Pari Roundtable. Ethics, Business, And The Future. PARI, SEPTEMBER 11-13, 2009
Pari Roundtable. Ethics, Business, And The Future. PARI, SEPTEMBER 11-13, 2009
What I came with: I arrived in Pari excited about what was to unfold. I had spent the previous several months developing a website/company that would focus on corporate transformation with David Peat at the fulcrum. Other than that, I was excited to meet others who were also interested in social and corporate change and possibly find ways to collaborate with them on this new idea.
What I left with: I left humbled and yet extraordinarily grateful at having attended this conference. Prior to Pari I had no real introduction to ideas like ‘complementary currencies’ or the artistic environmental works that Siraj has been developing. I found these ideas to be two very powerful expressions/concepts that had the potential to raise awareness of the need for global economic equality that would be outside of and beyond what traditional governmental organizations are doing. Also, the video-conferencing participation in such a remote setting as Pari was highly effective and blended the rural peacefulness and modern realities seamlessly.
Although, to be very honest, I did not understand what the Pari Initiative was during the meeting, I have since been very inspired by its construct in the several days following the meeting. The Pari Initiative will be a phenomenal tool for social/corporate change. Moreover, the fact that David’s body of work and his contribution to compassionate social change will have the ability to be protected is very encouraging. And so, with great excitement, the collective work begins.
What I came with: grass roots experience in Italy and absolutely no contact with the corporate world.
What I left with: incredulity that there are people in the corporate world working for a better world; curiosity that the corporate world considers ‘government’ to be ineffective and obsolete; concern because in Italy corruption is absolutely everywhere and completely normal.
What I came with: When I received David’s invitation for the roundtable dialogues in September, it took me five minutes to decide to participate. I had no idea what to expect, but the invitation spoke of many things I’m passionate about: Originations, Ethics, Dialogue, Pari, Tuscany. One way or another, I just had to be there. I first visited Pari, 2 years ago, attending ‘New Science, New Paradigms.’ After that week, I left Pari, knowing that one day I’d return. I can try to look for arguments for this attraction, but that’s not how it worked, I just knew. It is the unique combination of David, the new knowledge, the atmosphere & philosophy, the ‘not knowing’ … So, I came with very few expectations, concerning the three days. But I did bring with me my personal search for organizational principles & transition, my passion for dialogue & open processes and my ambition to connect people, organizations & communities to themselves and the bigger whole they are part of.
What I left with: I left with a smile. A big hopeful smile. It stayed on my face for days. The 3 days were a unique gathering, of people, ideas and ambitions, of knowledge, questions and possibilities. It emerged out of the surprising combination of the participants, diverse but resonant. I am a fan of synchronicity and the beauty of the way it appears! Some parallel processes happened for me. First of all the collective process, out of which grew the idea for a profit-sharing venture, the ‘circle of Dialoguers.’ I belief that this way of building collective intelligence & wisdom will play a very important role in the future, for corporations and governments. Gathering perspectives to explore questions, possibilities & solutions for the many complex challenges we are and will be facing. Questions for which the answers do not yet exist. And the fact that the Westbank will be our first project, is amazing! My search for organizational principles was uplifted with many levels, thanks to Andrew, and I shifted from purely conceptual thinking to being ready to start to build and experiment with them, to create a body around the soul.
What I came with: I came with trust in David Peat. I didn’t know any of the other participants. The objectives of the roundtable were quite vague. At the last minute, Laurie (husband) was invited to participate and I was unclear as to the expectations. But, there was trust in the leader and in the process. I also came with a curiosity about how others would see the issue and opportunity of building new corporations, new ways of engaging between community, corporate and government organizations. My work has focused on these questions, and I was open to others’ experiences. Accessing the perspective of science and spirituality on these questions was particularly compelling. As well, I was curious to see how an open-ended Pari Dialogue with no stated objectives was conducted. I’ve done a lot of dialogue work—bridging with others—and wanted to see how others did this work. The process was important to me.
