UK: My Other Side - Life is nothing if not an adventure.

UK: My Other Side - Life is nothing if not an adventure. - My Other Side - Life is nothing if not an adventure - Industrial Society boss Tony Morgan finds time to help troubled young people and explore the meaning of global co-existence.

by RHYMER RIGBY.
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

My Other Side - Life is nothing if not an adventure - Industrial Society boss Tony Morgan finds time to help troubled young people and explore the meaning of global co-existence.

For Tony Morgan, chief executive of the Industrial Society, success and humanity stride side-by-side. Physically, he has an energetic, slightly weather-beaten look, a leftover from his early career as a yachtsman - he won the Olympic silver medal in 1964. But those days are long gone, he says. He has been a keen advocate for social democracy and individual self-respect and it is this that has led him to become involved not only in the Industrial Society but also in charitable organisations whose aim is to help people rebuild their lives and in forums more concerned with humanity on a global scale.

Morgan's chief interest is in the charity Youth At Risk, of which he is chairman. YAR is an American-inspired programme which intervenes in the lives of 'really troubled' young people. He explains: 'These are young people that society has given up on - people of whom the police would say, 'I don't know why you're bothering.' Most of them have been very badly abused.' The work is extremely demanding but also rewarding when it goes right. One of the charity's most stimulating and successful projects has been working in Belfast with the victims of IRA 'punishment beatings' - with the blessings of the IRA.

Young people who take part in the scheme go through an intensive initial week at a training centre in Cumbria. 'It's quite confrontational,' says Morgan. There, they work with YAR counsellors to rebuild their self-image.

'It's almost like creating a clean slate for them to draw on,' he says.

They then create goals for themselves - anything from kicking drugs to rebuilding family ties - and, with the help of a 'committed partner' such as a magistrate or doctor, they set out to achieve those goals.

'One youngster we hadn't seen for six years called to say, 'I did it.

I've got a degree.' It's wonderful,' Morgan enthuses. His hands-on commitment is infectious. 'I think it's one of the most exciting pieces of work going on in the UK at the moment,' he says.

At the macro, idealistic end of the spectrum, Morgan is an enthusiast for the California-based State of the World Forum (SWF). 'It was started by Mikhail Gorbachov and a visionary called Jim Garrison four years ago and, really, the bottom line is to examine what global co-existence is all about and what kind of society we want to create,' says Morgan.

Last year in a live TV link-up between New York and Baghdad, General Lee Butler, former head of the US Strategic Air Command, Richard Butler, of the UNSCOM weapons inspections team, and the Iraqi ambassador discussed the situation in Iraq. Tim Sebastian, who was chairing the talks, eventually turned off the ambassador's mike because he was trotting out the party line, whatever the question.

This year, the SWF is coming to Europe for the first time, to Belfast, and Morgan intends to be there. 'I think it has enormous importance for the business community in the UK and great relevance for the Industrial Society because its values are the same as ours,' he says.

It's not all work and worthy causes. 'My family is very important,' says Morgan. They all live in San Francisco and he spent four years living out there. Now, he just returns for family visits. What's next after the Industrial Society? 'I'll just do what shows up,' says Morgan. 'Life has to be an exciting adventure, or it is nothing at all.'.

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