THE LCLI FELLOWS
As of the latter half of 2019 there are about 60 Leading Causes of Life Fellows. The majority, a result of how the LCL Initiative came into being (see 'History" below) are from the southern African and USA regions with others from places like East Africa, Afghanistan, India, Germany, Norway, Nicaragua (see map).
The notion of the 'leading causes of life' plays on the idea of the leading causes of death, widely used in public health to alert us to what is killing the largest numbers of people in any particular place so that policies and strategies can be aligned accordingly to 'beat back' or 'fight' what harms us ('morbidity') or kills us ('mortality').
At some point Gary Gunderson, then leading the Interfaith Health Program at the Carter Center in Atlanta, realized that paying attention only to what harms or hurts us is not enough. It is vital (pun intended) to give equal attention - scientifically, practically, and financially - to those forces, dynamics, and relations that are generative of life for us.
First, because of the fact (often astonishing) that people survive and even flourish where you think they shouldn't, and we don't understand this enough.
Second, because the massive weight of investment in science, research, policies and programs that goes into what hurts and harms us still fails to achieve its grandest dreams, in part because this is to pay attention only to half of what matters for life.
This prompted Gary to propose that we need to understand the causes of life at least as well as any of death, for the sake of science and of faith. Out of this arose his long history in looking for the 'assets' within any group of community with which one can work that project a generative way into the future. Eventually, it also gave rise to the Leading Causes of Life Initiative and the web of relations as well as the work that is featured on this website.