We're All In This Together

The British press have long had the tendency to sensationalise the mundane and, in relation to issues of national significance, either omit them entirely or report deliberately skewed half truths and untruths.

Take, for example, the 12-page Daily Mail series of articles on the role of Sir David Bell and Julia Middleton's Common Purpose in relation to the Leveson Inquiry into the behaviour of certain segments of the British media. Not only was Sir David Bell involved with organisations such as the Media Standards Trust, which spawned the 'Hacked Off' campaign to set up the inquiry into possible regulation of Britain's free press, he also sat as a senior member of the Leveson Inquiry panel itself. He shared that platform with two others having Common Purpose connections.

It was the UK Column which first exposed the behind-the-scenes role of Common Purpose in our series Leveson Inquiry Exposed. Unfortunately, readers of the Daily Mail series of articles were led to believe that "Common Purpose graduates are simply the left's answer to the old boys' network". In a direct assault on investigative work by independent media, the Daily Mail stated that "Common Purpose has attracted the obsessive attention of the more outré internet conspiracy theorists such as David Icke, as well as bloggers on the far right". In this article we will demonstrate that the Daily Mail conclusion in November 2012 was woefully inadequate.

Where else can we find the fingerprints of David Bell and Julia Middleton?

As a reminder of earlier behind-the-scenes activities by Common Purpose, we should note once again that David Bell was listed as an attendee in the minutes of a Cabinet Office Senior Leadership Committee meeting, dated 9th June 2010. David Bell was also chair of Common Purpose Trustees at the time.

The minutes recorded that he attended under his Pearson business title. Item 7 of those minutes state that "any other business" concerned "running workshops for the Top 200 Civil Servants under the Common Purpose model".

Janet Pareskeva (first Civil Service Commissioner), a Common Purpose supporter and senior graduate, was also listed as an attendee. The minutes revealed that the meeting was chaired by the then head of the Civil Service, Gus O'Donnell, who the following year helped set up the Behavioural Insights Team under Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office. Francis Maude has been discovered speaking in a 2009 Common Purpose video - A question of leadership: Crisis, communication and lessons:

UN Partnering With Businesses and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs)

At the heart of the UN Agenda 2030 (and its predecessor Agenda 21) are the Sustainable Development Goals which "clearly define the world we want – applying to all nations and leaving no one behind". The UN makes clear that "business has to play a very important role in the process".

The UN Global Compact is "the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative".

Corporations involved in aligning their strategies with the UN's plan include both business corporations and NGOs. Examples from the United States include: Bank of America, The Kellogg Company, Hewlett Packard, General Motors Company, Johnson and Johnson, Qualcomm Incorporated, Alcoa Inc, Monsanto, Intel, Merck & Co., Inc, General Electric Company, PepsiCo, Inc. Ford Motor Company, The Dow Chemical Company, Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc, The Coca-Cola Company, Microsoft Corporation, Levi Strauss & Co, Starbucks Coffee Company, Price Waterhouse Coopers, KPMG International and others

Examples from the United Kingdom include: Grant Thornton UK LLP, Marks & Spencer PLC, Lloyds Banking Group, Tesco PLC, Royal Institute of British Architects, Equality and Human Rights Commission, EDF Energy, Centrica plc, Linklaters LLP, DLA Piper, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, Carbon Trust, Legal & General Group Plc, UnLtd, Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, G4S Plc, AstraZeneca, Ernst and Young, Clifford Chance LLP, National Grid plc, GlaxoSmithKline, Royal Mail Group, BP Plc, BT Group plc, Unilever and David Bell's Pearson plc.

The UN Global Compact also partners with the UN-Business Action Hub.

Sir David Bell promoting United Nations Partnering via the Global Compact.
Sir David Bell promoting United Nations Partnering via the Global Compact.

