HOW TO READ THE FOLLOWING
Our desire in this document is to give the reader a clear, concise, and compelling introduction to Summit: The Sustainable Mountain Development and Conflict Transformation Global Knowledge and Action Network. Below you will find our Mission Statement and Objectives, but we think it is important to give you more information than those bare bones. You will need to have a summary of the context which gives rise to the need for Summit. You might also need some minor guidance in reading what we offer below, so as to optimize clarity.
"Objective 1" is about the database proper. The other objectives are about work that uses and contributes to the database, but goes beyond the database itself.
The heart and soul of the Summit Knowledge and Action Network is what will be, at its public launch, the world's largest database collecting and connecting to information relevant to sustainable development, conflict transformation, peacebuilding, reconciliation, and transitional justice. "Database" means, for us, a collection or connection to knowledge. Our database is not restricted to datasets. For us, "data" means information in an exceedingly broad sense. It includes academic texts, datasets, government documents and other "grey data," maps, technical schematics, news stories, citizen science reports, and more.
We use the words "knowledge and action network" to signify that the knowledge found in our database is to be put to use, it is meant to drive action. We also mean to communicate that Summit is not only about knowledge and using it in direct linear connections. We use the word "network" to indicate that our work is about connecting people to knowledge and connecting people to people. We are building not only the world's most powerful, valuable, and knowledge-rich database related to our concerns; but a global network of networks and empowering people, organizations, institutions, communities, and governments through access to previously unreached knowledge and unconnected relationships. Summit, therefore, is a force multiplier, we empower other organizations to do their work more efficiently and productively. Because our database and work are not merely linear, they build knowledge and assist praxis exponentially, not unlike "swarm intelligence" and "murmuration" in nature. Summit is built on two enduring truths: that knowledge is power, and power should be used to improve the lives of those most in need. In a complex world it takes complex information to do this. Summit is a superlative and powerful response to the world's needs, and one of its most innovative means to transform a world of pain into a planet of sustainable human security.
Our researchers make "submissions" to our database. We use the terms data, entries, inputs, and submissions as synonyms. We use the term "objectives" and generally avoid the word "goals." In cases when the word goal is used, it is subordinate to one or more objectives, and is a means to meet one or more objectives. In place of the word goal, we use the term "strategies." Strategies are means we use to meet our objectives.
At Summit we evaluate our mission, objectives, and strategies on an ongoing basis. It is important, where relevant and possible, to measure objectives and strategies in quantifiable ways. But the complex, multivalent, and fluid aspect of our work means that many of our assessments are less like a measurable variable and more like evidence amassed for an argument, for example, in a courtroom. That is, some of our activities and achievements are assessable but not directly measureable. This should not be surprising, as it is a familiar fact to all of us. The most important and powerful aspects of our lives are not measurable in direct, quantifiable ways. Nonetheless, we take evaluation and assessment seriously and utilize operational mechanisms, thresholds, feedback loops, and other features to consistently take stock of what we are doing, how well we are doing it, and what outputs we are developing. Our assessments are leveled at both tactical and strategic components of our work. Our assessments are also leveled at variables, conditions, factors, forces that are both internal and external to Summit. We employ, for example, the conventional SWOT analysis. Our Board of Advisors is composed of many of the world's foremost authorities regarding our mission, objectives, and strategies. They play a critical role in our assessment work.
Beyond the database proper, we are building extensions and elaborations of the database in components of our work that we identify as Summit Research and Development Centers, Summit Innovation Labs, Summit Symposia, and Summit Tools and Catalogue (see below).
A sparse schematic of our work is this:
THIS HISTORICAL MOMENT
1. The planet and its peoples face horrendous poverty (structural violence) and (direct) violence. Climate change and human conduct at structural/institutional levels are an assault on the planet's ecosystems, water, and biosphere. Lack of opportunity for millions of people for human security, in all its dimensions, continue to plaque our moment in history.
