Caux – A Different Kind of Conference Centre
Ian Johnson, President of the Club of Rome, opened the third day of CDLS . Of this short address, the participants remembered two main things. First, according to Johnson, China is going to become the first world power. Because of that, one has to expect important changes. Secondly, he stressed the fact that great ideas can have more transforming power than technologies. While today only technical progress matters, it is important to bring back the question of ideas and values into the debate about desertification and land degradation.
This last point did not get unanimous consent. In the second part of the session, when participants could ask questions to the panelists, a divergence of opinion could be perceived. On one hand, people defended values and wanted change to be made according to them. On the other hand, some preferred to keep business considerations in focus while making changes. As one participant said so well, is there a better place than Caux to enter into such discussions? The long tradition of CAUX-Initiatives of Change in mediation and conflict resolution makes the former Palace the perfect environment to tackle charged issues.
The Caux Conference Center is indeed different from other centers. In addition to the peaceful and splendid surroundings, the participants agree that here, they have time to discuss with other participants and speakers. The spare time, the group discussions, as well as the meals invite to discussion and debate. The domestic chores, such as serving in the kitchen, are also a good opportunity to meet other participants and volunteers in a new setting.
Caux also offers a space for personal reflection. Participants have the opportunity to begin the day with a time of guided reflection. Thanks to all of this, the participants will not have quickly attended a one day conference, before taking the first plane back. They will have spent five days reflecting, discussing and listening to the speakers, thus enabling them to leave with new ideas, concrete examples of initiatives, new partners to work with and perhaps even, new friends.