This brought on a slew of cynical comments based on what I think are some myths about the mix of corporate goals and doing good. I don't mind questioning motives of businesses in their "Doing Good" practices, since I have done so on my own blog here, as when KFC partnered with the Komen for Cure, in their Buckets For the Cure Campaign. This kind of scrutiny is a good thing as it keeps businesses focused on their true philanthropic and social repsonisibility goals and keeps them mindful of the impact of their philanthropy for the recipients and for their own business.
This last week I participated in a meeting hosted by the Bay Area Corporate Volunteer Council and by the Bay Area Entrepreneurs Foundation. The main topics of the gathering were: Employee Development, Rewards and Recognition, and Skills Based Volunteering. Participants in this meeting included representatives from large companies such as: Intel, Hewlett Packard, AT&T, and smaller ones like NetSuite and Technology Credit Union. This gave me an opportunity to hear of the many approaches of corporate volunteerism that businesses use and their benefits to both the business and the community. These programs served as examples that could bust any of the following myths about corporate do-goodism and making money as an impossible mix,
Myth #1. Businesses can't be trusted to "Do Good" without having purely selfish motives.
Most businesses acknowledge that volunteerism, CSR and corporate giving is great PR and a great way to build a relationship with a community and yes, hopefully that may translate into good business. Businesses not only do not hide the fact that they gain benefit, but see it as a win-win for everyone in building a thriving community.
Myth #2. Employees don't get their jobs done while wasting time on volunteering.
In fact companies also reap huge benefits of volunteerism in training and development of their employees, team building, building morale, and recruitment. The result is more productivity on the job.
Myth #3. Employees have to volunteer on their own time.
Pro-bono and skilled based services are types of volunteering that are paid for by the company and are often the most costly volunteer services for the company. Many companies offer long term employee services to non-profits. Many volunteer hours are during work hours as many projects such as food or toy drives are on company premises. Employees who have started their own volunteer project at work, have often parlayed that experience into a full-time community relations position at that company, running volunteer programs as their full time job. Some companies offer time-off from work as rewards for community service.
Myth #4. Corporate bosses leave the volunteering to the employees.
Many executives are well known to sit on boards of non-profits where they bring to the table their knowledge of strategy and management.One company reported that their executives are required to sit on non-profit boards as part of their corporate responsibilities. Many executives work hand in hand on volunteer projects with their employees showing corporate support of these efforts.
Myth #5. Companies substitute volunteerism for monetary support of the non-profit.
Studies have shown that corporate volunteerism translates into monetary contributions to the non-profits that are served. Several companies have Dollar for Doers programs, where volunteers hours are added up and a matching amount of money is donated to the volunteer's designated charity.
I look forward to following the sessions at the National Conference for Volunteering and Service, particularly the corporate volunteering sessions, for some more myth busting examples of corporate volunteering.
Businesses have arrived at a new era of responsibility and service to their communities and are challenging the idea that business cannot be focused on creating shareholder value and on the community benefit as well.
Posted By Colum Lynch Thursday, June 24, 2010 - 5:28 PM
John R. Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, blasted U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today for pressing ahead with an international probe into the Israeli commando raid on a flotilla carrying aid activists to Gaza. Bolton also appealed to the Obama administration to withhold U.S. funding to the organization until Ban backs down. "If he goes ahead and does this, why don't we withhold 20 percent of the U.S. share?," Bolton told Turtle Bay.
More than three years ago, Bolton played an important role in promoting Ban for the U.N.'s top spot. Today, he still says, "I thought it was the right thing to do." But he sharply criticized the former Korean foreign minister in his strongest terms ever in his interview with Turtle Bay and a Washington Times opinion piece for trying to set up an international inquiry into Israeli conduct without an explicit mandate from the U.N. Security Council.
"For Mr. Ban to act without express U.N. Security Council authorization, however, would far exceed his legitimate authority," Bolton wrote. "It would create a troubling precedent, with implications not just for Israel but for the United States, extending well beyond Israel's blockade of Gaza or the May 31 events. Nonetheless, President Obama has not moved decisively to quash the idea, and his inaction is understood in U.N. circles as implicitly consenting to Mr. Ban's illegitimate initiative."
The position taken by Bolton added an influential American conservative voice to Israel's efforts to convince Ban to back away from an international inquiry. Both Israel and the United States maintain that an Israeli inquiry -- involving two international observers -- is adequate to addressing international calls for a credible inquiry into the Memorial Day raid, which led to Israel's killing of nine aid activists who had violently resisted Israel's effort to forcefully seize control of the boat.
Following the raid, the Security Council issued a statement calling for "a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards." The Obama administration agreed to the text after eliminating language explicitly calling for an international probe. After the statement was adopted, the chief U.S. negotiator, Alejandro Wolff, said, "We are convinced and support an Israeli investigation as I called for in my statement earlier and have every confidence that Israel can conduct a credible and impartial, transparent, prompt investigation internally."
But Ban disagreed with the United States, telling reporters last week that key governments he is consulting believe the Israeli inquiry "is not sufficient enough to have international credibility." He said he would continue his efforts to convince Israel and Turkey to participate with an international panel probing the incident.
Bolton told Turtle Bay that Ban is "incredibly unwise" to pursue his investigation without the full support of the Security Council. He said Ban's approach to the Middle East has "evolved" in recent years, and reflects "a mood in New York, including the U.N. secretariat, which is growing steadily anti-Israeli." He said the Obama administration has behaved "duplicitously" by offering its public support for the Israel inquiry while failing to confront Ban. "Implicitly, they are going to let this happen," Bolton said. "We want to make it clear that we do not agree with what Ban is doing,"
A spokesman for Ban, Martin Nesirky, declined to respond to Bolton's article, saying only that the "former permanent representative of the United States is entitled to his opinion." But U.N. observers countered that Bolton was out of line with his criticism of Ban and the United States.
