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New Social Compact

Vaccine Mandates in the Workplace



It was only a matter of time before vaccine mandates and passports entered the mainstream dialogue. It started with floating out the narrative in gaining public support of the vaccinated and claiming the virus as a pandemic of the unvaccinated. The us and them divide has been created. National levels of government then took the lead in requiring vaccination among federal government employees that in turn spurred places of education and the private sector to follow suit.

This momentum has resulted in large corporations, Big Tech, the travel industry, and universities and colleges leading the way in requiring their employees and students to be vaccinated in order to return to the workplace or school. The extension of the mandate has resulted in pushing for vaccine passports to attend public events, restaurants, take public transportation, and perhaps buy and sell in the marketplace.

We have seen some private sector decisions where employees must be vaccinated to work in the office or continue to work from home. While the vaccination may be voluntary, it will create tremendous pressure on employees to decide on vaccination out of fear of reprisal and potential termination of employment. This measure is a trickle-down effect that accomplishes two things. First, the employer is not necessarily seen as autocratic in their initial demands while employees begin to cave in over the fear of losing their livelihood and secondly, the employer still requires many of the non-vaccinated employees to continue operations and this slow cooker buys some time. Eventually, difficult decisions on vaccination and continuing employment will likely come to a head in some workplaces.

To be clear, I am not against vaccines or an anti-vaxxer by any stretch. What is important here is to ask questions of whether this medicine being administered under emergency authorization is thoroughly vetted.

This doesn’t mean the vaccine is dangerous, but rather unresolved questions and concerns requiring answers. It is not a conspiracy theory; rather honest questions with not so clear answers about a drug yet to be approved by the FDA.

In good conscience, companies should not mandate their employees to inject an experimental vaccine into their bodies as a requirement to come to workplace and remain employed. This is inhumane to do so; and we may regret this action in years to come.

This medicine, we were told, was supposed to be effective and allow us and the world to remove our masks and return to normal. Some proudly claimed to have found freedom after taking the two vaccine dosages. I wondered how some may feel after they injected the failed AstraZeneca vaccine that is not recognized as viable in numerous countries. This is a drug that richer countries are now donating or perhaps a better definition of dumping on poor countries rather than inject the dismal vaccine into the bodies of their own citizens. How valiant and generous.

Fast forward just a couple of months from the declaration of mask independence; and nothing in the vaccines has demonstrated the pandemic is over except for what looks like less severe illness for the vaccinated if they become infected with the virus. We are now being told to mask up following many breakthrough cases where the vaccinated are now coming down with Covid.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are trying to determine what role the vaccinated carriers may have played in Provincetown, Massachusetts where three-quarters of 469 residents infected during a COVID-19 outbreak were fully vaccinated. This alarming story along with other widespread breakthrough cases prompted the CDC to reissue mask mandates.

A recent major study by the Mayo Clinic that reviewed thousands of PCR tests across six states found that the effectiveness of COVID infection dropped in July to 42% for the Pfizer vaccine and 76% for the Moderna vaccine. Immunity is waning following the vaccine shots; and it very surprising that breakthrough cases are rising this quickly. There is now a high likelihood of juicing up additional vaccine injections for third time and perhaps a fourth injection that may result in producing more variants as the virus mutates off numerous vaccines.

Additionally, there is real evidence that people who have previously contracted the coronavirus have antibodies, if not stronger than the vaccines; and they are being told to vaccinate. Should a ten-year-old child, a fifty-year-old marathoner, or an 80-year-old with underlining issues receive the same unapproved vaccine dosage? To be clear, no single medicine is best for everyone, and should be weighed carefully with family and your doctor.

There is real evidence that many people have died after taking the vaccine; whether from the vaccine itself or following a breakthrough case in getting COVID after receiving the vaccine. We only hear of the upside protection by taking the vaccine. Vaccines are not generally overtly dangerous, but they are not without any risk. While about 160 million Americans receiving the annual flu shot every season where up to 200 people die following this shot, it is a far different story with the COVID vaccine.

In just the first four months of 2021, there have been more deaths after taking the COVID vaccine than all the other vaccine deaths tracked in the 15-year period from 1997 to 2013. It’s stunning. According to the data from Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), they have registered over ten thousand known COVID vaccine related deaths. How many go unreported? VAERS has also reported thousands of heart attacks, chest pain, hospitalizations, tinnitus, and high rates of deep vein thrombosis.

Yes, we should expect side effects but at this rate do we know the long-term impact. In contrast, when the US vaccinated 45 million for the swine flu in 1976, 53 people reportedly died after the shot. The US government immediately halted the vaccination. The Menveo vaccine for preventing meningitis had one known death following the vaccine over a 5-year period from 2010-2015.

