The Sovereignty First Framework

The Sovereignty First Framework generates reliable, up-to-date political, social, economic, and governmental data in any environment—even in the most difficult circumstances. 

We set up conversations with people and organizations influential in the life of the country. In personal interviews, these participants assess each other, and they assess the ability of the country to adapt to changes, opportunities, and threats. 

Our interviewers integrate the data collected from prime actors affecting the country—local, regional, international; good and bad. We share the information, publicly, and with all the named prime actors, whether they spoke with us or not. We conduct ongoing rounds of interviews, and facilitate an ongoing conversation among those who can do the most about what matters the most. We are not business consultants, pollsters, or intelligence agents. 

We strengthen the collective sovereignty of the country by giving them a tool to put them more in charge of planning their own future and development. The country will be able to say "no" more easily to foreign influences that don't fit the country's own plans for itself.

The Sovereignty First approach is transparent, holistic, and inclusive, with prime actors assessing each other, country capacity, and threats. Our proprietary framework generates environmental information that enables better political, social, and governance relationships.

Bottom line: Our product means better information, better understanding, better knowledge, better decision making.


 

View an example here

 Take action here

 

Why It Works

Maj Gen (Ret) Charles E. Tucker,  Dr. Mahmoud Duwairi, Craig Coletta, Sawsan Alfayez, and Dr. Eric Woltertorff on the University of Jordan campus. Combined knowledge is key for systematic problem solving. 

Collective knowledge is the first “expert” – We believe that in order to enable countries to effectively respond to threats, there is a need for shared data and a multi-disciplinary approach to problem solving. Expert knowledge comes through collaboration and exchange of information and perspectives among prime actors.

Relatives of slain Pershmerga at the opening of the Museum of the Fallen in Chamchamal, Iraqi Kurdistan. The quality of decision making in governance directly influences the lives of individual people, families, and communities as a whole. 

Understanding the importance of establishing a baseline – No political, economic, development or peace building initiative should proceed without an accurate understanding of the perspectives, relationships, and capacities of the prime actors in a country's life and the country as a whole. Our methodology is based on the principle that knowing the starting point is essential to reaching the destination.

Kurdish journalist Friyal Faisal being interviewed by a local news network May 2, 2016 in Chamchamal, Iraqi Kurdistan. Prime actors have different types of knowledge and perspectives that when combined together make collective action more effective. 

Finding the right people and asking them the right questions – Through years of experience in the field, our team has developed an innovative tool based on principles of group responses to threats and traumas through which we are able to accurately assess the political and cultural realities of countries.

Arab and Kurdish Iraqi solidarity seen at a dinner with Sovereignty First in Jordan. Through open communication of knowledge, values, and perspectives, prime actors can make more informed decisions.

Make information public - Knowledge sharing is at the core of our methodology. It creates an opportunity and a sense of accountability for the various actors to change their perceptions and relationships by obtaining a comprehensive understanding of a country's realities from multiple perspectives.

 

Jordanian politics, society and culture is built on thousands of years of development and history. Like all countries, Jordan has a complex identity, and requires solutions to modern problems that take this uniqueness into account. 

Some of the local core members of the Syrian Promise Team with Karen Dickman of Sovereignty First in Amman, Jordan ready for the first round of interviews.

Scientific & Measurable Technique – The Sovereignty First methodology assesses the capacity of a country to respond effectively to threats considering 23 economic, political, social, and cultural dimensions, including its long history and many self-identities. It creates a unique profile of each country's capacities and challenges.

 
 
 

Monitor, evaluate and persist – Through multiple rounds of interviews and feedback, a systems-based approach, and a “start where you are” style of looking at complex threats, our team uses the Sovereignty First methodology to help countries strengthen sovereignty and achieve sustainable development.

The Sovereignty First Framework: Syria

Round 1 Report

To view this page in Arabic, click here.
 

Context of this Report

Beginning in January 2016, at the request of the US Army, Sovereignty First initiated the first round of its framework in order to generate a public conversation regarding Syria. To begin the first round, we reached out to a large number of actors influential in the life of Syria. Ten prime actors participated in this round of interviews and contributed their own assessments of Syria’s adaptive capacity and the influence and motivations of other prime actors. 

