What Does International Mean? PDF at Opportunity Collaboration
Attending the Opportunity Collaboration in Mexico this October along with several hundred others, PDF Executive Director Paul Haible engaged in that meeting’s global conversation on the theme “The Alleviation of Poverty.” Digesting news and insights from the Social Entrepreneur and Impact Investing fields, human rights campaigns and other global concerns regarding poverty, we were able to add our own voice, speaking to the international nature of various movements, and of those movements in the U.S. that cross borders.
By design as an international gathering, there were quite a few human rights and social justice organizers at the meeting from all over the world. PDF was among a small number of folks working primarily within the confines of the U.S., as the majority of those at the Collaboration are based in the U.S. but focus internationally.
This interesting mix raised the question (still un-answered) of finding a common understanding of what “international” means in the context of a meeting in Mexico, of global north and global south business or for-profit professionals, investors and practitioners. Though focused on the whole world there was minimal discussion of the U.S. and our communities. Other than a geographic location from which resources flow to the global south, the story of communities in struggle in the U.S. was barely present.
This being a hands-on, practical conference, we had ample discussion about the economies of the developing world, governance and democracy, and models for investment, capitalization and metrics. This illuminated a trend toward entrepreneurial and business model poverty alleviation. The world has shrunk through the Internet, ease of travel, etc. and most countries are accessible to all forms of intervention, positive and negative. Clearly, business is now lending its hand in this era of globalization.
PDF has been attending the Opportunity Collaboration--mixing it up with investors, entrepreneurs, organizers from the global south and other foundation personnel--as we try to change the economic, social and human rights realities for local communities in areas of conflict and post-conflict, and those deep in the throes of the global economic crisis.
As we participate in years to come, we will continue to bring the voices from our communities in the U.S. whose labor, land and struggles help define the U.S. economy, enabling the capacities of the investors, entrepreneurs and business folks who are engaged in these diverse, innovative and evolving models to alleviate poverty. It’s a great opportunity to be in this mix, and to help forge stronger ties among all the global movements for economic, social and environmental justice, and human rights.