23 January 2008

sharing knowledge

the concept of 'knowledge cafes' is apparently quite popular in the information and knowledge management field, as i recently discovered. knowledge cafes are basically a group of people who meet to discuss issues of common interest, over a meal, snack or cup of coffee. i assume there are by now countless variations of this, although one of the initial ideas was to have a diverse group of people meet up and participate in small-group discussions for a certain amount of time, after which all but one of the group would move tables and share a summary of their earlier discussion. in this way everyone gets a chance to speak, and you (ideally) get a significant amount of input and discussion.

the idea metamorphosed from the 'world cafe', which is more about dialogue and collective action ('if you can change the conversation you can change the future').

my interest however, is on sharing different knowledge; discussion with a group of people from different fields, with different talents. i recall a long ago conversation where z mentioned having all her friends--comprising of artists, musicians and writers--live in one apartment building, and having them take turns teaching their kids their various talents. or a more recent conversation with colleagues, of how amongst us we can teach our kids numerous languages.

before we get to the kids, we can consider applying this to ourselves. if i look at my immediate circle of friends, they all have their own areas of professional expertise, together with other talents. and yet, we rarely discuss such things. as fascinating as the idea seems, i am not sure how practical or feasible it really is... any ideas/thoughts?

21 January 2008


please support the following petitions:

Stop blocking a UN human rights monitoring mission in Sri Lanka

"The state, as the sovereign, has an obligation to investigate into all crimes irrespective as to whether these are done by organised criminal gangs, terrorists or state agencies themselves. This obligation implies that there needs to be a competent and impartial criminal investigation branch within the policing system which has not been corrupted or impaired by political interference. There is consensus within Sri Lanka that the capacity of the police investigation system has been gravely diminished due to political interference over several years and that its internal capacity for investigations has become extremely limited. When it comes to organised crimes, acts of terrorists and also extrajudicial acts of the military and the police, the police investigation system has not demonstrated any capacity for effective investigations in recent years."

There have been calls by civil society groups within Sri Lanka as well as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, for the government to agree to a UN field presence in the country. The recent ending of the 'official truce' (such as it was) with the LTTE by the government can only worsen the widespread killings, disappearances and other abuses faced by citizens on a daily basis. While an OHCHR presence in the country will not stop all of this absolutely, it will definitely make a difference.

Protect the independence of Korea's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

"The NHRCK is an internationally highly regarded national human rights institution (NHRI), indeed a model for other countries. The Commission is a very active institution at the national level, and an engaging force at the regional and international levels as an important member of the Asia Pacific Forum and a Vice Chair of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC).

The intended placement could negatively influence the international standing of the NHRCK and could erode its national position. It could also impact on public perceptions of its independence and compliance with the internationally accepted benchmarks for NHRIs, the Paris Principles, (UN GA resolution 48/134). This could in turn affect the NHRCK accreditation with the ICC and the Republic of Korea’s excellent reputation in the international human rights system."

18 January 2008


the past 10 days went by so quickly that i am left wondering what i did during that time. i know i attended all the waaz, and i definitely paid attention (as evidenced from my considerable notes). moreover, on most nights i would get home and discuss the topics with my family, as well as conduct quasi post mortems with my dad and brother on their renditions of various nohas and marsiyas.

even though i KNOW all this occurred, it seems very ephemeral now. it is one day later, and i already feel like much time has passed. like the wisps of ilm that i could not fully grasp, which float around inside my head, and will very soon fade away.