Jeffrey Laurenti, a U.N. analyst at the Century Foundation, said that "Bolton's strategy of non-payment to the U.N. had resulted in a crippled U.S. diplomacy in international organizations and elsewhere and that his own mercifully brief tenure at the U.N. was one marred by a record of negative achievements: that is blocking but not accomplishing."
Laurenti added, "It really is quite slanderous to charge the Secretary General with anti-semitism -- or anyone else -- for being critical of Israeli force."
"Bolton has long been closely allied with the most expansionist and retrograde elements in the Israeli security establishment, and one would be hard put to think of a single excessive [Israeli] move or action to which he has ever spoken critically," Laurenti said. The Obama administration, in contrast, "has been mindful of the outrage in much of the rest of the world. That's why they have muffled their opposition to the U.N. initiative in a way a more right-wing administration would not."
Click here to read story on Foreign Policy (http://turtlebay.foreignpolicy.com/)
UNITED NATIONS, June 24 -- Why is Helen Clark, the Administrator of the UN Development Program, listed as a vice president of the Socialist International? It's a simple question, which Inner City Press posed in an article on June 21, here, and then to UN spokesman Martin Nesirky back on June 22:
Inner City Press: Helen Clark, UN system official, head of UNDP, is listed on the website of Socialist International, which is meeting here at the UN, as a vice-president of the organization. I’m just wondering, was, is there some kind of waiver given or is permissible for a UN system official to serve in such a capacity with an outside group?
Spokesperson Nesirky: I would ask you to ask UNDP.
Inner City Press: I think, there is a UN system, I mean, there’s UN rules that cover the whole system, so it’s not…
Spokesperson: But in the first instance…
Inner City Press: Right, okay.
Spokesperson: …ask UNDP.
And so later on June 22, at a UNDP briefing about hydro power in Nepal, Inner City Press asked UNDP's seeming Number Two official Olav Kjorven. Before answering, he whispered back and forth with a UNDP communications officials. Then he said, “I am not prepared to answer, but we will get back to you.”
After the briefing, the UNDP communications officials said to Inner City Press, you're known for this type of question. He then asked why Inner City Press didn't direct the question to Helen's people.
But aren't you all Helen's people? Another UNDP communications official said, in the briefing room and later by voice mail, that Helen's people would get back to Inner City Press with an answer.
Two full days later, there still was been no answer. Where were and are Helen's people? Watch this site.
Update: after preparation of this article, Inner City Press received an answer by asking, not UNDP again, but... Nesirky again. It is not clear why UNDP never responded to Inner City Press. Nesirky said that Helen Clark's role as Vice President of the Socialist International was only as prime minister of New Zealand.
Nesirky said Socialist International has now been asked to remove her name from its web site. But SI has as VP a number of politicians out of power, meaning that removal from the VP board is not automatic. Did Helen Clark make the request when she took the UN job? Or only now?
By John R. Bolton
Withholding U.S. funds would chasten secretary-general
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is close to making an enormously significant misjudgment about his role and authority. Mr. Ban has repeatedly called for an "international" inquiry into the May 31 clash with Israeli commandos, provoked by supporters of Hamas on a Turkish-flagged ship off the Gaza Strip, resulting in nine killed and dozens wounded. According to the media, he is seriously considering launching such an inquiry by his own personal decision.
For Mr. Ban to act without express U.N. Security Council authorization, however, would far exceed his legitimate authority. It would create a troubling precedent, with implications not just for Israel but for the United States, extending well beyond Israel's blockade of Gaza or the May 31 events. Nonetheless, President Obama has not moved decisively to quash the idea, and his inaction is understood in U.N. circles as implicitly consenting to Mr. Ban's illegitimate initiative.
The U.N. Security Council already has issued a statement by its president, which, although harshly critical of Israel, was significantly watered down from its original draft. The final text said specifically that "the Security Council takes note of the statement of the United Nations Secretary-General on the need to have a full investigation into the matter and it calls for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards."
In the U.N.'s arcane world, "taking note" of something is simply an acknowledgment it exists. "Taking note" implies neither approval nor disapproval and has all the force of saying "taking note that the sun rose this morning." In short, the Security Council, given the opportunity to authorize Mr. Ban to create an international inquiry, chose not to do so. (Moreover, under the U.N. Charter, the General Assembly lacks authority, whereas here, the Security Council is plainly dealing with a matter involving "international peace and security.")
In fact, U.S. spokesmen said in the immediate aftermath of the Security Council statement that a truly independent, transparent investigation conducted entirely by Israel would be satisfactory. Israel is, in fact, undertaking an investigation with international participants that it asserts will meet this standard.
Additionally, on June 2, the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva entered the fray. By an entirely predictable 32-3 vote, with the United States one of the three dissenters, the HRC created its own "fact-finding mission" to investigate. We can predict with total confidence, based on the Goldstone Inquiry, created by the HRC in January 2009 to investigate Israel's Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, what this new inquiry will conclude. Israel, it will say, violated international law in creating the Gaza blockade, was unjustified in intercepting the Gaza flotilla and used disproportionate force in boarding the Turkish vessel.
