Five key areas of learning during this six-month course are as follows:
- Emerging Worldview, Self Discovery and Healing (EDE worldview dimension)
- Interpersonal Dynamics: Power Sharing & Compassion (EDE social dimension)
- Eco-political Economy (EDE economic dimension)
- Ecology & Design (EDE ecology & design dimension)
- Skillful Means for Social Transformation
(I) Emerging Worldview, Self Discovery and Healing (EDE world view dimension)
The multi-dimensional crises human beings are facing in the contemporary world demand a fundamental change of the mindset that creates them. The European Enlightenment paradigm that has been dominating the world in the last few hundred years is under serious re-assessment and enquiry from East and West, North and South. Humans and other living beings have been facing serious crises across the globe for decades: the increasing rate of natural disasters, ecological destruction, violent conflicts between nations and groups, poverty and hunger, loneliness and meaninglessness in modern life, etc. We need to understand and holistically analyse the root causes of these crises at macro and micro levels. To address this, several workshops will cover cultural issues and paradigm shifts, mindfulness practice, self-discovery through healing of internal wounds. Meditation, Yoga and mindfulness will be part of the daily schedule to enhance self-cultivation as an important part of new paradigm education.
(II) Interpersonal Dynamics: Power Sharing & Compassion (EDE social dimension)
Interpersonal relationships become a very important issue in rebuilding community in the modern world. Participants will learn skilful means that enhance compassion and power sharing as a core of new values. We will also explore diverse aspects of leadership issues and trust building. The first module is to build a community of learning so participants feel comfortable and safe in the process of participatory education within this programme. Nonviolent Communication will be very helpful in putting compassion into practice in daily life of living together, taking into account one’s own needs and the needs of others. Conflict Transformation and Process Work will be part of this key area so that participants will be ready to work with conflict that is a natural part of community life.
(III) Eco-political Economy (EDE economic dimension)
This area of learning is to take structural violence seriously at personal, local, national and global levels. We will look into different kinds of capitalism e.g. enterprise (USA), state (China) and social (Europe) operating in the world today, investigating the strengths and weaknesses of each. We will also try to see how socialism of different shades has failed and survived. We will also examine green politics, localisation and post colonialism as alternative ideologies for sustainable futures. However as national borders become less clear in the globalized financial market, we also need to have a critical look at social movements across national borders. This kind of critical examination will enable us to envision different kinds of structures based on non-violence, compassion and sharing of power.
(IV) Ecology & Design (EDE ecology dimension)
Modern society ignores the fragility and interconnectedness of ecological systems. We breathe from the air, eat food from the soil, drink water from rivers, using energy from all sources without really knowing how they work and work together. We have taken planet earth and the universe for granted and have messed things up to the point of crisis. It is important that we look at nature with new eyes, and it is imperative to build a new relationship with Mother Earth. We need to relearn how to use technologies that heal instead of harm nature, how to redesign or co-create with nature so that we can co-exist with all other beings in harmony with a better quality of our human life. This includes the redesigning of the individual way of life and new habitats for community. New relationships with nature will in turn inform our new relationship with ourselves and other human beings and will be a base for a new political economy in the longer term.
(V) Skillful means for Social Transformation
Several modules of the program focus on learning practical skills that enhance participants abilities to get seriously involved in social change work. The skills range from how to organise a small community to empower themselves to improve their situation, to building a social movement that takes the concept of participation seriously. An important foundation to build on is mastering mindful facilitation skills for empowerment. This includes a lot of practice using facilitation skills and meta-skills to contribute meaningfully to others with deep respect and deep listening. We will also have chances throughout the programme to visit and study several examples of good practice for sustainability that are really inspiring. In short, the programme is designed to equip participants with inspiration and the skills needed to be a change worker who can function meaningfully in the present global context.