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ITZI conference 2015 and beyond

Submitted by jnanamati on Tue, 29/09/2015 - 07:56

Below are some initial thoughts following the conference that took place over the weekend (Friday 25th - Sunday 27th Sept 2015), and by way of starting to plan the next conference/congress which we are proposing takes place in two years time.
This was the first ITZI conference (1.0) and it was clear I think to most of us that it generated a lot of positive energy and enthusiasm. One aspect of this is that we discovered what was most important to the group that came together. This isn't only about content but also the spirit of community that developed and the alliances that were fostered. Something that stands out is peoples repeated refernce to "sangha", and how what formed over the three days was a sense of that level of connection between people. Thus one might see ITZI in terms of being a vehicle for the continuation of a process in which ties are strengthened and the mutaul support and help that a sangha enables is further fostered.
 
Thinking about the 2nd conference (2.0) as a place when the sangha will next meet gives an inspiring new dimension to what we have acheived. Within this context we might think about creating a space in which people more actively share best practices and the projects they are involved with. I know this kind of shring went on but more so in the "pockets" of time between presentations and times such as lunch, dinner or at the end of the day. It would be good then to encompass this as more central to the programme schedule.
 
Following on from this we can also see the value of having more experiential workshops, mixed in with short "TedX talks". The latter would be to trigger and stretch peoples thinking. In addition it might be interestlng to create a panel composed of experts in diverse fields of Buddhism and therapy.
In sum we are looking to create again a space to practice together, both spiritually and professionally.
 
This will only happen if the congress is a supportive/structured process and one that also provides room for improvisation and offers a forum for people to actively contribute to shaping the event. There is then an invitation to co-create from the contributions and experiences each person is bringing.
 
One very important aspect of what we are doing is to foster and develop international relationships and to be a worldwide community dedicated to engaging therapeutically (using the term is a broad sense) sensitive to the different cultural contexts in which we work.
 
There were some important points raised in group discussion that will inform our planning. Something that stands out at the moment is that whilst the majority of people attending were women there were only three female speakers. Ideas for encouraging more women to lead workshops and give presentations would be welcomed.
 
So, the ITZI conference organising team this year invites you to come forward and help with the planning process as well as the tasks that need to be undertaken to bring the next conference into being. Please do stay in touch if you have time and energy to offer. And do spread the word.

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