The Ideal Caribbean Person
January 12 2015 - by Joan H. Underwood, CLP's Regional Project Manager
In 1997, the CARICOM Heads of Government formally adopted a description of the ‘Ideal Caribbean Person’ as someone who among other things:
- Is imbued with a respect for human life since it is the foundation on which all the other desired values rest;
- Is emotionally secure with a high level of self-confidence and self-esteem;
- Sees ethnic, religious and other diversity as a source of strength and richness;
- Is aware of the importance of living in harmony with the environment;
- Has a strong appreciation of family and kinship values, community cohesion, and moral issues including responsibility for and accountability to self and community;
- Has an informed respect for the cultural heritage;
- Demonstrates multiple literacies independent and critical thinking, questions the beliefs and practices of past and present and brings this to bear on the innovative application of science and technology and to problem solving;
- Demonstrates a positive work ethic;
- Values and displays the creative imagination in its various manifestations and nurtures its development in the economic and entrepreneurial spheres and in all other areas of life;
- Has developed the capacity to create and take advantage of opportunities to control, improve, maintain and promote physical, mental, economic, social and spiritual well-being and to contribute to the health and welfare of the community and country;
- Nourishes in him/herself and in others, the fullest development of each person’s potential without gender stereotyping and embraces differences and similarities between females and males as a source of mutual strength.
As you read through the description, did any of the following questions pop into your head?
- Were the Heads right or wrong when they did this?
- Do I accept the concept of an Ideal Caribbean Person?
- Do I agree or disagree with the description?
- Am I even interested in this?
If so, you’re among the majority – i.e. you were in automatic listening mode; this is the default mode for most of our listening or processing information. Now, we invite you to shift gears and to re-read the description using generative listening. When taking in information, generative listening looks for the possibilities; it listens without judgment of right or wrong. It doesn't seek to agree or disagree, but rather comes from a place of curiosity.
When one reads the description in generative listening mode, the questions that come to mind are likely to be different – e.g.:
- What would the Region be like if the majority of Caribbean men and women fit this description?
- How would citizens perceive Government if all public sector leaders – including senior civil servants – epitomized these values?
- How might “I” be different in performing my own role as a Caribbean citizen?