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Pari Center for New Learning Newsletter

AUGUST 2003

Despite the excessive heat of this summer the Pari Center has already enjoyed many visitors, as well as running two courses. It is now gearing up for the conference on Unlimited Love, to be held mid September and the New Paradigms/New Science course in October.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Conference on Unlimited Love
  • Pari Center courses
  • The village chosen as "The Italian Laboratory" by Renaissance Europe
  • Friends of the Pari Center
  • Pari wins a $10,000 Metanexus prize
  • The Graduate Institute
  • A library opened in Pari
  • New publications in the Website library
  • The Future of Knowledge
  • Pari Center Visitors

CONFERENCE; UNLIMITED LOVE

18-22 September 2003 sees the conference on "Unlimited Love: Social and Personal Transformation". Several of the participants belong to groups working in the Third World in the fields of health, housing and community development. In particular there are representatives from Habitat Jordan and a suggestion has been made of doing a comparative study of Pari and a small Jordanian community.

COURSES

The Center gave two courses in June, one on Synchronicity: The Bridge between Matter and Mind, the other on New Science/New Paradigms. David Peat, who gave the courses, was delighted at the interesting backgrounds of the participants, their enthusiasm and interest. His next course will be offered in October.

The Center was to have offered a Creative Writing course in September. This had to be canceled, but for happy reasons, as the instructor, Alison McLeod was awarded a three book contract by Penguin Books and had to meet a strict deadline.

We are now planning our calendar of courses for 2004 and will send our information in the next newsletter. Meanwhile keep looking at our website.

RENAISSANCE EUROPE

On 19 July David Peat attended the first meeting of Renaissance Europe, held in Brussels. Renaissance Europe is an organization made up of politicians, representatives of environmental organizations, NGOs and private individuals. Their area of concern is the future of an expanded and sustainable Europe in terms of social services, justice, economics and environment. Their hope is that an expanded Europe would stand as a worthy democratic example for other nations.

The village of Pari has been chosen as Italy's first "laboratory" to study the way the village will move into the future while preserving its traditions. A second meeting of Renaissance Europe is planned in Italy at the end of this year or early in 2004.

FRIENDS OF THE PARI CENTER

Several visitors and correspondents have expressed the desire to forge a much stronger connection with the Center and play a role in its activities and think about its future path. We always welcome feedback and those who would like to help out in more practical ways. To take one example, Janet Roberts, who attended a course this summer has agreed to return to Pari next spring for several weeks to work in the office and help improve our organizational skills. Her husband Keith, who is a Financial Advisor, may also direct us in ways to put the Center on a more stable financial basis.

We would also appreciate any suggestions as to foundations, individuals and organizations that would lend support to the Center, its conferences and ways to subsidize participants from the Third World and the former Eastern Bloc.

Over the winter we hope to define some ongoing research projects that will take place at the Center

Three Pari supporters - Roy McWeeny, Neil Maroni and Therese Schroeder-Sheker who have proposed setting up a "Friends of the Pari Center" - a group that would pledge support for the Center by giving donations. We are very grateful to Roy, Neil and Therese for their generous donations. If you are interested in becoming a Friend please write to info@paricenter.com.

DIALOGUES IN RELIGION AND SCIENCE

Thanks to sponsorship by the Metanexus Foundation we have been organizing a number of dialogues on Religion and Science. In June David Peat attended the Metanexus annual conference held at Villanova University in Philadelphia as the Pari representative. Information about the conference, including the papers and talks presented can be found on their website. Peat's talk at the conference can also be found in the library.

On the final evening of the meeting the Pari Center was honored to be given an award by Metanexus for our "organizational excellence, creative programming and spirited commitment to fostering the constructive engagement of science and religion" during the first year of operation. The award consisted of a plaque and a cheque for $10,000.

The Center is also considering two conferences on Religion and Science for 2004, one in Italian and a second, International Conference in English.

THE GRADUATE INSTITUTE

The Pari Center is holding discussions with the Graduate Institute of Connecticut to explore future cooperative programs.

ECONOMICS

The Center continues its interest in Economics and has had discussions with Etica, Finanza, Ambiente (Ethics, Finance and Environment) - members of which come from the Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank and the Faculty of Economics at the University of Siena. The group discussed ethical approaches to finance and economics as well as ways to achieve ethical, sustainable and socially friendly growth for third world countries.

PARI LIBRARY

A small library has opened in the Palazzo where the Center holds its meetings. We have begun with several hundred books in Italian - these include a representative selection of contemporary novels, fiction for young people, religion, history, geography, psychology and biography - with a smaller representation from other fields.

In addition there is a much larger library of English books consisting of science, philosophy, psychology, women's studies, ecology, native american culture along with some light reading.

WEBSITE LIBRARY

Several new papers have been added to the library on the Pari Center website. The site already contains papers on topics ranging from ethics, economics and chaos theory to religion, creativity, education and general cultural issues.

THE FUTURE OF KNOWLEDGE

The Pari Center has held two international conferences to explore the future of knowledge and learning. "The Future of the Academy", in 2000, discussed the present condition of universities, research and teaching and proposals for the future.

The second, The Future of Knowledge in the World of the Internet, held in 2002, explored the dissemination of academic knowledge both in traditional print forms and on the Internet. It discussed issues of copyright and "copyleft", problems of the Third World's access to the latest scientific knowledge, ways in which the Internet could be used to stimulate research, and better methods to create citation indices and locate new knowledge.

