10 April 2008

Global Philanthropy Forum: Live Blogging Continues

Day Two of Global Philanthropy Forum started with stirring, impassioned, and inspirational speech on Human Rights and its many abuses by Kerry Kennedy.

She was kicking off a plenary on the issue with Kenneth Roth from Human Rights Watch, Paul van Zyl, who founded a transitional government consultancy, Sidney Harman of Harman International, and Keith Leisinger from Novartis.

Van Zyl practically put the current administration on notice when he suggested the potential need for a review of the human rights abuses of the past eight years.

Roth spoke mostly about Human Rights successes, until he was challenged by two audience members: one from northeastern India, where the indigenous people are "legal targets," based upon a 1958 law, and the second who asked whether governments should boycott the Beijing Olympics. His answer: they should not go to opening ceremony, but not boycott the games.

But Sid Harman was the most engaging, telling stories about his own journey of ensuring the rights of his employees at Harman's various industries.

Harman's story of the Oliver, TN, autoparts plant and its transformation is worth hearing again. And they've been proactive in addressing domestic violence issues in their company.

Great to have an example of an enlightened leader among captains of industry -- and among more policy oriented activists.