Sir David Bell and the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation

The CSFI (Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation) is a "non-profit think-tank, established in 1993 to look at future developments in the international financial field". In 2011, at the time of the publication of its paper Including Africa – beyond micro finance, Sir David Bell was listed as one if its five trustees. He was also a member of its governing council, where he sat alongside Rudi Bogni, trustee of the educational charity Common Purpose, and Geoffrey Bell.

Geoffrey Bell is the founder and secretary of the Group of Thirty. He is currently listed on their website as an Emeritus Member. The Group of Thirty is a "private, non-profit, international body composed of very senior representatives of the private and public sectors and academia". It aims to "deepen understanding of international economic and financial issues".

The current chairman of the Group of Thirty is Jean-Claude Trichet, Former President of the European Central Bank. Current members include: Ben Bernanke, Former Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Mario Draghi, President, European Central Bank; Timothy Geithner, Former US Treasury Secretary; Gail Kelly, Global Board of Advisors, US Council on Foreign Relations; Mervyn King, Former Governor, Bank of England; Christian Noyer, Former Chairman, Bank for International Settlements; Adair Turner, Chairman of the Governing Board, Institute for New Economic Thinking, and, Mark Carney, Governor, Bank of England and Chairman, Financial Stability Board. Carney also sits as a trustee of the World Economic Forum, which we will examine later in this article.

Sir David Bell and ImagineNations

On 5th March 2012, Sir David Bell was listed as one of the directors of ImagineNations. At that time he acted both as secretary and treasurer. According to an archived webpage (28 Feb 2012) ImagineNations' mission was to "mobilize young people around the world in envisioning for themselves and their respective countries a better life. ImagineNations seeks to design and develop scaleable and sustainable bottom-up approaches to support youth investment and to inform and influence policy and program development, particularly those related to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by serving as a thought leader, catalyst, convener and knowledge broker".

Rick Little was founder and president of ImagineNations Group. "He was founder of the International Youth Foundation (IYF). In 1989, he led a process involving hundreds of leaders from dozens of countries that resulted in the establishment of the International Youth Foundation (IYF) in 1990. He formerly acted as co-chair of the United Nation's High Level Panel of the Youth Employment Network (YEN), a partnership of the United Nations, International Labour Organization, and World Bank".

Little was chair of the Executive Committee and Board Trustee of Silatech from its founding in 2008 until he was succeeded by Dr. Tarik Yousef in August 2011.

Sir David Bell and Silatech

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser was founder and chair of Silatech and she is understood to have provided $100 million to Silatech as seed capital. We understand that Silatech is supported by key individuals and organisations, including "the United Nations, International Labor Organization, World Bank, and U.S. companies such as Cisco".

HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser is a member of the UN Secretary General's Millennium Development Goals advisory group. This group includes Ted Turner, Philanthropist and chairman of the United Nations Foundation, and, Jeffrey D. Sachs, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the MDGs (United States) and director of the Earth Institute.

Silatech claims that it "promotes large-scale job creation, entrepreneurship, access to capital and markets, and the participation and engagement of young people in economic and social development". It also claims to "find innovative solutions to challenging problems, working with a wide spectrum of NGOs, governments and the private sector to foster sustainable, positive change for Arab youth. The initiative’s model involves building partnerships with governments, private companies and NGOs".

Sir David Bell is also a board and Executive Committee Member of Silatech, whose head office is found in Qatar. Bell's profile page on the Silatech website indicates that "in July 1998 he was appointed Pearson’s director for people with responsibility for the recruitment, motivation, development and reward of employees across the Pearson Group & in June 2003 he also became chairman of Pearson Inc in New York". In addition to this, he is a "non-Executive Director of The Economist, the Windmill Partnership, Chairman: Common Purpose International, chairman of Crisis,  and, chairman of the Institute of War & Peace Reporting Europe". Between 1996 - 2011 Bell was also a member of the International Youth Foundation Board where he again rubbed shoulders with Rick Little.

Silatech project countries include: Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.

