Posts Tagged ‘Networking’

27
Aug

Better Together

   Posted by: Chen    in Community

When discussing among a group of friends topics relating to social capital and networking, I offered the following:

I am intrigued and inspired by the various topics this board has addressed, and clearly sensed the underlining desire to be networked, or to work on certain projects in a “networking way”. It is, without any doubt, an re-enforcement to the term “social capital” mentioned frequently in the discussions.

This great nation has a rich history of civic movements, and an abundance of civic activists, which have had built the stockpile of social capital that had greatly enriched the nation’s heritage of diversity and equality. “America throughout its history has been exceptionally civic-minded,” remarked by Professor Robert Putman at Harvard University. On the other hand, in countries like China, such social capital never became a focal point in the society. What Xu Zhiyong and others having been doing in the recent years is a monumental social shift that can fill the void and become instrumental in inspiring and changing the landscape of social behavior. That is why I called for a discussion about what I called the Xu Zhiyong phenomena.

However, the stock of social capital in this country has been reduced significantly in recent decades. In the December 2000 report issued by the Saguaro Seminar – Better Together, it noted a downward spiral of civic apathy, warned that the reserve of personal bonds and fellowship has been seriously depleted, and called a nationwide campaign to rebuild levels of connectedness in the communities. In addition to the attributions to such decline depicted in the Report, including factors such as age shift, two-career families, urban sprawl, and television, I believe the large scale immigrations of ethnic groups with lesser civic heritage also contributed a great deal to the overall dilution.

This provides a challenge and an opportunity to all of us: are we willing to engage ourselves in such a historical civic renaissance, or better yet, are we capable of taking the leading roles?

I have great respect for each one in this group, and I have great expectations for this generation. While we criticizing what we see but don’t like, I am more for doing something about it.  I do not feel we are demanding ourselves more when we are talking about civic engagement than when we were talking about human rights, freedom, democracy, and justice. The only deference might be this is more direct in terms of personal commitment.

That is where “networking” comes to strengthen.

Better Together! I truly like the sound of it.

 

xzy

Xu Zhiyoung

About Xu Zhiyong (from various resources):

Xu Zhiyong (许志永) is one of the founders of the NGO Open Constitution Initiative and an active rights lawyer in China who helped those underprivileged. He is knowledgeable and enthusiastic, persistent and active. Many young people admire him as a role model, and intellectuals have great expectations for him.

Xu has made a long list of remarkable achievements in fighting for social justice and making changes in politics.

“I wish our country could be a free and happy one. Every citizen need not go against their conscience and can find their own place by their virtue and talents; a simple and happy society, where the goodness of humanity is expanded to the maximum, and the evilness of humanity is constrained to the minimum; honesty, trust, kindness, and helping each other are everyday occurrences in life; there is not so much anger and anxiety, a pure smile on everyone’s face.” – Xu Zhiyong

 

About Saguaro Seminar (http://www.hks.harvard.edu/saguaro/):
THE SAGUARO SEMINAR: CIVIC ENGAGEMENT IN AMERICA is an ongoing initiative of Professor Robert D. Putnam at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The project focuses on expanding what we know about our levels of trust and community engagement and on developing strategies and efforts to increase this engagement. A signature effort was the multi-year dialogue (1995-2000) on how we can increasingly build bonds of civic trust among Americans and their communities.

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