“If we could see the entire Earth as a garden–as a living but damaged paradise, worthy of love and admiration–we could then act as gardeners, working in collaboration with the soul of the world. In this role,we could creatively participate in the cultivation of all life, and help to restore nature’s beauty, fertility and resilience where it has been lost.” –David Fideler in Restoring the Soul of the World
In 2001, Virginia Swain was at the United Nations in New York City during the World Trade Center attacks. That night she had a dream of a Phoenix rising from the ashes of 9/11 and Ground Zero. The dream challenged her to consider, over the next 15 years, ways to knit peoples’ hearts and minds together in a very divided world. The Phoenix gave her another lens through which to see the tragedy of 9/11. Virginia is now being moved to act for our global soul through the Institute for Global Leadership she founded after 9/11.
Drawing on her longtime commitment to the United Nations through the Culture of Peace and the Global Movement for the Cultureof Peace (GMCoP), her friendship with a Hopi Elder delivering the Hopi Prophecy, and the wisdom gained from the life of second UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, Virginia uses the inspiration of her dream of the Phoenix to work with others to build a global culture of peace that embraces a shared moral and spiritual vision for the world.
In offering a Spiritual Renaissance for Our Global Soul, the Institute for Global Leadership provides a global ethic as a resource for people to work in collaboration with the soul of the world. Through the Phoenix, we transform the current moral and spiritual leadership crisis to bring love, forgiveness and compasssion to the world. The Phoenix is a bird of resurrection, rebirth and regeneration.
As we take up the gauntlet to work with others to restore faith in humanity, we are given another chance through an intervention of the 9/11 Phoenix rising from the ashes of ground zero in Virginia’s dream. Through the intervention, we are invited to learn why we are here on the earth right now and what we can do to be of service in partnership and collaboration with others so that we can creatively participate in co-creating our destiny.
Those actions include:
- Recruiting and training Reconciliation Leaders to bring healing to global challenges through the Peacebuilding Process of Reconciliation to Develop Political Will, the will of the people (Peacebuilding Process).
- Utilizing the Global Mediation and Reconciliation Service (Reconciliation Service) and the Peacebuilding Process of Reconciliation to Develop Political Will as a resource for UN Charter Chapter VI, pacific resolution of disputes (nonviolent approaches) for conflict at all levels of society.
- Inviting people to join Friends of VIrginia Swain: Restoring Faith in America—acquainting everyone with the idea that we all have an equal role and responsibility in shaping America’s destiny. Using the model of the World Café, people gather for the monthly America’s Soul Café, a free online event through the Internet on zoom technology to bring our wisdom and experience to reflect and envision solutions to give to the Phoenix, America’s soul, through words and images that come from their soul. This strategy is part of the Peacebuilding Process of Reconciliation to Develop Political Will to heal the nation and achieve our destiny.
- Reading Virginia Swain’s recent book, My Soul’s Journey to Redefine Leadership: A New Phoenix Rises from the Ashes of 9/11. This book is a chronicle of the spiritual journey which underlies and informs her life and work. It also offers readers the opportunity to write their own spiritual memoir through end-chapter questions and exercises.
The work of the Institute reflects on the image astronauts have shared of the earth from space. As the late U.S. Senator John Glenn wrote, “When I circled the planet again and again, I experienced different people, different cultures, vastly different experiences and origins. Yet there is a golden thread that runs through all these expressions of individual experience that is the magic of life.” Experience what the astronauts saw in the brief film By Wonder Are We Saved.
For the Institute, that magic of life has been enhanced by Thomas Banyanca, Hopi Elder; Dag Hammarskjold, 2nd Secetary General; Vaclav Havel, late president of the Czech Republic; Dr. Patricia Mische (with the late Jerry Mische), retired professor and founder of Global Education Associates; Thomas Berry, Ecotheologian and Cosmologist; and the late Dr. Elise Boulding, mentor, friend, author of 50 books and Nobel Peace Prize nominee. These inspiring people are among those who have contributed to the evolution of our understanding of the development of our global soul. Listen to the words of Dag Hammarskjold written outside his meditation room, sung by Paulette Meier:
In their book Images of the Future, Drs. Elise and Kenneth Boulding developed an important tool to motivate behavior in the present by using images of the future, drawing on the theory that people cannot create something they have not envisioned. After imaging a positive future, one can work back into present time to realize a positive present with a timeline and concrete action steps. The Institute has used the imagining process successfully over the years to empower adults and children to live their dreams. This was a central theme of the presentation on “Visionary Leadership” on United Nations Day in 2011. Participants in Virginia Swain’s classes at the UN create solutions, below, they haven’t imagined before.
Dr. Joseph Baratta revised his dissertation on United Nations reform and a third generation United Nations using the imaging process: