Dr. Noor V. Gillani
Dr. Noor V. Gillani is a recently retired Principal Research Scientist at the NASA-AL National Space Science and Technology Center, and Adjunct Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, with a specialty in Air Quality Science.Prior to that, he was on the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis from 1977 - 1992, becoming Professor of Mechanical Engineering in 1985.He is of Asian Indian origin, born and raised in Tanzania, and received his post-secondary education in England (G.C.E. ‘A’ Level) and in the USA (A.B cum laude from Harvard in 1967, M.Sc. and D. Sc. from Washington University in 1969 and 1974).
Dr. Gillani is on the Advisory Committees of the International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP) and the Global Harmony Association (GHA), an activist in peace and social justice causes, and Founder-President of The PYAR Foundation for Humanitarian Assistance. He was a Distinguished Invited Speaker at the 18th World Peace Congress in Kuala Lampur in 2008. He is a progressive Muslim who believes ardently in greater need for interfaith harmony, pluralism, and education to overcome the present Clash of Ignorance (not of Civilizations) which is threatening our planet.He was founder and Director for 10 years of the Aga Khan Education Board for USA’s Project PIAR for child development and parent empowerment, and is a strong believer in youth idealism as the basis for the future peace of the world.
Address: Huntsville, Alabama, USA
September 25, 2009
Dear Mishi, Rafiq, Hana, Safia, Bartek and Elisa:
You all know a little about YGHA.YGHA is a daughter of the parent program GHA which is a global program born in Russia.GHA is for adults and YGHA is a new program just being born, for the youth.We are in the process of putting together websites for both.
GHA has been around for a little while and is focussed on promoting global harmony in various areas, such as nuclear disarmament, global peace, peace education etc.The Youth program is up to the Youth members to evolve.There is a President and a committee in Russia, and the committee is still evolving.There is also a GHA Advisory Committee for YGHA, and I have been asked to be its Chair.Its members are from various countries and are mostly faculty members at universities from all over.
We are in the process of creating an early membership (of YGHA) of individuals who would help in germinating ideas for the kinds of programsthe YGHA will be focused in.I am personally interested in getting trained in the next few months at an outstanding organization in Chicago called the Interfaith Youth Core in youth Service-Learning programs.I would like to try out such a program here in my town before launching one for an international youth group from various countries, cultures, faiths etc, perhaps next year, if we can raise some funds to sponsor the youth to come to a single location.We are in the process now of generating a proposal to the UN for an initial funding of $30
000.We hope also that in the future, the YGHA will become an affiliate organization of the UN.
I know that I do not have much information now for this organization or activity, but if you go with me now, there is a fair chance that we will be able to develop something worthwhile in which you will have a fair chance of contributing to in the way of original ideas for implementation.You may be able to give shape, so to speak, to the evolution of the organization.In this time of clash of ignorances
widely prevalent across the world, it is up to the idealism of the youth to work for global understanding and peace through youth interaction and action of the right kind.You will have a chance also to work with adults with involvement in peace and harmony organizations.I hope you will be willing to give this a try.There is nothing to lose and the commitment at this time is not hard.This message is going to my daughter Michelle, to three young children of a friend of mine in Canada, and to two youngsters active in social justice causes, a Turk in Ireland and an Italian in California, --- all of you with a very international background and leanings for peace and voluntary streak, and all of you between 18 and 30, to enter YGHA through me.I am also cc'ing Dr. Leo Semashko, President of GHA, and Ivan Ivanov, President of YGHA.I believe that this will be a worthwhile experience with a chance to do something of global importance. And you will start at the real root of the new organization.
If you are interested in this initial activity, I need the following info from you asap: name, year of a birth, education (brief), employment, address, phone and email. Time is of the essence.You will be among the first 50 or so potential members of YGHA.
Thanks. Warmest wishes,
Noor V. Gillani, 29/09/09
Many thanks for your inspiring message for your daughter and to your young friends! Please, let me only one specification. The Global Harmony Association (GHA) is created de facto on February 15, 2005 (almost 5 years ago) together with its website “Peace from Harmony”: www.peacefromharmony.org. The five years' history of our community is reflected on this website, which from the very beginning included many young people. Now we together with you begin formation the Youth GHA de jure. Therefore YGHA exists DE FACTO with 2005, and DE JURE since September 2009, when we created its first structure. Further we will write the YGHA Statutes on the basis of the GHA Statutes, which would be remarkable to register not only to Russia (here it is very difficult procedure), but also in the USA and as affiliating to the United Nations. This your idea is very perspective for youth in all senses and I fully share it.
