Publications A Human Future


A Human Future is a small free thought sheet that seeks to contribute to the public conversation about values and the shaping of the social ethos in which we live.

It draws on the L'Arche experience of many years living together in community as a diverse group of people, with different abilities and from various ethnic and religious backgrounds and on content from contemporary thinkers who are open and responsive to the spirit and are reflecting deeply on the individual and our society today.

Each issue features a thought-provoking interview with an outstanding Canadian. Topics range broadly and have included the media, education, democracy, bioethics and thought on what it means to be human.

Related material is put in dialogue with the central interview and links for further reading are offered.

A Human Future does not share its subscribers' list.

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  • Social Innovation; Social Entrepreneurship:

    An Interview with Al Etmanski

    Al Etmanski is a community organizer, social entrepreneur, and author of several books, including the recent bestseller Impact: Six Patterns to Spread Your Social Innovation. He co-founded Social Innovation Generation, and as co-founder of Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network, he led the campaign to create Canada’s—and the world’s—first Registered Disability Savings Plan. He is also co-founder of BC Partners for Social Impact. He is an Ashoka Fellow.

    Al Etmanski has long been bringing his giant intellect and his energy and compassion to effect significant social change in attitudes and real, practical improvements in the lives of vulnerable Canadians. A global thinker and keen observer, he recognizes possibilities and has helped organizations get “unstuck.”  He connects others in significant conversations, and he writes an excellent blog in which he often draws attention to creative and fruitful approaches of other groups to a range of issues, including the environment, women’s initiatives, and indigenous concerns.  He and his wife, Vickie Cammack, received the Order of Canada for social-innovation leadership and their work with people with disabilities.


  • After the TRC— Citizen Engagement (Part II)

    An Interview with Commissioner Marie Wilson

    Dr. Marie Wilson has served on the TRC since 2009. An award-winning journalist and executive manager for CBC North, she was first host of the CBC’s Focus North, launched the first daily northern TV news service, and developed the Arctic Winter Games and True North Concerts. She has taught in Africa and delivered training through the South African Broadcasting Corporation. She has an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree. She and her husband, Stephen Kakfwi, have 3 children and 4 grandchildren.

    This issue continues the interview with Commissioner Marie Wilson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Dr. Wilson points to the multitude of opportunities that are set out in the TRC’s “Calls to Action.” The Commission will present its full final report to the federal government at the end of this year. Now, it falls to all of us who are Canadians to see that its recommendations are implemented—that we learn and teach the true story of the treatment of Indigenous peoples in Canada and that we do the work called for to bring justice, true reconciliation, and a good future for all in our country. – B.Porter, ed.


  • After the TRC—The Path Ahead (Part I)

    An Interview with Commissioner Marie Wilson

    Dr. Marie Wilson has served on the TRC since 2009. An award-winning journalist and executive manager for CBC North, she was first host of the CBC’s Focus North, launched the first daily northern TV news service, and developed the Arctic Winter Games and True North Concerts. She has taught in Africa and delivered training through the South African Broadcasting Corporation. She has an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree. She and her husband, Stephen Kakfwi, have 3 children and 4 grandchildren.

    The Canadian government established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada because it finally had to acknowledge the great damage done Indigenous people by the government-supported residential school system. It has been said that just as the schools persisted over 7 generations, it will take 7 generations to heal the damage and for a truthful national story to take hold. It’s for our generation to begin. Dr. Marie Wilson is one of the 3 Commissioners who tirelessly travelled the country for 5 years recording the history of abuse. We are grateful to her for this interview.  – B. Porter, ed.


  • Democratic Essentials at Risk [revisited]

    An Interview with Ursula Franklin

    Ursula M. Franklin, CC, FRSC, is a Canadian academic, pacifist and feminist. She and her family were imprisoned by the Nazis, an experi­ence that informs her commitment to democ­racy. She received her PhD in experimental physics at the Technical University of Berlin in 1948. She came to Canada in 1949 and began a distinguished scientific career. She was the first woman professor in the University of Toronto’s Dept. of Metallurgy and Materials Science. She resides in Toronto and is a grandmother.

    In 2011, before the last federal election, we published this very popular interview with Canadian humanitarian and thought leader Dr. Ursula Franklin. Although some allusions reflect that particular time, much remains relevant. Hoping it will contribute to readers’ preparation for the upcoming election, we are re-sending it as a bonus issue with some new links and a box on Dr. Franklin’s 2014 CBC “Next Chapter” interview. Stephen Clarkson’s piece and the link to the Afrobarometer continue to remind us of the privilege we share living in a democracy, whatever its weaknesses (see link to Gordon Gibson on page 4 and Andrew Coyne’s Walrus article.) You can expect our Fall issue of A Human Future in a few weeks. –Beth Porter, ed.


  • Philanthropy: Nourishing Our Cultural Life

    An Interview with Scott Griffin

    Scott Griffin, OC, left his business in the mid-1990s, flew his small plane south across the Atlantic, and spent two years assisting the Flying Doctors Service of Africa. He has served on NGO boards including the AMREF International Board. In 2000 he established the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry. In 2001, he came to the financial rescue of Canadian publishing, becoming owner and chair of House of Anansi Press. In 2010, he established Poetry in Voice, a bilingual poetry recitation competition for students.

    When we launched A Human Future in 2001, our goal was “to strengthen the experience of human solidarity in Canada.” Scott Griffin has lifted up the place of poetry in our society because he recognized that poetry could enhance our cultural life. A link exists between a cultural life rich in humanistic values, where the imagination is not deadened, and the propensity of people to see and respond to needs and opportunities to create a better society. Philanthropy, whether on a small or large scale, is one important outcome. – B.Porter, ed.

     


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