For childbearing women, there is evidence that the protein spikes are remaining in the woman’s ovaries and are not being flushed from their bodies. The former VP and chief scientist at Pfizer, Michael Yeadon, has strongly urged childbearing age women not to take the vaccine.

Why raise questions about the safety of the vaccine for childbearing age women and those breastfeeding? Well, there were thousands of birth malformations resulting in women taking thalidomide 60 years ago. Studies did not assess the toxicity for the unborn babies. So here we have an untested medicine in terms of the impact on fertilization where the vaccine concentrates in the ovaries and perhaps in background tissues like muscles at 20-fold. We have not heard any reporting on the impact of male reproduction.

Look, this vaccine has not prevented infection 100% with more and more breakthrough cases. You can still get it, you can still pass it on, and you are told to keep wearing the mask after being vaccinated.

There are more questions than answers; and if anyone can unequivocally state that this vaccine has zero risks, then please go on the record. Again, it is not to say the vaccine is not working for a vast number of people and reducing hospitalization.

Interesting to note that according to Luc Montagnier, a world top virologist and Nobel Prize winner for his work in discovering HIV as the cause of AIDs, he says the world is silent about Antibody-Dependant Enhancement (ADE) where this vaccine is creating the variants by forcing the virus to find a way to stay alive and mutate or die. Perhaps the vaccinated may find themselves much further compromised in years to come. We just don’t know; but we are willing to inject a third shot and more to follow.

Many yet to be vaccinated are not hesitant alone on the unproven medicine. It may be better described that people are hesitant to be coerced, shamed, and pressured into participating in the largest drug trial in history. If people are going to be forced into vaccination by mandates, the public has the absolute right to know the immediate and long-term effects of a drug that is not approved by the FDA and where nearly a third of the employees at the CDC and National Institute of Health have refused to take the vaccine – the very organizations pushing that everyone take the COVID vaccine.

There has to be a better way and an ethical way for the private sector and government to move forward in combatting the virus without creating an us and them divide where the unvaccinated are not mocked as a conspiracist, threatened to lose one’s job and means to survive, or worst labeled a murderer.

Rich Berdan is a freelance writer out of Detroit, Michigan. Rich often provides perspectives that are unique and thought provoking.

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New Social Compact

The Social Innovators of the Year 2022



Mikaela Jade. (Image: Veuve Clicquot New Generation Awards)

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship announced today 15 awardees for social innovation in 2022.

From a Brazilian entrepreneur using hip-hop to turn Favela youth away from crime, a Dutch nurse revolutionizing home healthcare and a park ranger turned tech founder using Minecraft to revive Australia’s Indigenous culture, the 2022 Social Innovators of the Year includes a list of outstanding founders and chief executive officers, multinational and regional business leaders, government leaders and recognized experts.

The awardees were selected by Schwab Foundation Board members, including Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark (2011-2015), and social innovation expert Johanna Mair, Professor of Organization, Strategy and Leadership at the Hertie School of Governance in Germany, and H.M. Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Honorary Board Member, in recognition of their innovative approach and potential for global impact.

“The Social Innovators of the Year 2022 represent a new ecosystem of leaders who are driving change and shifting organizations and systems towards a more just, inclusive, sustainable future,” said Hilde Schwab, Co-Founder and Chairperson of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

The Schwab Foundation’s unique community of social innovators dates back more than two decades to 1998 when Hilde Schwab, together with her husband Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, created the foundation to support a new model for social change, combining often-overlooked values of mission, compassion and dedication with the best business principles on the planet to serve the most disadvantaged people on earth and build a better society.

Today, the foundation has a thriving community of 400 global social entrepreneurs that have impacted the lives of 722 million people in 190 countries. They offer access to healthcare, education, housing, finance, digital skills and advocacy networks resulting in job creation economic opportunity, improved health and stability.

To help the social enterprise sector increase its reach in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Schwab Foundation established the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs early 2020, representing 90+ members and an estimated 100,000 entrepreneurs as the largest collaborative in the sector.

“This year’s Schwab Foundation Awardees demonstrate that through values-based approaches centring on inclusivity, collaboration, relationships of trust and long-term sustainability, we have proven ways of changing institutions and mindsets, and disrupting traditional ways of working that hold systemic barriers in place,” said François Bonnici, Director of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

The 2022 Schwab Foundation Awards are hosted in a long-term partnership with the Motsepe Foundation, founded on the philosophy of “Ubuntu”, the African concept of giving and caring for your neighbour and other members of your community.

“I strongly believe social entrepreneurship, combined with local innovation and technology, can create meaningful change and recovery in Africa and many developing nations. At its core it is about bringing together the best of business discipline and efficiency with the best of human and social values. We need this synergy, now more than ever,” said Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Co-Chair, Motsepe Foundation and Chancellor of the University of Cape Town.

