Today is an exclusive live video interview with Ken Kitatani, for the interview series “Interviews with the Leading Edge.”
In this series of interviews, I engage with people who are on the leading edge of transformational change, doing work to further the consciousness revolution and how it is manifesting in culture, politics and spirituality, in order to help bring along a more enlightened society.
Ken Kitatani is one such person.
Ken is a global political and spiritual activist, using his role as the Executive Director of Forum 21 Institute to further the transformation and evolution of humanity, both on a personal and societal scale.
In his capacity as a global and political activist, Ken has a number of projects that he is involved with. He has been working closely with the U.N. in helping to shape the U.N.’s Sustainability Development Goals that go into effect in the fall of 2015. The U.N.’s Sustainability Development Goals are a landmark set of goals that countries around the world have the option to sign onto, and can help pave the way towards a more sustainable and just world.
Forum 21, the organization Ken is executive director of, seeks to catalyze transformative change in lifestyles, organizations and policies to support spiritually centered ecological civilizations. Convening scholars and activists from diverse religious and scientific fields, Forum 21 advances integrated solutions to our social, environmental and economic challenges. Working through the non-governmental organizations and committee structure at the United Nations, Forum 21 is clarifying values, goals and action steps to deal effectively with these challenges.
In addition, since 2008 Ken has been the U.S. representative of Women In Need International, an NGO that promotes gender equality and sustainability. He also serves on the board of What Shape is Green? a program of environmental peace sculptures, and is an advisor to the Happiness Initiative, an organization working toward a new economic paradigm incorporating social justice, sustainability, interdependence, and inclusivity, based on the country of Bhutan’s work with the concept of Gross National Happiness.
Gross National Happiness, an idea that Bhutan initiated in the 1970’s, is a concept in which a country’s mission and policies is not based on furthering the gross national product and short-sighted economic gains, but instead on making sure all of a countries citizens are happy and have their basic needs met.
I met with Ken at the One Spirit Alliance in New York City and there we talked about his own background, as a Japanese man growing up in New York, the son of a U.N. diplomat and how that gave him a global perspective at an early age; his father’s healing of cancer through a macrobiotic diet and how that caused Ken to shift gears as a college student and instead of going into medicine and the sciences, he started studying philosophy and delved into his Asian spiritual roots; his work with the U.N. in terms of the Sustainability Development Goals; his work with Bhutan and the concept of Gross National Happiness; and his views on where we are going as a society and why there is hope for the future.
This is a conversation with a man who is a true global visionary and is able to see clearly – and put into action – what it will take for us to find our way to a hopeful tomorrow and to the world our hearts tell us is possible.
To learn more about Forum 21 Institute, where Ken is executive director, go to http://forum-21.org/