I send below my yesterday's letter to the YGHA members with a draft of our request (in the attachment) to UNAoC in discussion of which your young friends could take part. This request unfolds the YGHA key direction and mission. We with Ivan will be happy to include in YGHA list your recommended friends if we receive the necessary information: name, year of a birth, education, employment, address, phone and email.
This is a recognition of Hana's achievement. Hana is a member of YGHA. Can you please circulate this to the YGHA membership? I happen to know that Hana is very busy right now and in the near future, but if she is at all available, she would be an excellent choice for a Co-VP of YGHA as a Canadian rep.
Hana, Hearty congratulations. We are all very proud of you. Please keep up the good work and I wish you great success in your career preps and after. Please let us know if you will be able to function in YGHA leadership as we go forward.
Jas, You are justifiably proud of Hana. How blessed you are as a mother, and well rewarded for all your conscientious hard work raising all your children.
Dear Members of YGHA and GHA Advisory Committee for YGHA:
Dominica and I had a very fruitful long call on Skype last night, the main topics of discussion of which she has summarized for you. Most immediately, by the end of the call, she felt she had a good feel for the mission and direction of YGHA to accept Leo's nomination of her as the President of YGHA. For that I congratulate her. Thus, now, we have a leadership in the USA and Russia around which to evolve the YGHA membership and programs.
I got the feeling that the youth would like to focus on some specific action projects, in doing which motivated youth from around the world can be recruited and involved. We felt that for a starter, the process may be developed with regional focii, as regional components initially one centered in N. America (US/Canada), one in Russia and one perhaps in India, each with specific programs of their particular interest. Other regional centers may be evolved as necessary. In addition, gradually, we can try and do inter-regional interaction programs in which youth from the various regions may be brought to one location occasionally to perform some joint service-learning program to build comraderie, learn about each other's regions, cultures, Faiths, etc., and begin to evolve truly global programs. Over time, a truly international/global organization can evolve with peace and harmony as their action agenda. We discussed several potential types of action programs that could be evolved. YGHA should also investigate potential sources of funding, including the UN, AKDN (Aga Khan Development Network, Zvorykinsky in Russia, etc. A Skype conference call is to be scheduled soon for the N. American regional team to outline their organization, leadership and program. Others may also be organized.
Leo, please comment on what we discussed and share your thoughts and guidance about the development of YGHA from here on. I would like to invite all YGHA members to communicate with Dominica their ideas, now by email and later via whatever communication resources they develop for this. Also, I would like to invite the GHA Advisory Committee members for YGHA to comminicate with me their ideas for getting regional centers established in their regions, local leaderships and memberships and possibly also the areas of focus of their regional program.
I think YGHA is on its way and I wish it a great start and future.
Chair, GHA Advisory Committee for YGHA,
Dear Members of YGHA and GHA Advisory Committee for YGHA:
For the sake of completeness, let me also present to you an outline of what I had in my notes as points to discuss in my conversation with Dominica.
Issues to consider in developing YGHA
1. Organizational structure, e.g., global/regional/national
2. Leadership at all these organizational levels
3. Mission/Vision/Goals at all levels
4. Startegy for communication between organizational components and members
5. Membership recruitment
6. Finance (generation of outside funding)
7. Program strategies --- specific projects
Specific Project Areas to Consider
1. Peace and harmony education
2. Peace and harmony promotion
3. Cross-cultural, interfaith dislogs
4. Counter clash of ignorances (rather than clash of civilizations --- there is no such thing as a
Muslim Civilization; this is a gross misnomer and misunderstanding) through education and
correct infoemation rather than the misinformation rife now
5. Nuclear disarmament
6. Environmental preservation
7. Arab-Israel youth dialog
8. Social Justice programs
In several of these programs, a service-learning approach may be useful.
1. Need to identify these
2. Some possible sources:
- AKDN (Aga Khan Development Network)
- Zvorykinsky Project, Russia
1. Explore existing Youth programs with peace and harmony goals
2. YPF in India (Youth Parliament Foundation ? --- a well-established youth program in India;
Michelle Gillani is researching this)
Dominica and I discussed all of these matters at varying lengths.