The 2022 awardees are:
Social entrepreneurs

Founders or chief executive officers who solve a social or environmental problem, with a focus on low-income, marginalized or vulnerable populations.

Ashraf Patel, Co-Founder of Pravah and ComMutiny Youth Collective (CYC), India: For almost three decades, Patel has nurtured inside-out youth leadership with collective organisations. This ecosystem has co-created the right space, context and narrative that has reached over 15 million young people.

Celso Athayde, Founder, Central Unica das Favelas (CUFA) and Chief Executive Officer, Favela Holding, Brazil: One of Brazil’s best-known social entrepreneurs, Athayde founded the nation’s largest social enterprise focused on favela communities, using music and sport to transform their lives.

Jos de Blok, Founder, Buurtzorg, Netherlands: de Blok is revolutionizing nursing around the world with buurtzorg, meaning neighbourhood care, which puts nurses and patients at the heart of its social enterprise model.

Kennedy Odede, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, SHOFCO (Shining Hope for Communities), Kenya: Passion, 20 cents and a soccer ball were the building blocks for Odede’s social enterprise SHOFCO, which is transforming urban slums and providing economic hope.

Marlon Parker, Co-Founder, Reconstructed Living Labs (RLabs) and Rene Parker, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, RLabs, South Africa: Marlon and Renee Parker grew a Cape Town community project helping ex-convicts into a global social enterprise that has helped around 20 million disadvantaged people by offering tech skills, training, funding and workspaces.

Mikaela Jade, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Indigital, Australia: From park ranger to tech founder, Jade founded Australia’s first Indigenous edu-tech company using augmented and mixed realities to preserve and teach Indigenous culture and history.

Rana Dajani, Founder and Director, Taghyeer/We Love Reading, Jordan: Dajani sparked a global reading revolution, training female volunteers to read to kids. We Love Reading now operates in 56 countries, benefiting nearly half a million children.

Wenfeng Wei (Jim), Founder and Chief Executive Officer, DaddyLab, People’s Republic of China: “Daddy Wei” is a social media champion for safer consumer goods. His enterprise DaddyLab is a one-stop shop for trusted product testing, consumer rights advice for families.

Corporate social intrapreneurs

Leaders within multinational or regional companies who drive the development of new products, initiatives, services or business models that address societal and environmental challenges.

Gisela Sanchez, Corporate Affairs, Marketing, Strategy and Sustainability Director, Bac International Bank and Board Member, Nutrivida, Costa Rica: Nutritional food firm Nutrivida, the brainchild of Gisela Sanchez, combats a lack of vitamins and minerals in the diet, known as hidden hunger, that affects 2 billion people.

Sam McCracken, Founder and General Manager, Nike N7, USA: A member of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes from the Ft Peck Indian Reservation in Montana, McCracken founded Nike N7 20 years ago with a vision of using the power of sport to promote cultural awareness. It demonstrates Nike’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion with the Indigenous populations of North America. Today, N7 has benefited more than 500,000 Indigenous youth.

Public social intrapreneurs

Government leaders who harness the power of social innovation social entrepreneurship to create public good through policy, regulation or public initiatives.

Pradeep Kakkattil, Director of Innovation, UNAIDS, Switzerland: Kakkattil founded global platform HIEx to link innovators, governments and investors and find solutions to global healthcare problems, from COVID diagnosis to the cost of medicines.

Sanjay Pradhan, Chief Executive Officer, Open Government Partnership (OGP), Global: Pradhan has been a tireless champion of good governance and fighting corruption, leading a partnership of 78 countries, 76 local governments and thousands of civil society organizations that are working together to make governments more open and less corrupt.

Social innovation thought leaders

Recognized experts and champions shaping the evolution of social innovation.

Alberto Alemanno, Professor of Law, HEC Paris and Founder, The Good Lobby, European Union, France: Alemanno is passionate about overcoming social, economic and political inequalities. His civic start-up, The Good Lobby, kickstarted a movement for ethical and sustainable lobbying.

Adam Kahane, Director, Reos Partners, Canada: Kahane is a global leader in helping diverse teams of leaders work together, across their differences, to address their most important and intractable issues. He has facilitated breakthrough projects in more than 50 countries on climate action, racial equity, democratic governance, Indigenous rights, health, food, energy, water, education, justice and security.

Hahrie Han, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Professor of Political Science, Inaugural Director of the SNF Agora Institute, Johns Hopkins University, USA: Han is a leading academic and author on collective action and the way citizens can collaborate to solve public problems and influence policy, from immigration to voting rights.

