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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

GFN reflections on managing unity amidst diversity

These observations, prepared by Victor S. Barrios, Global Filipino Nation Convenor, are drawn from interfacing over the years with different global Filipino leaders and organizations all over the world. GFN acknowledges the contributions of many global Filipinos to the insights in this note. GFN is an association of global Filipinos, their onshore families and onshore Filipinos with a global mindset – all committed to good governance.

We are on the road to “Building the Global Filipino Nation”.
We have locked our sights on the final destination, conscious that the road is long, winding and traversed by freeloaders, obstructionists, opportunists and predators.
We have learnt lessons in consensus-building, which, if internalized and applied, would strengthen mobilization efforts to empower global Filipinos politically or otherwise.
We share constructive lessons, not intended to be “Sermons on the Mount”, but designed to energize the mobilization process:
1. It is productive of relationships if one faithfully, sincerely and transparently heeds Rotary’s Four-Way Test:

· Is it the TRUTH?
· Is it FAIR to all Concerned?
· Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

2. Define and elicit acceptance of the stakeholder consultative process, which, when applied consistently, would lead to broad consensus.

3. Focus on issues of substance rather than trivialities and tittle-tattle that rattle the rational mind.

4. Encourage healthy discussions and bring out the substantive brilliance in everyone, without anyone’s self-esteem being wounded and sacrificing the truth.

5. Avoid argumentum ad hominem, the lowest form of logic and intellectual wit, including, in particular, pejorative attributions and name-calling.

6. At all times, respect the rights, prerogatives, sensitivities, and, importantly, the dignity of every person.

7. The test of leadership is to be “situational”, with the ability to listen, reformulate proposals that address legitimate issues and win over elements who obstruct the common good.

8. Where there is a diversity of opinion, there should be an effort to preserve unity and evolve a win-win mix for all; but where a vote needs to be taken, all should fully embrace the collective decision.

9. When a person cannot agree with another, they should, with civility, agree to disagree and revisit the issues in a future date – while keeping an open mind about changing one’s position.

10. In the heat of an argument, when all genteel efforts have failed, one can with certainty disarm a perceived adversary with the words: “God bless you” -- with grace prevailing over justice.

11. At the end of the day, after the dust has cleared, we should ask ourselves: “What have we contributed to our goal? Have we moved forward in ‘Building the Global Filipino Nation’”?

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