Founder & Professor of Information Ecology, Information Habitat: Where Information Lives, an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the UN Economic & Social Council since 1996; Chair, Information & Communications Sub-Committee, CoNGO Education Committee of the Conference of NGOs in consultative relationship with the United Nations, and Co-Chair, Research, Communications and Website Sub-Committee for the 61st Annual UN/NGO Conference, to be held in Paris in September at UNESCO Headquarters on the theme: Reaffirming Human Rights: The Universal Declaration at 60.
Formalities aside, I am a 63 year old Englishman in New York, in the U.S. since 1966 who gave up an academic career - Mathematics and Political Economy at Cambridge and Social Relations at The Johns Hopkins University - in the context of the Vietnam Peace movement for an eclectic path - inspired by Taoist, then Quaker, later Sufi teachings and practice - that included community organizing, urban gardening and eight and a half years as Librarian and five years as an Administrative Analyst at the Baltimore City Jail.
Since 1989 my major focus has been the use and promotion of information and communications technology in support of broad-based, informed and collaborative participation of NGOs in the work of the United Nations that has led up to my current role in seeking to facilitate the development of an NGO / civil society framework / learning environment in support of participation for the Paris Human Rights Conference and to highlight how the wonders of a knowledge-based universe, inter alia, through the transfomed opportunities for freedom of access to information, freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of the press and the protection and realization of dignity and justice for all of us - the official theme for the year leading up to the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration
The framework I envision and am slowly developing, with the barest minimum of material resources, is based on open systems architecture, open source and creative commons principles and practices - including the versatile, robust and brilliant TiddlyWiki and DataPerfect platforms - and incorporates the development of a curriculum in information ecology - conceived as a holistic life science for a knowledge-based universe - and including critical attention to the need to understand and learn about the digital tools, resources and languages than can serve as keys to unprecedented ways of learning and teaching - and the nature, properties and principles that govern this very different universe - so that we that allow us to share our knowledge and to transform the ways we work together in the spirit of respect and appreciation for the entire community of life on Earth, as we learn how to address the imminent perils of climate change, poverty and the waging of endless brutal wars and to find our way to pathways to sustainability, dignity, justice and peace.
I continue to be amazed by the rapidly evolving opportunities of new ways of communicating and collaboration made possible by the information revolution, and by the wealth of participatory lerning environments that are accessible in a universe where knowledge is wealth, and its abundance is not constrained by the laws of conservation of mass and energy and the material constraints of a three-dimensional environment - information having zero mass and zero physical size and existing in a universe of unlimited / infinite dimensions.
In the course of my work following the 1996 Habitat II conference in Istanbul, I became aware of the existence of what I call the Virtual Light and Colour Cubes that define the three dimensional colour space in a digital environment, with dimensions of red, green and blue and in which the colour at any point is defined by the HTML language of colour (rrggbb). There are twin cubes - mirror images and photographic negatives of each other; each contain all possible colours in RGB space and the faces of the cubes. The cubes were dedicated as Peace Cubes at an Earthday on the Equinox on the Internet on March 20, 1997 at the UN Peace Bell in New York, and I have created a large number of web pages based on images derived from the peace cubes - see www.peace-cubes.net and habitat.igc.org/bridges - along with downloadable templates for printing and assembling models of the cubes, sets of the faces and of domino-type tiles.
On a more down-to-earth basis, I am an active member of La Perla Garden - a neighborhood oasis of life and biodiversity at 105th and Columbus in New York's Upper West Side - with a focus on what have become three lively and productive compost piles, a lot of digging, and some landscaping and brick paths using what has semed like an endless supply that I have recovered in the course of my digging.
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Robert, I share your interests in open education resources. I'm working in northwest China, an area of fragile cultural ecosystems, I'd welcome your comments on my efforts to engage students in the US in better understanding the impact of modernization and globalization on cultures in remote regions of China.
We are all focused on China's emergence as a global economic power, but with such a vast territory and so many "nationalities" and sub-groups, what's happening in eastern China - Shanghai, Beijing, and the 500 mile strip along China's eastern coastline - is having profound effects on culture, health and wellness, and the environment in western China.
I would welcome sharing ideas. You can learn more about what I do at the following websites:
Also, I have a brief one-page summary of the non-profit I've created, New School Student Ambassadors, Inc - who we are, what we do, what our value proposition is, and what we're asking of partners, at http://www.box.net/shared/static/2s5uoy3tv0.pdf.
Please feel free to call me at 860-227-1225 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
New School Student Ambassadors, Inc.