Minutes from the Meeting of Executive Team on November 6, 2009
Present: Peter Drown, Lavinia Gonzales, Wayne Goulet, Smitha Kamath, Chuyun Li, Quihong Li, Jennifer Planck, Andrea Richard, Jessica Rothrock, Nikhil Sridhar, Eva Szeli and Marek Wosinski
New members: The meeting begun with introduction of new members of the Executive Team Collins Okenna is currently in Poland, Fang Jiang was not able to participate in the meeting):
Dr. Wayne Goulet, an experienced university teacher, speaker, writer and consultant, will help us with the professional development training project.
Fang Jiang, MBA, coordinator of the ASU-China Education Policy at University Design Consortium at Arizona State University.
Peter Drawn, ASU student majoring in psychology (senior).
Smitha Kamath (from India) will offer her assistance in improvement of the design and structure of our web pages. She is currently living in Tempe.
Chuyun Li (from China) is originally from Chengdu and she will help us with the development of long term collaborations with universities there. She is currently studying at ASU.
Collins Okenna (form Nigeria) is currently studying at Warsaw School for Social Sciences and Humanities and his master thesis will focus on evaluation of the development and impact of UCP-SARet.
Xingyang Zhao is originally form China recently living in Arizona; she has a degree in education and is applying to a graduate school.
Professional Development Training:
In his meeting a month ago with the UNDESA, Dr. Marek presented the proposal of a professional development training that UCP-SARnet intends to offer in a partnership with the UNDESA. Their response to the project was positive, however in their opinion the projects need to be addressed in stages, beginning with a pilot training next year. The results of pilot project should be presented at the GAID conference in Shanghai next year and after approval the project could be implemented on a bigger scale.
UNDESA also asked UCP-SARnet to design a small online course by December 1st. After debating the idea over, it was decided that UCP-SARnet should not commit to the this project for four reasons:
1. The main reason was that the project is based on premises that are not congruent with our perspective on professional development training and education of community leaders. As you remember from our discussion, we do not believe that providing people with only information will lead to action. To get people's involvement we need to talk to their emotions and motivation, and that requires a different format of the course than that at this moment presented on the training site.
2. We also believe that professional training, that would effectively address global issues, must include networking and partnerships both as educational tool and educational outcome. This was a recommendation of the World Civic Forum, UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education, Education Leaders Forum and GAID Forum. We have been constructing our portal with this idea on mind and, as we talked about it already, your training site and the goals set for the workshop do not allow implementing of this premise.
3. In this situation the joint opinion was that, considering such a short notice, involvement in this project would distract us from the main goal that we set for this year: developing a professional development training that is based on all these premises you may see in the attached project. In addition we are currently involved in another big project, World Academy for the Future of Women, developed together with one of the universities in China and this project needs strong involvement of several members of our team.
4. Finally, even if we would compromise our "philosophical" arguments, the team didn't want us to get involved considering the fact that on November 11 I am leaving to China till the end of November, and another main player Dr. Wayne Goulet is going to Canada at the same time. That would leave the team without leadership what could have a strong impact on the quality of the project.
Should UNDESA decide to not partner with UCP-SARnet in the creation of the big professional development course project, then an alternative was proposed. The proposal for the project was to be presented later the same day as the meeting to the leadership of ASU Psychology Department. If the partnership with the UN falls through then hopefully the project will be completely undertaken by the Department of Psychology at ASU. Feedback from various sources indicated that the cost of the courses for individuals from some countries may be too high to afford so they would require funding form the organizations they work for. Finding a sponsorship for the courses will become a priority in such a case.
Members of the Executive Team are asked to reread the proposal and send any further comments to Marek Wosinski. The idea that a multicultural element must be incorporated is important to the creation of the development courses, we must be aware that the best examples of community projects combined with MDG goals are presented for different countries and cultures. We must seek to identify how MDG concepts are understood and initialized in different countries, and members of the Executive Team will be assigned to specific MDG in order to articulate how to properly convey concepts within particular modules of the courses. Materials will be posted under "Working Folders" labeled "Professional Development Training".
SIAS Women's Academy:
Not all students and moderators have been registered as UCP-SARnet members yet, but we are planning to open the folder for the Women's Academy this weekend. The students will be broken into groups each having its own forum. The course information can be found under "UCP-SARnet Based Courses" of the UCP-SARnet website. Fang Jiang and Quihong Li will be responsible for the Academy running smoothly.
Collaboration with Chengdu:
After consultation with the City of Phoenix and Chengdu Municipal Government the revised proposal of collaboration was sent to the Vice President of Chengdu University. Dr. Marek Wosinski is going to Chengdu again at the beginning of January to continue negotiations on implementation of this plan. The main question of having the conference "Impact of Cultural Context on Realization of UN Millennium Development Goals; Bridging the World from Chengdu University" in Chengdu in May now funding. We will need to look into how many sponsors we will be able to identify. As suggested by Quihong Li, Chengdu is a sister city to Phoenix, and there is a group in Phoenix called Chengdu Committee that collaborates with Chengdu to support relations between Phoenix and Chinese culture. The group is strongly supportive and hopefully will provide contact information to potential sponsors (Quihong Li and Marek Wosinski became members of this Committee).
Clarity of UCP-SARnet Website:
In communicating with organizations interested in becoming a part of the UCP-SARnet community, issues of the clarity of our website were addressed. Organizational members are curious to know what would be the benefit to collaborating with UCP-SARnet. The description of benefits of collaboration was updated to better reflect our intentions and benefits for organizational members.
To further delineate descriptions, the difference between Knowledge Partners and Organizational Members was to be clarified. To the main page of the website, a small statement will be added as an invitation to open discussion with future organizational members along with a link to contact a Leadership Team member with further unique questions.
Visit by Osee Romeo Tcheupgoum:
Osee Romeo Tcheupgoum is the Regional Coordinator for Cameroon and Gambia who will hopefully be able to attend the next Leadership Team meeting on December 4th. Mr. Tcheupgoum is an experienced community activist who can share with us his knowledge about community issues in Africa, as well as inform us about the mission and work of United Planet organizations. We need, however, to find funding to cover his flight expenses from Boston to Phoenix. So far the Leadership Team was able to raise $200 towards this goal, hoping that Psychology Department will match the remaining $200 needed.
Some members of the Executive Team have not been active for a substantial about of time. Considering their credential and familiarity with UCP-ARnet project it was recommended to invite their participation on our Advisory Board and remove them from the Executive Team. in their contributions to the UCP-SARnet community will be asked to be a part of the Advisory Board instead. We will be reevaluating the descriptions of responsibilities for those who wish to take part in the Leadership/ Executive Team.
Ideas for assignments were proposed for new members in that the first of their tasks will be to become acquainted with the UCP-SARnet website. They will be asked to take the perspective of organizational members so that further clarity of UCP-SARnet's intentions can be conveyed to the public. A follow up meeting will take place for new members once their first task has been completed. Nikhil is supposed to update the list of assignments including on it new members of the Executive Team.
In December of 2010, Cameroon is putting together a program to which UCP-SARnet has been invited to. Further deliberation on this invitation will take place in the future.
Dr. Marek Wosinski informed about his trip to India that is organized by our Regional Coordinator for India Birendra Kumar. Report from the trip will be published on our portal and presented at the next meeting on December 4.