As members of the global community we intend to facilitate the responsible interchange of knowledge, provide sustainable collaborative international educational and service provision projects, and create a forum for experts and networking in the area of international emergency medicine. Our main focus is on education as a means for capacity-building and sustainable development. Our ultimate goal is to improve the quality of health for members of the global community regardless of their race, gender, religion, or socioeconomic status.

A key principle motivating this project is the need for universal education. All human beings should have access to education regardless of their country of origin, ethnicity, religion, economic status, or gender. Moreover, educational programs must consider and respect the cultural milieu and available resources of the learners. We also recognize that we, as practicing physicians in North America, have much to learn from our colleagues in under-resourced areas of the world.

“The tasks entailed in the development of a global society call for levels of capacity far beyond anything the human race has so far been able to muster. Reaching these levels will require an enormous expansion in access to knowledge, on the part of individuals and social organizations alike. Universal education will be an indispensable contributor to this process of capacity building, but the effort will succeed only as human affairs are so reorganized as to enable both individuals and groups in every sector of society to acquire knowledge and apply it to the shaping of human affairs.”1

Our development programs should aim to empower the recipients and increase their capacity such that they become progressively less dependent over time. Education can be an effective tool for capacity building.

Development is not a product to be delivered by the "developed" to the "underdeveloped." Rather, it is a process in which individuals and communities in all parts of the world, regardless of the degree of their material prosperity, become the principal actors in defining, analyzing and solving their own problems. While concrete action in any project should be directed towards visible improvement of some aspect of life, the success of a development initiative is ultimately measured by its impact on the capacity of a community to address development issues at increasingly higher levels of complexity and effectiveness. 2

We recognize the need for a multidisciplinary approach to international health education. Physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, midwives, and pre-hospital health care providers all play important roles in providing health care. Our educational programs will aim to develop human resources at all levels of the health care team.

Other needs such as potable water, sustainable crops, shelter, security, immunizations, and economic growth are all important to population survival and life quality. We recognize that health education cannot alone solve all of these problems. We will try to build bridges, and collaborate with other experts to integrate efforts across various fields of socioeconomic development.

The integration of efforts across various fields, such as health, education, agriculture, and environmental preservation, is essential for real progress in a region. Such integration can be achieved when simple grassroots initiatives evolve to more stable and complex stages of operation. 2

“It is in the context of raising the level of human capacity through the expansion of knowledge at all levels that the economic issues facing humankind need to be addressed. As the experience of recent decades has demonstrated, material benefits and endeavors cannot be regarded as ends in themselves. Their value consists not only in providing for humanity's basic needs in housing, food, health care, and the like, but in extending the reach of human abilities. The most important role that economic efforts must play in development lies, therefore, in equipping people and institutions with the means through which they can achieve the real purpose of development: that is, laying foundations for a new social order that can cultivate the limitless potentialities latent in human consciousness.”1

International Emergency Medicine Education Association (IEMEA) is a non-profit society. Any profits generated will be used to support the objectives of the society. Our goal is to achieve financial sustainability through revenue generated from course tuition, grants, and donations. While IEMEA is inspired by principles of the Bahai Faith, it is not a religious organization but one that serves all humanity without discrimination. IEMEA volunteers come from diverse racial and religious backgrounds.

We recognize that our areas of focus may change over time in a dynamic and progressive pattern. We will adopt an attitude of learning and will make decisions using a “systematic and on-going process of consultation, reflection, and action designed to bring about consistent patterns of change.”2 A key component of this is effective consultation (see Appendix 1).

References:

  1. The Prosperity of Humankind, A statement prepared by the Bahá'í International Community Office of Public Information, Haifa, first distributed at the United Nations World Summit on Social Development, Copenhagen, Denmark. 3 March 1995). http://bahai-library.com/published.uhj/prosperity.humankind.html
  2. Processes of Development: The Bahá'í Approach. http://www.bahai.org/article-1-8-1-2.html.

APPENDIX 1 Principles of consultation

In essence, consultation seeks to build consensus in a manner that unites various constituencies instead of dividing them. It encourages diversity of opinion and acts to control the struggle for power that is otherwise so common in traditional decision-making systems.

Consultation is based on the following principles:

  • Information should be gathered from the widest possible range of sources, seeking a diversity of points of view. This may mean making special efforts to seek the views of specialists--such as lawyers, doctors, or scientists. It may also mean looking for information outside traditional specialties or making a special effort to consider the views of community members from diverse backgrounds.
  • During discussion, participants must make every effort to be as frank and candid as possible, while maintaining a courteous interest in the views of others. Personal attacks, blanket ultimatums and prejudicial statements are to be avoided.
  • When an idea is put forth it becomes at once the property of the group. Although this notion sounds simple, it is perhaps the most profound principle of consultation. For in this rule, all ideas cease to be the property of any individual, sub-group, or constituency. When followed, this principle encourages those ideas that spring forth from a sincere desire to serve, as opposed to ideas that emanate from a desire for personal aggrandizement or constituency building.
  • The group strives for unanimity, but a majority vote can be taken to bring about a conclusion and make the decision. An important aspect to this principle is the understanding that once a decision is made, it is incumbent on the entire group to act on it with unity--regardless of how many supported the measure. In this sense, there can be no "minority" report or "position of the opposition" in consultation. Rather, if a decision is a wrong one, it will become evident in its implementation--but only if the decision-making group and, indeed, the community at large, support it wholeheartedly. This commitment to unity ensures that if a decision or a project fails, the problem lies in the idea itself, and not in lack of support from the community or the obstinate actions of opponents.
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