2. The Millennium Development Goals were the world's most succinct expression of the need to address poverty, lack of education, healthcare, and other shortfalls in human security. The MDGs stated the United Nations' commitment (with widely divergent commitment from member states) to address the problematics of structural violence, from 2000 to 2015. Although these eight goals were not realized completely, meaningful progress was made such that we know if the global community makes a concerted effort toward the elimination of poverty, eliminable diseases, and increase in education opportunities—it can be done.
3. The era of the MDGs has come to an end. We are now in the process of drawing near to a final determination of the post—MDGs, what are now Sustainable Development Goals. The reference to sustainability is key. The proposed SDGs, far more ambitious than the MDGs, include the following:
- End poverty, in all its forms, everywhere.
- Achieve food security and promote sustainable agriculture.
- Achieve water security and sanitation through sustainable practices.
- Ensure inclusive and equitable education for all children and youth.
- Build inclusive and sustainable industrialization and innovation.
- Ensure sustainable production and consumption patterns.
- Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
- Protection, restoration, and sustainable use of oceans and land ecosystems.
- Promote access to justice for all.
- Promote effective and accountable institutions, at all levels, for all.
- Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.
- Revitalize global partnership for sustainable development.
The Summit Knowledge and Action Network is perfectly suited to be a major force for the realization of these ambitious—yet achievable—goals.
We live in the most exciting moment in human history. This is true precisely because, for the first time in history, these goals are within our reach. Summit has a critical contribution to make.
This historical moment is the context for understanding the Mission and Objectives of the Summit Knowledge and Action Network.
WHAT WE ARE ACCOMPLISHING
To transform the world's deep needs into sustainable peace and human security.
Summit: The Sustainable Mountain Development and Conflict Transformation Global Knowledge and Action Network will be the world's largest and always developing database: a collection of and connection to data relevant to sustainable development, conflict transformation, peacebuilding, reconciliation, and transitional justice. Summit is unique in the world, and is a critical tool for the achievement of global human security. Summit will empower people by connecting them to knowledge, a vast array of resources in kind and number, and collaborative partnerships.
Summit addresses mountain communities and geographies with special attention because mountain peoples suffer the planet's pathologies disproportionately. But we are not focused on mountains alone. Most importantly, Summit is designed to foster understanding of, and engagement with, the less developed world in all geographies and elevations.
Summit is the location of asset transfer where researchers, NGOs, governments, multilateral organizations, and communities can access and use the world's largest collection of information relevant to sustainable development and conflict transformation to aid them in their efforts to foster human security. Not merely a storehouse of information, Summit also creates knowledge as users interact and collaborate with one another through the database and develop new methodologies, models, and strategies to engage and overcome local, regional, and global problematics.
Summit is more than a database, it is a collection of projects and programs that emerge from and connect back to, the database. These components of our mission engage people directly, "on the ground and in the field," in many cases. They are now identified as Summit Research and Development Centers, Summit Labs, Summit Symposia, and Summit Tools. Given the extraordinary dynamism inherent in the Summit Knowledge and Action Network, new projects and programs are almost certain to be developed.
WHAT THIS LOOKS LIKE
We will continually develop, improve, innovate, and elaborate the Summit database and its website.
In early stages, this may mean 1000 resources connected to the database each month; in later stages, this may mean 5000 resources connected to the database per month.
- The earliest iteration of the database and its inputs will be concluded August 2015.
- Earliest data entries will focus on academic texts.
- Citizen science data will be introduced into the database fall 2015.
- Substantial grey data will be introduced into the database no later than August 2016.
- There will be a public launch of the database in fall 2015 or winter 2016.
- The first iteration of the website will be complete August 2015.
- The website will be functional in several languages in 2016.
We will continually develop and grow, both in skill set acquisition and in connections and collabroations, a global research network.
- The first iteration of the database relies upon student researchers in Utah, USA.
- In fall 2015 we will begin recruiting student and faculty researchers outside Utah, including those outside the U.S. Our currently developing partnerships with universities and institutions across the globe will assist in meeting this goal.
