Embracing oneness means rethinking prosperity and development
Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 1 gennaio 2017
LUXEMBOURG — Unity Foundation, an organization started by a small group of Baha’is 25 years ago and inspired by the teachings of the Faith, has been one of several Baha’i-inspired agencies that assist social and economic development organizations around the world to access essential funding. The challenge before it is how to facilitate the flow of funds from one part of the world to another while preserving and strengthening a local community’s ownership and capacity to direct its own path of development. Baha’i endeavors for social and economic development operate on the principle that populations should be the protagonists of their own material, spiritual, and intellectual advancement, not just recipients or mere participants. The majority of such initiatives are sustained by resources in the local communities that are carrying them out. Some efforts continue to grow in scale and complexity and eventually require financial resources from outside the community to enable them to extend proven practices and have even greater impact.Agencies inspired by the Baha’i teachings, such as Unity Foundation, have been learning about raising financial resources in support of development initiatives that have reached a certain level of growth and complexity. In these instances, Baha’i institutions that have been following such organizations closely arrange contact with the Foundation.These projects fall mainly into two categories: those that provide education for children through the establishment of community-based elementary schools and those that develop the capacities of youth in rural areas to become promoters of community well-being.
In the context of arranging funds for projects around the world, the Foundation is learning how to contribute to the discourse on development in Luxembourg, drawing on the experiences being generated globally from the projects with which it works.The work of Unity Foundation has advanced in collaboration with the Luxembourg Government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has developed a deep appreciation for the principles guiding the organization. Together, the Foundation and the Ministry have facilitated the flow of more than €3 million to projects in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia over the past five years.
On 19 November, Unity Foundation hosted a formal dinner to mark its twenty-fifth anniversary. One hundred sixty individuals attended the event at the Cercle Cite in Luxembourg. Guests included people from the business, media, and government sectors, as well as other individuals who have supported the Foundation’s work.”This event was a lot more than a celebration of twenty-five years of Unity Foundation,” stated Mr. Wiltgen. “It is a sign of a certain level of consciousness that material wealth in one part of the world and its absence in others is not acceptable when we consider the whole world as one family.” (photo. baha’i)