So many escaped Kodak moments, but what was I going to do? Pull out my digital cam and ask the first lady to say, “fromage” at a party I was helping throw for her? Hardly.

 

Shortly after the First Lady of Cameroon arrived, many other guests followed. Before long, we had around 300 people hanging around, having a good time. It also helped that the restaurant has a large patio and the weather was perfect that night. I found myself surrounded by the entourage of the First Lady of Niger, so I decided to talk with her about the new training program PREVENT HATE has been working on with the Los Angeles City Department on Disability to empower at-risk and marginalized populations, with the intention of offering it to her country. She expressed that she was very interested and we set up a meeting for Wednesday, late afternoon (see Wednesday’s entry). To me, that was the highlight of the evening … more than the celebs. The opportunity to engage Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries, with constructive socioeconomic programming that could bring real transformation? Oh yeah. Gotta love it.

 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

 

We spent the day at the health summit. We spoke with the First Lady of Angola, a big advocate for people living with disabilities in her country (due to their long civil war), about the training program PREVENT HATE devised with the City of Los Angeles. She referred us to the person standing next to her, which turned out to be the Angolan ambassador to the United States. We spoke with the ambassador for a few minutes, and she said she is very interested in our program and would like us to follow up with her on it this week. Exclusive PREVENT HATE training programs for the governments of Niger and Angola? Now we’re shaking things up in a good way.

 

We met quite a lot of interesting people at the summit. I’ll tell you about some of them in separate update later this week. But they entail Google, Chevron, Kenya, and the US Dept. of State.

 

Unfortunately, this week also had a dark cloud hover over it. My cousin passed away.

 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I went to meet the First Lady of Niger at her hotel along with my colleague, Betty Wilson, Director of Community Affairs for the Los Angeles City Department on Disability. Betty and I worked together to devise the training program to empower at-risk and marginalized populations. The purpose of the meeting was to offer our training program to the Government of Niger. Details will follow, but we had a great meeting, and got what we set out to accomplish! Niger has accepted PREVENT HATE’s training program, and we now are ready to move forward with them making it happen. The First Lady’s daughter will personally work with us on it, which is great. We met with her too, so together we can craft a program customized to their specifications. Stay tuned …

 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

 

We had a meeting with Jean Stephan Biatcha, Executive Director of African Synergy, which is the First Ladies’ collective nonprofit organization. We had a very constructive discussion about how to increase cross-cultural relations between the United States and Africa.

 

Friday, April 24, 2009

 

PREVENT HATE put on our much anticipated program with the Lost Boys of Sudan at Hollywood High School. Wow, what a great program! The stories were inspirational. The students were interested and engaged. We laughed. We gasped. We made music. We were asked to come back soon … and we will.

 

Have a great week everyone!

 

Matthew Rosenthal

Advertisements

New Training Program: Socioeconomic Development Training to Empower At-Risk and Marginalized Populations

PREVENT HATE and the City of Los Angeles are corroborating on a public-private partnership in order to provide customized training to governments (including the military and other first responder teams), international agencies, and other relevant entities to empower their at-risk populations, which include people living with disabilities, to become independent and self-sufficient through socioeconomic procedures that facilitate their participation in mainstream society. To do so, we have come together to:
  • Provide hands-on training with leaders and experts from governmental agencies, businesses, law firms, universities, and nonprofit organizations to ensure  all programs and services offer best practices.

  • Supply governments and other entities with comprehensive strategies that include community development, community integration, technical assistance, disaster preparedness, and modern public health.

  • Consult closely with clients, and customize programs to their specifications, to ensure that the requirements of each community are met.
For more information, contact PREVENT HATE at training@preventhate.org.

disability-empowerment-brochure-one-logo-cover-page2

 

The Lost Boys of Sudan Visiting Hollywood High School

 Who are the Lost Boys?
In the mid 1980’s, troops of the oppressive fundamentalist government in Northern Sudan began attacking the Black Christian and animist villages in the south. As their houses burned, their parents killed, and their sisters taken into slavery, over 27,000 little boys fled into the night. Many no more than five or six years old, barefoot and naked, without food or water, began their epic journey that would take them a thousand miles across Sudan into Ethiopia. They crossed deserts and mountains, dodged enemy fire and wild animals and endured thirst, starvation and disease. Less than half survived.
flyer-for-hollywood-high-school-program52
Why are they visiting Hollywood High School?
 
PREVENT HATE is bringing the Lost Boys of Sudan to Hollywood High School to engage at-risk students through their story telling and music making.
 
Using make-shift instruments they found in their refugee camp to play their music, and telling personal stories of overcoming severe adversity and hardship at the hands of a violent and discriminatory government, the Lost Boys are coming to Hollywood High School to inspire the students to reject hate, and to make a positive contribution to society no matter what their own difficulties may be.
 
This is part of PREVENT HATE’s way of encouraging youth to dedicate themselves to make this world a place with less victims.

Strategy to promote socioeconomic development in the Niger Delta region of Africa, the continent’s largest energy-producing sector.

The ongoing conflict in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, an area which also happens to be the world’s eight largest producer of oil, is one of the continent’s longest. But is it really so intractable that it cannot be solved, or at least alleviated to a large extent? PREVENT HATE does not think so. At its core is socioeconomic depravation — the local population is not getting its economic requirements met, and in turn, it has led to social dysfunction. 
 