Why, then, is there still talk of yet another inquiry being established by Ban Ki-moon? Even its ardent Obama-administration supporters know that the HRC, established four years ago to replace its thoroughly discredited predecessor, is itself now discredited and that any HRC report would be widely disregarded in both Israel and the United States. By contrast, an inquiry established by the U.N. secretary-general, whose conclusions almost certainly would be the same as those of the HRC investigation, could well have considerably greater weight and credibility. And if, as many suspect, greater pressure on Israel is what President Obama actually wants, a secretary-general's report would be much more effective.
Israel rejects Mr. Ban's idea, and Mr. Ban himself recognizes it would be futile to proceed if Israel refuses to cooperate, as it undoubtedly will do regarding the HRC inquiry. The real issue, therefore, is the United States' position, and the White House's nonexistent public response to date strongly suggests it would like to see Mr. Ban proceed with his idea. That would enable Mr. Obama to say, disingenuously, that the United States never actually voted to create such an inquiry, all the while letting the U.N. Secretariat know quietly that the White House was perfectly comfortable with it. Unambiguously, Mr. Obama's silence gives consent.
But we also should fully understand the broader implications of a Ban Ki-moon inquiry without express Security Council authorization. This would be a precedent for future power grabs by U.N. leaders, which could well come back to haunt the United States. The U.N. Charter is rhetorically expansive as it is, and when the secretary-general asserts authority beyond the protective reach of Washington's Security Council veto, all manner of mischief is possible.
Before Mr. Ban acts, congressional opponents of yet another inquiry should mobilize. Though they cannot stop Mr. Obama's behind-the-scenes support for this decidedly bad idea, they can respond to it legislatively. These are precisely the circumstances in which a legislative reduction in U.S.-assessed contributions to the U.N. would be warranted. And here, because the abuse of the U.N. Charter is especially flagrant, the amount of the withholding should far exceed our assessed share of the modest cost of the inquiry itself. This is a case where the secretary-general and other U.N. members need to understand that the United States is prepared to take punitive financial action to protect its interests. That way, and that way alone, we might actually get their attention in New York.
John R. Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad" (Simon & Schuster, 2007).
But perhaps the most inventive part of SalesForce's giving structure is their 1% of product donated. So often, businesses large and small possess a wealth of knowledge and know-how. Realizing this, the SalesForce Foundation started donating 1% of their cloud-computing applications and licenses, then training nonprofits in the use of them, offering advice and assistance in their specialty areas of sales, service and customer relationship management. By sharing their time, tech and accumulated knowledge with the philanthropic community, Sales Force has established itself as a leader in the 21st century integration of business and giving.
Others have followed their example, too. The funky, Australian-based software development company Atlassian, as noted last month on this blog, is in the midst of a dynamic 1/1/1 iniatitive with their Causium software distribution model. Noticing flagging sales of a software product tailored to small business, Atlassian decided to give away the product at an ultra-low price, or "micropayment," then donate the profits to the literacy group Room to Read.
But Atlassian didn't want to cut any corners, so employees chipped in to supply Causium buyers with free tech support and training for the software. So far the effort has been staggeringly successful, raising $500,000 for Room to Read, and leaving Atlassian determined to cross to cross the million dollar mark.
Other businesses have hopped onboard as well. Another cloud computing company, C-Level Management has drafted a series of "Giving Back" philanthropy goals based on the 1/1/1 model and similarly patterned after the notion of sharing their expertise, here in the form of consulting grants to nonprofits and educational institutions. NewVoiceMedia, a telephony technology developer based in the UK, has also crafted a program of paid volunteer days for employees, as well as product donations and discounts to qualified charities.
By integrating their success with the wellbeing of society, SalesForce and similar companies have forged a dynamic new role for business. Multiplying by one, it turns out, can yield huge dividends.
Based on the same idea, 1% for the Planet, a similar business association, encourages businesses to donate 1% of their earning to environmental causes. Created in 2001 by Yvon Chouinard, founder of outdoor apparel mainstay Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, 1% for the Planet aids businesses in paying what Chouinard playfully calls the "Earth tax." Made up of over 700 participating businesses from every continent on Earth, 1% for the Planet fuels nonprofits specializing in a staggering spread of issues, including alternative energy development, environmental justice, wildlife protection, air quality and bike advocacy.
June 19, 2010 - 9:48am
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) - The United Nations compound of high-rise buildings, green lawns and white SUVs has been an engine of prosperity not only for Africa's diplomatic capital but also for two senior managers, an internal U.N. report found.
A December 2008 report by the now-disbanded U.N. Procurement Task Force says former officials Ventzislav Stoykov and Edgar Casals each scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars and ran outside ventures at the U.N.'s Economic Commission for Africa.
The report obtained by The Associated Press says Stoykov manipulated bids and cut private deals with U.N. contractors he oversaw, while Casals forged birth certificates to get U.N. child support and used an American official to get U.S. visas for others _ a potential security risk. Both men have denied the allegations.
As one of the last big investigations the anti-corruption task force completed before it was forced to shutter its operations at the end of 2008, the case illustrates the limits of the U.N.'s self-policing _ which has seriously eroded in the past year and a half _ and its secrecy and bureaucracy in handling major cases of fraud and corruption.
"Investigations have been hampered and significantly slowed by the lack of cooperation of some parties, including vendors external to the organization, certain counsel for staff and vendors, and staff members themselves," the task force says in its 131-page report.
The task force recommended providing the ECA report to prosecutors in Ethiopia and the Philippines and to U.S. authorities to review visas Casals apparently obtained through Santiago "Sonny" Busa, a former U.S. consular chief in Addis Ababa. No one would confirm if that happened.