Is it purely coincidental that many of these are the very countries that have suffered severe political, economic and social turbulence in the past decade? The Arab Spring uprisings which commenced in Tunisia in December 2010 and still smoulder in Syria today spring rapidly to mind. One also has to ask how much time Sir David Bell has to devote to each of the organisations he claims to represent.

It was announced in February 2015 that a "cross-sector group of leaders, at the early to mid-stages of their careers, took part in Navigator, a four-day leadership programme supported by Qatar Shell, and run in partnership with Silatech, Social Development Center (SDC) and Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC)'. The programme was designed and delivered by Common Purpose".

Julia Middleton, CEO Common Purpose on Partnerships

Julia Middleton with her shopping basket
Julia Middleton with her shopping basket

In a speech given to an audience in the South West England Region, 2007, Middleton is reported to have said:

The only other thing that I will eternally thank you for in the South West, is that one of you gave me the definition of the word Partnerships. 'The sublimation or the suppression of loathing in the pursuit of funding'. An expression that I am eternally grateful to you for, quite wonderful.

Common Purpose can also now be found in Amman, Jordan; Benghazi, Libya, Cairo; Doha, Qatar

Middleton is also a board member of Alfanar. Established in 2004, Alfanar (meaning 'The Lighthouse') is the first venture philanthropy organisation working exclusively in the Arab world. Fellow board member Lubna Olayan is a member of the Global Board of Advisors to the Council on Foreign Relations. We have discovered that Fadel Zayan, Alfanar's Investment Director, worked as "a Programme Analyst at the United Nations Development Programme in Tripoli, Libya, where he was in charge of managing various portfolios, including Gender, Poverty Reduction and HIV/AIDS. Zayan returned to London in 2009 to work for a political and risk consultancy firm, and was in Egypt in 2011 during the revolution. Following that, he consulted for Human Rights Watch in Libya over the course of the revolution".

Julia Middleton and Silos

According to Julia Middleton, CEO Common Purpose, in her book Beyond Authority: Leadership in a Changing World:

Many leaders have established their reputation in the internal silo environment of their organisation [my emphasis]. When they extend their leadership role beyond the organisation, authority and legitimacy are constantly in question. New leaders need to be confident to legitimise themselves and challenge old ways. They need to develop a leadership style that will enable them to lead beyond the traditional boundaries and constraints of the organisation.

Is silo-breaking, which appears to suggest the removal of any loyalty a leader may owe to the employing organisation, promoted on a global scale and if so by whom?

The United Nations Development Group on Silos

The United Nations Development Group has the following to say about silos:

All of us who are working to bring people, teams, departments, agencies and countries together to advance sustainable development are battling organisational silos that prevent us from creating integrated solutions. We are the Silo Fighters.

UN System Staff College on Silos

Professor John Adair, Chair of Leadership Studies at the United Nations System Staff College in Turin suggests that

Public leadership programmes should be used selectively. The chief value is to get managers out of their corporate silos [my emphasis] and cross fertilising with managers from of a wide variety of organisations. Recommended programmes in this context include those of the Windsor Leadership Trust, the Whitehall and Industry Group, the Campaign for Leadership and Common Purpose.

The British Council on Silos

The British Council claims to enjoy "an established track record in international development of delivering projects in education, skills, the public sector, civil society and justice ... Working with networks and partners at all levels of society we support the implementation of positive change. We break down silos [my emphasis] and bring people from different backgrounds together to discuss issues of shared interest and to work together to find sustainable solutions to development issues".

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides grant-in-aid funding of up to 20% of British Council income. The UK Column has discovered that the British Council is also a sponsor of Common Purpose.

According to the website of the British Council, "the Hammamet, Tunisia conference series of 2014 was a UK-North Africa membership series that convened emerging and established leaders from the worlds of politics, civil society, business, the arts, education, academia and the media".

Strategic Partners included the Open Society Foundation (George Soros), Oxfam and Silatech. Silatech are also listed as sponsors of Common Purpose.

