Some reflections on my four years as ICAI President

strategic directions

Happy New Year! It is 4 years since my first New Year’s message as ICAI President in the Global Buzz and my term is now complete and I have handed over to my very capable successor Lisseth Lorenzo. I am looking forward to continuing my involvement with ICAI this year as webmaster, looking after the ICAI website and social media. In the meantime, further to my final column in the November issue of Winds & Waves magazine Looking Back & Forward, I would like to share a few reflections on my term as President – some of our achievements that I am proud of, and some of my own hopes for ICAI’s future.

Most of all I am proud that we have succeeded, I think, in raising our ambition as a Board and as a global community, and I hope that that will continue.  That was my aim in convening a face-to-face meeting of our virtual Board in May 2015, at which we articulated the three Strategic Directions by which I have structured my reflections.

ICAI Board 2015 in Tanzania1. Fostering global connections and & collaboration to support ICAs to thrive

I am proud that our global network has experienced a resurgence in numbers, with now 24 current statutory members and no less than 9 new Associate members welcomed by the General Assembly since 2012. I hope that ICAI will continue to attract increasing involvement and commitment of all ICAs, partners and others that share our mission and values.

I am proud that all five of our regions worldwide have now established a pattern of meeting annually face-to-face, and some regularly online as well, and that these regional gatherings are increasingly including more ICAs and ICA colleagues and supporting greater connectedness and collaboration.  I hope that this will continue, and that it will extend to enable also face-to-face capacity building between regions and by means of a new ICAI Global Conference on Human Development.

I am proud that members have connected and collaborated substantially by means of several new ICAI global working groups since 2012, in addition to the pre-existing global Publications team and the global Board nominations committee. New groups have worked on global policy for ICA’s Technology of Participation facilitation methodology, on options for the next ICAI Global Conference and on collaboration with the International Association of Facilitators, and in participating in UN processes by means of ICAI’s UN consultative status. I hope that these and other global working groups will continue to encourage and support such ‘peer-to-peer’ support and collaboration among ICAs and between ICAs and new global partners.

I am proud that the new ICAI website launched in 2015 provides a versatile and engaging platform for member ICAs and ICA colleagues to communicate with each other and with the wider world.  I hope that more and more ICAs and ICA colleagues will find it worth their while to make use of it and its integrated social media, and that I will have more time as webmaster than I did as President to support them to do so – and to further develop it to better meet their needs. I hope that better integrating Winds & Waves magazine and our monthly bulletin the Global Buzz with our website and social media will enable and encourage more contributions and more readers, and greater connectedness and collaboration as a result, and that I will be able to support that as webmaster.

2. Boosting ICAI resilience and safeguarding the integrity of our global community

I am proud that we have clarified and refined criteria and procedures for ICAI membership since 2012, for both statutory and associate membership, and established a global membership survey by which members may hold themselves accountable to each other against those criteria.  I hope that that survey may be repeated annually by means of the online forms integrated with the new website, and that roles and curriculum or other materials will also be developed by which ICAs may better support each other and new members in meeting the criteria and demonstrating to each other that they do so.

I am proud that our global Board has developed effective teamwork and governance practices, notwithstanding the challenges of working as a diverse virtual team on a minimal budget. These include renewed Bylaws, monthly online Board meetings & bi-annual online General Assemblies, and responsible financial management including financial support for member initiatives.  I hope that the new Board will meet face-to-face early in 2017 to re-establish itself as a new team, and to develop a new strategy and business plan by which we all might continue to raise our ambitions further.  I hope that members will approve and contribute generously to a new ICAI budget that allows for that meeting, and for additional financial support for member initiatives including face-to-face capacity building and global strategy development.

3. Recognising & leveraging ICA wisdom and nurturing new leadership

I am proud that ICAI has been able to use its communication channels to share and amplify members’ approaches, achievements & learnings, and that these plus our global working groups, online and regional gatherings are indeed helping to nurture our collective global wisdom and new leadership.  I hope that members will collaborate globally to develop and apply a new global curriculum and materials by which to better share and leverage both historic and new ICA wisdom & leadership globally.

