Sir Artis was born July 9, 1945 in Highland Park, Illinois. His family moved to Concord, California in the early 1950s and he has lived in the Los Angeles area for the past 20-plus years. Artis spent ten years in the U.S. Army as an airborne medic serving with various units of the 82nd Airborne Division. He saw combat in the Dominican Republic and Vietnam and was decorated for valor and wounds received in action. His career after leaving the military has included real estate sales, mortgage banking and television and film production. He has received numerous citations, accolades and awards for his more than 35 years of humanitarian efforts, and he continues to serve as chairman and C.E.O. of Knightsbridge International.
What are some examples of missions you have been on since BEYOND THE CALL was filmed, and why or how did you choose them?
We have had teams go to various places since the completion of the documentary. We sent a small team to India and Sri Lanka after the tsunami in 2004. We delivered millions of dollars worth of aid and participated in numerous building projects in Sri Lanka, some of which continue today. We also had teams working in the U.S. after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. I personally went to the Philippines where I spent ten months delivering 25 40-foot containers of medical and educational materials worth easily 11 million dollars. This included one 20-foot container of nothing but little league baseball equipment for the re-establishment of a league in Angeles City, Philippines. We have also sent materials to Cambodia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Thinking back on any of your Knightsbridge missions, what is one
experience that stands out as especially moving, dangerous, exciting or memorable?
That is hard to pinpoint. What we consider especially moving, dangerous, exciting or memorable might not be the same to others. But I can say for certain that all of these missions, large or small, have their own
twists and turns which, when it is all said and done, will make them forever etched in my memory.
Have there been any changes within the Knightsbridge International
organization, such as new goals or additional knights?
I was very fortunate in 2002 to have been afforded an opportunity as a fellow and under a nearly full scholarship to attend a very unique and extremely well-designed three-week highly intensive business program at Stanford University. The Executive Program for Non-Profit Leaders (EPNL) is still offered today, and would be well worth taking for anyone who is in a leadership role within any non-profit organization. That one three-week course gave me the tools to improve on the operation of our organization, which tripled the annual volume of aid that we were able to provide worldwide. We now at least have some goals, versus only responding with knee-jerk efforts.
And we now have a total of nine official members of the Knightsbridge team. Sir Jason Laws, Sir Michael Alber, Sir Michael Carlin, Sir Robert Marcarelli, Sir Jonathan Cohen and Mr. Jim Simcoke.… Plus there are more than a dozen people currently being considered as possible new members of the team.
Has your involvement in Knightsbridge International changed your
perspectives on the world or other aspects of your life? If so, how?
Yes it has. Look around. The world is really in bad shape today, and if people—not just us, but if people in general—don't start taking some responsibility, at least voicing opposition to what they see as wrong, and then ideally becoming actively involved in solutions, they are going to remain nothing more than part of the problem.
What was it like to be filmed for the documentary?
I agree with Walt's comments…. It was a real pain. But that said, Adrian Belic (the director) was always there, and more than willing to pitch in and help with some of the other things that we might have been overwhelmed with from time to time. Needless to say, in short order he became a real part of the Knightsbridge team when he was not being a filmmaker.
What's up next for you, either in the long or short term?
On a personal note… I am now planning on moving very soon to either the Philippines or Cambodia, where I hope to spend the rest of my life doing what I consider to be my life's work—helping others. As an organization we are still working on our various projects. In addition we continue to have a major series of programs operating in the Philippines and Cambodia with planned expansion to Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Add to that our grave concerns about the tragic situation that we see in Darfur, where we are actively trying to mount a HIGH IMPACT “in your face” mission for early 2007, as well as a very important mission to Kurdistan, the other Iraq, and you have what we believe is a fairly good representation of what we see in the future for Knightsbridge.
Get an update from Sir Dr. James Laws >>
Learn more about Knightsbridge International >>