Dr Walter Truett Anderson, President of the World Academy of Art and Science, attended the second conference. Since then the World Academy has decided to build on the work done at the Pari conferences by holding its next General Assembly, in 2004, on the theme of "The Future of Knowledge". One of the founding principles of the World Academy is "the social consequences and policy implications of knowledge."

PARI: A STUDY

Over the past year quite a lot of activity in Pari has centered on community, change, ethics and economics. As a consequence we have been considering putting a group together to make a study of Pari and its future in a changing world. For centuries Pari was a sustainable community, with a barter economy and all its needs supplied by the surrounding land - clothing, food, fuel, furniture, building materials and even metal from the nearby copper and iron mines. Those approaching retirement age can remember the time when water came from the two village wells, women made cloth from the broom plant and the local cobblers made summer sandals from snake skins. Today three people in the village work from their homes via the Internet and Pari is seeing visitors coming from all over the world.

But what will be Pari's future? Can the village survive in a sustainable way? Will the young generation remain? What will be the economics of the village of tomorrow and what lessons can be learned from other small communities? There are many questions to ask and lessons to learn which may be of interest to other small rural communities.

VISITORS

Pari saw the return of Neil Maroni, formerly a director of The Knowledge Forum, which sponsored the Pari Center's conference on "The Future of Knowledge in the World of the Internet" in 2002. Neil has so enjoyed life in the village that he sold his house in England and has settled permanently in Pari.

One of the year's first visitors was Ralph Freelink who is taking a master's degree at Schumacher College. Ralph was here to talk about his future research projects.

In May Dr Arnold Smith arrived from the National Research Council of Ottawa. Dr Smith gave several talks on Artificial Intelligence and Complexity Theory and had planned to stay for around two months but it looks as if he will now be spending much of the year with us.

Several old friends have dropped in during the last months. Professor Roy McWeeny and Dr Virginia del Rey from Pisa have always been strong supporters and made several visits to our events. On one of their visits they brought Giovanni Finzi-Contini, writer and scientist, whose family had been the subject of the famous "In the Garden of the Finzi-Continis" by Giorgio Bassini. (The novel was made into a film by De Sica.) Professor Finzi-Contini made enthusiastic contributions to our discussions and we hope to see him again soon in Pari.

Dr Shantena Sabbadini, who has been responsible for the organization of the Eranos Conferences, made a number of visits along with his friend Johnna who had been teaching at the Florence campus of Syracuse University (USA). Over the next year Shantena will be helping to organize our Dialogues in Religion and Science and we are considering a joint research project with Arnold Smith. Johnna has returned to Syracuse but we hope to see her filming in Pari in the future.

Dr Warwick Fox, Senior Lecturer at the University of Lancashire's Center for Professional Ethics, visited from England. Warwick had been a participant at the conference on Corporate Ethics, Economics and Globalization as well as The Future of Knowledge in the world of the Internet. This time he was accompanied by his wife, Dr Isis Brook, who is Director of Distance Programmes in the Centre for Philosophy at Lancaster University.

Anna Willieme, an artist who has made installation pieces in Italy and New York visited for several days and accepted the challenge to plan a piece that would relate to the people of Pari. Bruce Pollen, a sculpture, also visited with his family. In terms of artists David Peat has also been having discussions with Janine Antoni in New York on the possibility of a collaborative piece. We hope to see Janine in Pari one day.

Dr Chris Hauke, a Jungian analysist and writer from London visited with his partner, Sue, and discussed the possibility of offering a course on Jungian ideas.

Professor Edward Nell, an economist from the New School University in New York visited for several weeks with his partner the anthropologist Dr Alice Schlegel. They hosted a gathering of economists at Pari and discussed the possibility of a Siena/Pari based conference on "the Human face of Globalization"

We were very happy to welcome Claire and Gordon Shippey back to Pari. Gordon attended one of the Pari courses and heard about ideas of Gentle Action. He and Claire were so impressed by the village community that they decided to bring some radical changes to their own community in Middlesbrough, England.

Lynne Kerry visited to discuss ideas around Neuro Linguistic Programming.

Joan Bartlett, an educational psychologist from the Sidweell Friends School in Washington spent several weeks in Pari and collaborated with Dr Elena Liotta in exploring a number of cases from her school.

Professor Fernando di Mieri visited from the Dominican University, San Tomaso Aquino, in Milan and told us about the dialogues they have been having between science and faith. We discussed the possibility of collaborative work together.

Dr Lee Robbins, a Jungian analyst from New York, spent ten days at the Center, in part reading and relaxing; in part discussing the book she is working on about the Child Archetype.

July saw a visit from Bodhisattva Productions in the UK. They were here to film in Pari and carried out several hours of interviews with David Peat for two documentaries they are making on the relationship of Buddhism to ideas in modern physics.

Sister Judith Lawson, a Dominican and Principal of Santa Sabina College in Sydney, Australia visited along with Miss Margaret O'Shea, Head of the Secondary School.

John Hondros and Catherine Christof will visit in September. John is working in new media with ideas around science, spirituality and ethics. Catherine was with the Royal Shakespeare Company and is interested in Sacred Theatre.

In October we will have a visit from The Liverpool Pub Philosophers - a group who have been meeting regularly in a pub in the center of Liverpool, England to discuss philosophy. David Peat visited them while on a trip to England last year and they have now decided to come to Pari to have discussions with David, do some sight seeing, play football against the village and exchange songs.

 
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