I am proud to have served as President these past four years, and to be able to leave such a strong and capable Board with strong and capable new leadership.  I am grateful to all my colleagues on the Board and in our wider membership, for all their support and participation in our collective efforts to ‘advance human development worldwide’.

I can be contacted now at webmaster@ica-international.org and via www.martingilbraith.com. Emails addressed to president@ica-international.org are now received by Lisseth.


This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, January 2017.

Looking back and forward

1611-ww-cover-thumbnailWelcome to this November 2016 issue of Winds & Waves, the online magazine of ICA International, on the theme “Looking back and forward”.

As editorial team member Rosemary Cairns writes in Behind the Scenes, Winds and Waves is taking this opportunity to look back at past issues and articles as it looks forward to a new life and look from next year on the blogging platform Medium. This is also a timely opportunity for me and ICA International to be ‘looking back and forward’, as I and others complete our 4-year terms as members of the ICAI Board and new Board members are elected.

Seventeen representatives of 11 member ICAs of our global network participated in two online General Assembly meetings on October 20, and 16 of 24 current statutory member ICAs voted in the online GA poll over the following ten days to 30 October. We are grateful to all who participated.  As a result of the GA we are pleased to congratulate Archana Deshmukh of ICA India and Gerd Luders of ICA Chile, who have been unanimously elected to serve from January (2017-20), and Seva Gandhi of ICA USA who has been re-elected to serve another two years (2017-18). Lisseth Lorenzo of ICA Guatemala has accepted the Board’s invitation to succeed me Martin Gilbraith (ICA:UK) as President, so Gerd has been invited to succeed Lisseth as Vice President Americas and Archana to succeed Staci Kentish (ICA Canada) as Secretary.

In pursuing our mission of ‘Advancing human development worldwide‘, ICAI has been through some developments of its own in recent years. In 2006 we relocated from Belgium to Canada and expanded our Secretariat team and its role, and in 2010 we closed our office and Secretariat and embarked on a new and largely virtual ‘peer-to-peer approach.  Since 2012 I am proud that our membership has experienced a resurgence in numbers, with many long-standing members returning and no less than 9 new Associate members welcomed by the General Assembly – including at the October GA Focus Homini Poland.  The membership has experienced a surge in peer-to-peer activity as well, with face-to-face regional gatherings becoming an annual fixture in all 5 regions and new global task forces taking on roles in global conferencing, co-ordination and collaboration on ICA’s ‘Technology of Participation‘ (ToP) facilitation methodology and exploring collaboration and partnership with the International Association of Facilitators, as well as global communications and publications including this magazine and our monthly bulletin the Global Buzz. It has been a privilege serving as President these past four years, and I look forward to taking a new relationship to ICAI from next year and to continuing to contribute to our mission in other ways.  I am excited and grateful to be able to leave such a strong and capable Board with strong and capable new leadership.

In this issue you will find a diverse collection of new stories and stories from the archive, illustrating how ICAs and colleagues of our global network are themselves ‘advancing human development worldwide’, often in peer-to-peer collaboration with each other.  This issue includes stories from Australia, Canada, Chile, Congo (DRC), India, Taiwan, Ukraine, UK & USA. It includes stories on recovering indigenous language and on fostering creative action on climate change; on profound personal reflection and on imaginal education; on addressing exclusion of people with disabilities and on building capacity for emergency medical care; on comprehensive human development in village communities and on transformative facilitation through ToP; on cross-cultural mentoring and on applying systems and complexity theory.

Thank you to all who have contributed to this new issue of Winds & Waves.  Enjoy this issue, and please share it and encourage others to do so.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
hyperlinks are to the regular online version

• President’s message

Winds & Waves Masthead

Behind the scenes

Facilitation

Cognitive Complexity by Bhavesh S Patel

Reflection on Facilitation by Larry Philbrook

Transformative Facilitation by Larry Philbrook

Truth about Life Experience by Richard West

The Environment

New Story for New Times by Nelson Stover

Going Green in Taiwan by Gordon Harper

 Volunteering

Finding Community Amoung Strangers by Kay Alton           

Missions 

Rhumba and Resuscitation in the Congo by Dr Vera Sistenich

Learning from Bonobos by Isabel dela Maza

Hits and Misses in Maharashtra by Dharmalingam Vinasithamby

Helping Disabled in Chile Get Jobs by Ana Mari Urrutia

Collaboration

Whole Systems Approach Gets    Communities Buzzing by Bill Staples

Empowering Chicago`s Community    Leaders by Terry Bergdall

A System That Works by Jonathan Dudding

What’s on

Education

Recovering Indigenous Languages by Miiam Patterson

Imaginal Education by Randy Williams

Book Review

Telling the Stories of Manilamen

 

 

 

This post was first published in Winds and Waves, November 2016. For past issues, please visit our Winds and Waves archive.

