SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Founding father George Washington, our patriotic leader, wrote Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation containing 110 Rules of acceptable conduct. Regrettably, incivility reigns supreme in partisan politics, in daily uncivil acts due to incivility in the air, on the road and in classrooms. As we approach Presidents Day, the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI) wants to raise a civility red flag. "We endeavor to spread the word that Civility Counts one city, state, region, business, professional organization or workplace at a time,'' says Yasmin Anderson-Smith, AICI CIP, co-chair of the AICI Civility Counts Project.
The Association of Image Consultants International (AICI) officially launched its Civility Counts Project in May, 2009 precisely to respond to this global outcry about incivility in our society and its impact on people's lives, regardless of color, creed or station in life. Sadly, the recent tragic events that occurred in Tucson, AZ, and the subsequent plea made by President Obama during the Tucson Memorial Service, where he called for "civility in public discourse,'' raises a compelling question: Everybody's talking about civility, but do people really understand the meaning of civility and how it impacts their everyday lives at home, in the workplace, on school campuses and in the community?
Anderson-Smith was the driving force behind the movement that led to having the month of May declared "International Civility Awareness Month.'' This event is now officially listed in Chase's Calendar of Events, The Ultimate Go-to Guide for Special Days, Weeks and Months. Her take on the topic of civility today? "Our world continues to be 'civility challenged.'"
"Let's get to its explicit meaning,'' says the Maryland-based civility and etiquette image expert: "The word civility comes from the Latin word Civitas--or city--and the French word Civilite, which means politeness.'' Anderson-Smith, whose inspiration was Professor P.M. Forni, cofounder of the Civility Project at Johns Hopkins University and author of Choosing Civility--The Twenty Five Rules of Considerate Conduct, explains that "civility is all about kindness, consideration, sensitivity, caring, giving and nurturing. It is a code of conduct based on the Three R's: Respect, Restraint and Responsibility.''
The self-declared Republican and evangelist, Mark DeMoss, co-founder of the Civility Project.org and president of the public relations firm DeMoss Group, commented on the dismal results that happened when he mailed a Civility Pledge to every member of Congress and every governor in the U.S. Only three congressmen signed the pledge--and no governors. This led DeMoss to announce that he would terminate the Civility Project.
Appearing recently on CNN's The Journal Report with Paul Gigot, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had this to say about Civility: "We should always be examining how we speak to each other, and we should speak to each other civilly. But, if speaking to each other civilly means not telling the truth, or putting so much varnish on what we say, that you can't tell where people stand, I'm not in favor of that.''
Atlanta-based international president of AICI, Lynne Henderson Marks, AICI CIM, reports that prior to launching the Civility Counts Project in 2009, a civility research project survey was conducted by a select group of Blue Ribbon image experts from the association. "The results were profound. Seventy two percent of the survey participants believe people are more uncivil today that they were 20 years ago, and 63 percent affirmed that rudeness in the workplace is on the rise. A whopping 83.6 percent felt that lack of respect and consideration was the major cause for incivility. We felt that the business of image and the pursuit of civility were completely compatible with our long-range goals. Image means the disciplines of Appearance, Behavior and Communication and Civility is defined as Respect, Restraint and Responsibility.''
"Leading up to our May, 2011 Annual Conference to be held in Orlando, FL,'' says Anderson-Smith, "we continue to have our members collecting Civility proclamations in our 26 chapters around the world. We want to turn the civility challenged into civility ambassadors by emphasizing in actions that Civility Counts! You might say that we are raising the civility red flag."
AICI, the Source for Image Professionals in Education, Experience and Excellence, is the leading and largest professional association of personal and corporate image consultants worldwide. A nonprofit organization, AICI is dedicated to advancing the level of professionalism and enhancing the recognition of image consultants. On the Web at www.aici.org.
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Yasmin Anderson Smith