eddieThe keynote speakers at the North American  Vincentian Family Gathering April 16-19, Allison Boisvert and Eddie Friel present insights into different but  deeply inter-related dimensions of “systemic change” – the personal and structural.

This week we feature Eddie Friel, one of the key figures in transforming Glasgow, Scotland from a perceived decaying industrial city to a major tourist destination. “Been there, done that” might well apply to Eddie Friel when it comes to systemic change.

What’s Glasgow got to do with Detroit and other ravaged cities? Friel, believes there is a lesson in the Glasgow turnaround for everyone.

“What Glasgow did in the years from 1980 on was absolutely amazing. It was phenomenal that the city was able to turn itself round in such a short space of time, bearing in mind the dramatic rundown in industry. It was an achievement of the Glaswegians themselves. That’s what they are like. When everyone else was talking, Glasgow went ahead and did it.”

“Glasgow was a Scottish city with a glorious past that had no future,””Its fortunes sank after the Second World War when it lost its competitive edge in shipbuilding… By the early 1980s, Glasgow was rife with urban decay and needed to reinvent itself.”

“In Glasgow, we had to move to a completely new mindset,” he said. “We had to define what we had that somebody else might want to buy. The actual solution was setting up partnerships between the public and the private sector. There was a complete change in the local administration and the attitudes of people.”

When Eddie Friel  was appointed the first Chief Executive of Greater Glasgow Tourist Board he developed the policies that helped transform Glasgow from a perceived decaying industrial city to a major tourist destination.

“The old nineteenth and twentieth century dogmas about public sector provision, cutting out the private sector, have to be abandoned. The future lies in partnership, eliminating the dependency culture.”

See earlier post for a profile of the other keynote speaker Allison Boisvert who speaks from the personal experience of breaking out of the mental systems of poverty

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