Climate Change

This article was written for ICAI Winds and Waves, December 2015 issue.W&W 1215-cover 1000x667Welcome to this December 2015 issue of Winds & Waves, the online magazine of ICA International, entitled “Climate Change”.

The Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) was so named, when first separately incorporated in 1973, to reflect its social mission of ‘human development’. This was to restore balance to the social process by strengthening the weak cultural (meaning-giving) dynamic in society, relative to the dominant economic and allied political dynamics that provide sustenance and order.

The wider context for the social process, now as then, is the natural environment of our planet. As the environmental impacts of our still-unbalanced social process have escalated, and become more clearly understood, so ICAs have increasingly sought to broaden their global perspective to include the environmental as well as the social and the spirit dimensions of human development.  Reflecting this trend, former CEO of ICA USA Terry Bergdall describes ICA’s mission in his 2015 ICA Handbook as ‘to build a just and equitable society in harmony with Planet Earth’.

COP21: Thousands join London climate change march, November 29

This issue is published in the month that 196 parties to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference have negotiated a global agreement on the reduction of climate change at ‘COP21’ in Paris – an extraordinary achievement, and the result of an extra-ordinary process. The conference was preceded on 28-29 November by worldwide civil society actions, intended to ‘send a message to world leaders in Paris’, involving over 785,000 people and 2,300 events in over 175 countries according to 350.org.

Many have remarked on the radical transformation of our global economy, and therefore also of our politics and culture, that will be required for us to achieve even the goal of limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (°C) compared to pre-industrial levels, let alone the more ambitious target of 1.5 degrees that was also agreed in Paris. This certainly represents a daunting challenge. Like every crisis, however, climate change represents an opportunity as well. To paraphrase Naomi Klein in ‘This Changes Everything’, referenced here by Richard & Maria Maguire in Australia, climate change presents the clearest and most compelling case we could wish for that such a transformation of the social process is indeed required, and in the interests of all of us, urgently. With the Paris agreement of the world’s governments now in place, both the challenge and the opportunity for civil society is clear. As our own ICA mantra has it, “These are the times” and “We are the people”.

In this issue you will find stories of how ICAs and ICA colleagues participated in those climate actions in November, and how they are responding to climate change in their work more broadly, in Australia and the USA, and in Canada, DRC & Peru. You will also find stories of how the social process has unfolded over 40 years in communities that hosted some of ICA’s original Human Development Projects of the 1970s in Chile, Guatemala, and Indonesia & Malaysia.

As usual, this issue includes stories of a variety of methods and approaches to human development around the world.  These include facilitating conciliation in Ukraine, transformational action planning in Taiwan and facilitation learning labs in Hong Kong; story telling and oral history in the USA and the Torres Strait Islands of Australia; philanthropy in India and micro-enterprise in Chile; medical support in DRC and impact assessment in Kenya; Montessori pre-school education in Sri Lanka and youth volunteering in Tajikistan; and dialogues, book studies and reflective blogging online.

You will also find book reviews on personal transformation and sexuality in India, on social transformation and gender in Nepal and on dynamic ageing in the USA; plus reflections from Venezuela on ‘swimming with the current’ and social chaos, from Japan on the evolution of leadership styles and from Ukraine on culture and organisation development.

ICA International has been delighted to be able to support a upsurge of face-to-face regional gatherings of ICAs this year, first of East & Southern Africa in Tanzania May and then (reported in this issue) of West Africa in Cote D’Ivoire in September, Europe MENA  in the Netherlands in November and Asia Pacific in India in December. We are looking forward to a regional gathering of the Americas in Peru in April, and keen to support all the regions to expand and deepen their regional and inter-regional interchange next year.

