Saturday, October 31, 2009

Treat yourself and Kids 'n Kinship, too!

Burnsville Women of Today invite you to Spa-ahhh!!, a fundraising event to benefit Kids 'n Kinship. Treat yourself or someone you know to pampering, relaxation, and fun!

Kids 'n Kinship's mission is to provide friendships to children ages 5-16 who are in need of a positive role model.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Join the conversation about Minnesota's civic health!

On the eve of the Citizens League Annual Meeting, I'm honored by the invitation to take part in the ongoing conversation about Minnesota's civic health.

The "Minnesota Civic Health Index 2009," co-authored by Harry Boyte and Nan Skelton in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship, is slated for release next Monday. Following the press conference earlier in the day, the public is invited to join in on a conversation reflecting on the report's findings in relation to their own experiences. See below for more details and to register - I look forward to our discussion!

The Next Minnesota Miracle: Building a Living Democracy for the 21st Century

Monday, November 2
4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Markim Hall, Institute for Global Citizenship, Macalester College
1600 Grand Ave., St. Paul
*Space is limited. Please RSVP to by Friday, October 30.

co-sponsored by
-Center for Democracy and Citizenship, Augsburg College
-Citizens League
-Minnesota Campus Compact
-Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration
-with support from Target

Minnesota comes out ahead on many measures of civic engagement when compared with other states, according to a recent report produced by the Center for Democracy and Citizenship in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship. Please join Harry Boyte, co-author of Minnesota Civic Health Index 2009, Bill Blazar of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Gary Cunningham of Northwest Area Foundation, and Diane Tran of Grassroots Solutions for a discussion on the state of Minnesota's civic health and what we can and must do to move from civic activities to civic engagement grounded in the fabric of communities.

Copies of Minnesota Civic Health Index 2009 will be available at the forum.

The report will be released earlier on November 2 at a press conference with Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem, David Smith of the National Conference on Citizenship, and Harry Boyte of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change

Earlier this week, I started a new position with grassroots solutions, a grassroots consulting firm headquartered in Minneapolis. Having worked with and received technical assistance from a number of their staff in a couple of my previous consulting projects, I'm excited to be coming on board with such talented, passionate, and fun people!

In honor of Blog Action Day 2009, I thought I'd just share a bit about one of the projects I'll help to manage, which is the Clean Energy Works (CEW) coalition. Their tagline is "More jobs. Less pollution. Greater security."

Clean Energy Works is a diverse coalition of more than 60 grassroots organizations representing more than 12 million Americans. This unprecedented grassroots coalition includes faith leaders, labor labors, veterans, environmental activists, sportsmen, farmers, business leaders, youth, community leaders, and many other groups, all calling for urgent action on a comprehensive clean energy and climate plan that delivers clean energy jobs, less pollution, and a more secure America.

Comprehensive energy and climate policies will:

• Create and protect millions of good American jobs by spurring investment in the nation's growing clean energy economy

• Improve our national security by enhancing America's energy independence, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and getting America running on clean energy

• Reduce the carbon pollution that's harming our air and water, and endangering the health of the planet
I look forward to advancing these objectives on behalf of national security, job creation, and environmental health and thank Blog Action Day for their focus on such a critical and relevant issue!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Agents and Architects of Democracy: The Struggle for the Future of Higher Education

It's been an absolute pleasure for me to serve on an International Public Achievement working group these past few months because of the people involved and the possibilities for growth of an amazing program! I want to pass on word about an upcoming and similarly-focused webcast that Professor Harry Boyte, of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship, will be moderating next month. To explore the history and future of civic agency as an organizing theme for higher education, the panel is prompted by this provocative question:

How can higher education reverse the disturbing trends we see occurring:
pressures for higher education to become increasingly a private good with
students as customers, institutions as industries, and competitive success
measured by how many are refused admission?
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
3:00 PM–4:00 PM Eastern
2:00 PM–3:00 PM Central
1:00 PM–2:00 PM Mountain
12:00 PM–1:00 PM Pacific
An emerging focus on agency—how people develop the skills, confidence, and
outlook to become shapers of their lives and communities and agents of change –
can help. Civic Agency is visible across the world. It appears in development
efforts in Africa; in the writings of development scholars reflecting on World
Bank and UNDP experiences; and in pioneering work around the world on public
health, resource management, global climate change, and education reform. Higher
education has been slow to focus on this issue. Yet promising signs are
emerging, particularly in the effort by scholars to define an emergent “civic
field,” and the first Institute of Civic Studies this summer at Tufts. Could
civic agency become a core focus of higher education in the 21st century?
Learn more about the webcast and registration details here. The fast-paced one-hour program will offer an opportunity for questions and answers during the program. If you have a question now for presenters that you recommend they address during the program, email your question to

