I attended the international conference “Eco-Leadership through Culture”, held at the Durban Municipal Council Chamber of the City Hall in Durban, South Africa, at the occasion of the United Nations Climate Summit (COP17). The conference was organized by Culture|Futures, the Municipality of Ethekwini (Durban) , the Ecological Sequestration Trust and the Danish Cultural Institute in cooperation with the University of Kwazulu-Natal Foundation, African Centre for Cities, Centre for Creative Arts, EUNIC, Arup, BAT and other partners.
This conference aimed to help build a global eco-leadership network for cultural actors and cities: inspiration, innovation and collaboration. Peter Head, CBE, Executive Chairman at Ecological Sequestration Trust and former Director of Global Planning at Arup, gave a lecture as a key note speaker on “Entering an Ecological Age-Visioning the future cities and regions and the role of culture in shaping the future.” Following his lecture, Prof. Edgar Pieterse, Director at African Centre for Cities of University of Cape Town shared his latest study on “The urbanization challenges in Africa and the role of culture in a systemic response.” He was another key note speaker from the African region.
I attended the 1st Ashoka Speaker Series, held at the Fukutake Hall of the University of Tokyo. In this event, Ms. Tri Mumpuni, Ashoka Fellow and Founder at IBEKA (People Centered Economic & Business Institute), gave a lecture on the role of the people centered approach to rural electrification in Indonesia. During the break, I exchanged a couple of views and opinions with Ms. Mumpuni in this regard. We, Akira Foundation, supported Ashoka Japan for its public relation.
I was invited to attend the “The Right to the City in a South African Context: National Roundtable”, held at the Belmont Square Conference Centre in Cape Town. This National Roundtable aimed to nurture the audience to realize the ongoing issues behind the right of the urban poor in South Africa, and to help cultivate a new, democratic way of planning and decision-making in improving the life of the poor. Thanks to the partnership with Isandla Institute, Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC) and Informal Settlements Network (ISN), the event facilitated pragmatic and practical dialogues among the participants including government officials from different spheres, leaders from civil societies, and organizations for the urban poor.
The first off-site meeting of Akira Social Ventures (ASV) was held at Novotel World Trade Centre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The founding members of ASV (including me) attended the meeting and discussed its strategic plans and subject matters for three consecutive days, from registration to microfinance projects, one of which focus primarily on helping people in the disaster-stricken areas of Japan rebuild and revive their economies and societies.
I was invited to the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Social Enterprise English Language School (SEELS) on Saturday, 30 July 2011, which was launched in partnership with Akira Foundation. Community leaders, practitioners, teachers, school managers and staff, and its advisory board members from both Philippines and Japan were invited to attend the ceremony at the site of the new class room at Hirai, Tokyo.