Lifebridge Foundation brings Millennium

Goals to the Rosendale Library

By Elaine Lee

On July 7, The Lifebridge Foundation presented a collection of books to the Rosendale Library. The books cover themes of the Millennium Development Goals, a 15-year global Marshall Plan, adopted by  189 nations and signed by 147 heads of state and governments during the U.N. Millennium Summit, September 2000.

The eight Millennium Development Goals are: 1) Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; 2) Achieve universal primary education; 3) Promote gender equality and empower women; 4) Reduce child mortality; 5) Improve maternal health; 6) Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; 7) Ensure environmental sustainability; and 8) Develop a global partnership for development.

Since February, Lifebridge has conducted monthly community conversations on the Millennium Goals at its Rosendale conference and retreat center, Lifebridge Sanctuary. These are informal discussions about the larger goals and how they relate locally to problems in our area. People who work with nonprofit agencies, such as Family of Woodstock and New Paltz and local soup kitchens,have been invited to speak. The last discussion, held July 19, was a discussion finding solutions to meeting the fourth Millennium Goal, reducing child mortality.

Attendees of these group conversations decided donating a collection of books to the Rosendale Library would be a terrific idea. Members of the group made donations to the collection and the foundation doubled those contributions.

Lifebridge Foundation Founder and President Barbara Valocore made the presentation. Library Director Wendy Alexander accepted the collection of books on behalf of the library staff, the Friends of the Rosendale Library, the board of trustees and the library's patrons.

In her prepared remarks, Alexander said, "We're very happy about this, because we believe that, once these books are in the collection, which will be at the end of July, they'll circulate throughout the Mid-Hudson Library System and we'll be able to widen out the circle of information to people who are interested and, hopefully, they'll become more involved in this project."

Some of the books included in the collection are "How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas," by David Bornstein; "Bono, On the Move," by Thomas Nelson; and an autobiography of Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus, "Banker to the Poor."

Steve Nation, a member of the Lifebridge board of directors, spoke about the many new global movements to address world problems, including the Live Earth concerts to increase awareness of climate change that were also taking place that day. "Something is happening in human consciousness. There is a sense of interdependence and wholeness that is radically reshaping the way millions of people identify who they are. That sense of wholeness, when it's related to the huge problems that are facing the world, is leading people into areas that are sometimes a little bit frightening, where they actually have to involve their lives in something like climate change," Nation said.

The July 7 date of the presentation to the library was significant, as it marked the halfway date for the eight goals to be achieved. The new Rosendale Library collection includes several books by and about Bono, front man of the rock group U2 and leader and initiator of the ONE Campaign, a group that supports the Millennium Development Goals. While the books will be kept in the Rosendale Library, they are available to all members of the Mid Hudson Library system.

"The idea is that this is a global campaign to really look at what we need to fix to make the world a better place," said Barbara Valacore. It isn't about governments imposing anything on people. It's about people coming together, finding solutions to these problems themselves, in all kinds of ways, whatever way they think. And in some cases, pressuring their governments to really address some of these issues."

After the presentation of the books had been made, Rosendale town board members Ken Hassett and Patrick McDonough discussed introducing a resolution in support of the Millennium Development Goals at the board's Wednesday night meeting.

"Some of the things you've been saying here sort of resonated with some of the thing's we've been doing," McDonough said. "No matter what side of the aisle you're supposed to be on, you spend a lot of time finding common goals. We've been able to do that in Rosendale a lot, if it's something we feel is really important."

Created in 1992 for the purpose of promoting the concepts of one humanity and the interconnectedness of all life, the Lifebridge Foundation is associated with the Department of Public Information of the United Nations. The foundation operates the Lifebridge Sanctuary, a retreat and conference center in Rosendale.

For more information about the United Nations or the Millennium Development Goals, contact the Lifebridge Foundation at 338-6418. To reserve a book from the collection, visit your local community library.