We are delighted to welcome two new Associate members to ICA International, both approved unanimously by our online General Assembly this month.  SCR Kenya and NCOC Kenya were both nominated by ICA Kenya with the support of ICA Uganda and ICA Tanzania, and both are led by long-time colleagues of ICA in Kenya.

We are grateful to the 28 ICAs who have responded recently to our global survey on members’ usage of, capacity for and aspirations for ToP (Technology of Participation) facilitation methods, and to the ICAI Global ToP working group that is analysing the responses in order to make recommendations for peer-to-peer support and collaboration among ICAs in implementing our new global ToP policy.  We urge members that have not yet responded to continue to do so – please contact us to ask for a link to the online survey form.

We are also grateful to the ICAI Global Conference working group for its work with Initiatives of Change (IofC) exploring possibilities for a joint conference in Human Development at IofC Caux in Switzerland or elsewhere, now perhaps in 2017 or 2018.

We are grateful as ever to the tireless editorial team of Winds & Waves itself, who work so hard to enable us to share these stories and insights on human development  in this magazine three times each year.  I echo the appeal of Peter Ellins in this issue – please do contribute to the magazine next year, and please contact us if you may be interested in joining the team to support with commissioning, reporting, editing, layout and design, social media, or in any other way.

Thank you finally to our contributors and our readers, and to all our members, partners and colleagues ‘advancing human development worldwide’.  I wish a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all who are celebrating them.

Enjoy this issue, and please share it and encourage others to do so!

The First Peoples

This article was written for ICAI Winds and Waves, September 2015 issue.

Winds and Waves Sep 2015Welcome to this issue of Winds & Waves, the online magazine of ICA International, entitled “The First Peoples”.

ICA has been working with indigenous peoples at least since one of the earliest ICA Human Development Projects was established with an aboriginal community in Mowanjum, Australia, in 1971.  This issue shares stories of how ICAs and ICA colleagues continue to work with the “First Peoples” in Australia, and in Canada and Chile as well.

A number of stories focus on the application of appropriate and innovative new technologies, including in strawberry cultivation in India and in earth bag construction in Nepal. Others tell of philanthropy and funding partnerships in Africa, Australia, India and Japan.  Others still focus on the application of participatory methods, in particular ICA’s “Technology of Participation”, in countries including Hong Kong, South Korea and Mongolia.  Healing and reconciliation, disaster recovery and social transformation feature in stories from Australia, Canada, Egypt and Nepal. Such is the richness and diversity of our members’ work in “advancing human development worldwide”, much of it pursued in partnership, “peer-to-peer”.

Also in this issue you will read of recent developments in the global affairs of ICA International, not least relating to the online ICAI General Assembly held in July. We are delighted to welcome three new Associate members to our global community, and to include contributions from two of them in this issue – from the Safe Neighbourhood Foundation in Uganda and the ORP Institute in South Korea.  We are excited by the quickening pace of face-to-face network gatherings emerging around the world, including regional gatherings upcoming in West Africa, Asia Pacific and Europe MENA and emerging prospects for a global conference next year in partnership with Initiatives of Change in Switzerland.

We are also excited to have launched our ICAI website in September, after months of collaborative design and development this year. This dynamic site is designed to provide an engaging platform for member ICAs and ICA colleagues to communicate with each other and with the wider world. you will use and share it! Please do take a look around, and share your comments on the site or contact us directly with your feedback and suggestions.

Thank you to those who have contributed to this issue, and to our tireless editorial team for bringing it all together in such a beautiful new design for us.

Enjoy this issue of Winds & Waves, September 2015, and please share it and encourage others to do so.

Welcome to the new ICAI new website, launched today!

Welcome to the new ICAI website, launched today!  This new site is designed to provide an engaging platform for member ICAs and ICA colleagues to communicate with each other and with the wider world. We hope that you will like it, and and that you will use it and share it!

Everything that you used to find on the ICAI site is still available somewhere, including online archives of our Winds & Waves magazine and monthly news bulletin the Global Buzz.  If you can’t find what you are looking for, feel free to contact us to ask. Read on for an overview of some of what you can already find here, some of what is coming and some of what will be possible for the future.

