The Second Boost – Bonn, Germany
The next boost, and great leap forward was in the City of Bonn, Germany, where the global secretariat moved to in 2014. The University of Bonn’s Center for Development Research (ZEF) and with the support of DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service, provided substantial funding. There was also a great welcoming by the City of Bonn, which shines as a global headquarters of many UN agencies and global organisations. They also appointed me as an Ambassador to the City of Bonn.
The RLC expanded and diversified amazingly, across the globe with the following institutions:
- University of Bonn, Germany
- University of Lund, Sweden
- Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
- University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria
- Universidad Austral de Chile, Chile
- University of California Santa Cruz, USA
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India
- National University of Cordoba, Argentina
- School of Well Being together with Chulalongkorn University, Thailand and the Royal University of Bhutan, Bhutan
Since then, we have built a unique group of our Faculty, the Centres at the University of Zurich and the University of Geneva (hosting the Right Livelihood Library) and Partners (the University Network for Human Rights, USA).
So much more is waiting to happen in a completely new world with new challenges and opportunities. The next leap forward begins today with a new structure involving the following new platforms and modes of working:
- The creation of an International Advisory Council (IAC) to which, 20 persons will be invited to serve. The Steering Council (SC) will cease and the current members become the inaugural members. Over the next few months, we will be seeking new members through a very participatory process to ensure the skills and diversity of our community are represented in a systematic and resilient way. I will cease to be Director of the Right Livelihood College and begin today as Co-Chair together with Dr. Monika Griefahn of Germany, reflecting the North-South, gender equality and a bundle of diverse interests.
- A second new platform, the Coordinating Council (CC), will begin today with all our campuses, centres and partners, and working groups on special issues (also a new action-oriented initiative) will meet regularly over two months with rotating chairpersonship to build this community to further us in making a better world even more actively.
- ZEF at Bonn will continue its excellent role as the Global Secretariat, working systematically in partnership with the Education arm of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.
It has been a journey of joy. I shall never forget to remember the Laureate family and the Board and staff of the Right Livelihood Foundation, the Steering Council members, the team from the campuses, centres and partners. I shall also never forget the members of my team over the years; Sharan Srinivas (Sweden/India), Satnam Kaur (Malaysia), Natasha Shokri (Iran), Valen Raj Kumaran (Malaysia), Erick Okomo (Kenya) and Dr. Victor Karunan (India/Thailand). Each time I connect with all of you, I feel the vibrations of vitality, the energy of enterprise and the conviviality of a great community working for a better world.
Each time I feel the positive passions that grew out of our struggles for a triple peace – peace with ourselves, peace with others and peace with Mother Earth.
Each time I see you, I never forget our fight on the core challenges of what I call the triple “Axis of Evil” – fighting violence, manipulation and waste.
Each time I feel your seeking solutions, what I call the triple “Destiny of Hope” – balance and harmony, of stewardship and trusteeship of Mother Earth, and of accountability to now and to the future generations.
Each time I connect with you, I am better informed, more inspired and encouraged by the sprouting of initiatives that will take us forward in our journey.
Each time I am reminded of what I call the Panchasila (five principles) of Right Livelihood – CONSCIENCE, COURAGE, COMPETENCE, CREATIVITY and CONVIVIALITY.
Each time I am also reminded of the need to counter the many emergency crises – ECOCIDE, INEQUITIES, BIGOTRY, RACISM, and now, “DATA COLONIALISM”.
Each time I meet with you, I feel the power of ONE, the power of MANY, the power of UNIVERSAL VALUES, the power of WISDOM and the power of SUCCESS, demonstrating that we can do it!
Every best to all of you, brothers and sisters, in our many journeys to come. Remember that famous saying that the future is not a place out there. It is a journey you take and what you make of it. Yes, the future is in our hands.
I look forward to working with you, and continuously, all over the world every time I can, with everyone I can and every place I can. Yes, all working together, we can make the change, and we must. Never forget what our founder, Jakob von Uexell once said; “Be beyond pessimism and optimism, be a “POSSIBLIST”, do something!”
Finally, I like to share two things I learned from a great Sufi thinker:
- If you want to grow, make the whole world your garden
- If you want to learn, make the whole world your university
I look forward to working and walking with you, learning and growing with you in the next stage of the Right Livelihood College and to continue its wonderful vibrancy and purpose.
Take care and every best.
This paper is based on a speech made by Anwar Fazal, Director, Right Livelihood College, Laureate, 1982,Penang, Malaysia at the launching of the 11th Anniversary of the Right Livelihood College on 8 January 2021.
For more information about the Right Livelihood College, see https://www.rightlivelihoodaward.org/educate/right-livelihood-college/ and https://www.zef.de/research-capacity-development/capacity-development/right-livelihood-campus.html#:~:text=Right%20Livelihood%20Campus%20Bonn%20at,the%20%22Alternative%20Nobel%20Prize%22.