Contemporary Challenges

Finding Our Way Together
The Academy’s work is based in research and pedagogy, but it is not dogmatic. We are interested in finding new solutions to intractable problems. Whether is it is emerging leadership, death and dying, or peace and reconciliation, we create space for listening and deep explorations and reflection and we do this in community with others.

Community Conversation

The Academy regularly hosts Community Conversations on a range of contemporary challenges, vital issues, and topics in the evenings at our campus and on occasion elsewhere in the community. These dialogues, facilitated by members of the Academy staff, are free and open to the public. They are intended to stimulate an exchange of experiences and insights, to challenge and expand our points of view, and to open us to new ways of seeing and being. Past conversations have taken up the themes of learning and education, death and dying, the changing nature of leadership, meeting our environmental crisis together, and the role of the arts in catalyzing social action and change.

Community Conversations provide an entry point into the Academy’s more experiential offerings and courses. As we listen and reflect together on critical themes, we take a first step toward potential transformation.

Guidelines for Community Conversations

  • The facilitator will frame the conversation and engagement. They may interrupt if they feel it’s necessary to keep things moving along or to honor the stop time, but the conversation is held by the group.
  • Speak from the heart and authentically.
  • Listen with whole being–we are here to learn as well as share.
  • Hear from everyone–all of us make space for each other. Step up if you are normally silent. Step back if you are normally vocal.
  • Encourage space between people–the facilitator or another participant may request a pause–let sink in what has been shared.
  • Sometimes we are so eager to bring something we bring something that has been brought already. Ask yourself, “Is what I want to bring additive or repetitive?”
  • Use the group conversation to hone in something you are holding as an individual, i.e., an assumption/belief that was challenged; a new lens through which you may view things.

Request more information

To learn more about Contemporary Challenges program use the form below to contact The Academy.

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