On the Home page you will find the latest tweets and news updatates from ICAI and our members around the world, plus featured news posts and publications, and menus and a search function to help you to navigate the site.  You can also opt to have Google auto-translate the entire site into another language of your choice.  We may want to add a calendar here, for ICAI and members to publicise their events.

The news posts you will find already here are mostly drawn from recent issues of our current monthly bulletin the Global Buzz.  The new site will enable member ICAs to log in and post their news updates and photos directly, whenever they have news to share, and a monthly digest will then be emailed to Global Buzz subscribers.  There will be a role to play for volunteer editors to support members to do this, at least at first, and to monitor members’ own websites and social media posts for news and stories to re-publish here – so if you might be interested in such a role, please contact us.

About us is substantially updated to reflect how ICAI now operates since we introduced our present peer to peer approach in 2010.  Still to come soon are individual profiles for each Board member to complete and maintain, that will be linked to Our global Board and to Contact us.  I hope we will also add a members’ section here, to share internal ICA policy, governance and other documents with members only.

ICA Worldwide provides a platform for member ICAs to share and update their profiles, to connect with each other and enable others to connect with them.  At present it includes just a very limited profile of each member, drawn from their response to ICAI’s recent global membership survey (and in some cases from their own websites), and email contacts only for their ICAI representatives on our global email list. Over the coming weeks and months, ICAI Board members will be supporting members to log in to complete and update their profiles themselves by completing a simple form.  In future, members will be asked to update their profile at least annually, as they complete and update the annual membership survey in the same way.  Members will also be able to create additional pages and sub-pages (in whatever language they choose), in order to use their profile as a mini website of their own if they wish. I hope that we will be arrange also for members’ own news updates to appear on their own profile pages.

Conferences at present includes just a brief overview of the quadrennial Global Conference on Human Development that has ICAI has convened since 1984, and of the most recent hosted by ICA Nepal in 2012.  Our new 2016 Global Conference committee will be able to create and maintain additional pages here for our next conference.

Publications includes links to our archives of Winds & Waves magazine, the Global Buzz, and our pre-2010 newsletter Network Exchange, plus the 2012 book of ICA Nepal Changing Lives Changing Societies and the new 2015 ICA Handbook of Terry Bergdall od ICA USA.  Future issues of Winds & Waves magazine and other ICAI publications will be posted here, and ICAs will be encouraged and supported to post their own publications here as well.

ToP Facilitation includes an overview of ICA’s Technology of Participation facilitation methods, training and CTF certification, copied over from the ToP pages of the previous site, and links to ICA ToP training providers around the world.  Our new Global ToP Policy Working Group will be able to use these pages, and new pages here as needed, to communicate the new ICA global ToP policy that was adopted by GA in July and to support its implementation by members.  I hope we will also be able to add a twitter feed from @ToPfacilitation to this section, as we have from @ICAI on the Home page.

We are grateful to Robert Liverpool for sharing his WordPress skills and considerable volunteer time to build this site for us.  Now it is up to us to use it, make it our own and make it work for us!

We welcome your feedback or suggestions for the website, and any other queries. Most of all, we will welcome your commitment to co-create the site with us by entering and updating your own profiles, news posts and publications, and by reading, sharing and engaging with what you find here.  Please do share comments on the site, or contact us directly.

Trusted Sharing and the strengths and challenges of large online facilitated events

Trusted Sharing conversationTrusted Sharing is a new platform for hosting in-depth asynchronous online conversations, and they have chosen to demonstrate it by hosting a conversation on the strengths and challenges large online events, using my recent blog post ‘How engaging can a large facilitated online session be?‘ as a starting point.

This was the question that intrigued me when I was first invited to work with with the Forestry Economics team of FAO, to design and facilitate an online conference this month on the Economics of climate change mitigation options in the forest sector.  The answer, as it turns out, is pretty engaging!

Please join the conversation with me!  I hope you will find both the conversation and the platform of interest, and that your experience will enrich the conversation for others. The conversation is open to anyone, and we are using many channels to invite interested and interesting people to join, so please feel free to share this post to invite others to join as well.

