Theme

DEEP DEMOCRACY IN A WORLD OF DIVIDES

Shifting Consciousness in Politics, Economy, Ecology and Relationships

April 23 – 28, 2017
Porto Heli, Greece

September 2016 update

Issues around racial tensions, national identity, economic inequality and environmental disasters are dominant in the news around the world. The BRexit vote shook Europe during this past summer, along with the rise in xenophobia and Islamophobia, wars around the world are creating millions of displaced people and the refugee crisis seems to be escalating with thousands drowning in the Mediterranean sea trying to reach safety.

April 2016

With tensions escalating worldwide, we invite you to come together in Greece, from all around the world, to connect across and through our differences.

Over the last six years, Greece has been subject to a financial crisis. This crisis has brought radical changes in people’s lives. A massive rise in unemployment, homelessness, and a slow dismantling of the healthcare and education systems, are some of the pragmatic consequences of the crisis.

The financial crisis has led to a political and social crisis. We have seen intensifying feelings of hopelessness, and a questioning of our deepest values. Animosity between different groups and ideologies has increased. At the same time, solidarity and new ways of forming community continue to arise.

This crisis does not only belong to Greece. It is part of a global crisis within our prevailing economic models and their underlying values. It reveals the impact of how we deal with ownership and the management of our planetary resources.

Humanity is suffering from economic disparities. A large part of the population worldwide lives in poverty. Many try to escape this poverty and become economic immigrants. Degradation of the environment, climate change, and ecological disasters create waves of environmental immigrants/refugees. Increasing numbers of conflicts and wars displace ever greater numbers of people, creating a refugee crisis.

The concept of nation states and borders is being questioned by some, while others emphasize the need to protect the collective national identity from change. We are witnessing polarization in all sectors of society across the globe and violent extremism on the rise.

We often deal with these issues as separate, even though they are interlinked. The connections stir up questions about our dominant values and how these define the way we perceive ourselves in relation to the world. They call for new ways to perceive and organize life on our planet, new ways that could bridge the divides we experience.

There is a growing belief that bridging these inner and outer divides requires a shift in consciousness. In our view, the first step towards this shift is an increased awareness of both our inner and outer diversity. This shift in consciousness would enable us to feel more connected to ourselves, to each other, and to our planet.

Diversity can create fear, which can escalate into social polarization if left unattended. Awareness has the potential to transform this fear. With awareness we aspire to create a space where all voices can be expressed, and heard in depth. We want to make space for the multiple dimensions of our experience, from facts, history, and background feelings, to our dreams and our sense of common ground.

Our aspiration is to create the world that we want to live in, starting with our interactions in the moment with each other.

Our dream is to inspire one another to work together, across the divides, for new solutions to the problems we face as humanity.

The Greek Organizing Team