History & Background

     The Gamelan Council took shape following the restructuring of the Global Consulting Group (GCG), a non-profit, non-partisan consulting firm dedicated to supporting broadly scoped, international development efforts around the world. 

     As GCG's work became more (a) geographically focused on the Asia-Pacific region and (b) thematically focused on microfinance and public health developmental issues, the Gamelan Council evolved to fill a needed niche for innovative, interdisciplinary, cutting-edge thinking with these two foci in mind.

     The Gamelan Council's name incorporates both the literal and metaphorical meanings of its component parts to capture its spirit and focus.

     - The first term, "Gamelan," is an Indonesian word which literally refers to a musical ensemble featuring a variety of instruments including metallophones, xylophones, drums, gongs, bamboo flutes, bowed & plucked strings; found throughout the Asia-Pacific region, gamelan take many forms.  Notably, the term refers to the more to the set of instruments as a unit or distinct entity, such that instruments from different gamelan are not interchangeable.

     Metaphorically, "Gamelan" captures the essence of the way in which the Gamelan Council envisages its efforts: developing and tailoring unique, coordinated, harmonious solutions to complex microfinance and public health challenges.  Consequently, the Gamelan Council differs signifiantly from entities which believe in developing approaches which can be commoditized or franchised across varying geographies and social settings; in fact, the Gamelan Council feels such approaches can be somewhat limiting, often self-defeating, and possibly dangerous.  Instead, each complex problem requires a set of solutions which, while certainly inspiried from commonly held understandings and broadly held world-views, are combined uniquely to address a significant problem at hand.  Each of the Gamelan Council's efforts consequently serves, supports, and develops a unique gamelan.

     - The second term, "Council," simply refers literally to an ensemble of individuals summoned or convened for consultation, deliberation, and advice, as well as the act of deliberating and consulting.  The term also, however, refers to one of several distinct Native American rituals focused on providing communities the space for their members to share and exchange significant ideas and feelings, in turn helping these communities grow and develop.  What councils do, consequently, carries significant import: namely, offering counsel to their members and those whom the councils serve.  Such counsel refers both the advice itself, as well the act of exchanging ideas; and the success of the resulting counsel often stems directly from the ability of the council to facilitate, cultivate, or promote effective counsel.

     Metaphorically, "Council" captures the Gamelan Council's focus on the importance of coordinating efforts among knowledgable individuals across disciplines, as well as its belief that providing true counsel for all a community's members generates the best solutions.  The Gamelan Council conseqeuntly stresses the importance of approaching problems with a spirit of pointed, coordinated enquiry; a commitment to rigorous fact-finding; and a dedication to cooperative consensus-driven solutions.  Such principles are key to a successful council; and they are fundamentally a part of offering and giving effective counsel.

     The Gamelan Council's focus may not be unique; but its approaches and solutions are.  In an era of increasing globalization, the importance of uniquely tailored approaches can be easily eclipsed; consequently, the Gamelan Council considers it imperative to embrace such uniquely tailored approaches fully, concertedly, and wholeheartedly.

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