Beijing Workshop on Economic Development in the Exploited Southern Countries of the World

An International Panel of Women made up of Melphy Sakupwanya (Zimbabwe), Wanjiku Kironyo (Kenya), Waveney Richards (Trinidad), and Dorann Van Heeswijk (London) supported Barbara Love (USA) in this workshop.

What we have learned about sharing ideas and respectful listening was modeled well throughout. The twenty participants, from every corner of the globe, had the opportunity of experiencing RC in practice.

Initially, the panel responded to the question: What are the ways you have been able to enrich your life? The responses were interesting, varied, and clearly demonstrated that everyone's experiences are unique, valid, and offer opportunities for learning.

Barbara explained that she had started the workshop by focusing on ourselves because our attempts to make the world right in the particular way we have chosen can only be successful if we have started with ourselves. She proposed that in order to get the world right we must also get our own lives right. This did not mean that the efforts of other, less flexible revolutionaries were to be discounted. Working together, the world could be made right for everyone. We need to look at the hopes we have for our communities and recognise that our own lives are in the centre of our communities.

Mini-sessions were then organized, and everyone was asked to talk about the enrichment of her own life. It was impressive to see people quickly grasp the concept of respectful listening and eagerly speak of their own experiences.

Barbara introduced the next panel question by suggesting that community development efforts grow best out of the understanding that we are each in charge. Work decisions are not to be left up to someone else "over there." Each one of us must take charge. It is all too easy to become focused on the difficulties, but we must focus on the successes because this is the foundation for building more successes. The question asked of the panel (and later the workshop) was: In what ways have you been successful?

The workshop was excellent. It was conducted in English, but there was thoughtfulness and consideration for participants for whom English was not a first language. Mutual respect and consideration were modeled at all times. Everyone involved accepted the challenges of the situation gracefully.

Lots of information was shared. Participants showed interest in being listened to about their lives.

Support Groups were offered afterwards for those wanting to know more about RC. I loved being a part of this workshop. I learned a great deal.

Pamela Mears
South Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Last modified: 2017-05-06 23:35:41-07