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Pari Center for New Learning Newsletter

DECEMBER 2002

Welcome to the Pari Center Newsletter.

The Center has completed another successful year of courses, conferences and visitors. Throughout the summer most evenings saw visitors and participants around the dinner table continuing active discussions on a number of topics: community, values, ethics and gentle action. Amongst our many visitors Jacqueline Mullen spent two months of her sabbatical year here in Pari. Elisabet Sahtouris spent two months at the Center to write a book on Gaia for young people. Meredith Ratleff took time out from Antioch College in the summer to study at the Center.

Drs Jan and Phyllis Updike of the Summit Alliance for Global Health dropped in on their way to work for Habitat for Humanity in Jordan. They are working with the Center on a conference for CEOs engaged in the fields of health, housing and community development in the Third World.

On a visit to the Center Dr Ernesto Illy, (CEO of Illycaffe and President of Italy's Centromarca) suggested that since international corporations play such a significant role in the world the Center should be thinking about the basis for corporate ethical behavior. Professor Edward Nell from The New School University in New York added that ethics should form an important role in the behavior of international markets. This resulted in a Pari conference on "Corporate Ethics, Globalization and Economic Uncertainty". The search for a firm foundation for ethics has now become part of the Pari Center's program along with an exploration of David Peat's "Gentle Action". Several papers on this topic are now posted in the Center's library.

Next year proves to be even busier with a number of interesting long-term participants at the Center. In particular we welcome Neil Maroni who is planning to buy a house in the village and settle here on a permanent basis. We also congratulate another long-term Pari visitor, Therese Schroeder-Sheker, for her appointments at Duke University.

TEMPLETON FOUNDATION AWARD

The Center has been chosen as one of forty centers across the world to receive a three-year award from the Templeton Foundation. The purpose of the award is to encourage dialogues between religion and science. These will take place at two levels - one will involve academics and theologians, the other will involve the people of Pari and the surrounding areas to see how such issues would impact on their daily lives. In particular the Center would like to launch a one-year project for young people in the area to consider the issue of War and its Alternatives.

CONFERENCES

Several conferences are being planned for 2003. Gianni Tibaldi, of the United Nations University is working with the Center to organize two round table conferences in the spring. In cooperation with the Center Jan and Phyllis Updike are planning a seminar-workshop entitled "Unlimited Love: Social and Personal Transformation". Details of these and other conferences will be given in the next Newsletter.

2002 saw a conference, in Italian, on "The History of Women in Tuscany", accompanied by an exhibition of the traditional work of local women and on the history of gynecology.

"The Future of Knowledge in the World of the Internet" discussed issues of copyright, the domination of the market by a small group of academic publishers, new models of citation and the use of natural language inference engines in knowledge retrieval.

"Dialogue between Three Religions (Jews, Christians and Muslims) and Science" touched on a variety of issues from the education (and its failure to give an ethical grounding) of scientists to the origins and alternatives to war.

"Corporate Ethics, Globalization and Economic Insecurity" brought together economists, business people, an activist and a philosopher to discuss issues of ethics, globalized economies and the increasing asymmetries between rich and poor nations. A number of recommendations were made and an ongoing research project proposed.

FUNDING

The Center is registered in Italy as a non-profit association and obtained some assistance this year from the Templeton Foundation, Centromarca and the Banca di Monte dei Paschi di Siena. However, it is still badly in need of funding, not only to mount conferences and support its visitors' program and research projects but also to cover its day-to-day expenses - web site, mailing, photocopying and so on.

This winter we shall be working on approaches to a number of foundations - any assistance or suggestions would be much appreciated. Several supporters have suggested a "Friends of the Pari Center" for those who would like to make donations. Anyone interested in offering such support should write to info@paricenter.com.

LIBRARY

The Pari Center web site now contains a large number of papers on topics ranging from ethics, economics and chaos theory to religion, creativity, education and general cultural issues. For a list of publications

In addition Pari will have its own physical library. Over the Christmas holidays the people of Pari will be assembling a lending library in the Palazzo (where the Center has its office and conference rooms). The Center has donated a series of books in Italian to the library.

BOOKS

David Peat brought out three books this year. "From Certainty to Uncertainty: The Story of Science and Ideas in the Twentieth Century" is published by Joseph Henry Press, Washington and can be ordered via Amazon.

"Blackfoot Physics: A Journey into the Native American Universe" is published by Phanes Press, Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is a reprint, with an additional chapter, of "Lighting the Seventh Fire" which disappeared from view when Carol Publishing ceased business. Again it can be ordered from Amazon.com.

"In Search of Nicola Tesla" is a new edition - with new material - from Ashgrove Publishing, London and can be obtained via World Distributing in the US.

 
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