In order for Colibri Learning Foundation to effectively learn about structures and methods that enable immigrants and new comers to use their abilities to promote the well-being others, it operates within a transparent and evolving framework that gives direction to its activities. Some of the core element of that framework are the following:
The highest expression of an individual is to be a source of social good:
Mainstream approaches and integration policy predominantly use a lens that sees the purpose of an immigrant, and the source of his or her wellbeing, solely in their integration into the workforce. The conceptual framework of Colibri Learning Foundation acknowledges this exigency for every individual to have access to an occupation, and it additionally adds the view that, above all, the primary purpose and highest distinction of an individual is that he or she becomes a source of social good. Purposeful dialogue can quickly release an individual’s capacity and overcome obstacles to be a source of social good.
A process of social action must be informed by the consciousness of the oneness of humanity:
Humanity constitutes a single people and, because of this oneness, a community should be organized according to the principles of reciprocity, cooperation and interconnectedness. Prevalent norms of estrangement, apathy, and individualism in cities are incongruent with a belief in the oneness of humanity, therefore social action must not only be concerned with material well-being, but it also must create and nurture profound friendships and reinforce a strong sense of community. Because of the oneness of humanity, human existence can be understood in a relational context, and social cohesion needs to be maintained to counter negative social forces that erode true well-being. Our oneness also suggests that there is also the universality to human experience in every part of the world that has value when shared with others. Furthermore, since humanity is essentially one organic whole, every human being should become—and allowed to act as—a protagonist in the building better community.
Justice guides collective decision making and demands universal participation:
At a collective level justice is the animating principle that brings to life the consciousness of the oneness of mankind with the appropriate structures and direction that guide social organization. Thus, being aware that justice demands universal participation, service-providing becomes an acceptable but secondary concern to the primary aim of social development which is to enable all members of a population to participate in community building and have a space to learn to create a better world – one in which the innate talents of every individual can flourish regardless of language ability, gender, class, creed, or ethnicity. Furthermore, justice promotes a mode of collective deliberation that is consultative, inclusive, and fosters unity.
Human nature is both spiritual and material:
The spiritual nature of the human being is seen in the myriad acts that happen every day when individuals transcend the lure of narrow self-interests and instead choose to give selflessly, love unconditionally, show mercy, kindness, justice and express any of the countless other qualities of the human spirit. While man’s material nature is essential, is the product of physical evolution and is fashioned by the struggle for survival, if it is allowed to dominate, injustice, cruelty, and self-centeredness will reign. Many religious traditions characterize it as a lower nature and a human being’s spiritual nature as the higher nature. A consciousness of the presence of the higher nature provides the impulse to perceive the inherent honour and nobility of every person. Awareness of this higher nature enables us to look past appearance and impressions and rather see latent brilliance deep within every individual. Furthermore, the human being and her or his spiritual self has a social dimension and it cannot be developed in isolation: we cannot live spiritually without contributing to the advancement of society. Therefore, a responsible community gives space for discussion and expression on the spiritual dimension of human existence at a practical level, and any attempt to promote integration cannot ignore or stifle the spiritual facet of life that has been part of humanity from time immemorial. Appreciation of the higher nature and the interconnectedness of humanity stands in contrast to the gravitational pull on individuals to merge into the Western culture of consumerism: a culture which is centered on the individual, putting great emphasis on the satisfaction of personal needs and desires, and which ultimately perceives the acquisition of goods and material benefits as nearly synonymous to happiness.
The role of knowledge is central to human existence:
Knowledge plays a key role both in the life of the individual and in the development of society. Access to knowledge is indeed a right of every human being, and involvement in its generation, application and dissemination is a responsibility that all must carry. Placing knowledge and learning at the centre of human existence is a principle and process that can be present not only in institutions of higher learning, but in the ordinary interactions among people of different cultural and social backgrounds. Learning – characterized by a dynamic of consultation, action, and reflection within an evolving framework – then becomes the chief mode of operation and provides the context within which we can organize social action that seeks to engage everybody as protagonists.