But the task force case did set off a confidential U.S. criminal probe.
"This case involves an ongoing U.S. law enforcement investigation and so we cannot comment on it," one U.S. official told AP, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case. Busa couldn't be reached for comment.
Few U.N. officials in the Ethiopian capital appeared to know of the ECA report. Some said they had no evidence of misconduct in their midst.
Paul Buades, head of the U.N.'s procurement division in New York, says "the organization was quick to act" on the task force's findings by taking unspecified administrative actions against staff members, sanctioning U.N. vendors and re-soliciting bids for one project tainted by the report.
Stoykov's job vacancy was posted a week after AP visited the U.N. compound, and Casals retired in October 2007.
Between 2002 and 2007, the U.N.'s investigation division received complaints of bid-rigging and other fraud at ECA, but nothing was done.
In 2008, the complaints were referred to the task force _ created in 2006 to head off more scandals like the $1.8 billion bilked from the U.N.'s oil-for-food program in Iraq _ and an investigation began.
Task force investigators seized documents from Stoykov's office _ a first in ECA's 50-year history. Colleagues noticed his sudden, unexplained absence.
The task force's report says Stoykov, a Bulgarian, hired two major U.N. contractors for side projects, including a four-story building put under his wife's name. A board he sat on approved U.N. contracts for the firms _ including a road, sewers, power, pipelines and a security wall _ and he supervised that work while he hired them privately, the task force says.
Stoykov steered a $1.2 million U.N. contract to one firm to build guard booths, access roads, parking and a boundary wall around ECA's office building, the task force says. The two firms told investigators they did nothing improper.
Stoykov couldn't be reached for comment but told the task force in a 6-page letter he "committed no crime and have not knowingly broken any rule or regulation of the United Nations."
Casals, ECA's general services division chief, created fraudulent birth certificates for two children not his own to claim hundreds of thousands of dollars in bogus U.N. child benefits from 1971 to 2007, the task force says.
Its report includes divorce files from New Jersey, where Casals' ex-wife lived, indicating the birth certificates were a fraud.
Casals put on immigration visa applications that he was the natural father of two children claimed as dependents _ providing evidence, the task force says, he "knowingly falsified official documents and relied upon forged birth certificates in order to obtain United States visas for these two minors."
It says Casals, a Filipino who headed the U.N. staff union in Ethiopia, used his job and contacts "to facilitate United States visa applications for his business partner, girlfriend, family, friends and other unidentified individuals seeking U.S. visas."
One of Casals' e-mails in the report says Busa was among his "tennis buddies" and their families met most weekends.
Casals declined to cooperate with the task force but told AP by e-mail: "It is so easy to accuse anybody who is no longer there to defend himself."
He added: "I know Mr. Stoykov. He is the one you should go after."
The ECA's multimillion-dollar expansion drew scrutiny in the U.N.'s budget committee, whose minutes from the past two years reflect diplomats swapping concerns about project delays and "procurement irregularities."
U.N. auditors looking into millions of dollars of recent European-funded projects also said ECA needs stronger financial controls.
The ECA investigation was one of more than 300 the task force completed, leading to millions of dollars in restitution, misconduct findings against nearly 20 U.N. officials and a ban against about 50 U.N. contractors.
But the task force was dissolved before it could examine four other economic commissions that double as regional U.N. arms. The U.N. General Assembly decided the task force's capabilities and remaining caseload should be transferred to the permanent investigation division.
Since the start of 2009, however, the task force's investigators have departed and 175 leftover cases were closed or left to languish, the AP reported in January. For more than two years, no one has been permanently appointed to head the investigation division.
(Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Her passport particulars indicated that she had travelled to Brazil from Peru, before connecting flights to South Africa then Kenya. The 40 year old woman was travelling to Uganda.
The 21kilogramme cocaine haulage was packed in black containers with UNDP labels. Her arrest was triggered by her rivals in the drug trafficking underworld.
According to the JKIA Criminal Investigation Department boss Joseph Ngisa, the woman could not tell the police where the headquarters of UNDP is based, and neither could she be able to tell the nature of her job description in the organization. She also did not know the name of Uganda's Foreign Affairs Minister.
She was due to be charged with drug trafficking on Monday.
Kenya has been marked as one of the major transit points for human and drug traffickers, due to sleaze in the immigration and police departments.
Presenter: Susan Butler Plum Director, Skadden Fellowship Foundation
THURSDAY, July 8th @ NOON IN ROOM 230 DOCKSER
As Lalia mentioned in her piece last week, the whole notion has a built-in simplicity to it: central to the "buy one, give one" concept is the guarantee that for every item of product sold, a business donate an equivalent item to someone in need. In essence, the business and their customer become partners in philanthropy when customers purchase great products at low prices and sponsor the business' matching gift.
The model was conceived by Masami Sato, an entrepreneur based in Singapore. Inspired by her own globetrotting travels, encountering different cultures and the excess of need many of them experience, Sato pioneered the "buy one, give one" concept with one of her own businesses before founding Buy 1GIVE 1, or B1G1, in 2007. Led by an executive team from around the world, B1G1 is a social enterprise designed to recruit businesses for their "buy one, give one" model. Working through their nonprofit arm, B1G1 Society, businesses can register with B1G1 and get start with this "embedded" giving by helping to fund any of an array of projects. So far member businesses from 28 countries have donated millions to over 600 different projects, all dedicated to "impacting the world one transaction at a time."
