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Thursday Complexity Post
October 10, 2013  

Soccer Soap Operas for Peace  

Soap operas about soccer are being broadcast on radio and TV in 17 countries around the world to promote understanding, create dialogue, and reduce conflict among people from different religious, ethnic and economic groups. Each story about "The Team," is crafted to address issues in the country where it is presented. In Kenya, the members of the team come from different tribes; in Morocco, they're both urban and rural, rich and poor. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the players on an all-girls team are all having problems related to sexual violence.


The productions are the work of Search for Common Ground, a nonprofit based in Washington, DC that was founded 30 years ago and now has offices in 30 countries, works with more than a thousand partner organizations and has a staff of 600. A story in The Christian Science Monitor by Gregory Lamb says Search for Common Ground has become the biggest conflict-resolution and peace building organization in the world. In addition to the soap opera stories, the organization uses youth mediation training, back channel diplomacy, music videos and call in radio shows, and community initiatives such as shared farming projects, soccer matches and participatory theater.


John Marks, president and co-founder of the organization, explains in the story that "We're retaining about 25 percent of the Congolese army in respecting the rights of women." Women in the DNC still struggle for economic and social equality with men, and there are also serious threats to their well-being and safety.


Common ground has programs in several volatile regions including Pakistan, Tunisia, Yemen, and Jerusalem and is beginning operations in Libya and Myanmar.


The Monitor reports that Common ground will honor five peacemakers with awards this November, including a posthumous award to Christopher Stevens, the American diplomat and ambassador to Libya who died in an assault on the U.S. consulate.  


Other recipients are Ingoma Nshya, which translates as "New Era," Rwanda's only female Hutu and Tutsi drumming troupe and the subject of a new documentary film "Sweet Dreams." Marks explains drumming in Rwanda has been a "man's thing" that women didn't do even though it is the national music form. The group provides a place where ethnic hatred can be replaced by a culture of hope, respect and reconciliation. An award will also be presented to three leaders from different faiths: Lord George Carey of Clifton, former archbishop of Canterbury; Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder of the American Society for Muslim Advancement; and Rabbi David Rosen, international director of inter-religious affairs for the American Jewish Committee. Read the Monitor story here.


Remember PlexusCalls! 


Healthcare PlexusCalls

Wednesday, October 16, 1-2 PM ET

Population Health: A Growing Challenge

Guests: David Nash and Jeff Cohn 



Population health is an approach to health that aims to improve the health of the whole population. This approach goes beyond the individual focus of mainstream medicine and public health to address factors like environment, social structure and resource distribution. Population health examines social determinants of health and seeks to reduce health inequities. With health reform a national priority, the need for population health management has never been more eminent.

In 2008, Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia established the first designated School of Population Health in the country, dedicated to the exploration of policies and forces that determine the health and quality of life of populations, locally, nationally and globally. The School offers graduate academic programming in public health, population health sciences, health policy, healthcare quality and safety, and applied health economics and outcomes research.

David Nash, Founding Dean of Jefferson School of Population Health, and Jeff Cohn, President of Plexus Institute, will join the call to talk about the concept of population health; the need for better ways to address behavioral factors, social circumstances and environmental exposures; and how JSPH is creating a curriculum to prepare leaders to work at the level of policies and systems to secure better health for everyone. Read their complete bios.


Friday, October 25, 1-2 PM ET

Buildings Designed for Beauty, Life and Work 

Guests: Robert Peck, Thomas Lockwood and Sharon Benjamin  




Are humans hard wired to seek beauty in the places where they live and work? Does the design and aesthetic appeal of the workplace influence performance? Three leaders experienced in businesses and organizations who also understand design share their views.

Robert Peck is Southeast Region Director of Consulting for Gensler, a global architecture and design firm. His group helps clients with workplace strategy, occupancy management and sustainable design. He is a nationally recognized advocate for high quality public architecture, smart growth and sustainable design. For five years in the Clinton Administration and nearly three years in the Obama Administration, Bob was Commissioner of the U.S, General Services Administration's Public Building Service, eventually managing a budget of more than $9 billion and a workforce of 7,000. Thomas Lockwood is an international expert in design leadership and integrating design and innovation into business. He holds a rare PhD in design management, and is a passionate advocate for the value of design to the triple bottom line by improving economic social and environmental well being. Lockwood is the co-editor of four books: The Handbook of Design Management (2011), Design Thinking (2010), Corporate Creativity (2008) and Building Design Strategy (2007). Sharon Benjamin, PhD is principal of Alchemy, a Washington, D.C. based management consulting practice. She consults with multi-lateral, NGO and healthcare organizations. An adjunct at NYU, she teaches the leadership capstone course for MPA students. Her work supports leaders seeking to effect profound transformation -- within themselves and their organizations pioneering innovative methods such as Positive Deviance. Read their complete bios.
Audio from all PlexusCall series are available by searching the iTunes store for plexuscalls. Or, visit under Resources/Call Series. 


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