Invitation to Help Transform our World

Join our free online global dialogue featuring leaders from philanthropy, government, and the social sciences working to have an impact on the current crisis.

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I want to extend a special invitation to everyone who reads this, especially former colleagues. This won’t cost you anything and you might help change our world.

But first, some background.

I’ve enjoyed many blessings in my life. Among the most memorable are the many times I had the honor to represent the Obama administration overseas. That’s something I never could have imagined growing up in a single-parent family that had often relied on welfare and food stamps.

During my service as a presidential appointee (2009 to 2014) I was frequently tasked with assignments outside the U.S. These foreign assignments, 17 in 11 different countries, were eye-opening for me. Over time, I came to understand how rich our world is with collaborative possibilities, untapped chances to achieve shared progress across borders and cultures, and how hungry, desperate even, so many people around the world are for such undertakings. As JFK once observed, we all breath the same air.

Indeed, the unity of humankind, the fact that we are all one, is at the heart of my religion, Judaism’s, sacred and most frequently voiced prayer (called the “Schma”). This idea, that we are all one, forms the centerpiece of my identity.

That’s why I jumped at the chance recently offered to me by European leaders I first met while on an Obama administration mission to host and moderate a series of free, open, public, online global dialogues featuring top experts seeking to make progress in solving dire global challenges. The sponsors of these global dialogues have enough funding to launch these conversations, the first of which will occur on November 16, in a sort of pilot mode, with hopes we can do them more often, perhaps monthly, starting next year. We have our first 15 or so guests lined up. Our initial focus over four consecutive days examines how philanthropies and governments can have an impact on the current crisis, including as it relates to immigration, inclusion, education, and constructive social change.

The conversations will include distinguished leaders from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Peace, the Arab Council for Social Sciences, the European Foundation Center, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, many other foundation leaders, and well-respected social scientists from some of the world’s leading universities. Our goal is to illuminate opportunities for collaborations that bring the better world we can all imagine within reach, in our time.

We invite all people of good will to join us. These online events are free, and everyone is invited to ask questions and make suggestions, which I will review in real time online and try to incorporate into our discussions.

Our news media can be so much more than it is today. It can be a force that informs and unifies us. All of us, as citizens of the same world. I am sure my first few efforts will be rocky. I have a lot to learn about how I can be most effective in this new role. But I am going to give it all I have. I am going to act as if the entire world depends on what we do. I invite you to join us. You can view a list of confirmed speakers/panelists and register to participate, or just watch, at this link:

Hal Plotkin is a Senior Scholar at ISKME, in HMB, CA. Senior Advisor, U.S. Dept of Ed (2009-14) and Senior Open Policy Fellow, Creative Commons USA (2014-2017)

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