Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ubuntu - I am because you are

I had lunch today with Helen Sukovieff and Tracy Houk. These two women have been the backbone of the Business Teacher Education program here at the University of Regina. They both graduated from here with Bachelor's and Master's degrees and have worked tirelessly, in just about every role imaginable, to support and enhance the program. I can always rely on them.

They are both full time High School teachers, in addition to the work they do with me in teacher education. They both have full, active lives outside of school and outside of their work with me. Yet we work together very well - without complaint and without hesitation

Our lunch was basically our end of the year get together. We talked about projects, concerns, students, next year and as always the state of the Business Education in Saskatchewan.

I was going to write this entry about the power of teamwork.

I still am but an email that I received today has changed the focus a bit.

A friend wants me to participate with her in her quest to earn a Ph.D. She has wide and varied interests and thus is looking for an interdisciplinary doctoral program. She is deeply involved in developing entrepreneurship and community development. She has done some amazing things in rural Saskatchewan.

She sent me an early draft of her proposed research and in it she talked about Ubuntu. I've heard her talk about this in her presentations and I know that it is a powerful idea.

This is what she says "

She was intrigued by the spirit of Ubuntu - “I am because you are - —that underpins the fabric of traditional tribal African society. Ubuntu is derived from the Zulu maxim “umuntu ugumuntu ugabantu or a person is a person through other persons. This philosophy manifests itself within these entrepreneurial ventures. The concept of Ubuntu is difficult to render into language. Desmond Tutu (1999) offered this insight:

It speaks to the very essence of being human… A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs to a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed, or treated as less than who they are. (p. 31)."

Helen and Tracy are very good examples of how I am a 'person through other persons' Together we are committed to the program, to our students and to business education. I don't believe any of us feels "threatened that others are able and good" because we all agree on why we do what we do.


Blogger Alec Couros said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:29 PM  
Blogger Alec Couros said...

... and of course, not coincidentally, Ubuntu is the name of one of the recently most popular Linux distributions. It would be interesting to work with this person ... I can see a lot of parallels in her thoughts on ubuntu, and my recent work with the open movement.

8:29 PM  

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