Peace Can be a Dirty Word: by Fleur Just at TEDxTbilisi


Excellent talk by Fleur.
I used to be a ‘Conflict Coward’. So afraid and disgusted of any kind of conflict – not knowing – ‘Conflict’ is inevitable, and is a channel towards change – a positive and a better change.

“Fleur Just challenges common assumptions made about peacebuilding and conflict prevention – advocating more realistic approaches to addressing conflict. She is the Director of the Peaceful Change Initiative (, and the founder of a school for underprivileged children in Liberia (”
Merid Desta


Failure as Iteration


Reframing Failure as Iteration Allows Students to Thrive

Who is not afraid of failure? Recent studies show us that failure or failing to perform what you aimed to accomplish should not be treated as a complete failure. Hundreds and thousands of articles and quotes have been written on the web; but still millions of people, children or adult, get entangled in that killer web of deadly and poisonous sense of defeat and failure. Why is that happening, in spite of all the information and examples available around us?

The purpose of the video above is to show you about how a school in the USA is trying to redefine failure by using a very interesting method and how they try to educate their children in a very unique way. At New York City’s game-based learning school Quest to Learn, sixth graders take risks in the process of designing a Rube Goldberg machine, which enables more creativity, innovation, and engagement.

But I would also like anyone reading to use it and accept the value of failing or failure; and how we can use them for our best benefit. One of my professors recently said, “In the five years I’ve been running projects with Darden MBA students, I have never had a project fail to add value. If it was the right kind of question in the first place, And if the students worked hard. You will add value. And often it’s the insight, as much as the ideas themselves, that are the ones that really make the most impact.

Let me mention a few quotes made by people you may know.
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
Michael Jordan

My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.
Abraham Lincoln

Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.
C. S. Lewis

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
Steve Jobs

It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.
Bill Gates

Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.
H. Stanley Judd

Ambition is the last refuge of the failure.
Oscar Wilde

Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.
Benjamin Franklin

I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.
Tony Robbins

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.
Napoleon Hill

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
Thomas A. Edison

On one of the articles I recently read, Pauline said, “To many in our success-driven society, failure isn’t just considered a non-option—it’s deemed a deficiency, says Kathryn Schulz, author of Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. “Of all the things we are wrong about, this idea of error might well top the list,” Schulz says. “It is our meta-mistake: We are wrong about what it means to be wrong. Far from being a sign of intellectual inferiority, the capacity to err is crucial to human cognition.”

Back to the video!

The video is made by EDUTOPIA. They have a video series called, “Made With Play”. Edutopia’s new series takes a look at game-like learning principles in action and commercial games in real classrooms — and offers tips and tools for bringing them into your own practice. Made With Play is a co-production with Institute of Play.

Enjoy the message for your own, your children, school and company sake.
Merid Desta

For-profit problem solvers: P R Ganapathy at TEDxGolfLinksPark 


This video is an excellent talk on Social Entrepreneurship. P R Ganapathy talks about a few very pragmatic and exemplary entrepreneurial works that are in great demand in the world today. Published on 30 May 2013. Take a few minutes to reflect on this video, give it a serious thought and design acton plan. Move it and do it! That is what makes you what you want to be and do. What can Ethiopian entrepreneurs learn from this inspirational speech?
Merid Desta.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

“Starting a New Private School” with Reed Sumida


This is a very short video clip that opens the door to the steps towards starting a New Private School. ISPG/The Independent School Performance Group is a company that offers consultancy services to existing private schools and and schools that are on a start up stage. Lots of excellent materials and advices worth browsing. As usual I will be posting the other excellent short video clips on “Advancement”, “Student Retention”, “Strategic Planning”, “Board Development”, “School Formation” etc. I’m sure you will be benefiting a lot from this a..n..d Enjoy!!!
Meri Desta

ISPG and its Associates provides school start up services to private and independent schools throughout North America. Our experience of helping numerous other founders form their schools guides us in understanding the critical functions of starting a school and will provide you and your group with the strategies and tactics that will contribute to making your project:

financially viable
void of costly errors and missteps
on time and on budget
stay within the financial reach of the founders
exceed the expectations of the community
a long-term legacy of the founders’ vision
ISPG Quick Tip – If you want to significantly increase the likelihood of making your school dream
a reality, make certain that you have:

A vision for the school shared by others who will dedicate their time and energy within your founding group;
Financial resources sufficient to fund the development of your school’s business and financial plan.
ISPG School Formation

Whether you are looking to start a pre-school, grade school or vocational/career school, ISPG Associates have real world experience based in our vast educational and business sector experiences.