The participants include representatives from the following state and non-state entities:

·      Egypt

·      The European Union

·      Local Councils

·      The National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces

·      The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS)

·      The Syrian National Coalition

·      The Syrian Government

·      Russia

·      Turkey

·      The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM)

Interviews were conducted either in-person in Washington, DC and Gaziantep, Turkey or by Skype, depending on participants’ availability.

Following publication and distribution of this report to all participants and named actors, each of the 49 named prime actors will be contacted and invited to participate in the second round.

What the Framework Does

Through the Sovereignty First framework, we generate an ongoing public conversation among those actors who can do the most, about what matters most in Syria.

The framework does three things:

1.     The process itself fosters a shared understanding among prime actors about each other, Syria’s adaptive capacity, and the threats facing Syria, in addition to the civil war.

2.     The report publicly shares lived truth about Syria through the combined perspectives of ten influential actors.

3.     Each subsequent round strengthens the network of prime actors, which will make it easier for them to connect and partner with each other.

How this Report Can Help You Now

The Syria: Round 1 report reveals how little the prime actors understand each other and how much they disagree about the condition and capacity of Syria. With such confusion, most actions, no matter how well-intentioned, are doomed to fail or may possibly worsen the situation.

This report provides evidence that supports the position of those who argue that prime actors need to understand more about Syria before committing resources or taking action to rebuild or change the country.  

Structure and Use of this Report

The first round of the Sovereignty First framework is the beginning of an ongoing public conversation about Syria. The charts in this report show the extent of current confusion, disagreement, and misinformation affecting conditions in Syria. The first part provides an overview of the results through charts as well as explanations for each. The remainder of the report provides in-depth data to supplement the results as well as the history of the project implementation in Syria thus far, a thorough explanation of our method and measures, and a list of funders. You can access each section of the report through the links below:

  1. Part 1 shows you an overview of our results, through three charts and explanations.
  2. Part 2 provides the INCA analysis for Syria
  3. Part 3 gives you deeper data on the actors of Syria that are measured in the charts, through statements by the prime actors themselves.
  4. Part 4 gives you deeper data on the dimensions of Syria that are measured in the charts, through statements by the prime actors themselves.
  5. Part 5 gives the history of the Sovereignty First framework in Syria. 
  6. Part 6 explains our method, how it improves prediction, and our assumptions.
  7. Part 7 explains our measures, how we measure reliability, and contains a glossary.
  8. Part 8 lists our funders, and our in-kind contributors.

What Happens Next?

We send a copy of this report and an invitation to join the next round of conversation to all prime actors named in the first round, whether they participated in interviews or not. In addition to distributing the report, Sovereignty First conducts an education and media campaign to make actors aware of the framework and the value of their participation. We expect at least twenty participants in Round 2 and at least thirty participants in Round 3. 

Each subsequent round of interviews adds more data and invites actors to respond to data provided by others. Actors may agree, disagree, or give a new perspective on information learned from others. After each round, the charts are updated to include feedback and changes. Again, the report is sent to actors for feedback and the education and media campaigns continue.

Through several rounds of dialogue, actors will move closer to a rough consensus about Syria’s current ability to adapt and the amount of influence that actors have in strengthening that ability.

After approximately ten rounds, the process of building a rough consensus will be complete and the final charts will represent comprehensive and accurate maps of the relationships and motivations of prime actors as well as Syria’s current ability to adapt to shocks, threats, and opportunities.

The charts can then become pre-planning tools that will help create partnerships and programs to rebuild and develop Syria's capacities.

Want to be Involved?

If you would like to be included in this process or would like to support the process in Syria or other countries, please contact us. 

 
 
 

Vision

To help countries adapt wisely and decisively to complex national threats. 

Goal

To have Sovereignty First Frameworks up and running in 50 countries in 10 years, by 2026.