- In 2016 we will being offering knowledge in the database in languages other than English. The database will have a permanent trajectory of growth in inputs in non-English languages.
The database -- and Summit, more comprehensively, will continually grow in three categories that deserve special attention here: (1) organizations, (2) tools, and (3) partnerships. These three categories of knowledge the action overlap as follows, and collectively constitute perhaps the single most important feature of Summit:
"Organizations" names all NGOs, state agencies, educational institutions, and multilateral organizations whose missions i.nvovlve sustainable development and conflict transformation. "Tools" names technologies, strategies, and best practices that advance sustainable development and conflict transformation. "Partnerships" name all organizations with which Summit has a formal relationship strategized over time.
Summit Research and Development Center in Haiti
- Will work closely with the Summit Team in Utah.
- August 2015 begins the first phase of a multiphase project in Haiti whereby two projects will be run in coordination and are ultimately related to each other and a larger project. We are working with scientists at Utah Valley University who are measuring water quality and water discharge rates across Haiti. The purpose is twofold, first, to make an analysis of water safety regarding consumption; second, to make analyses regarding what kind of energy can be derived from water flow in various locations at various times. The second purpose is about applying and testing new technologies being developed at UVU to generate electricity through alternative means (off the grid) related to water flow, tidal, solar, and wind energy.
- The SRDC in Haiti will collect and connect to data to fill the category "Haiti" in the database. Beyond data collection, we will use the project to communicate with NGOs, government agencies, universities, and other organizations in Haiti as a coordinating network generator. The fact is, in Haiti (as in many places) most organizations know little about what others are doing, even when they do the same things. This is extremely inefficient. We will transform that inefficiency.
- The SRDC in Haiti is developing a vocational training program for the construction trades. (Almost all killed construction work in Haiti is done by citizens of the Dominican Republican.)
- The SRDC in Haiti is developing a commercial venture built on cocoa production and possible chocolate production in Haiti. Haiti's cocoa capacity is extraordinarily underdeveloped.
Summit Research and Development Center in the Balkans.
- The peacebuilding process in the former Yugoslavia is far from robust and sustained. Much conflict transformation, peacebuilding, reconciliation, and transitional justice work needs yet to be undertaken, let accomplished. Key to understanding and undertaking the peacebuilding process is a deep understanding of the conflict. Key to understanding the conflict and peacebuilding process is a means of collecting all the information relevant to both the conflict and the peace process. Summit will provide the database to collect all relevant information.
Summit Innovation Labs names the means we will use to bring experts together for weeks and months-long periods of time to work on problems together. These persons will come from across various professions and disciplines (e.g., a biologist, economist, physicist, venture capitalist, engineer, and artist) and use their skills and the Summit database to tackle a discrete problem (e.g., micro-hydroelectric power technology for rural Central Asia).
Summit Symposia names a number of educational fora we will employ to both teach users how to make the most of the Summit database, and to learn about means of addressing poverty, violence, and human insecurity that are proven and/or promising. These educational fora will include podcasts, webinars, conferences, and workshops. They will often be held in partnership with other institutions and organizations, and around the globe.
Summit Tools and Catalogue names our collection of items created by inventors and innovators who have developed promising technologies "Tools" for addressing human security problems. These many tools are quickly proliferating, but are not being collected into a single location for discovery or acquisition. We will do that, and the catalogue will be found at our website. We hope to partner with a retailer such as REI, who will put some of these items in their stores. In any case, people will be able to purchase these tools for communities in the less developed world. This program will work on the same model used by the Heifer Project and Oxfam.
Summit Research and Development Center. We will acquire a campus where college and university students will contribute internships, and individuals and groups will come for retreats, workshops, and Summit Innovation Labs. The SRDC will be a permanent site and employ a staff. It will attract brilliant and energetic people from across the globe who work hard at changing the world, to bring it into line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. When established, the SRDC will be the primary campus generating Summit's mission.