"As societies build walls of separation between communities,
ICAAD works to remove each brick to illuminate our common humanity"

Elizabeth Long, MA, MS

 

Elizabeth Long is a behavioral scientist with a focus in international health and development. Her areas of expertise are in international health, gender based violence, impact evaluation, education, and economic development. While working on or evaluating programs she realized that so many of the programs were not designed around the way people actually think and instead designed around an ideal of human decision making that is rarely true in reality. And that this failure to consider how people actually think can create divisions in societies that become hard to overcome. She works to empower organizations and individuals to use insights from both data and behavioral science to improve their programs and in building local capacity to do so on a sustainable basis.

She has lived and/or worked on six continents in health and economic development with USAID/Tanzania, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Harvard School of Public Health, ideas42, I4 Index Insurance Innovation Initiative, and the Public Health Institute.

She holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University, University of San Francisco, and University of California, Davis. In her spare time she analyzes performances in the Premier League and dreams up ways to become manager of Chelsea FC.

#RaiseYourShield

This Civil Rights and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’d like to challenge you to reflect on how fear may have influenced your opinions, especially of others, and to take a step towards the courage to overcome those fears. Why the focus on fear you might ask?

Famed marketer and author Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why” outlines six typical manipulations used in sales and marketing, one of which is the use of fear. On fear, Sinek says, “When fear is being employed, facts are incidental. Deeply seated in our biological drive to survive, that emotion cannot be quickly wiped away with facts and figures.”

In the current political atmosphere, in the U.S. and around the globe, fear is often used by politicians and campaigners to polarize debates and to demonize marginalized communities, using them as scapegoats for the real economic, social, and political challenges that societies face.

Martin Luther King, Jr. understood how important fear is, so much so that he gave a sermon on it named “Antidotes for Fear.” It’s worth reading in its entirety, especially because it recognizes the importance, necessity, and creativity of fear (kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/draft-chapter-xiv-mastery-fear-or-antidotes-fear). However, particularly pertinent section was highlighted by King’s wife Coretta Scott King in her book “My life with Martin Luther King, Jr”:

“First Martin spoke of the many kinds of fear that troubled men and women in this period of change and "calamitous uncertainty"— fear of illness or economic disaster, fear of personal inadequacy in our highly competitive society. More terrible was the fear of death, even racial annihilation, in this atomic age, when the whole world teetered on "a balance of terror . . . fearful lest some diplomatic faux pas ignite a frightful holocaust."

"Some fears are normal and necessary," he said, like the fear of snakes in a jungle, but when they become neurotic and unchecked, they paralyze the will and reduce a man to apathy or despair. He quoted Emerson, who wrote, "He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear."

How, then, to overcome fear? First, Martin said, "We must un-flinchingly face our fears . . . this confrontation will, to some measure, grant us power. . . . "Second, we can master fear through one of the supreme virtues known to man— courage . . . courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.”"

MLK Coretta Scott King Simon Sinek
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