 

 

 

Principals

Eric's expertise is measuring and shaping group behavior, especially at the intersection of self-governance, development, and large-scale threats or traumas. For 25 years, Eric has helped leaders manage crises, including in post-Katrina New Orleans, Germany, and Indonesia, and has conducted social trauma analyses of the United States, Germany, Israel, Japan, China, and Rwanda.  Clients value him most for his ability to work with people, and across sectors, factions, and borders. Eric deals with why people, societies, and cultures often fail to reach their objectives. In particular, he has found that systemic change is often thwarted by cultural traumas. Over the past three decades, Eric has developed a framework to help leaders and other influential stakeholders deal with these problems expeditiously. He has applied and tested this new framework with businesses and partnerships in both the private and public sectors—from post-Katrina New Orleans to an Indonesian-Australian carbon market program. Eric has led or co-led six turnarounds, five of which were successful. He has served as a C-level advisor to eighteen organizations, and presented to dozens of others. Additionally, he has co-founded three businesses and spun off two. In 2013, at the request of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart Bowen, Eric assumed leadership of the Coalition for Stabilization Reform.  Contact Eric at eric.wolterstorff@sovereigntyfirst.com

Eric's expertise is measuring and shaping group behavior, especially at the intersection of self-governance, development, and large-scale threats or traumas. For 25 years, Eric has helped leaders manage crises, including in post-Katrina New Orleans, Germany, and Indonesia, and has conducted social trauma analyses of the United States, Germany, Israel, Japan, China, and Rwanda. 

Clients value him most for his ability to work with people, and across sectors, factions, and borders. Eric deals with why people, societies, and cultures often fail to reach their objectives. In particular, he has found that systemic change is often thwarted by cultural traumas.

Over the past three decades, Eric has developed a framework to help leaders and other influential stakeholders deal with these problems expeditiously. He has applied and tested this new framework with businesses and partnerships in both the private and public sectors—from post-Katrina New Orleans to an Indonesian-Australian carbon market program.

Eric has led or co-led six turnarounds, five of which were successful. He has served as a C-level advisor to eighteen organizations, and presented to dozens of others. Additionally, he has co-founded three businesses and spun off two. In 2013, at the request of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart Bowen, Eric assumed leadership of the Coalition for Stabilization Reform. 


Contact Eric at eric.wolterstorff@sovereigntyfirst.com

Eric Wolterstorff Director

Craig is an experienced conflict mediator, trainer, and cross-cultural communications specialist. He has worked in Cambodia, Kosovo, and domestically. Craig has a particular interest in applied linguistics and popular culture. With his energy and enthusiasm, Craig is an integral part of the Sovereignty First team. In the Sovereignty First framework, Craig is responsible for media and promotional campaigns. Contact Craig at craig.coletta@sovereigntyfirst.com 

Craig is an experienced conflict mediator, trainer, and cross-cultural communications specialist. He has worked in Cambodia, Kosovo, and domestically. Craig has a particular interest in applied linguistics and popular culture. With his energy and enthusiasm, Craig is an integral part of the Sovereignty First team. In the Sovereignty First framework, Craig is responsible for media and promotional campaigns.

Contact Craig at craig.coletta@sovereigntyfirst.com 

Craig Coletta
Sales

Anne is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology. She has worked at the Asian Development Bank evaluating the efficacy of income and livelihood restoration programs in four countries and as a program associate at Global Water. Anne's natural disposition for leadership, along with an anthropological perspective, makes her an asset to the Sovereignty First team. In the Sovereignty First framework, Anne is responsible for the knowledge and process management systems.  Contact Anne at anne.kroeger@sovereigntyfirst.com

Anne is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology. She has worked at the Asian Development Bank evaluating the efficacy of income and livelihood restoration programs in four countries and as a program associate at Global Water. Anne's natural disposition for leadership, along with an anthropological perspective, makes her an asset to the Sovereignty First team. In the Sovereignty First framework, Anne is responsible for the knowledge and process management systems. 