And the concept, so well-branded and refreshingly uncomplicated has spread at wildfire speeds, even outside the domain of B1G1. Of course, we've mentioned TOM'S Shoes, the darling of the "buy one, give one" movement, but others have followed their blazing lead.
Figs, a boutique company specializing in stylish ties and bowties, has spearheaded a unique "threads for threads" concept. For every tie sold, Figs donates a school uniform to a child in the developing world, particularly Africa, where uniforms and good appearance are required by custom for children who attend school.
The online wine vendor CellarThief has chosen clean water as their company's pet cause. Offering - true to their name - great wines at stellar low prices, CellarThief makes a donation for every bottle sold, contributing to causes that support potable water in the Third World. According to their site they've so far funded 223,200 days of clean water since the company's launch.
In the same way, my favorite of the "buy one, give one" companies, online eyewear retailer Warby Parker has a knack for designing and peddling hip, cutting-edge eyeglass frames. Founded by four Wharton grads and longtime pals, Warby Parker utilizes a straight-froward "Buy A Pair/Give A Pair" practice, wherein they partner with RestoreVision.org to donate one pair of glasses for every pair sold. So far they've distributed needed eyewear to a dozen countries, including Afghanistan, Ghana, El Salvador, Peru, Ethiopia, Mexico, and even several locations within the US.
With results like these, who says one is the loneliest number?
Starting on the 14th, I began to assume my day-to-day responsibilities at Mapendo International (for full details regarding the organization, please see the June 17th posting). Basically, I will be interviewing at-risk urban refugees to determine whether Mapendo can offer possible assistance. On Monday and Tuesday I was allowed to observe my colleagues to learn the dos and don’ts of the interviewing process. Like me, both of my co-workers have legal backgrounds. Prior to this week, I don’t believe I comprehended the full extent of skills I gained in the past year of studying the law. An avid reader, I took no joy in much of my courses’ required reading. I could easily have done without the nights of trying to determine the holdings for late 19th century cases.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, my professors were teaching me to clear away the excess material to locate the one essential principal of the opinion. As I sat in my colleagues’ offices, I realized these same skills were being utilized in their interviewing process. Each co-worker started with the simple request that the client tell their story of escape. My colleagues rarely spoke, but when they did it was to re-focus the narrative – an attempt to concentrate on the one defining criteria that each refugee’s story must fulfill in order to obtain aid.
Like the 19th century opinions, these interviews can sometimes be maddening. As Justice Scalia once noted, the “law pronounced … must be principled, rational, and based upon reasoned distinctions.” Vieth v. Jubelirer, 541 U.S. 267, 278 (2004). Yet, a refugee’s story is often devoid of any type of rationality or logic. A refugee sees a senseless murder as a senseless murder. Whereas my legal criteria demands I determine whether this killing justifies, to my current client, a well-founded fear of persecution based upon her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
I have found this dichotomy between my refugees’ emotional tales and the necessity for me to ask cold and calculating questions difficult. I understand that a cold evaluation ensures the interviewer’s judgment is not clouded by emotions, and that the law is utilized in a manner which Justice Scalia would approve. Yet, I hope with time I am able to find a proper balance between interviewing objectively while providing a warm and compassionate environment. After watching my colleagues, I gained many methods I would like to emulate, perhaps none more important than trying to foster a safe environment, if not a friendly one. In the end, I hope that my worth is determined by how I use the law, and not necessarily my sunny (or lack thereof) disposition.
There is a story that is often told to illustrate the philanthropic principle of the power of "one". The story goes like this: A man was walking on the beach when he came across a boy who was sifting through the debris. When the boy found a starfish he would throw it back into the sea. The man asked the boy why he was doing that and he replied that a the starfish will die if they are out of the water for too long. "But you can't possibly save all of them?" "No," the boy said, "but I can save that one."
Businesses are discovering that allocating even a small amount of their resources to a variety of causes, can create meaningful impact. In our upcoming three part series we will have take a look at three business giving models that are designed around the concept of "one", and that have invited other businesses to join them in finding innovative ways to give back to humanity and the world.
Buy One, Give One- Buy1Give1- One For One- all about giving "one" to someone need, for every one bought.
TOMS Shoes has rapidly become the sweetheart of the philanthropic world with their appealing model of giving a pair of shoes to one needy child, for every pair of shoes bought. We wrote about TOMS' One for One model, a little more than a year ago, and the number of businesses since then that engage in this type philanthropic model has mushroomed. And other companies like Socks For Happy People have adopted a Buy One, Give One Model also.
And Buy1Give1 is a transaction based membership organization that helps businesses donate to good causes.
One Percent For the Planet, developed by Yvon Chouinard the founder of Patagonia - is an alliance of businesses that promise to donate 1 percent of profits to environmental causes.
One Percent For Humanity is an association of businesses committed to giving at least 1% of their annual revenues to approved non-profit humanitarian organizations.
Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com has created salesforce.com's integrated philanthropy 1/1/1 Model — a commitment to giving one percent of profits, one percent of employee volunteer time, and donating one percent of products to non-profit organizations.
Salesforce.com's visionary 1/1/1 integrated philanthropy model now includes a fourth "1" - one with the Earth
Here are some ideas any sized business can use to build on the concept of giving "one".
Just do one thing! sponsor one child, give to one school, one day of fundraising, match one dollar for dollar, customers add on one dollar to a sale, a penny jar collection, a promotion on the first of every month.
Collectively one can become many, and one can make a big difference. The important thing is realize that even a small amount of giving back can make a difference for humanity and the world.
