As many of you know, Mindcamper and beloved creativity pioneer Dr. Robert Alan Black has been detained in Abu Dhabi. An international group of colleagues and friends are working with Alan’s family to resolve the situation so that he can be released and come home.
You can help right now by signing a petition to the US State Department to help secure his release. [November 20 update: the petition has been retired, now that he is free] When you sign, please bear in mind that he is still a guest of the state of Abu Dhabi, so if you choose to make comments please focus on Alan’s importance and how much he is missed by his friends and colleagues.
You can also help by sharing this post.
The group have put together a Press Release giving details of the situation as we know it now. We’ve printed it below.
Meanwhile, watch this space for more information on ways you can help him. He will need legal help on the ground in Abu Dhabi, which is being sought for him right now; this will cost money so expect some fundraising efforts to come your way. Please begin to think about whether and how much you can offer.
Press Release – For Immediate Release 10/31/14
Contact: Rosemary Rein
Phone number: USA: 239-910-3354
Thursday October 30, 2014 – Athens, Georgia. Dr. Robert Alan Black, an Athens resident, is being held in Al Wathba prison in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. His family does not know if he’s been charged with a crime, or, if there’s been a date set for a hearing. Dr. Black currently does not have access to a phone.
After speaking at a creativity conference in Abu Dhabi — as a volunteer — he took a walk alone to view local sites. This was sometime the morning of October 21. Dr. Black had not checked out of his room at his hotel. Alan, as he is known to his friends and family, walked out with his camera in hand. It’s not known exactly what happened, but sources in Abu Dhabi say that he was detained by the authorities because he took pictures in a restricted area.
His detainment was not known until Dr. Black failed to show up at a conference he was scheduled to speak at in Malaysia. On October 27th his colleagues in the creativity and innovation community alerted his family of his absence and the search began. It was eventually discovered Dr. Black was being held by the authorities in Abu Dhabi. The United States Embassy in the U.A.E. has been alerted by Dr. Black’s family, and the Embassy has taken preliminary steps to advocate for Dr. Black.
Upon discovery of the situation on October 30th, members of the creativity community launched a web-based petition, asking the Department of State of the USA, American Citizen Services Unit, to use every tool of diplomacy to secure the release of Dr. Black.
As of 10:00 PM EST October 30, the petition had reached over 1,000 signatures. [Note: as of Nov 1 it has more than 1,500 signatures.]
Dr. Black is a well-known, much-loved, and highly respected figure in the creativity community. Known as “Wandering Alan” because of his extensive world travels, his gentle and humorous teaching style underscores his sensitivity and creative genius. He’s been a featured speaker at many universities and conferences around the globe and has been a professional consultant in creativity and innovation since the early 1980’s.
His clients include multi-national companies like Kimberley-Clark, Johnson & Johnson, and Nestle. He’s been a professor at the University of Georgia, and also lectured at Drexel University. Indeed, Dr. Black has dedicated his life to bring the power of creativity to many around the globe. A citizen of the world, he’s worked with disadvantaged youth in South Africa, and volunteered his time at many conferences around the world. Including conferences in Italy, Canada, Turkey, the UK, Korea, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, New Zealand, and Australia. At the time of his detainment, he was in Abu Dhabi donating his time teaching creative problem solving at the second annual Creative Thinkers Conference. The Creative Thinkers Conference was attended by government and public sector officials of the U.A.E. as well as educators and non-profit organizational leaders from many Arab Gulf countries.
Broken Crayons is a book he wrote and illustrated which has been translated into Turkish, Japanese, and Slovakian. He’s published cartoons, done illustrations, and written articles for numerous publications. A former architect, and an avid photographer, he’s taken pictures of landscapes, buildings, and people around the world. He’s highly qualified, with a BS in Architecture, and three Masters degrees in Visual Communication, Interior Architecture, and Guidance/Counseling. His doctorate is in educational psychology where he was a student of Dr. Paul Torrance. Dr. Black is also a Certified Speaking Professional, the highest designation given by the National Speakers Association in the USA.
Dr. Black’s website shows the extent of his work and travels: www.cre8ng.com/
Alan is a widowed father of two who lives in Athens, Georgia. He spends the majority of his time traveling the globe volunteering — speaking, teaching, and consulting. He’s 70 years old, and a diabetic, with high blood pressure and cholesterol problems. His daughter, Jessica Beasley of Sawanee, GA and his son Scott Black of Boyton Beach, FL are both gravely concerned for his health and well-being.
His family, his colleagues, and his students around the world believe that:
- Alan has spent his life in the service of others.
- He has always demonstrated the highest respect and appreciation for the diverse cultures of the world, and the laws of nations.
- If there was any transgression we believe it was unintentional.
It is hoped by his family and the creativity community that the US Embassy in the U.A.E. will make every possible effort to insure his health and safety, and will work to secure his release at the earliest possible date.