The Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for Human Progress

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Introduction

The Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for Human Progress (formerly "Fondation pour le Progrès de l'Homme", hence the acronym FPH) is an independent foundation under Swiss law. It was established in 1982 by Charles Léopold Mayer's executor. It is organized by a Council of 7 to 11 people and has a permanent team of around 15 people to carry out its initiatives.

The main purpose of the Foundation is to support the emergence of a world community. It intends to concern not only the academic world but every kind of social and occupational group. The Foundation defines itself as a "human adventure" developed over the long term in partnership with public and private partners on the various continents. Furthermore, on the one hand, it considers itself as a learning organisation within which the management of memory plays an essential role, which it combines with the development of a coordinated strategy. The Foundation regards particular initiative as a value in itself, but above all considers that true meaning emerges from the synergies which occur through interlinking with other initiatives. So its broad aim is through donations or loans to finance research projects and initiatives which are involved in "a significant and innovative way with the progress of mankind".

 

Presentation of the Website

 

Form : design and functionality

 

The Website can be translated into English, French or Spanish. It is quite attractive, its style is simple and easy to use. It is very functional, and there are some little things to make the site more dynamic like post-its, for instance, as well as proverbs or quotations by authors which provide the keywords of its founding philosophy. Thus a search engine is included on the Website and enables optimum access to users, thanks to tabs. Moreover members of the Foundation publish an online newsletter on the site.

 

Contents

 

The resources of the Foundation compound material, social, intellectual and methodological capital. On the occasion of crosscultural training sessions, four series of topics are addressed: the linguistic, the historical and the religious, plus connections with important concepts, and the connections with interpersonal relationships.

allianceThe project of the foundation is long term. In the 2004-2010 period, it is defined in its guidelines and its strategy is re-assessed every two years. Its current priorities are to contribute to three major changes: "to manage the new interdependence between human beings, between societies, and between humanity and the biosphere"; "the search for a universal ethic of responsibility"; "the creation of a sustainable society". They adopt a strategy divided into a methodological section, a geographical section, a thematic section and a socio-professional section. For instance, in the latter, they are developing "socially-responsible alliances": they try to forge long-term links between people and pre-existing organisations based on common objectives, and on common ethics.

 

Critical analysis

 

I think that this Website provides an interesting view on crosscultural involvement. Focusing on the Human being, it highlights a deeper human dimension through focus on different themes and enables another level of analysis.

 

Positive aspects

 

cheminThe notion of crosscultural involvement is used by the Foundation as a value and as a tool. Most of the terms used by the foundation: « crosscultural methods », « crosscultural issues », « crosscultural reasoning », « crosscultural listening » or « crosscultural adventures » refer to a resolutely proactive vision of cultural crossover. In fact, the notion isn't tackled as an acquired fact, but as one undergoing development, i.e. "crosscultural awareness"...

The Foundation is partner of "SciencesPo, Paris" in the International Careers Master, which provides an example of the Foundation's visibility and highlights the viability of its accumulated experience ; for instance during the seminary concerning « Les défis interculturels des métiers de l'International » presented by Michel Sauquet.

 

Thus the Foundation tends toward a high quality of news items, and I agree that «nowadays one of the stakes of democracy, is structuring the selection and the news-making of relevant facts, rather than merely the access to information ».

 

Negative aspects

 

We have to remain aware of the biases of their options and specific choices. The Foundation promotes a special vision of the world and of citizen participation. Involved in the general sense of politics, it supports an alternative type of governance; however it does not carry the torch for the defence of any specific political affiliation.

It's a pity that the English and Spanish versions are less exhaustive. They consist only in a summary of the two basic tabs: "presentation and strategy", "precentación y estrategia". Under these versions, we can't access the list of their partners, most of whom are French-speaking.

Moreover the lack of recent updating must be highlighted. The outcomes of their activity seems to have entailed a phase of relative inertia.

 

Final assessment: should it be maintained?

 

The Foundation's Website enables to access another kind of perspective through various projects. The important asset of this kind of site is no doubt the many links and partners that the Foundation hosts and provides. In my view we should thus wish it longevity and the rejuvenation of its activity in the hard times to come...