Contact Anne at anne.kroeger@sovereigntyfirst.com

Anne Kroeger
Knowledge and Process Management

Karen is a mediator and conflict professional with extensive restorative justice experience working with people with various illnesses, victims of violent crimes, and in jails and prisons. She is the Executive Director of the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD). Karen's unique and diverse skill set and determination to do good in the world makes her a perfect fit for the team. In the Sovereignty First framework, Karen is responsible for participant interviews.  Contact Karen at karen.dickman@sovereigntyfirst.com

Karen is a mediator and conflict professional with extensive restorative justice experience working with people with various illnesses, victims of violent crimes, and in jails and prisons. She is the Executive Director of the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD). Karen's unique and diverse skill set and determination to do good in the world makes her a perfect fit for the team. In the Sovereignty First framework, Karen is responsible for participant interviews. 


Contact Karen at karen.dickman@sovereigntyfirst.com

Karen Dickman
Interviews

Mike represented the 5th District of Illinois in the historic 104th Congress. He sat on the Committees on the Judiciary, Government Reform and Oversight, and Veterans' Affairs. Mike served as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Field Artillery, and attended law school at Loyola University. Mike has represented both large and small corporations, organizations, and associations.  Contact Mike at mike.flanagan@sovereigntyfirst.com

Mike represented the 5th District of Illinois in the historic 104th Congress. He sat on the Committees on the Judiciary, Government Reform and Oversight, and Veterans' Affairs. Mike served as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Field Artillery, and attended law school at Loyola University. Mike has represented both large and small corporations, organizations, and associations. 

Contact Mike at mike.flanagan@sovereigntyfirst.com

Mike Flanagan
US Government

 

Associates & Staff

Janet Therrien
Sales

Tadios Tekeste
Accounting

Chris Armstrong
Marketing

Jasmine Passa
Website

 

Loureen Sayej
Translation

 

Regina Vayaliparampil
Research

Jenny Sell
Research

Darvish Goode Research

Advisors

Our advisors are instrumental in helping us develop and promote the Inclusive Nationalism Country Assessment (INCA).  They contribute their years of experience in development politics and governments, nation building and stability operations, international business and Middle Eastern affairs to promote INCA.  

Colonel (Retired) John Agoglia

Nancy Bearg

Stewart Bowen

Mike Flanagan

Colonel (Retired) William Flavin

Ambassador John Herbst

Aubrey Thomas Hornsby, Jr.

Lieutenant General (Retired) Guy Swan

Major General (Retired) Charles E. Tucker

Partners

Our partner organizations are working with us to implement the Sovereignty First Inclusive-Nationalism Country Assessment in Iraq, Jordan, and Syria.

The Regional Centre for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development for the Near East (CARDNE): CARDNE is an autonomous intergovernmental organization, hosted in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and consisting of ten member states: Hashemite King of Jordan, Arab Republic of Egypt, Syrian Arab Republic, Republic of Tunisia, Republic of Iraq, Republic of Lebanon, Republic of Yemen, Republic of Sudan, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Kingdom of Morocco, and the Palestinian National Authority (as an observer). CARDNE’s mission is to foster an open exchange of ideas and experiences with the primary mission of stimulating and promoting regional cooperation in agrarian reform and rural development, and providing expert consultation, technical support, field research, and specialized, strategic activities.  

Cooperative Capacity Partners (CCP)With over two decades of development work as consultants, evaluators, and project managers, CCP understands the vital importance of partnership. CCP provides measures and feedback systems that help host country agencies, NGOs, and donor programs improve the health and strength of their partnerships.

Global WaterFounded in 1982, Global Water is a volunteer-based, international, non-profit humanitarian organization with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in the United States. Global Water is focused on providing safe water supplies, sanitation and hygiene facilities, and related health programs for rural villagers in developing countries.

The Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD)The mission of IMTD is to promote a systems-based approach to peace-building and to facilitate the transformation of deeply-rooted social conflict. Furthermore, IMTD focuses on the advancement of clinical education in peace-building and the holistic development of university students and professionals new to the field.

Trauma DynamicsTrauma Dynamics is an exposure therapy that focuses on organic body processes to resolve stress and trauma. Trauma Dynamics uses a comprehensive, tested, and reproducible treatment protocol for PTSD that it trains students in nationally. The model is used at mental health agencies including University of Colorado Hospital’s CeDAR addiction treatment center as well as being referenced in the MAPS training for future MDMA psychotherapists.