The following are services provided by ISPG for new school formation. ISPG Associates have been instrumental in the formation of numerous new private and independent schools throughout North America.

Private School

Business Related Services

ISPG School Formation

Defining the true vision and mission
Establishing the legal entity by which the school will operate;
Establishing a school governance and reporting committee structure based on the vision and values of the founders which may include a School Society Constitution and By-Laws;
Creating a three year strategic Business Plan;
creating a strategic financial plan including
requirements for investment capital, working capital and cash flows for the first three years;
Creating a three year strategic marketing strategy to drive enrolment;
Oversight of an application for Charitable status (if applicable) for purposes of issuing donation receipts:
Leading the design of an identity package, including website, brochure, logo, motto, crest, slogan and uniform concept;
Property procurement
Lease negotiations
Administrative requirements
Policies and procedures
Procurement of project financing
Market research
Private School

Education Related Services

ISPG School Formation

Registration and licensing;
Curriculum development;
Advertising for, evaluating and interviewing teaching staff, administrative and other staff;
Development of the admissions process
Student recruitment and marketing strategy;
Sourcing and supervising procurement of equipment;
Recruiting, supervising, supporting and evaluating the Head of School (the “Head”);
Assisting the Client to ensure that the School:
meets the requirements of the legislation applicable for the opening of the School; and
is able to provide an education to students which meets the requirements of the local governmental jurisdiction;

Call or email to discuss your vision for a new school. 1-800-884-0989

“The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It” by Dr Kelly McGonigal


Do we really have 1 brain but 2 minds?

As a person who has struggled, strived and fought half of his life against issues of weight and other behavioural hangups, and as a person who has failed and got up over and over again half of his life, I had to keep on keeping on to survive and overcome these problems that throw me back to where I didn’t want to be.  As a ‘stubborn’ fighter who hates to give up, I have always been determined to educate and transform myself. Recently, I bought Dr Kelly McGonigal’s book on Willpower which happened to be one of the best materials on this issue that might help you transform  in numerous aspects of your life – not just your weight management. 

Watch this inspiring lecture and benefit from it. Take action. Be determined. Weigh the consequences of your procrastinations and decisions; and save your life. You deserve better, and I know you can do it. How do I know? Because we all can do it. If I can do it, you can do it too. This can actually lead you to a revolutionised life. A precious tip -Why don’t you pray for strength? Don’t be too skeptical. You might see a miracle – it doesn’t do it for you, but gives you the strength to do it. Where there is a will there is a way.

Let me finish by quoting Jim Rohn:

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”

Jim Rohn  

I am Merid Desta and appreciate your comment and feedback.

Neuroscientists talk about how we have one brain but two minds. We have a mind that acts on impulse and seeks immediate gratification, and we have another mind that controls our impulses and delays gratification to fulfill our long-term goals. We face willpower challenges when the two minds have competing goals. Learn what influences us to procrastinate or why we fail to resist temptation, and learn about small interventions that can have large, positive outcomes.

Author and Stanford health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, PhD, talks about strategies from her new book “The WillPower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It” as part of the Authors@Google series. Topics include dieting/weight loss, health, addiction, quitting smoking, temptation, procrastination, mindfulness, stress, sleep, cravings, exercise, self-control, self-compassion, guilt, and shame. For more from Kelly McGonigal, visit This event took place on January 26, 2012 at Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA.