To join, it takes just a few minutes to register at Trusted Sharing. You can then return to contribute and review others’ contributions as often as you like.

new-appRead more about Trusted Sharing in Rob Work’s recent article New app for online conversations in the latest issue of ICAI’s Winds & Waves magazine, Lessons from the Village.

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ToP facilitation and Lessons from the Village

This article was written for ICAI Winds and Waves, April 2015 issue.

Welcome to this new issue of Winds & Waves, the online magazine of ICA International, entitled ‘Lessons from the Village’.

ICA is perhaps most widely known today for its group facilitation methodology the Technology of Participation (ToP). This proven approach is applied by many hundreds if not thousands of professional facilitators around the world, to help groups to connect, learn and collaborate together in a wide variety of contexts. The International Association of Facilitators was founded in 1994 by some seventy such ToP facilitators, and many ICAs around the world today provide professional facilitation, training and consulting services to clients on a social enterprise basis, specialising in the ToP approach.  ICAI members ICA USA and ICA Associates and the ToP Network are proud to sponsor this year’s upcoming IAF North America conference in Banff, Canada, from May 14-16.  But what has all this got to do with Lessons from the Village?

Jawale village viewThe methods and tools of the Technology of Participation have been developed and refined by ICA in over 50 years of experience working in grassroots rural community development, in villages around the world. Most if not all ICAs continue to apply this approach to empower poor and marginalised people to participate meaningfully in bringing about positive change for themselves, for their communities and for the world, even as these ICAs work with other approaches and in other contexts as well.  There is more to the Technology of Participation than the methods and tools, and there is more to ICA than ToP, but it might be fair to say that ToP is among the most enduring of the Lessons from the Village that ICA has learned in its first half century.

Jawale ICA centreThis issue begins with a series of stories (pages 4, 8 & 10) of ICA colleagues revisiting today the Indian villages in which they were involved in ICA’s pioneering of the ToP approach in the rural Human Development Projects of the 1970s and 1980s. I began my own journey with ICA (and as a facilitator) as a fresh-faced international volunteer in one of these very villages in 1986, so I share a few of my own archive photos of Jawale here as well. Emerging lessons from these stories include the impact of urbanisation, the importance of connecting communities with local authorities, and the importance of values and methods to inspire, mobilise and empower volunteers.

Jawale ICA staff teamAlso in this issue you will find stories of peer-to-peer collaboration between ICAs today, including a youth media project involving students in Nepal and the USA (page 16); an online event on cross-border peace-building of ICA Ukraine with ICA Taiwan (page 23); and lessons learned by Global Facilitators Serving Communities on the role that ToP facilitation can play in supporting the recovery process and resilience of communities affected by disaster (page 20).

Jawale 9 programmes chartAs our colleagues of ICA Nepal now respond to the impact of April’s devastating earthquake, in Kathmandu and in rural areas, we encouarge you to show your support by responding to the appeal that they have launched – for details see page 28 and ICA Nepal on Facebook, and donate online now.  Many more of ICA’s Lessons from the Village can be found in the 2012 book of ICA Nepal ‘Changing Lives Changing Societies‘, published in conjunction with the 8th ICA Global Conference on Human Development hosted by ICA Nepal in Kathmandu.

This 11th issue of Winds and Waves is the last to be co-edited and laid out by John Miesen of ICA Australia, after some 30 years involvement in ICA publications in Australia and internationally. On behalf of the Board and ICAI as a whole, I thank John wholeheartedly for his years of service, and in particular for his central role in establishing Winds and Waves as ICAI’s flagship publication and a key tool of our peer-to-peer approach to facilitaing mutual support, learning and collaboration among ICAs.

The ICAI Board will meet face-to-face in Tanzania in May, prior to a regional gathering of East & Southern African ICAs. We plan to meet virtually during that time with the ICAI global communications team, to plan for the continuity and development of this magazine and our communications more generally, in the light of the new ICAI website and blog that is now in development in WordPress.

Please do contribute your own stories of advancing human development around the world to the next issue of Winds and Waves in August.

Please also get in touch if you may be interested in joining the team to support with commissioning, reporting, editing, layout and design, social media, or in any other way.

Enjoy this issue!