Category Archives: Social Issues

Social causes, activism, and projects

Corporate Governance and Sustainable Development – by Bojana Bogojević

At the present moment, when only a few economies of the world have recovered from the global economic crisis that befell, and only spill-over has occurred for the rest, corporate governance has become a vital solution for the economic growth and sustainable development to which every economy aspires.

What is Corporate Governance?

Corporate Governance is the system of process and rules under which a company is directed and controlled. Corporate Governance isn’t just a set of value statements. There are a significant number of very technical legal requirements that companies must follow in order to demonstrate that they have good corporate governance.

Why good Governance is important

Fundamentally, there is a level of confidence that is associated with a company that is known to have good corporate governance.

Corporate governance is known to be one of the criteria that foreign institutional investors are increasingly depending on when deciding on which companies to invest in.

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The Case for Dialogue – by Terry Howard

Should I, or should I not?

At this moment I’m grappling with that question, staring numbly at still another request to accept someone’s request to be their “friend” on Facebook. And here I am again gritting my teeth, vacillating between two options, three actually – accept, decline or ignore – and the potential reactions to any one of them.

Now here’s what’s gnawing at me: Many of those who ask me to join them on Facebook are some great individuals, people I deeply respect and immensely enjoy one-on-one interactions with. Yet my fear stems from this question: “If I ‘accept,’ will it diminish our ability to dialogue?”

Look, maybe I’m part of a vanishing genre of generational dinosaurs who’s hoping against hope that good old-fashioned face-to-face dialogue doesn’t get lost in social media frenzy. Yes dialogue, the art of opening the mouth to a two-way flow of sounds, sentences and syllables through a mosaic of accents and cadences – ideally one person talking, the other listening, and vice versa.

Now to be clear, I’m not talking about yapping on the phone, talking “about,” “over,” “around,” “behind” or “down” to others. Nor am I talking about “trash” talking,” or just plain talking too much. What I am talking about is doing more of what mouths were designed to do (beyond the consumption of food, liquid or an occasional foot) ….. D-I-A-L-O-G-U-I-N-G!

So, what are some contemporary inhibitors to good old fashion dialogue? We’ll get back to that momentarily. But first this anecdote.
Years ago, a power loss occurred in my building as temperatures outside soared into the 100s. Suddenly, laptop screens went black and overhead lights flickered before going completely out. One by one, folks cautiously eased out of their offices and actually talked to each other. Only moments before these same people had been e-mailing each other in, get this, adjacent offices. I mean they’d spent an entire day – eight hours – without actually talking to each other.
Now, the few extroverts were loving every bit of this unscheduled opportunity to talk. The introverts, the majority, were unnerved by being thrust out into the open. Twenty minutes later the lights flickered back on. Like deer caught in headlights, the introverts froze temporarily then darted back into their offices while the extroverts continued to relish the opportunity for an afternoon chat.

This scenario is analogous to how we sometimes act when thrust into the “headlights” of opportunities for face-to-face dialogue. So what are the headlights, those inhibitors to dialogue? Well, two come immediately come to mind for me.

First, in our culture we just don’t have time for each other. Our plates are overrun with things to get done. We’re always seem to be “going somewhere,” on the cellphone, or on the way to a meeting. Restroom breaks, doctor appointments and sit down family dinners seem to inconvenience us. That’s headlight number one.
The second headlight? The fear of the “OMIF” (Open Mouth, Insert Foot) disease, AKA the fear of offending someone. Given the contemporary maze of ethnic, race, gender, religious, language, age differences, awkward moments and slips of tongue are virtually inevitable.

So what do we do? How about deciding between engaging in “proactive” versus “reactive” dialogue.”

Proactive dialogue is driven by genuine curiosity, respect, trust, and personal growth. Reactive dialogue occurs when we are forced by circumstances – unfortunate circumstances in many instances – or damage control to dialogue. If we invest in the first inexpensive choice, the need for the second expensive one becomes highly unlikely.

Wrote Robert Lewis Stevenson: Talk is by far the most accessible of pleasures. It costs nothing in money or profit, it completes our education, forges and fosters friendships and can be enjoyed at any age and in almost any condition of health.”

So if I keep getting requests to be Facebook friends and decline or just ignore some of them – and, okay, maybe even yours – don’t take it personally. But I will accept any and all requests for face-to-face dialogue. That you can take to the bank. … And the check won’t bounce.

