I have been involved with a new organization, Fashion 4 Development (fashion-4-development.com) for some time.  Recently, I was asked to Chair one of its primary initiatives, Beauty 4 Empowerment.  In thinking about the rationale and raison d’etre for the cause, I gave some thought to the idea of beauty and its essence as a driving force for behavior, and thus, for change.  Below, are my thoughts, written for F4D’s website on the subject of beauty:

“Beauty is power.  It is the essence of life and underlies the pursuit of happiness.  We all behold that which is beautiful.  There is an innate desire that programs us to seek beauty in every aspect of our lives.  Beauty is in nature and in the man-made.  It influences behavior and inspires creativity.  Its presence leaves an indelible imprint on the soul, and its absence makes the heart long for its return.  Beauty is both palpable and intangible.  It is seen as well as felt.  It is manifested in a gesture of goodwill as much as it is in the face of a child or in an article of clothing.  Beauty is primal and instinctual, yet manifests as a form of our highest intelligence.  How we choose to express our individual beauty is at once personal and public.  The inner dialogue that plays out in the mind results in an outward display of our thoughts and feelings– about ourselves and about the world.  The value of beauty, therefore, is immeasurable, and goes beyond the commercial means by which the attribute is marketed.”

-Dr. Shirley Madhère