What is "ONE" way your business can use the number one to give back?
In early fall, the Center for Law and Social Responsibility offered the opportunity to interview for an internship working with refugees in Kenya. I came to New England Law after living for a year in Phoenix, Arizona where I worked with newly arrived refugees from countries spanning the globe. The Center’s position was possibly the only internship the school could have offered that I was uniquely qualified. After first interviewing with Ms. Simpson and Professor Haynes, I moved on to an application with Mapendo International.
Sasha Chanoff started Mapendo International about five years ago. The organization’s mission is to provide assistance to refugees who have fallen through the cracks of humanitarian assistance, most notably in urban populations. In those five years, the program has acquired a crystal reputation in the humanitarian assistance world for its medical assistance, community service, and protection programs for at-risk refugees. Through the help of Ms. Simpson and Ms. Haynes, I was able to survive the interviewing process and obtain the Kenyan internship with Mapendo. On June 4th, I said goodbye to my family and friends and headed off for an African adventure.
I arrived in Nairobi after over a day of travel (for the record, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines rock). Mapendo had a driver waiting for me at the airport and he promptly dropped me off at the organization’s apartment. Mapendo staff were there to greet me upon my arrival. I started work on Monday. To be sure, my experience in Phoenix provided me with more requisite knowledge on refugees than the average bear. However, I spent the better part of the first week knee deep in reading materials regarding the situations of refugees across the continent – from reasons forcing refugees flight from their home countries to the effect the refugee populations are having on host countries like Kenya. On Tuesday and Thursday, I went with Mapendo’s outreach team to refugee havens in Nairobi. We met with families in their homes, usually little more than a 12 x 8 room with 2 to 8 people living inside. We heard stories of harassment, hunger, serious medical ailments, assault, rape, and murder.
On Monday (the 14th of June), I will begin my day-to-day duties of interviewing and assessing at risk refugees to ascertain whether they are suitable for possible protection through Mapendo. I have no doubt that the stories will be the likes of which New England Law Boston students can little imagine, let alone cope with. Yet, as of now, I am ready for the challenge.
In the coming weeks I will detail my experiences throughout my African adventure. Please check in periodically and if you have any questions or comments, please send me a shout.
Ambassador Sin Son Ho, Permanent Representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“North Korea”) to the United Nations, gave a rare press briefing at UN headquarters in New York on June 15, 2010. His subject was what he called South Korea’s “fabricated” claim that its warship Cheonan was torpedoed by North Korea’s military.
He claimed that North Korea was the “victim” of a deceitful investigation. If the UN Security Council ends up taking the side of South Korea and “is again deceived by another lie,” admonished the North Korean ambassador, “the U.S. and the Security Council shall bear the full responsibility for the subsequent consequences arising there from.”
After reading a lengthy press release, Ambassador Ho responded to my question regarding North Korea’s likely response if the UN Security Council imposes additional sanctions against North Korea, or approves a resolution or Presidential Statement condemning North Korea for the torpedo attack. He warned that “Follow-up measures will be carried out by our military forces.”
When asked whether such measures might include the use of nuclear weapons, he did not directly reply except to say that “Nuclear weapons is our deterrent.”
Ambassador Ho spent most of his time during the press conference attacking the credibility of the Joint Investigation Group, which included foreign experts, and rejecting its finding that a torpedo launched by North Korea was responsible for the sinking of the South Korean warship on March 26, 2010. He charged that the Joint Investigation Group’s procedures for selection of its members, the members’ independence and scope of authority and how the members arrived at the investigation result have been shrouded in secrecy. “If the South Korean authorities have nothing to hide,” he said, “there is no reason for them not to accept our inspection group for the verification of their ‘investigation result’.”
The North Korean envoy also questioned the reliability of South Korea’s alleged “material evidence” for the sinking of the ship by a North Korean torpedo, which included the rear part of a torpedo found by a civilian fishing boat just five days before the release of the Joint Investigation Group’s finding. “This is indeed as funny story as some kind of fiction in the Aesop’s Fables,” Ambassador Ho quipped.
Ambassador Ho stressed that, on the day of the sinking, U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises were in full swing in the vicinity with many warships engaged in anti-submarine, anti-air and marine interdiction operations. “It was inconceivable,” he claimed, “that the U.S. and South Korean warships equipped with the state-of-the-art [detection]devices failed to detect” the North Korean submarine alleged to be responsible for the torpedo launching. Under such conditions, he argued, it was doubtful that North Korea’s “small size submarine attacked the corvette ‘Cheonan’, which has anti-submarine capacity.”
Ambassador Ho accused South Korea and the United States of concocting a “farce in pursuit of their political purposes.” He claimed that the U.S. benefited the most from the sinking of the South Korean ship.
“Soon after the incident,” said Ho, “the U.S. hyped the ‘threat from North Korea’ to sound real,” using the incident to pressure Japan into accepting American demands regarding its military base in Okinawa and to justify a further build-up of American military presence in the area.
Ambassador Ho charged South Korea with exploiting the incident to evade its own responsibility for the sinking caused possibly by “self-grounding” or “fatigue failure.” He also charged that South Korean authorities were attempting to “drive a wedge between China and my country which have excellent relations.”
I got in touch with a spokesperson from the South Korean UN embassy to ask for a response to North Korea’s litany of charges. Other than saying that there was “nothing new regarding North Korea’s political rhetoric,” he refused to comment until his government had the opportunity to issue a formal statement.
