What I came with: What I left with.
Following the first Pari Dialogue in 2009 participants sent in their own accounts of what they had experienced.
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 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 : 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: 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 to having had 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 seamlessly 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: When I received David’s invitation for the roundtable dialogues in September, it took me 5 minutes to decide to participate. I had no idea what to expect, but the invitation spoke of many things I’m passionate about: Organsiations, Ethics, Dialogue, Pari, Tuscany.
One way or another, I just had to be there.
I first visited Pari, 2 years ago, attending “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 3 days. But I did bring with me my personal search for organisational principles & transition, my passion for dialogue & open processes and my ambition to connect people, organisations & 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 parallell 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 not yet exist.
And the fact that the Westbank will be our first project, is amazing!
My search for organisational 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 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 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.
The round tables were framed paradoxically: both in ambitious terms but also as thinking out of the box. I came with a lot of apprehensions that they may not be 'productive' in terms of effort and time and I hadn't known what to expect though. However, as the number of participants were smaller in scale than the last meeting in Siena, I felt the discussions could be more resolved. I had some concerns about the range of perspectives needed to properly address the spectrum of issues but David and I worked the preceding week on bringing in remote participants into the debate. There was some worry about how this would work though; if it would detract from the flow of discussions and intimacy of the round tables. But though it was all somewhat late in the day, it turned out well (though I think we missed Hazel Henderson's input, also Sugatha Mitra's innovative approach to education in the slums.)
I came with my own vested interests to look further into nature of the relationship between the ordinary person and the corporate world; for most part this is restricted to that of a consumer and that of consumer relations; perhaps the idea of 'dialogue' between such disparate or uneven entities is either misleading or overly ambitious at this stage. But how this is developed potentially sums up the challenges not just for civil society but for those with the desire to halt the increasing imbalances on the planet And anything that reduces the level of alienation felt by far too many people when it comes to the word 'corporate' will help. But what can people look forward to? Also how are corporations innovating themselves as certainly a lot of innovation today mainly through new technology aims at setting up new networks within society with new relationships to corporate and government structures and they offer considerable hope.
Anyhow, right from the onset, the Pari dialogues were a mix of free flowing ideas but rooted in personal stories - concrete working experiences. Andrew gave an insight into the theatre of decision making based on the changes in Tax laws in the UK at board level and and how that can impact on the greater role of a company. This led to a ongoing discussions about company structures Later in the afternoon, the vision of the possibilities that technology would bring in a short time of a few years (the contribution by Flavio at Cisco felt so immediate though he was 8 hours away on the west coast) Donna Boehme's remote talk 'Walking the talk', illustrated the limitations of ethical and compliance strategies. But how were the enlightened agents within corporate culture articulating change within corporate structure? Donna's introduction of a scale of bar, moving from mere compliance to measurable benefits for society and environment e.g. 5 to bar 8 provided a helpful visualisation of what could be achieved. It was clear over meal times minds were working overtime, something unspecific then was in the making but also that there was a synchronicity to it. Over breakfast Sunday, Andrew and Julia were discussing a company structure based on an equitable 7-way distribution of stakeholders, then that afternoon Stan from India gave us an account of his company with multiple stakeholders.I began to imagine the birth of new corporate entities which moved on from compliance versus shareholder interest to ones based on actual working incentives for ethical and environmental behaviours linked into shareholder interest. In my mind, the very idea of the corporation needs a new imagination; Stan said we can't expect those who created the problems to solve the problems. Thankfully Pari gave us a live theatre for disinterested dialogue and a way for us to imagine and to start to do without sinking into usual polarities. What I left with was a sense of mission around a germ of ideas, developed collectively within the group, resolved enough to engage the real world together... and thanks to Andrew a time table for very tangible implementation plans to focus and act upon.