What I left with: I left feeling rejuvenated, aligned with ‘oneness’ in the universe, and optimistic. And, my trust for the leader is well intact. Hearing others’ ideas—new ways of thinking on existing structures—was stimulating. The resonance at the table was startling given the diversity of backgrounds and experience and circumstances. The common threads were easy to identify and pull together into something that felt stronger and more tangible. My consciousness of issues that were churning in my head, and heart, was elevated and concretized. The possibility of sharing these concepts, across sectors and across countries, remains feasible and I will work to identify opportunities for further Pari-ing. A bonus was the opportunity to travel to Jerusalem to engage on a farming supply chain issue that would be very interesting for someone with my background and experience. Bringing together for profits and not for profit/community aspirations in a win-win and creative framework—in an action-oriented approach—is thrilling. The candid talk of the Pari Center’s future potential was exciting—this is sensitive turf and everyone’s commitment to a shared vision, and openness, were remarkable. I left feeling I’d participated in something truly unique. The experience was a gift.
What I came with: I came with some skepticism. The last-minute cancellations from round table participants—including some who had originated the idea of the meeting—had left us with a small group. I even suggested to David maybe we should postpone the meeting. I was also skeptical about the possibility of recreating the personal contact, the intimacy, the immediacy of actual presence through teleconferencing. On both these counts I was mistaken. The teleconference with Flavio and that with Donna Boehme had a quality of presence that surprised me. A bit less so the phone conversations with Arthur and Stan, which nevertheless gave a very substantial contribution, particularly the last. And the work in the small group over these three days has been remarkably effective, perhaps more so than what would have been possible in a larger group.
What I left with: I leave enriched and encouraged on many levels. The presentations and the discussion on possible new structures for corporations, on CSR, on compliance, on the potentials and pitfalls of IT developments, on governments, corporations and communities, on stakeholders, on environmental impact, etc. were all for me highly illuminating: I come out of these three days with a new sense of the centrality of these issues for our future and with much more information about them. Particularly encouraging for me has been the discussion about the future of the Pari Center. Some excellent ideas have come up, ideas in which the form of the project (e.g. a new type of ‘stakeholder centered’ company) corresponds to its content, in that it is an experiment in the same thing whose development we want to encourage. And the possibility to apply this to work with a crucial situation like that in the West Bank is an incredibly stimulating challenge and opportunity.
What I came with: Working with companies who really want to be and act (more) ethically and/or ecologically, I experienced how difficult it can be to close the gap between beautiful ideas and daily practice. My hopes for the roundtable were mainly focused on finding ways to cope with that gap, or even better finding leaps to another level of implementing the next levels of ethics. In my experience, the realization of ethical companies, asks for a balance between the whole and the parts, between emerging and active intervening, between collective wisdom and leadership, between soul and body. Finding a unique balance aligned with the situation, the stakeholders and me as an involved partner makes me vulnerable and powerful at the same time. I was looking forward to meet and share with people who might have similar searches. Knowing David made me trust the group would be diverse, open and sharing. And the process would be attentive, from various perspectives and co-creating.
What I left with: On a practical level I got many examples, instruments and insights that will be helpful in my day-to-day work with companies in transition. Siraj’s examples in community building where enlightening in their simplicity and practicality. Andrew’s way of building peace using trade as a mean inspired me, and renewed my hope that solutions are available. Laurie and Donna’s examples of solid and somewhat conservative companies searching for their own forms of transition to the next level of ethics, strengthened my belief (that even now tends to decrease a bit) that organizations in fact are willing and capable to change. David’s and Shantena’s curiosity deepened the dialogue: adding new perspectives and their surprising insights and unexpected connections helped me reflect on my work on many layers. Altogether a very enriching experience. But what really got to me was the fact that in every dialogue one insight turned op over and over again: individuals need to take responsibility. They have to speak out, from their heart, from their soul, that is the only way change can get started. And one way or another everybody in our group did so. It is exactly that which made these days exceed my expectations. It is my true belief that because of everybody’s speaking out from their soul, these days already made a difference, to me and to the world. That is why they led to some incredible initiatives: creating a community-based venture, using variations of that concept as a base for auditing companies, setting up new dialogues researching on specific items that came during these days. Such as how charity and profit-driven organizations can team up to make a change in developing countries/areas.