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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, September 1, 2008

An Amazing Summer for the Nobelity Project!

- The Nobelity Project joins the Clinton Global Initiative
- The Million Student Outreach Initiative
- Nobelity goes to space
- One Peace at a Time set to premier in March, 2009

With summer over, I am back on my feet from my filming accident in the Grand Canyon and looking back at fourteen weeks progressing from a wheelchair to crutches to a cane. I really didn’t want to break my leg in three places, but looking back, I can see that the forced sabbatical has resulted in a lot of great developments for the Nobelity Project.

The big news this week is that the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) has invited us to join its non-partisan convening of global leaders who work together to implement solutions to pressing global challenges. Whether a CEO like Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, a Nobel laureate like Desmond Tutu and Wangari Maathai, a corporation like Google, or a nonprofit like the Nobelity Project, CGI members make substantial commitments to take concrete, measurable steps to improve and save lives around the world.

We are very proud to announce that The Nobelity Project’s commitment to CGI is to reach one million middle and high school students in 2009 through a dramatic expansion of our Nobelity In Schoiols program. Since our profit accumulates in knowledge and change, we are going to donate a double DVD package of Nobelity and One Peace at a Time, plus classroom materials and a web-based Circle of Learning program to every teacher who wants to engage their students in the issues that will shape their futures.

One of our core messages to these students is that each one of them can make a true difference in the world.

Membership in CGI is going to be a big boost to our education work, but reaching a million students is going to be one of our biggest financial hurdles to date. The cost of the entire program is $250,000. AMD and the 50x15 foundation have already come aboard as the first sponsor, but we have a long ways to go and need to raise that money sooner, not later.

Other news bringing attention to The Nobelity Project--- Gaming Pioneer Richard Garriott is taking Nobelity into Space. In October, when Richard blasts off in a Russian Soyuz rocket, he’ll be carrying the insights of our Nobel laureates to the International Space Station. The son of an astronaut, Richard has long carried the dream of going to space and we appreciate his willingness to use the journey and the publicity that comes with it to call attention to pressing global problems.

Back on my feet (and cane), as I write this blog, I am wingng my way to Kenya, then Ethiopia, to resume filming on One Peace at a Time. In Kenya, I’ll visit the SIDAREC/Slum Community Center, the winning project design of the Open Architecture Challenge, which I profiled in our short film, The Challenge.



I’ll also be at our partner project, The Mahiga Primary School, where donations by many of you have enabled us to build a water system with UV purification, an electrical system and a new computer learning lab in a new block of secure, stone classrooms. A special thanks to Julian Kink and all of his supporters in helping make this a reality.

I’m carrying a number of OLPC/One Laptop Per Child computers with me for the school and 50x15.org is setting the teachers up with a more powerful laptop for their work. I’ll bring back a report and photos of course, and I could not be more excited about being at the Mahiga school for the beginning of Fall classes in a school that’s better equipped to help them make their mark in the world.

I’ll also be visiting the first of our six well projects in Ethiopia. Thanks to each of you who’ve donated to support this important work through our partnership with A Glimmer of Hope. I hope we can do more water projects with Glimmer next year, but we have also set our sights on building a school.

Christy and I and the Nobelity Project Board of Directors are just launching a major fund-raising effort to enable all of this work. We are searching for five additional partner corporations, foundations or individuals who’d like to share the credit for the Million Student Initiative. We are also searching for annual underwriting of our series, Short Films for Big Changes, and though I don’t mention it often, the ongoing costs of all our film, education and development projects is one of our biggest challenges.

Christy is still talking about the donations that followed my last blog. The same day that she received a check for five thousand dollars, she opened an envelope and found a check for five dollars. Combined, those two donations were the perfect representation of the work we do and the way that we are supported by so many people who contribute what they can because they believe in our work and want to make a difference themselves.

Whether $5 or $5,000 (or $20 or $20,000), we’d love to have you as a partner in the work that we feel so fortunate to be doing.

To make a donation, click here:
http://nobelity.org/new_pages/donate.html
If you want to sponsor one of the big programs, we’d be happy to supply all the details.

One more shout out to Allen Hardin at UT Athletics who adopted my broken leg and put me through a summer of physical therapy UT football style. I wouldn’t be going to Africa without the work I’ve been doing with Allen.

I have to put my computer away. The captain says it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

One Peace at a Time,

Turk Pipkin
Somewhere over the Atlantic
September 1, 2008

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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.