Monday, October 5, 2009

Seeing with Ugandan Eyes

In study abroad opportunities, students are often prepped, before leaving, to experience culture shock in the new country, and upon returning, for smooth re-entry into the home culture. This explicit discussion of expectations and transition readies the traveler to more fully enjoy the journey by mitigating and preparing for otherwise unforeseen and disturbing experiences. While I had read up on Nigeria society in preparation for traveling to Abuja, I hadn't anticipated that I would receive such a fascinating and effective re-entry program upon my return to the U.S.

For the past two weeks, I have had the remarkable opportunity to come on board with a Ugandan delegation of entrepreneurs at Southern University. Spending time in class and in community with the group of 14 Ugandans, I had a unique opportunity to see the U.S. through Ugandan eyes. I went with them to their first football games, explained what hot dogs are, and tried my best to translate the American experience into Luganda.

The first distinct cultural difference I came across was in the questions the Ugandans raised during a finance class module. The instructor urged the importance of businesspeople paying themselves first in order to maintain a functioning and financially viable venture. The Ugandans pushed back, stating that this couldn't be done when family members, neighbors, and other relations still needed food or other basic necessities in their economy of affection. The sense of community and responsibility for one's neighbors was so prevalent that paying oneself first seemed an incredibly selfish concept to the group of Ugandans.

The Ugandans were further startled by the grandiosity of marching band halftime shows, ample resources to support college graduates as exemplified by career fairs, and the amount of electricity used to light buildings during daytime hours. But nothing could prepare them for the extravagant RVs that filled the parking lot of A. W. Mumford Stadium before Southern University Jaguars football games. Touring one complete with bathroom, bedroom, and bar, they, obviously overwhelmed, exclaimed, "You have these and houses? It's too much!"

Certainly, the grandour and glitz of the U.S. is in stark contrast to much of the developing world, particularly from where I've just returned in Nigeria. The infrastructure, wealth, and government operations function at completely different levels. While the unexpected revision of our program unfortunately forced us to leave Nigeria early two weeks ago, I'm of the belief that my group members and I ended up exactly where we needed to be. Despite having our program schedule completely revised and our flexibility tested time and again, thanks to the questions and curiosity of the Ugandans, we had the opportunity to re-enter the U.S. more deeply conscious of our home country's attributes, culture, and global perspective than ever. It's amazing what you have to go through to get to where you're meant to be.

And I'm so thankful I had the opportunity to connect with such intelligent, passionate, and fun people from the other side of the globe. To my dear Ugandan friends: Waybale nyo!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

You're Invited: Citizens League Annual Meeting!

I'm a proud member of the Board of Directors of the Citizens League and my favorite event of the year is coming up - and you're invited! Our Annual Meeting is always fun, engaging, and the place to be and be seen if you're into community-building, politics, or helping build a better Minnesota!

Naked Civics: Uncovering the Path to the Common Good
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Pantages Theater
Doors at 5:00PM; Program at 6:30PM
FREE to attend!

The meeting is incredibly timely – and relevant. Nate Garvis, Citizens League Boardmember, will talk about both the tremendous need to find common ground amid all of the polarizing political/policy conversations around us, and the new opportunities we all have to do so.
  • How can Minnesota be the “Civic Capitol” of the country?
  • How can we reinvent policy-making and civic engagement in a new era?
  • How can you become involved, whether it is through your workplace or your community -- anywhere?
  • How do we “’uncover” new paths to the common good?

The meeting is social, interactive – (and short). There will be receptions both beforehand and afterwards at Seven Restaurant and Lounge next door, where you can learn more about the Citizens League’s priorities and accomplishments and how to contribute to our work.

  • It will be a great place to meet old and new friends.
  • You don’t have to be a member to attend, although we might ask you to join.
  • We know you are busy, and have planned a program that does not go more than an hour, while still providing opportunities for interaction.

Social media:
You can invite your friends from our Facebook page for this event.
Our Twitter hashtag is #CL09.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...