The United States Army War College Peace Keeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI)The US Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute promotes the collaborative development and integration of Peace and Stability capabilities across the US government and the international community in order to enable the success of future Peace and Stability activities and missions.

The University of Jordan Center for Strategic Studies: The University of Jordan Center for Strategic Studies: The Center for Strategic Studies aims to conduct studies in political, military, economic, and social aspects of issues that interest Jordan and the Arab world, that are connected to the security of the region, and that affect its future. In addition, the Center conducts opinion polls and organizes seminars, conferences and other activities with the goal of providing researchers and policy makers necessary facts and data.

World Engagement InstituteWEInstitute's activities and services primarily concentrate on providing career-enhancing professional trainings, developing and managing international capacity-building projects, and fostering worldwide collaborative institutional partnerships. All our international projects, academic partnerships, and educational programs are closely interconnected with one another.  Moreover, they are specifically designed to help us fulfill our mission: to connect students, academics and international development professionals with one another and with world-changing international organizations for the development of globally responsible leaders and sustainable communities.

Get Involved

Sovereignty First is a start-up company working to make profound changes in the field of international peace-building and development. We are currently promoting the Inclusive-Nationalism Country Assessment to governments, multinational organizations, and other potential clients. We expect we will be ready to take on paid staff soon. For the moment, we are looking for people to volunteer, or to take a career gamble with us. While we cannot guarantee that pitching in will lead to employment at that point, working with us lets us know what you are capable of and how you fit with our culture.

Contact us for opportunities

 

 

Funding

Four different kinds of people and organizations support the Inclusive Nationalism Country Assessment (INCA).
Which are you? 

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Visionaries SEE

the INCA as a part of an emerging global governance system. Because the INCA is inclusive and uses objective measures, reports from different countries interlink with each other. The INCA generates a shared global vocabulary.

Funds from visionaries help countries be themselves and develop a global sense of self.

Planners USE

the INCA to accomplish their missions better. Government agencies and large foundations gain an understanding of threats, the capacity of a country to adapt to those threats, peer assessments of all relevant prime actors, and a map of achievable next steps in national initiatives. 

Funds from planners generate reports.  

PATRIOTS WANT

to help their country. The INCA lets every country tell its own story, through its own eyes, and through the eyes of those outside actors influential in the life of the country. The INCA invites every country into a shared global conversation. 

Funds from patriots build an inclusive global dialogue based in their own country.  

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ADVOCATES 

believe that transparency and inclusivity are essential components of any effective approach to big problems. The INCA is transparent. It increases trust among partners. It makes it easier to enforce multi-party agreements. 

Funds from advocates help multi-party solutions to be enforced over time.


Levels Of Funding

FUNDING LEVEL II ($5000 - 99,999)

  • Report
  • Branding
  • Media campaign participation
  • Invitation to conference
  • Dedicated break-out sessions
  • Volunteer opportunities

FUNDING LEVEL I (Upto $4,999)

  • Report
  • Invitation to conference
  • Volunteer opportunities  

FUNDING LEVEL III ($100,000 - 1M)

  • Report
  • Basic training in framework
  • Branding
  • Media campaign participation
  • Invitation to conference 
  • Dedicated break-out sessions
  • Volunteer opportunities 

FUNDING LEVEL IV ($1MILLION +)

  • 2-4 week early accesses to reports
  • Basic training in framework
  • Branding
  • Media campaign participation
  • Invitation to conference 
  • Dedicated break-out sessions
  • Volunteer opportunities 

Note: Sovereignty First is a Benefit LLC, meaning that we are a for-profit enterprise mission-driven for social good. Contributing to a framework is not tax-deductible. Learn more about "Benefit corporations and partnerships" here

Interested in working together? 

 

Sovereignty First

1901 N. Fort Myer Drive
Suite 405
Arlington, VA 22209

craig.coletta@sovereigntyfirst.com

(703) 272-5012