Friday, January 26, 2007
The good life: 2007 and beyond
As we begin 2007, the Art of Life team is looking ahead to the kind of stories we want to cover. Our inaugural year was filled with so many different adventures (from heli-skiing in Canada to the Monaco Grand Prix) and we got to meet some great personalities (Donatella Versace at the Oscars to Olivier Martinez at an elephant polo tournament in Jaipur, India). So how do we top it? Truth be told, we have barely scratched the surface.

This year on Art of Life, while we want to bring you all the indulgences the world of luxury has to offer, we also want to share with you stories of goodwill. Art of Life's producer Andrea Armsden calls them stories of "ethical consumption."

You'd have to be living under a rock to not know about the kind of awareness people like Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, Bono, Bob Geldof, and Oprah Winfrey generate for certain issues and causes. But there are other people -- other companies - who, by way of their living and the way they operate their businesses, are benefiting mankind not just today but for generations to come. We hope to share with you the stories like that of Ali Hewson, co founder of high-end clothing company Edun, whose philosophy, "is to help increase trade and create sustainable employment for developing areas of the world with an emphasis on Africa, providing a business model that others can replicate and follow."

Former top model Bibi Russell (who has appeared for Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and Giorgio Armani) established Bibi Productions, a company that has employed more than 35,000 weavers across her home country, Bangladesh, to bring to life her designs in their textiles. More importantly, she has helped in her own way to lift many out of poverty, given the weavers a purpose and future, and brought an international focus to a part of the world not many think about. She says: "It's about using culture and creativity to eradicate poverty." In 1999, Russell was named UNESCO Special Envoy: Designer for Development for her work.

There has been a lot of debate lately about the diamond industry and how the interest in the gem has fueled war and destruction in East Africa. While there has certainly been evidence pointing to that fact, resulting in the term "conflict diamond," there have also been examples of how the diamond mining industry has helped communities, especially in southern Africa, grow and become sustainable. According to the World Diamond Council, every child up to the age of 13 in Botswana has access to free education. The revenues from the diamond trade have been instrumental in the fight against HIV/AIDS, particularly through providing medication. It's because of this billion-dollar industry that governments in the third world are able to function and provide for their people. Granted, it was only seven years ago that the global diamond industry formally recognized a zero tolerance towards the importation of conflict diamonds but as a result of that policy, the U.N. now estimates that more that 99 percent of the world's diamonds are from conflict-free zones. While it is important to highlight the wrongdoing and exploitation that has taken place in various industries, it is also crucial to recognize those who are not only doing something about it, but are helping people legally overcome this and prosper.

These are just a few examples of some of the stories we hope to explore this year. Art of Life is a show about the finer in things in life and how people live that luxurious lifestyle. In addition to luxury, we hope to share with you how some of those people that do live the good life are giving something good back.
Posted By Leetlegirl: Friday, January 26, 2007
Monita, good day! The viewers of "Art of Life" -- especially me -- are looking forward to the new flavor of your show. I believe that through your show one can find his or her importance on Earth, whether he or she is rich or poor. The feeling of belongingness to this industry will abide because of this show. I know that a lot of people would favor "Art of Life" as the year goes on. "Mabuhay!" and Maraming Salamat! From the Phlilippines.
Posted By Anonymous sarah akmad,manila philippines : 6:58 AM, January 27, 2007
Great show, Monita. So good to be able to watch you on the Web.
Posted By Anonymous Cindy, London : 5:59 PM, January 30, 2007
Hey Monita,
Wishing you all the best for the New Year! I wasn't aware of this blog until today. Anyway, not really related to your blog but I found today's news quite funny about the 'Cat Washing Machine' yet sad for cats...But anyway hope to see more updates from you...
Posted By Anonymous Mohamed, Dubai : 9:52 AM, January 31, 2007
It is just, but fair and responsible, that those who have excesses in life (i.e. luxury) should impart or share something to those who have less in life... or, should we say, to those who have nothing at all. Whenever we watch the news on CNN or any other special CNN programs, we often see the extremities: the extremely rich people and the extremely poor ones. The stories in your show, the "Art of Life", are stories of a civilized life. It is therefore recommended that your show will kindly and continually feature stories of individuals and/or companies who, to whatever extent, incorporate the wisdom of Thomas Paine in his "Agrarian Justice". Paine aptly stated that civilization has operated in two ways: "to make one part of society more affluent, and the other more wretched...." Monita, your show definitely makes sense and gives more significant contributions to people's understanding of our civilization by highlighting the connection between the rich and the poor. It's truly and accurately: the "Art of Life."
Posted By Anonymous Nino Sandil, Manila, Philippines : 7:17 AM, February 05, 2007
Monita is an inspirational anchor on a great show. I read with great interest her travels to India. I have spent many memorable holidays in Rajasthan and agree it is one of the world's most beautiful places.

Hurrah to Monita and all the Art Of Life team. What a great show.
Posted By Anonymous Tom Konig Oppenheimer : 4:08 PM, February 12, 2007
Hi Monita,
I enjoyed every episode of your Art of Life when I was in Tanzania until last year. I moved to Toronto, Canada in the month of July '06 and until now I haven't seen your program at all. Though I get to watch CNN, not your program. All that I do now is just see read your article on the Internet. Since you have lived here, is there anyway I can get to watch your program on CNN or could you please tell me the time when it is aired so that I don't miss it. Now that you are going to cover some parts of East Africa, I wouldn't like to miss any episode.
Kudos on the good job that you do!!
good wishes for the year 2007.
Posted By Anonymous Srividya, Toronto, Canada : 9:43 PM, February 13, 2007
Happy Valentine's Day, Monita
Posted By Anonymous Fyi from Thailand : 12:33 PM, February 14, 2007

I have great respect for you as an anchor and a writer as well. I enjoy your articles and find them to be very thoughtful. But I'm afraid the same cannot be said about the person or people that select messages from your fans, to be displayed on your blog. How is a Valentine's day greeting relevant to what you have written in your January edition?

I like to believe that you are not involved in the selection of those messages that are displayed (especially the irrelevant ones). Furthermore, I suggest that you please display messages that are relevant to the topic you write about and thereby encourage people to add to your thoughts and not use this media to write personal messages.

Best Wishes,
Posted By Anonymous Danny, India : 4:07 PM, February 20, 2007
Art of Life is now available to watch online, visit the program Web page to view it at
Posted By Anonymous CNN Blog Producer : 11:24 AM, February 23, 2007
Monita, I'm looking forward to your latest show. I know you're in India right now, which is where I'm from, though I am now living in France. Best wishes.
Posted By Anonymous khan rustam. niort France : 9:11 AM, March 19, 2007
Boutique Hotels & Resorts International has a great collection of boutique and luxury lifestyle hotels and resorts around the world. The website is
Posted By Anonymous David, USA : 5:46 PM, May 03, 2007
Yo opino lo mismo.
Posted By Anonymous Francisco : 9:38 AM, August 06, 2007
CNN anchor Monita Rajpal blogs about her experiences filming the "Art of Life" show.

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