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New Social Compact

Grace and a Tennis Celebrity



image source: Wikipedia

Among the character traits we cherish in fellow humans, grace is often more noticeable in its absence.  The recent saga of a Serbian tennis player and his manner of entry into Australia and subsequent events come to mind.  A champion athlete cannot help but serve as an ambassador for his country, and in Serbia’s case, after the horrors of the Yugoslavia civil war and its prominent role, it is a country that needs all the help it can get. 

Novak Djokovic is ranked number one in the world and is in Australia to defend his title.  He appears to have lied on his Australian entry form:  False declarations are grounds for revoking a visa, and immigration officials acted.  But as world number one, he is a draw for the tournament … and money talks — he is already scheduled to play his first match as this is written. 

Mr. Djokovic’s lawyers went to court which overturned the immigration officials’ order against him on the grounds they had not followed proper procedure.  Then the immigration minister, Alex Hawke, who had been thinking about canceling his visa actually did.  So it’s back to court.

But it gets worse:  Djokovic has not been vaccinated.  He claims that having had the illness, he is immune.  Scientists have found that to be of short duration.

He also broke isolation rules after he had tested positive, particularly by not isolating himself, thereby endangering his contacts.  Cavalier his behavior maybe, perhaps careless but possibly a sense that rules are not for celebrities, only for lesser mortals.

That it caused a sense of outrage is apparent.  A leaked video has a couple of news anchors discussing Djokovic in not very flattering terms:  “Novak Djokovic is a lying, sneaky asshole”, says one.  Yet the comment also is evidence of a coarseness that has gradually pervaded language.

In the meantime, Mr. Djokovic’s father has his own take on the affair.  He calls it a conspiracy to prevent his son from breaking the previous record of 20 Grand Slam title wins held by Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer because they are all against Serbia.  But Serbia, which still believes in little Jesus and is thus protected, will prevail.

Would aphorisms like ‘a storm-in-a-teacup’ or ‘mountains out of a molehill’ be descriptive?  Not if it’s news across the world.  Yet, if he continues to rant on the tennis court and win, it could be his way of getting rid of nerves, an eternal bugaboo. 

He must have another crucial concern:  the biological clock.  At 34 going on to 35 in five months, and with much younger rivals snapping at his heels, it has to be a race against time to win that 21st major title.

Just like grace notes relieve tedium in music, perhaps Djokovic’s rants relieve the boring baseline game that modern tennis has become.  No more a Frank Sedgman or a Pancho Gonzales charging up to the net to put away a dramatic volley, tennis now needs a grace note, or two, or three …  

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New Social Compact

Age No Bar: A Paradigm Shift in the Girl Child’s Marriageable Age in India



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India is a country known to have diverse culture, languages, social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief system, religions and their personal laws. With personal laws governing succession, adoption, divorce etc, one of the most important aspects governed by the personal laws is Marriage. Indian society has a deep-rooted belief of marriages being the most sacred bond between two people. Every religion of the country gives utmost importance to this sacred bond. Since this bond is of such great importance to the Indian society and to the people of the country, the legal system and the personal laws have made efforts to legalise the sacred bond. There are conditions and requirements laid down for the marriage to be solemnized and get a legal sanction. One such important condition is “age”. According to most of the personal laws and The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 the legal age for a man should not be less than 21 years of age and a woman 18 years of age. Recently the government introduced The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to raise the age of marriage for women from 18 years to 21 years

Introduction of this bill shall prove to be a ray of hope for people struggling to curb the evil of child marriage in our country. One cannot claim progress unless women progress on all fronts including their physical, mental and reproductive health. The Constitution guarantees gender equality as part of the fundamental rights and also guarantees prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sex. This bill would bring women equal to the men as far as the legal age of marriage in concerned. Under the National Family Health Survery-5, it is stated 7% of the girls aged between 15 and 18 years were found to be pregnant and nearly 23% of the girls in the age group of 20 to 24 were married below the age of 18 years. There are researches to point that from 2015 to 2020, 20 lakhs child marriages have been stopped.

In my opinion, increasing the age of women from 18 years to 21 should not be seen solely as an equal opportunity for them to choose their life partners at the same age as that of men, but this is a step taken by the government to eradicate child marriages that still find way in to our society. It should be seen as an effort to bring down maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate. It shall also try and curb the teenage pregnancies, which are extremely harmful for women’s overall health as well as the infants born out of it. We also have to take into consideration that a large part of our society still lack basic education and awareness about these laws and the advantages attached to it. We as educated citizens of the country should take extra efforts in making people aware and to make them understand about the disadvantages associated with child marriage and the overall consequences their children would face in the future. We should appreciate the efforts taken by the government to tackle gender inequality and gender discrimination adequate measures taken to secure health, welfare and empowerment of our women and girls and to ensure status and opportunity for them at par with men.

*The Views Expressed are Strictly Personal

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