At Caux, we have a knack of bringing together like-minded people who wish to pursue similar goals. This often leads to an exchange of great ideas, and sometimes, when the mix is right, great actions. Impact Initiatives of Change wishes to build more on this second idea. Forty participants have gathered here at Caux to commit to a year-long programme of creating projects for social change.
During the course of this conference, the participants will both delve into personal development and consider the action they can take to make a positive impact on their society. The aim of this week is for each participant to launch an initiative which they have one year to follow through on. What is asked of them is to dedicate one productive day per week to their project during the year, and to ‘please do what you say.’
Each day focuses on developing a skill. The focus of the first day was ‘The Art of Questions’. In the opening plenary, the spotlight was on the participants and their relationship with themselves. They were encouraged to be honest with themselves by reflecting on questions such as ‘What are you pretending not to know?’
The second day of the conference centred on the participants’ relationships with others during ‘The Art of Listening’. In a session led by Michael Sternberg, specialist in social change and conflict transformation, the participants were led in an interactive plenary which helped them to become more aware of others, from a sensory perspective. Sternberg explained that charisma does not exist, but our ability to change society does, and this is made easier by listening on three levels: Firstly by listening to oneself, secondly by listening to others, and thirdly by listening to the effect one has on, and experiences, from the world.
Putting this into practice, the participants joined their community groups today, and throughout the rest of the week, they will work together to focus on the positive action they can take.
As exercise and achieving goals play a large role in this conference, the two will be incorporated on Wednesday morning as participants will (weather permitting) climb Rochers de Naye where they will hold their morning talks.
Impact Initiatives of Change is only in its pilot year, but already the buzz surrounding it is electric. If this week continues the way it has started, we are in for a very interesting conference indeed!