North Korea’s UN ambassador - who quipped that he would lose his job if the Security Council took any action against North Korea in response to the sinking - was not joking when he warned:
“Our people and army will smash out aggressors with merciless counteraction if they dare to provoke us despite of (sic) our repeated demand and warnings, and build the most thriving reunified nation on the Korean peninsula.”
In contrast to the urgency with which the Security Council approved a Presidential Statement condemning Israel for the tragic events that ensued aboard one of the Turkish ships in the blockade-running Gaza flotilla, the Security Council has been proceeding very slowly since the sinking of the South Korean ship that killed 46 sailors. The current president of the Security Council, Mexico’s UN Ambassador, defended the deliberative pace - which has included an informal session with North Korea on June 14th - as necessary to maintain stability in the region.
In other words, it is perfectly alright for the UN to rush to judgment against Israel in one of the most unstable areas of the world but North Korea needs to be handled with kid gloves after its chief UN diplomat threatens military retaliation. Once again we are witnessing the UN’s double-standard and appeasement in action.
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
UNITED NATIONS — Independent judges appointed to revamp the way the United Nations reviews decisions on matters like hiring, firing, promotions and raises are accusing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of shielding an unhealthy culture of secrecy and trying to undermine the new system.
The United Nations Dispute Tribunal, inaugurated last July to replace a process so deteriorated that employees challenging employment decisions sometimes waited years for answers, has succeeded in shrinking a backlog of about 300 cases.
But some of the decisions issued by the tribunal contend that Mr. Ban and the highest levels of management are determined to preserve a system in which their personnel decisions remain absolute. One judge even characterized their lack of cooperation as “an attack on the rule of law.”
Diplomats, lawyers and others tracking the cases describe the United Nations’ stance on the tribunal as contradictory, if not hypocritical, given the organization’s role in promoting the rule of law globally. “The organization has to decide from the S.G. on down whether this is an organization that respects the rule of law or not,” said George Irving, a former president of the staff union and a lawyer who has worked on administrative cases at the United Nations for more than 30 years. “What you are witnessing essentially is a power struggle. It is all about control, who is going to control the system.”
In several instances, the United Nations has ignored a judge’s orders to produce documents or have officials testify about how decisions were reached. In one case, the judge ordered the organization to pay $20,000 in compensation for the mistreatment of a translator who questioned why he was not promoted.
“Sometimes there may be some cases of decisions which are not totally in line with what the Secretariat has been doing,” Mr. Ban said at a news conference last month. “But we will try to respect all the decisions.”
Mr. Ban and his advisers believe they have the prerogative to make decisions in some administrative matters, which has become an issue with the court, he acknowledged. He declined to discuss specific cases.
Critics suggest that the secretary general is violating at least the spirit and possibly the letter of the rules approved by the General Assembly.
The old system was completely internal. There were no hearings, and the secretary general essentially served as his own judge and jury. It was deemed too slow and too haphazard to cover the needs of about 60,000 United Nations employees globally.
The new system, which the internal literature describes as “independent, professionalized, expedient, transparent and decentralized,” is run by independent judges whose decisions are binding. United Nations employees cannot sue the organization in national courts, so the tribunal is their sole route to address grievances. New York, Geneva and Nairobi, Kenya, each have a judge, with some extras appointed to deal with the case backlog. A three-judge appeal panel will begin hearing appeals in New York on Monday.
Without the power to declare someone in contempt of court, the tribunal judges rely on the Secretariat to engage with them in good faith. But some judges believe accountability goes only so high. Part of the problem stems from the rigid hierarchy of the United Nations, lawyers and other experts say. The judges were assigned an administrative rank that puts them below an assistant secretary general, so those who rank higher often feel that answering the tribunal is beneath them, they said.
Noting that an employee was fired despite a pending tribunal hearing, a May order from the Nairobi tribunal said that the decision “is significant for the contempt it shows of these proceedings.” It said that the United Nations’ response “does not bode well” for a system supposedly based on international law and due process.
“You have to look at the culture here,” Judge Michael F. Adams, an Australian judge, said at the end of his stint on the dispute panel in New York. “Someone in the position of under secretary general is never confronted with the requirement that particular questions be answered.”
Judge Adams has been notably scathing in his written decisions about the lack of due process in the tribunals. “The United Nations legal system may be an island, but it does not inhabit its own planet,” he wrote in one.
The outcomes of three appeals of Judge Adams’s rulings are being watched with particular interest to see what power the higher panel grants the tribunal.
In one case of an employee passed over for a promotion, Susan Maddox, the lawyer representing the secretary general, refused to produce any of the crucial documents requested or even identify the person who made the decision to refuse to cooperate. The secretary general, like a head of state, had to be allowed to make some decisions in private, the United Nations maintained.
Judge Adams dismissed the idea that the secretary general is akin to a head of state, calling him the chief administrative officer. The tribunal is not examining whether the decision was right, he said, but whether it was arrived at in the right way.
In another case, James Wasserstrom, who now serves as the anticorruption officer at the American Embassy in Kabul, is seeking $1 million in lost wages, compensation for defamation and mental distress, plus legal expenses. He contends that he was fired from his job with the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Kosovo after reporting his suspicions of corruption. He said his mistreatment included being arrested at the border, having his house searched and having posters bearing his picture hung around the headquarters to bar his admittance.
Because he had been identified by internal investigators as a whistle-blower, he should have been protected from losing his job, he contends. But an Ethics Office investigation found no link between his allegations of corruption and his dismissal. Judge Adams ruled that the United Nations turn over that report and the evidence behind it, but Ms. Maddox refused.
