A blog about our shared experience…

Governance: Unity and Interdependence

An organization whose work I highly respect identified three sets of principles that can assist in a search to rethink governance, one of which is “unity and interdependence”.

I’ve seen trends in my lifetime that have made it clear that we are naturally and inevitably moving toward higher and higher levels of global interdependence: the FAA and international flight travel; the rise of the European Union; and even electronic product availability deeply affected by the earthquake (and its resulting fallout) in Japan all show a global trend that brings to my mind the “human body analogy” that I mention often.

Each of the arrangements mentioned describes an agreement that transcends national boundaries and international rivalries and conflict. Some of it is motivated by economic factors; others seem to be the result of an understanding that the individual units stand to gain from collaborating rather than standing alone. Regardless of the motivating force, examples like these offer us a concrete view into the potential that we can continue to move towards. Each part of the body has unique and specific roles to play in the body’s functioning, just as each country has unique inherent qualities that can contribute to this rising collaboration.

The word “government” comes loaded with baggage for people all over the world. There are a myriad of examples where power has been misused, citizens mistreated and taken advantage of and policies that very often didn’t reflect a respect of other nations’ needs and interests. Thankfully, governance isn’t limited to behaving this way, and I believe that as up-and-coming students of policy come to understand some of these principles more fully, new ways of operating will emerge.

One can’t talk about rethinking a system for local, national and international governance without addressing the dire need for gender equality to be fully diffused into what comes next. Women play an invaluable role in every aspect of life and, sadly, have not been fully integrated into the most significant decision-making processes within the home, their local communities, the national stage or international arenas. That means that half of our most valuable resources globally have been all but left out of the most important conversations that dictate where our civilization is to evolve into. Access to education, civil liberties and protection and empowerment by their male counterparts will be an essential step in the emergence of good governance. The topic of engendering equality is more aptly handled here and here, but I’ll suffice it to stress here that it is a vital undertaking.

Unity is a loaded word, laden with both idealistic and abusive associations. There’s a good amount to unpack in how we reassess the word, and I firmly believe that unity must be inextricably linked to justice. Unity without a strong infusion of justice leads to oppression and conformity, which doesn’t seem to be the direction in which we need to head. What I understand unity to mean in this context is: the vast and diverse human resources across the globe learning to collaborate rather than contend — consult rather than argue — in order to find ways to build relationships on every level that are geared to the advancement of all whom inhabit this planet. This isn’t about a think-tank or a focus group. We need everyone involved.

What first steps would you choose to embark on to see such a vision come about? What examples of interdependence and unity have you experienced? What can you do to empower others whom you already interact with?

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