A Fresh Perspective: Partnership An Interview with Riane Eisler

Russ Volckmann

Riane EislerRuss VolckmannIntroduction:

You can read about Riane Eisler in the interview by clicking here. However, before you do so you may find the following material to be interesting and in harmony with much of what Riane talked about in our conversation. I spoke with Michael McElhenie, one of the leaders of the “Leadership for Results” United Nations program that helps catalyze collaborative solutions to HIV/AIDS in Africa, SE Asia and the Caribbean. This is something he had to say that is very relevant to the interview.

Mike: We started these programs in 2001; we saw results right off the bat.

What we were doing was trying to impact multiple levels of systems. We wanted to impact individuals intrapsychically and behaviorally – to change how they saw themselves, how they saw their worlds and how they took action in them. We wanted to impact relationships throughout vast interconnected networks. Most importantly, we wanted these leaders to develop and implement more collaborative, more complete solutions to the complex issues surrounding HIV and AIDS. So when we talk about results we are talking about results at many levels of systems.

Russ: I remember one story you told (Integral Leadership in Action conference, Westminster, Colorado, April 2005) about bringing men and women into separate and then mixed groups to talk about their gender and sexual relationships and the impact that had. It brought tears to my eyes.

Mike: This work was tremendous! One of the things that is very clear in the research cited by our friends at the United Nations Development Programme is that when you increase women’s empowerment you decrease the incidence of HIV and AIDS.

Russ: What you are saying is so in keeping with the message that Riane Eisler is putting forth.