A Note From the Founder

January 2011

After ten years of contemplating the establishment of an endeavor that incorporates both development principles and the arts, we now have a fledgling organization dedicated to serving creative people in their efforts to support and influence the kind of social policy that contributes directly or indirectly to the betterment of community life, whether locally, nationally or internationally.

Our first task as a board was to be able to explain in a very few words what Artists Building Capacity as World Citizens “does” or wants to do. We have gone from using language familiar with international NGO’s and UN civil servants to finding everyday phrases for sidewalk conversations, such as “art in service to humanity, to the common good…”

Next, we spent some time reflecting on the meaning of World Citizenship. If we are looking for artists who want to build their capacity as world citizens, then our board must understand what it is like to build our own capacity and also to have a unifying language and understanding of the concept of world citizenship.

The board was also presented early on with a 2006 UNESCO document entitled “Road Map for Arts Education” to use for reflection on the state of the global discourse on the importance of art in building civilization.

Our intended internal mode of operation will be an ongoing process, building a board culture of consultation, action and reflection with a posture of learning, building on small successes and refinements. Collaboration and community service will be based on application of core universal values and principles. A compilation of messages to the world from the Baha’i Office of Social and Economic Development has been a source of wisdom and guidance on current practices of SED.

Recognition of the fundamental oneness of the human family and the possibilities that this inspires in the human spirit is a central pivoting principle of responsible world citizenship and shapes our approach in thinking about the role that artists have to play in that dynamic.

ABC World Citizens aims to serve creative people of all kinds, inspired by the challenge of promoting universal human and environmental values to solve local and global problems and therefore, directly or indirectly, encouraging the building of human capacity to take on increasingly higher levels of human endeavor.

Now, after a few months of developing a culture of careful study and reflection at the board level, we are ready to take some first steps in working and learning with others in support of their efforts to express that dynamic interplay between creativity, social policy and development. We look forward to serving this process in the years to come.

Mara Khavari
– Founder, Artists Building Capacity as World Citizens