Active Citizens is a "social leadership training programme that promotes intercultural dialogue and community-led social development". To deliver the Active Citizens programme, the British Council works in partnership with the following organisations:

  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • The European Union
  • Department for International Development
  • The Arab Partnership
  • The EU Partnership for Peace
  • The European Social Fund
  • EU Non-State Actors
  • The Open Society Foundation
  • The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency
  • Barrick Gold
  • The United Nations Development Programme

The World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum claims to be "committed to improving the state of the world", and that it is "the International Organisation for public-private cooperation". The Forum "engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas".

The World Economic Forum, a global NGO based in Switzerland, has been listed as a participant of the UNs Global Compact since 15 July 2003. It is a mechanism to advance the global goals of the UN. The WEF UN Global Compact Communication (February 2014 – February 2016) "contains a description of the practical actions that the organisation has taken to support the Global Compact and to engage with the initiative".

The World Economic Forum Board of Trustees includes:

  • Mark Carney, Governor Bank of England
  • Al Gore, former Vice President, United States, founder and chairman, the Climate Reality Project, a non-profit organisation "committed to solving the climate crisis"
  • Min Zhu, deputy managing director (2011 - 2016), International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  • Jim Yong Kim, president, the World Bank
  • Christine Lagarde, managing director, International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Amongst its management committee we found Richard Samans, head of the Centre for the Global Agenda, International Affairs Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, and Olivier Oullier, head of Strategy, Global Health and Healthcare Industries.

Oullier was featured in an article we published in February 2011: British Cabinet Office Collaborates With French Brainwashing Guru To Change The Way We Think. In that article we had warned that "the public is to be reframed or 'nudged' into politically acceptable 'Social Norms'; starting with healthy eating, voluntary work and tax-gathering ... Our investigation of little-known Rosie Donachie, who was part of the Behavioural Insights Team under Francis Maude, Gus O’Donnell and David Halpern, revealed that Donachie is a key player and go-between in the mental attack on the British public ... UK Column investigative reporters discovered that on the 17th November 2010, the Franco-British Council had hosted a meeting inside 10 Downing Street attended by a mix of the Cabinet Behavioural Team and their French counterparts".

Our researchers had also noted that "Alongside Donachie and others, a key attendee at the secretive meeting was top French mind-bender Professor Olivier Oullier, who works directly within French President’s Sarkozy Private Office". A recent visit to the website of the Behavioural Insights Team reveals that it is a "Social Purpose Company ... jointly owned by the UK Government, Nesta (the innovation charity) and our employees".

The Chief Executive of Nesta is Geoff Mulgan. Mulgan, a former director of Marxism Today, was founder and director of the think-tank Demos where he worked alongside Julia Middleton, now of leadership training organisation Common Purpose. Mulgan was "chief executive of the Young Foundation between 2004-2011, and, from 2016, he is acting as co-chair of a World Economic Forum group looking at innovation and entrepreneurship in the fourth industrial revolution. He is also member of the board of the French Government’s French Digital Agency".

The WEF website hosts an article written by Ida Auken, Member of Parliament of Denmark: Welcome to 2030: I own nothing, have no privacy and life has never been better.

For those of us living in the UK, the world of 2030 might arrive much sooner than we think: The 48 organisations that can see your entire online browsing history, even if you delete it.

At the 2013 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting we discovered the following listed amongst the participants: David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom; Kathy Calvin, CEO, United Nations Foundation; Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education; George Soros, chairman, Soros Fund Management and, Tarik M. Yousef, CEO, Silatech.

Just four months later, the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa had amongst its participants two names familiar to a British readership: Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, and, Tony Blair, Middle East Quartet Representative.

UK Column researchers were also unsurprised to note the presence of Myrna Atalla, executive director, Alfanar, and Tarik M. Yousef, CEO, Silatech (the two organsations where David Bell and Julia Middleton of UK based leadership training organisation Common Purpose had roles at board level).

