Monday, March 28, 2011

Green Acre Bahá'í School: Contributing to a Conversation on Human Rights

I spent this weekend at Green Acre Bahá'í School in Eliot, Maine for a program entitled "Protagonists of Change: An Exploration in Public Discourse" led by Anthony Vance. We discussed ways in which we can contribute to a conversation about social change. We specifically focused on human rights, but also talked about peace, poverty alleviation, education, and capacity building.

We spoke about some of the assumptions that underlie our conversations. These assumptions include the oneness of humanity, each individual has value, the importance of learning, we must use science and reason, we seek to build capacity, we are outward looking and inclusive, and leadership is facilitating a journey on a path of service.

The weekend was also filled with friendship, fellowship, reflection, contemplation, and enjoying the beauty of nature.

Anthony Vance facilitating a session

Participants studying documents

Peace is what it's all about. Sarah Farmer carrying the peace flag.



At 7:25 AM, Blogger EdoRiver said...

Hi Anne, You've got to data dump here of your class notes from the weekend. I am looking for intellectual since the NYTimes has converted to a pay-before-you-read site.

I will react to one of your comments. "We spoke about some of the assumptions..." I think there are two sets of assumptions, a) our assumptions, and b) the other guy's assumptions. Both can be rather illusive at the time of he conversation. This is why, I see, that lots of prayer and meditation is important, to reveal those assumptions. As my old prof. Dr. Dan Jordan, used to say, "No one appears more protected than one who is ignorant of his own ignorance." To just try to uncover, from a neutral ground, the assumptions that we have from our day to day life is often a very good place to start communication about change. You mention that we have an assumption of the oneness of humanity. Yes, and no. I have some intellectual recognition of what these 3 words mean.....but since it is largely an intellectual concept/belief. I am not sure what it would mean. Here in Japan this concept is very very hard to first explain, and then help the listener understand its implications. To use this concept is to really fall into a dark (but maybe not black :-) hole. I can't remember if I have ever used these 3 words to Japanese I have talked to recently , although it is a handy summary of the Faith. I think people in the US, assuming they don't feel threatened by the way the Hispanic population is transforming the country West of the Mississippi, and if they live in an urban area they can gain some appreciation of a possible harmony of the various flowers in the garden.
Regards from Japan

At 9:26 PM, Blogger Anne said...

Hi EdoRiver, Thank you for your insights about communication! I agree it's very important to be aware of our assumptions and our conversation partner's assumptions. Also very nice to get a cross cultural perspective, sometimes certain phrases have more meaning or a different meaning in different areas. Nice to reflect on all these ideas.


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