UK DFID Reception:
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Deputy Prime Ministerís Sustainable Communities Summit Manchester February 2005

Zen and the Art of Sustainable Communities

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MAY 2007:RUMI-UNESCO - Green Tourism Turkey - Jane Samuels
"They come to the rescue of this world when hearing from everywhere the moans of the oppressed. They run towards them, these fortresses against weakness, these doctors of hidden disease,
Are pure love, pure justice, pure mercy..." Rumi

From May 21st to June 5th, an international group of practioners led by Removing Unfreedoms consultants, Jane Samuels and Ian Worrall travelled across Anatolia in Turkey. The goal was to explore the relevance of the life of the 12th century Sufi Poet and his humanist values to the role of culture and international developement strategies.

The practioners aimed to reconsider the goals of urban policy makers. Throughout the course an indepth analysis compared the need to determine the strengths of local cultures and how values introduce both vibrant human economies and raise the level of prosperity, tolerance and a quality of life worth living.

The 12 day course has been offered over the last ten years. The participants are taken hundreds of miles across the country viewing many layers of civilisations arrivng in the city of Konya. Throughout the duration of the course, the life and words of this 12th century Sufi saint are experienced in both the micro personal level and the macro universal view.

A central focus of the discussion aims to gain a greater understanding of the link between the values of interdependence and the our relations to natural resources. These issues reflect on the reform of societal arrangements regarding the provision of services, decentralised governance and impact to Global Warming. In-depth discussions focused on the relevance of bottom-up participation strategies in terms of reinvesting cultural values through the arts, music and architecture.

This year marks the 800 years of Rumi's life celebrated by UNESCO
In the words of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon: “Rumi’s poetry is timeless. But its celebration at the United Nations is extremely timely. Events of recent years have created a growing gulf between communities and nations. They have led to a worrying rise in intolerance and cross-cultural tensions. Reversing these trends has become vital to long-term peace and stability in our world. This is a wonderful opportunity to reaffirm our devotion to his humanist philosophy and to highlight the principles of tolerance, understanding and compassion, which suffuse his compositions.

We havethe opportunity to remember our essential interdependence with all of life and all people and place the well-being of our communities and of all humanity on par with our own interests."

For more information for applications to country level and civil society programmes email :
Posted on 02 Jul 2007 by Admin
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