In a third case, Samer Abboud, a senior translator, said he was passed over for promotion, the victim of discrimination by Egyptian officials who dole out plum jobs to their inner circle.
Shaaban M. Shaaban, an under secretary general and the most senior Egyptian official at the United Nations, initially testified to the tribunal, but then refused any further dealings pending the appeal. Judge Adams found that Mr. Shaaban’s testimony lacked credibility, calling him “an unreliable witness in respect of every important issue of fact.” The judge also found that Mr. Abboud was “subjected to insult, patronizing comments and retaliatory threats,” and ordered the United Nations to pay him $20,000 in compensation. The decision is under appeal.
If President Obama wants to bring some much-needed "discretion" to U.S. spending, as he insists, there's ample opportunity and valid reason to do so with what the United States spends at the United Nations. That's where fiscal discipline is a foreign concept.
In the past 10 years the U.N.'s regular biennial budget has more than doubled; its peacekeeping budget over the same period has increased threefold, according to the U.N.'s figures reviewed by The Heritage Foundation.
Time was when the U.S. had a policy of "zero growth" in the U.N. regular budget, which helped contain spending in the mid-1980s and '90s. That discipline has gone out the window. All told, the U.N.'s largest contributor today pays in excess of $5 billion annually.
The last time the U.S. actually put its foot down over the U.N.'s lack of fiscal transparency, gross mismanagement and moribund reforms was in 2007 when it voted against the U.N.'s budget. U.N. member states passed that spending plan anyway.
So exactly what is the U.S. role at Turtle Bay -- besides picking up 22 percent of its regular budget and more than 27 percent of its peacekeeping budget and being played for a sucker?
For what the U.S. spends at the U.N., it can begin formation of a League of Democracies. At the very least it should inform the spendthrifts at Turtle Bay that Uncle Sam's ATM is closed.
By Channing Turner | June 15, 2010 6:10 pm
A majority of countries who pledged in 1997 to fight international corruption are falling down on the job, theOrganization for Economic Cooperation and Development has found.
In an annual report released Tuesday, the OECD’s Working Group on Bribery said most of its member nations failed to levy a single penalty since the group established its Anti-Bribery Convention a decade ago.
The 1997 Anti-Bribery Convention — which was adopted by 38 countries, including the U.S., and took effect in 1999 — established legally binding standards to criminalize bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions.
According to the report, roughly one-third — 13 out of 38 — member nations of the Anti-Bribery Convention reported sanctions. In these countries, a total of 77 entities and 148 individuals were involved in criminal proceedings since 1999, and approximately 280 investigations are ongoing.
The U.S. showed the most anti-bribery activity, sanctioning 40 individuals and 20 companies, with an additional 28 deferred prosecution agreements, according to the report. Italy reported the second-highest number of proceedings with 21 individual and 18 company sanctions, while Hungary came in third with 27 individual sanctions.
Twenty-seven countries reported no sanctions since 1999; Ireland did not provide enforcement information.
“We have come far in the last ten years, but there is no time to rest on our laurels,” said Mark Pieth, chairman for the OECD Working Group on Bribery, in the report. “To fight foreign bribery, the 38 Working Group governments must continue to enforce their laws and to implement the Group’s peer-monitoring system.”
The OECD report’s findings echo a recent, similar report by TRACE International, a non-profit association focused on multinational anti-bribery efforts.
The TRACE report, which summarized all enforcement activity since 1977, found that 22 nations have enforced foreign anti-bribery laws in the past 25 years, with the United States representing 75 present of all “outbound enforcement,” or investigations brought against non-U.S. entities or individuals. The combined efforts of 21 other nations make up the remaining 25 percent.
Attorney General Eric Holder recently addressed the OECD in Paris, where he praised the group for its anti-bribery efforts. The Department of Justice collaborates with the organization in cases involving antitrust, cybercrime and anti-corruption.
Holder expressed his commitment to prosecuting corruption, pointing to the Justice Department’s use of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to pursue bribery beyond domestic borders.
In addition, the U.S. will complete the final phase of a three-part peer-review process this month in compliance with the OECD’s enforcement efforts.
By MAÏA de la BAUME
PARIS — The Unesco executive board announced on Tuesday that it would delay awarding the international prize for Research in the Life Sciences, which has been widely criticized for being financed by one of Africa’s most infamous dictators.
The prize was to honor scientific achievements that “improve the quality of human life.”
But officials from Unesco — the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — said the controversy over a prize financed by and named for President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea had undermined the organization’s credibility.
“I have come to you with a strong message of alarm and anxiety,” said Unesco’s director general, Irina Bokova, in a news release after a meeting with the agency’s executive board on Tuesday.
“I believe that given the changing circumstances and the unprecedented developments of the past months, we must be courageous and recognize our responsibilities, for it is our organization that is at stake.”
Mrs. Bokova said that while she would not a set a date for awarding the “Unesco-Obiang” Prize, consultations would continue “in a spirit of mutual respect and dignity” until the next session of the executive board in October.
The Unesco-Obiang prize, scheduled to be awarded at the end of the month, has stirred concern among officials, human rights organizations and scientists who accuse Mr. Obiang, who has ruled Equatorial Guinea since 1979, of corruption and personally profiting from his nation’s oil wealth.
On Monday, the American ambassador to Unesco, David T. Killion, sent a letter urging Mrs. Bokova to suspend plans to award the prize, which the executive board created in 2008. Mr. Obiang has committed $3 million a year for five years; half the money would go to five recipients who would receive $300,000 grants each, and half would cover the costs of their selection.