At the WEF Dead Sea gathering the representatives of Silatech and Alfanar were in the presence of many from the UN system of Global Governance. Examples being:

  • Masood Ahmed, Director, Middle East and Central Asia. Department, International Monetary Fund
  • Thomas Alexander, Aleinikoff, Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR
  • Hady Amr, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Middle East, USAID
  • Inger Andersen, Vice - President, Middle East and North Africa, World Bank
  • Shantayanan Devarajan, Chief Economist, Middle East and North Africa, World Bank
  • Mohamed Diab, Regional Director, Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)
  • Mohamed Elkeiy, Liaison Officer, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
  • Philippe de Fontaine Vive Curtaz, Vice - President, European Investment Bank (EIB)
  • Gennadiy Gatilov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
  • Rima Khalaf Hunaidi, Undersecretary - General and Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
  • Denis Morozov, Board Member and Executive Director, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
  • Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  • Hassan Al Damluji, Head, Middle East, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Common Purpose, the World Economic Forum and the United Nations Partnership Model

The Daily Mail's series of articles on the Leveson Inquiry inplied that Common Purpose graduates were nothing more than the "lefts answer to the old boys network". We beg to differ.

A quotation on the Common Purpose, India website reveals more about the Common Purpose modus operandi:

Common Purpose is, above all, about collaboration - between Government, NGOs and corporate sectors. This unique combination has the maximum potential to drive radical change and Common Purpose provides a platform for sharing and learning across these sectors.

The website of Common Purpose, United States proclaims that

Common Purpose specializes in developing leaders with the Cultural intelligence to cross different boundaries—whether that’s geographies, generations, sectors, specializations, backgrounds or beliefs.

We may infer from these quotations that the Common Purpose model of leadership training is one in which the emerging leaders primary allegiance is not to his employing organisation, neither is it to his Nation nor his peers. The only logical conclusion that can be made is that primary allegiance has been shifted to the United Nations Global Plan: Agenda 2030. Additional evidence for this is provided by reference, firstly, to extracts from the UN's Agenda 2030, and, secondly, to the website of Common Purpose.

Paragraph 28 of Agenda 2030 states that "we commit to making fundamental changes in the way that our societies produce and consume goods and services. Governments, international organizations, the business sector and other non-state actors and individuals must contribute to changing unsustainable consumption and production patterns, including through the mobilization, from all sources, of financial and technical assistance to strengthen developing countries’ scientific, technological and innovative capacities to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production."

Paragraph 52 states that this journey "will involve Governments as well as Parliaments, the UN system and other international institutions, local authorities, indigenous peoples, civil society, business and the private sector, the scientific and academic community – and all people. Millions have already engaged with, and will own, this Agenda".

Besides, Paragraph 60 makes it clear that "we will not be able to achieve our ambitious Goals and targets without a revitalised and enhanced Global Partnership and comparably ambitious means of implementation. The revitalised Global Partnership will facilitate an intensive global engagement in support of implementation of all the goals and targets, bringing together Governments, civil society, the private sector, the United Nations system and other actors and mobilising all available resources".

Hiding in plain sight on the Common Purpose website is the stunning admission that:

for the last 25 years, we at Common Purpose have been working to address one Goal in particular - Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals.

The goals to which they refer can only be the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030.

Common Purpose goes on to tell us that "partnerships matter. And cross-sector partnerships are hard to get right. However, when the sectors - public, private and NGO - work together, much more can be achieved. It is a prerequisite for achieving every single one of the preceding 16 goals" - Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals.

Earlier in this article, we mentioned that the Cabinet Office Senior Leadership Committee minute of June 2010 mentioned "running workshops for the top 200 civil servants under the Common Purpose model". The modus operandi of Common Purpose is now so well aligned with the United Nations plans for networked partnerships of public sector, corporate sector and NGOs that it would perhaps be better described as the 'United Nations model'.

That global partnership required by the United Nations Agenda 2030 programme clearly involves those individuals engaging with organisations such as Common Purpose. We can only conclude that those individuals and organisations that we have been able to name within this article are "All In This Together".