The Great Turning: Be The Change Conference

25 05 2009

final_banner - be the change conference

Yesterday I met some amazing people when I attended a full day conference called “The Great Turning: An Unconference to Be the Change.” The conference used a powerful tool called circle talks, where groups of 10 or less have intimate and open discussions with each other. Each circle focused on a different social issue, including sustainable food systems, community gardens, poverty in Canada and in the world, and public policy decisions such as carbon tax vs. cap and trade systems. As a business student, I have attended many conferences before and worked on several projects with students, and what I really liked about this conference was the opportunity to meet engaged citizens from all kinds of backgrounds. Among the people I met were: a mother who is fighting for the living wage (a wage that allows adequate income for everyone who is working full time) trying to create a better world for her daughter to live in, a college professor who does research and now wants to find a way to use her skills to help NGOs, a small business woman who wants to create an action circle in her neighborhood in order to build community in our busy lives, and an entrepreneur who wants to change the world by changing the way we look at food.

I loved how this event brought together people from all walks of life in our community – although we were each inspired by different things, and with different perspectives and ideas, we were all united by our common passion to engage ourselves in social issues. I learned so much from engaging in rich dialogue where it wasn’t simply about having different opinions and ending with “Okay you have your viewpoint, I have mine, and who knows what is right.” Rather, it was open dialogue with a search for truth and for solutions. It was refreshingly different, and I’m very glad to have participated in such an event.