Someday I hope we can do this. It was originally a thought for 2014. Maybe we should update it to 2018 since it’ll be 50 years since Doug’s demo?…
The Year of Understanding
The Year Of Understanding (YoU) is a call to action over a year, to organise and galvanise events based on the theme of generating deeper understanding of major aspects of our lives and of each other.
Think of it as an olympic year of the mind, heart and soul.
2014 will be the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the first World War which claimed the lives of 10,000,000 people. It is however, recognised that there may not be enough time for YoU to happen in 2014.
The philosophy behind YoU is based on the belief that knowledge and dialog together generate understanding and tolerance. What is science, medicine, ethics, religion, culture and art but ways of understanding others and ourselves?
We have wisdom and technology to significantly decrease suffering through illness and conflict as well as to increase happiness and belonging which we need to share more widely. A year dedicated to ‘understanding’ can be a strong catalyst for increasing the amount the dialog between people of different walks of life, interests, perspectives, cultures and beliefs.
The aim of YoU will be to increase excitement and enthusiasm for people to generate deeper understanding, for people to be more actively involved in learning about the world. This is not a call for more lecturing, this is a call for collaborative learning and dialog, for more and more people to ask more questions – and to really listen to the the answers, neither accepting what is said at face value, nor reflexively denying other points of view.
The outcomes will be more people feeling closer to their environment and to other people. Science will no longer be something cold and ‘out’ there, which it is for many, medicine no longer scary, ethics, religion and culture becomes ways of understanding world views, not differences which divide us. The lasting effect will be years of understanding.
What Can Be Done / Events
There is a large scope for possible events for the year which can be categorised into major opening and closing events, large presentation based events (talks, exhibitions), dialogues (symposia) and location based events (exhibitions, tours, student exchanges), all both physical and virtual.
The opening festival day around the world (online as well as physical) should have the Olympic Stadium in London taking the lead, with music, talks, exhibitions and art, setting the tone for the year and functioning as a major flagship event to raise awareness of the theme of the year, encouraging more to join. The closing Festival(s) should mirror the opening festival with hopefully many events around the world.
The online presence will be crucial to make this a truly interactive, large scale dialog which means that new ways of facilitating online dialog will have to be researched, tested and developed, resulting in richly interactive discussion systems to make sure everyone is truly heard. These systems will naturally be completely open.
More standard online support, all open, and built from open source components, will include:
– Website with recorded video of events at www.yearofunderstanding.info
– Website and Smart Phone Apps for information and event listings.
Making YOU a Big Deal
We hope Congress will declare 2014 the Year Of Understanding. We hope the UN will do the same. More importantly though, we believe private companies must take the banner and champion understanding.
Who Is Behind It
The initial idea was first aired by Frode Hegland, a Norwegian software developer and lecturer at London College Of Communication. The core planning team includes…
We hope founding organisations will include technology companies and cultural, scientific institutions.
Why Be Involved
The YoU is an opportunity for anyone who wants to improve the world to come together in a focused way to improve the lives of all of us. Be an Understanding Ambassador, and help raise awareness this year, for a massive year next year.
What We Can Provide
Currently we are organising in the time available to us, but with continued support there will be a staff organising the events of 2014 and building the organisational and open software systems to support these events.
The organisation structure will be distributed, with large focused events being organised by the core committee and further coordinated events can be put up by anyone who wishes to join in, in a organised way.
The British Comic Relief model with locally organised events is an inspiration. There will be larger events, but anyone can take part, by registering with www.yearofunderstanding.info where others can easily find out what is taking place in their neighbourhoods.
Maybe there will be a licensed logo to go with it, which companies have to pay for the right to use, to help non-profits do more for the year. The Organisation will be a registered charity.
Proposed Categories Of Understanding.
The initial categories are science, medicine, ethics, religion, culture and art. This is not a final list – input from those taking part in the organisation is expected to modify the list and it may very well be decided not to break it into categories at all, this is preliminary thinking.
Year Of Understanding
it starts with YoU