The Five Basic Forms of Government – An American perspective


This video was uploaded on Jun 24, 2010 on YouTube. I just watched it recently while I was studying about Democracy. It is more American perspective but I would be happy if I can see people’s opinions over the concept and theory of the person who is presenting on this video about the 5 kinds of government; especially what he says about ‘Democracy’ and ‘Republic’.

There are 5 basic forms of government which are Monarchy(Rule by one person), Oligarchy(Rule by a small handful of people), Democracy(Rule by majority of the citizens), Republic(Rule by law), and Anarchy(No Government). This video relates these basic forms of government to our American government to clarify that we are in fact not a democracy but rather a Republic since democracies lead to anarchy and ultimately the tyranny of oligarchy.

The Theory of Poverty


‘Poverty is holistic: it is not just economic or physical but is also social, environmental and spiritual. It is complex and multi-faceted’. (Tearfund).

Yesterday, I had a very interesting conversation with my kids after I was overheard by them talking about the poor kids in Africa who are hungry but don’t have anything to eat. My boys could not understand why people starve while they could go to a near by beach, catch some fish, roast them and eat them. They also asked me other lots of questions. ‘Why don’t they go to the ocean where there is unfinishable tons of fish?’ was the second question when I told them about most people who don’t have a nearby beach where they can go and fish. I told them some stories about how some people travel several miles to do this very thing even though the success is sometimes minimal. I told them some kids and families wait and wait and wait with a huge hope that their dad or mam would come back with some food, only to eventually learn their hope had been just a mere hope and fantasy. My kids had nonstop questions why some people starve to death while others throw their leftovers in their bins and trashcans; ‘why does God allow this to happen?’ being one of their paramount question. These kids, my kids, have seen themselves many times getting up from their dinner table without being able to finish their portions in spite of the encouragement and push they get from their parents to eat a bit more; choosing one kind of food over the other etc. I thought to myself, it is time to teach my children about the theory of Poverty, injustice, inequality, unfairness etc. that we see in this world. Giving children the skill and knowledge to see things around them in the proper perspective is one of the greatest investment parents can do for their children – unless we want them to be contributors to the turmoil and havoc the world is entertaining at this moment.

Although we are not still sure who said it, or if she really had said it, for that matter, the phrase ‘LET THEM EAT CAKE’ has been widely attributed to Marie-Antoinette (1755-93), the Queen consort of Louis XVI. She is supposed to have said this when she was told that the French populace or peasants had no bread to eat. I would not imagine many people are as ignorant as that; but in practice, our complacency, carelessness and action-less-ness when millions of people die because of hunger and lack of food is inexcusable.

Merid Desta

Charities Joining Forces to End Global Hunger

Over a hundred leading UK charities including the leading Christian organisations and churches in the united Kingdom have joined hands and forces yesterday Wednesday 23 February 2013 at Somerset House in London to launch the new ‘Enough Food For Everyone “IF”’ campaign, aiming to make this year the beginning of the end of global hunger. Other launches have also been made in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It has been noted that the world produces enough food for everyone but hunger kills 260 children every hour. It is a bold campaign- can we ever mark a single year as the one in which we can start to end this scandal and global hunger? According to the campaigners, nearly one billion people go to bed hungry every night and two million children die from malnutrition every year. Progress has been made in other areas, but hunger is still the great scandal of our age. All around the world, even in the UK, people are struggling to feed their families. In 2013, the government of UK has promised to provide 0.7% of national income for aid and to host a Hunger Summit. In June, the world’s most powerful leaders will meet in the UK at the G8. This campaign aims to put pressure on David Cameron to use Britain’s presidency of the G8 to address the root causes of hunger, which still kills two million children every year. Mr Tutu, the former Archbishop of Cape Town and a long-serving human rights campaigner, said: “Hunger is not an incurable disease or an unavoidable tragedy. We can make sure no child goes to bed hungry…” UK G8 Summit will be held 17 – 18 June 2013 in Northern Ireland. If each one of us make our voices heard, there is a probability that the policy makers in the world will come to their senses; they will be able to see things they haven’t seen before and do something about it – SERIOUSLY. I like this short video, made by TearFund very much. Enjoy watching it.

Merid Desta