The Federal Government (of Nigeria) yesterday sought assistance of trade unions and oil companies  in its efforts to restore peace and secure business environment in oil-producing areas.
The move is coming on the heels of expression of concern by Secretary to  Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, over the worsening unemployment situation in the country, brought about by the global economic crisis.
Minister of Labour and Productivity, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, revealed this  while inaugurating a standing committee on labour issues in the oil and gas sector, adding that government believes that collaborating with  critical stakeholders in the search for peace in the region will hasten  achievement of enduring peace and security in the region.
Kayode said government is desirous of seeing that the committee moves very quickly to bring in across the board international best practices, as it relates to industrial relations into the oil and gas industry in Nigeria. “I also want to see the committee support  government efforts to resolve the  issue of  security in the Niger Delta,” he said. [emphasis mine]
He said one of the biggest problems facing the  industry  is security threat in  oil producing areas, a situation that has snow-balled into a hydra-headed monster.
Also yesterday, government inaugurated a Labour Relations Committee headed by  Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, to take care of industrial relations issues with regard to other industrial unions in other sectors of the economy.
Much gas and oil have been extracted from the region, and a lot of people have become rich because of it, but the majority of the local population has yet to experience true empowerment. The local resources have not been equitably distributed and reinvested, which has led to regional upheaval, and a climate for criminal opportunists. We could philosophize all day as to why this is going on, then sit back and do nothing. Or we can actively work to solve the problem by providing the Niger Delta with the best practices they need. 
 
Here is PREVENT HATE’s plan to foster peace and socioeconomic development in the Niger Delta region of Africa. They are good people, and they want it. So let’s do it. 
 
This plan will work.
 
Goal: To foster socioeconomic development and peace in the Niger Delta region by using best practices in community development procedures.
 
Method: Three tracks.
 
Track 1) To determine the best method to redistribute the various resources in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria among the diverse stakeholders in a way that would be mutually attractive to the foreign owners of capital & technology (energy companies), local owners of land (governors and tribal elders), and the Nigerian government.
 
PREVENT HATE’s recommendations:
Currently, the local population receives approximately 13% of energy revenue, which is not enough to sustain them. Niger Delta land owners (tribal elders and regional governors) could agree to relinquish 1% of ownership over their land in return for every 5% increase in revenue they would receive from the energy companies.  Under the PREVENT HATE plan, a 10% increase in revenue for the local population (from 13% to 23%) would yield 2% land ownership for the energy companies. PREVENT HATE suggests the energy companies offer to elevate local revenue to 25.5% in return for ownership over 2.5% of the local land.
 
[**Note: “Ownership of the land” for the energy companies, in this case, does not mean they would actually have control over any particular parcel of territory beyond what they do now. Ownership is meant as a method for energy companies to become social and financial stakeholders in business conducted upon the land from which they could earn a portion of taxes and gain other sources of revenue, while simultaneously promoting a calmer and more investment-friendly atmosphere. Think of “ownership” in this case as being a shareholder in investments that occur on the lands in question rather than an actual land owner.]
 
Although they will give up a portion of their revenue up front, the energy companies should see this as a lucrative long-term strategy for their own sustainability because they would gain 2.5% of a stake in subsequent non-energy enterprises (agriculture, entrepreneurship, manufacturing, etc.) that would develop throughout the Niger Delta with the increased energy revenue. In addition, insurrections in these areas would significantly lessen, resulting in additional revenue immediately in those areas affected by pipeline destruction, kidnappings, etc.
 
This would be a socially conscious financial investment on the part of the owners of capital and technology that would yield long term economic benefits for them by helping them diversify their portfolio in the Niger Delta. It also would create many new jobs throughout the region, many of which could be cross-cultural cooperative endeavors, and hence, would foster greater regional peace.
 
Track 2) For the energy companies, Niger Delta governors, land owners, Nigerian government, and an accredited school of business to elevate the ability of the local population to gain employment with the energy companies, so that fewer foreign workers are needed.
 
PREVENT HATE’s recommendations:
For a world class university to hold a workshop with the above stakeholders with the intention of creating an exclusive MBA program for the residents of the Niger Delta where they would learn best practices in business specific to the extractive energy industries in that region. The business school could certify and accredit the program, but it could be put together so that the graduates are prepared to work in the Niger Delta energy sector, and/or become entrepreneurs in other energy-related fields (including clean technology), from which the energy companies could profit as partial stakeholders and “land owners.” The educational program would occur locally in the Niger Delta.
 
Track 3) Strategic training in various socioeconomic development methods, including best practices in economic development, municipal sector enhancement, environmental safeguards, public safety, public health, and public/private partnerships.
 
PREVENT HATE’s recommendations:
For a world class university in a major metropolis to work along with its local municipal infrastructure to offer customized training to the local governments of the Niger Delta, resulting in elevated standards of living. This would include the development of regional Socioeconomic Development Centers throughout the Niger Delta, which would maintain ties to strategic international partners who would continue offering training sessions to the local population through the use of digital media, and other procedures.
 
The PREVENT HATE method:
— provides elevated revenue for the local population in accordance with job growth opportunities,
— provides the energy companies with long term sustainability options and less worry about pipeline destruction and kidnappings,
— provides the local population with excellent education and access to gain employment (and hence look to cooperate with) the energy companies, and
— provides the local population with strategic international partners to train and engage them toward self-sufficiency.
 
Altogether, this plan will result in peace and economic development for the region. The question is whether anybody is really listening enough to be proactive and do something about it.
 
PREVENT HATE!