Civil Rights Lessons from MLK for Millennials and Gen Z- by David Grinberg

Too many Millennials and members of their younger cohort, Generation Z, consider civil rights history as ancient history at the dawn of a new millennium. However, there are profound and poignant lessons which today’s young people need to learn. The most important lesson is how to make major changes in society through the type of peaceful means championed by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his fellow civil rights leaders of the time.

A term of significance for young people to comprehend is: “civil disobedience.”

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Faith and Humanity – ADR TRENDS 2019

Our humanity requires renewal given the divisiveness of our culture, boosted by the anonymity of online social networks. Powerful inspiration for reminding us of our spiritual mission towards our fellow human beings, and our inner strength to commit to that mission, come from our religious leaders and traditions.

“As we welcome a New Year many people follow the tradition of New Year’s Resolutions. Others ponder what they would like to see happen to make the world a better place. In the movie ‘Miss Congeniality’ each contestant in the beauty pageant (or scholarship program) when asked what they want, all answer ‘World Peace’. I would agree with them, but how to go about it?

All major religions have the injunction, expressed in one way or another, to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This sentiment can be agreed upon by all people of goodwill. I pray that as more people take seriously in their daily lives this simple injunction, we will begin to experience a more peaceful and sane world.”

~ Monsignor Al Humbrecht, Knoxville TN Catholic Diocese, Soddy Daisy Holy Spirit Catholic Church

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Social Justice – ADR TRENDS 2019

Many of the contributors to the ADR 2019 TRENDS project are disappointed and fearful as the increasing divisions in society become the new normal.  The wide range of writers expressing their concerns includes philanthropists, poets, and diversity experts. Many are pessimistic, but there are rays of hope, too, in their predictions below.

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Turning to the New Year – by Paul Raushenbush

The turning of a new year is as good of a time as any to be thankful, to kick up and dig in your heels, to celebrate freedom, to remember the ongoing struggle, to laugh and dance and get high in whatever way feels right and joyful to you and to love, love, love.

It is a good time to mourn as we lost many beloved people this year, some close to us, many more who were close to those whom we know not, yet we grieve all those who died from hunger, war, or hate. We take time to recognize our loss, and recommit ourselves to life, and to live so that those who are gone might live on with us.

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Freedom and Feudalism in the U.S. – by Debasish Majumdar

I just love the U.S. I have no desire to visit there, but I am thrilled by their homeland history where feudalism was eclipsed by the  American struggle for independence, where from slavery there was an elevation, to a capitalist economy which paved the way to become an epitome of Justice, Liberty and Fraternity.

But, of late, the essence of feudal vices being emanated from their very core of social life is a grave concern for all who love freedom and liberty. I am worried that it may lose their pristine essence of the land of liberty, for which many aspire to embark upon.

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First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” – by Terry Howard

She knew full well that a lot of my waking hours are spent reading, writing, listening and reminiscing. Knowing that – and, I suspect, on a hunch – she picked up an extra copy of former first lady Michelle Obama’s soon to be best-selling memoir, Becoming.

The “she” I’m referring to here is “Shree,” a regular among our daily conversation crew at a local coffee shop.

Now on this particular Sunday morning, I was halfway through Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Leonard Pitts’ excellent review of Becoming when Shree walked in and plopped Michelle’s book down in front of me. She saw the look of jubilation on my face and, Shree being Shree, refused my command to pay for the book and left in a hurry.

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Dismantling Images of Slavery: Interview with Ken Venable – by Terry Howard

Recently I sat down with Ken Venable inside a coffee shop in Staunton, Virginia, a city recently made famous when the school board – with Venable a member – voted to remove the name of the confederate general Robert E. Lee from the one high school in town.
Now it’s important to cast our conversation against an uncomfortable reminder; that being the complexity of race in small southern towns like Staunton where the specter of race remains ever lurking beneath the distinctive charm of many such towns. Strong feelings on both sides of the contentious debate – “Save the name” versus “The name still hurts” – about the image of Robert E. Lee is a contemporary example.

Here’s our conversation:
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Disability Awareness: Five Questions for EEOC – by David B. Grinberg

In case you missed it, October was National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). However, you may not have noticed due to several other monthly observances nationwide. NDEAM is sponsored annually in October by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, which says the observance dates back to 1945.

Did you know? The employment population ratio for people without disabilities (65.7%) was more than triple that of people with disabilities (18.7%) in 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Continue reading Disability Awareness: Five Questions for EEOC – by David B. Grinberg