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Común Tierra and CASA at the GEN+20 Conference in Scotland!

Posted on August, 06 2015
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Dear friends - hot off the presses, a new report sharing some of our experiences during our recent trip to Scotland:

 

Común Tierra and CASA at the 2015                                    GEN+20 Conference in Scotland!  

 

Fresh from the 2015 CASA Gathering in Colombia (from June 23-26), we boarded another plane – this time to cross the Atlantic – on our way to another international event: the GEN+20 Conference in Findhorn, northern Scotland.

GEN, the Global Ecovillage Network, is celebrating 20 years since it’s founding in 1995. During these two decades, the concept and implementation of ecovillages has spread around the world and grown increasingly popular, and this trend seems certain to continue, as Ecovillages offer a set of holistic principles and concrete examples for how to prepare for and respond to climate change, peak resource situations and, in our opinion equally important, the spiritual and community crisis we are facing as a society.

GEN+20 was an event that brought together 300 people from 65 countries, and gave us the opportunity to look back and celebrate the growth of this global movement, as well as project forward an emerging vision for the next 20 years. Throughout it's history, GEN has engaged in many sectors, from articulating grassroots projects, to building relationships with local, national and global governments, which is why it has an advisory position in the United Nations.

Kosha Joubert, president of GEN, estimates that the GEN network includes about 10,000 ecovillages around the world. But it's also known that there are actually many more who are not yet connected to GEN, so GEN's vision is to reach 20,000 connected communities by 2020, ampliflying even more the voice of this movement. 

 

 

OUR PARTICIPATION IN GEN+20: 

As active members of the GEN and CASA networks, we held several roles in this conference, co-facilitating different activities, from formal presentations, facilitating meetings and creative spaces, to MC’ing the celebration evening (Leticia) and DJ’ing the ensuing party (Ryan)!

 

Común Tierra at GEN+20:

  • We gave a 10 minute presentation summarizing 5 years of Común Tierra, which was filmed and should be up on the web soon – we’ll let you know!  
  • We set up a beautiful photo exhibition in the tea room of the conference, so that during breaks people could browse images from the projects we have visited, from Mexico to Argentina and in between.
  • We participated in the release of the new Ecovillage book, to which we contributed two articles. The book was published in English and in German. 
  • We hosted a session of Latin American Songs and Dances, with Dances of Universal Peace, Capoeira songs and even a little samba:

 

 Leticia gives instructions for a dance

 

CASA at GEN+20

Perhaps our main proposition in participating in GEN+20 was to represent CASA, along with 6 others who together formed the CASA Delegation. We had many meetings and activities as network members to attend. Actually, this began with pre-conference meetings, including International Board meetings and then the GEN General Assembly.

During the general assembly, Leticia formally announced she would be stepping down from the Board, and was honored and celebrated along with other who were stepping down at that moment as well.

GEN Board: old and new representatives of the GEN regions: Latin America (CASA), North America (GEN-NA), Europe (GEN Europe), Asia and Oceania (GENOA), Africa (GEN Africa) y the Youth Network called Next GEN. 

 

Then, the conference began! Leticia and Alberto Ruz had been called on to participate in the opening and closing ceremonies alongside representatives from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the northern countries:

 

 

During the conference, the CASA delegation met with several other regions, including GEN-Africa, GENOA (Asia and Oceania), RIE (Spain and Portugal) and the emerging network of GEN-North America. We strengthened all of these relationships, and explored how to be in closer partnership in each case. (see photos in gallery above).

GEN is passing through a big transition moment, redesigning it's organizational structure, looking to be more organized, more professional and more self-sustainable. Many conversations on the network's future projects were geared towards these topics, and during the event an election was held for a new President, substituting Kosh Joubert who is now passing to be Executive Director of GEN. The new GEN president elected by the Board is Daniel Greenberg (GEN-North America) and the vice-president elected is Beatriz Arjona (CASA). 

CASA had a strong participation in the conference, and we feel that it was an important moment of recognition of all the work the network has put in over the last few months. For a more detailed article about CASA’s participation in GEN+20 check the casa website: www.casacontinental.org

CASA Delegation in GEN+20: (from Left to Right) first row: Sebastián, Leticia, Lucia, Fernando, Beatriz, second row: Margarita, Ryan y Alberto. 

We felt it was an important moment of recognition of all of the work we have been doing collectively to build the sustainable community movement in Latin America. CASA itself will soon publish a detailed article about the network's participation in GEN+20, stay tuned! 

Growing the GEN Network

Leticia also helped to organize an Open Forum, which was actually the first one ever “in person” as they usually occur online. The Open Forum provides a space to talk from the regional perspective about different issues and creative possibilities within the networks.ideas surgieron en este momento. Fue un éxito!

 

During the 5 days of the conference, different groups (called Strands) met to discuss and work on different topics. We co-facilitated the Organizational Development Strand, which spent a total of 7.5 hours looking at different approaches to GEN’s structure, identifying challenges and finding some insights and possible aids in moving forward.

Other 'Strands' worked on topics including GEN's Strategic Goals, North-South Reconciliation, Intergenerational Dialogue, Deep Sharing amongst ecovillages, and many other themes.

 

 Creative group work during the Organizational Development Strand at GEN+20

 

The last day, we were surprised and thrilled to be recognized with the 2015 Gaia Excellency Award, given out by GEN and Gaia Trust to outstanding projects within the Ecovillage movement! For more details about the award, click HERE.

As you can see, it was a very busy and productive time! We are grateful to GEN, and to all of the donors who made it possible for us and other participants from around the world to be there!

Where will the network be in 20 years? We don’t know. But the good news is, you don’t have to wait 20 years! You can keep up with the Global Ecovillage Network at gen.ecovillage.org, and with CASA at casacontinental.org. 

The GEN+20 was a great moment to see where this movement is, and visualize some of the potential it has to grow into the future. And coming together as a global family is a powerful reminder that our future is shared, and that together, we are stronger. Axé!

In gratitude!!

Ryan and Leticia

 

*Some photos are from Alberto Ruz, Fernando Ausin, Christopher Kindig and Ralf Krause 

Comentários

  • Nell, dia Posted on August, 07 2015

    Great to hear about your time at GEN+20- Kudos on receiving the Global Award! Your work is stellar and very inspiring-

  • Micki, dia Posted on August, 06 2015

    Parabens! congratulations on the well-deserved award and recognition from this global community and on the excellent organizational work you have invested in both CASA and GEN- sua mai coruja

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