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The Nobelity Blog is a running series of reports on the film and education work of The Nobelity Project (www.nobelity.org), including reports from our partner project Mahiga Hope High School in Kenya, and numerous other school projects from our Kenya Schools Fund. The blog also includes reports on our films, including the recent SXSW Audience Award winner, Building Hope, and on our advocacy for specific issues related to a more sustainable and just world for children everywhere.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Words From Nobelity


In the near future I’ll be using this space to update the Nobelity Project’s friends and supporters on what’s happening with the nonprofit and our education work, as well as with continuing news about Nobelity screenings and other events.

But for now I’d like to tell everyone about our latest - and I hope greatest - project, a sequel to Nobelity called One Peace at a Time. While Nobelity looked at the world’s most pressing problems through the eyes of nine Nobel laureates, One Peace at a Time will focus on specific solutions.

Wherever I’ve screened Nobelity — whether in high Schools, for nonprofits or in corporate settings— I’ve always asked the same question: “What can I do?”

My response is generally to remind people of Jody Williams inspiring words to “pick an issue that’s important to you, get off your ass and get to work on it.”

I’ve also suggested that those who were moved by Nobelity’s depiction of kids living on the streets of India that they might want to support the orphanages of the Miracle Foundation (http://www.miraclefoundation.org/). There are an estimated 14 million children on the streets of the world’s largest Democracy, and Caroline Boudreaux and the Miracle Foundation are doing their best to help them, one child at a time. My family and I sponsor a boy at the Bhawani Orphanage, a modest monthly expense that we see as one of the great opportunities of our lives.

I’ve also been recommending that those who are concerned about education and access to information might want to support the One Laptop Per Child initiative that’s working to provide computers to kids all across the developing world. Right now, you can go to http://www.laptopgiving.org/and participate in the “Give one/Get one” program. The cost of these nifty new computers from the Nicholas Negroponte team at MIT is $200, but when you buy one, you also buy a second computer for a kid in the developing world. Give one/ Get one. Get it? Best four hundred bucks I ever spent. If you don’t have a kid at home for your computer, you can donate it to an American kid who needs it.

It’s hard to tell it from the news, but there are a lot of great things happening in the world, and we hope to profile an array of effective solutions in One Peace at a Time. The goal is to create a virtual roadmap to a better future, a guide to positive and effective action for individuals, non-profits, businesses and governments.

The film is being financed by tax-deductible donations to The Nobelity Project, and if you’d like to support our work, go to http://www.nobelity.org/ and click on Make a Donation. You’ll find a credit card link and the address for sending checks.

Proceeds from One Peace at a Time will serve as an endowment for The Nobelity Project and our Nobelity in Schools education program. If you’re a teacher, you can sign up for Nobelity in Schools at the website. And if you haven’t seen Nobelity, or would like to give a copy to someone for Christmas, you can purchase the DVD through the website, too. You can also get a copy at Amazon or through local retailers, but every copy sold through the nonprofit site pays for another copy that’s donated to a classroom.

So where do things stand with One Peace at a Time?

We’ve raised half of the film’s $350,000 production budget, and I want to express my thanks to every one of the many people who’ve made it possible to come this far. I’m in the process of filming in fifteen countries on five continents, and I feel like so many people have been with me every step of the way.

In August, when I walked from the squalor of a Delhi slum through the gates of the amazing Katha School, I knew that thousands of people were walking with me — that people all over the world would see the way these children’s lives have been transformed through education. Through education, clean water, healthcare an opportunity, we can transform the lives of children all over the world.

In the three months since Delhi, I’ve filmed education and internet access programs across India, family planning and community development work in Thainland, and an incredible interview with microcredit guru and Nobel Peace laureate Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh. In the months to come, I’ll be chronicling sustainable development with the Kallari Collective along the Amazon River; health, water, and education efforts in Kenya and Ethiopia; renewable energy projects across the globe, and ultimately with sustainable rebuilding efforts in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

As we all know, the problems of the world are not only found overseas.

There’s no telling where else this roadtrip of ideas will take me. Right now, I am back in New Delhi filming at the World Economic Forum India Summit, and am headed to the remote hill country of Western Nepal where the Open Architecture Challenge is working to build a telemedicine center for an area with 250,000 people and no doctors.

The Nobel laureates I’ve met through this work have shown me that the many problems of the world are enormous and growing. But they’ve also opened my eyes to the idea that we live at an amazing time. For the first time in human history, we have the capability — the knowledge and the resources and possibly even the will — to solve all of these problems. None of these solutions will be easily won, but all are in our grasp. A more productivw, just and peaceful planet is ours for the making. And the only way to get there is one peace at a time.

New Delhi, India Dec 3, 2007

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About Me

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People know me from different things I've done, and often seem to remember me from whatever I was doing when our paths first crossed. If you first saw me on television with Harry Anderson or doing stand-up comedy, you may be disappointed in my current level of funny. On the other hand, if you first saw me as that idiot narcoleptic guy in The Sopranos, I could really use a nap, so I'm still playing that part well. The last few years have been occupied by making three feature docs, Nobelity, One Peace at a Time, and Building Hope. All three were produced by our education and action nonprofit, The Nobelity Project (www.nobelity.org). I've also written ten books of fiction and nonfiction, most recently the NY Times bestseller, The Tao of Willie, co-authored with the very awesome Willie Nelson.