Update on Conversation Cafe Efforts in the U.K.
I received a great email the other day from Trish Dickinson, who has launched Conversation Cafes in the U.K. Trish wanted to update me on the cafes, so I'm passing that update on to you folks. According to Trish, "The last two years show a worldwide growing critique of systems of governance and the informal structure of the Conversation Cafe Movement creates a meeting place to listen to that dissension, to dialogue and develop practical options in line with shared values." Click below to read her full message.
Working alongside peace activists from Seatle, at Schumacher College in Devon, I was inspired to launch Conversation Cafe in the U.K.. There appears to be a world hunger for citizens to gather informally in a safe space to share what is in their hearts. Cafe society can offer that space which is somewhere between a private and yet not public space. The last two years show a worldwide growing critique of systems of governance and the informal structure of the Conversation Cafe Movement creates a meeting place to listen to that
dissension, to dialogue and develop practical options in line with shared values.
During the first four months of 2004, ten cafes have been established in the Midlands and two in London. Invitations to extend the movement are coming from Germany, Austria, France, Serbia and Brazil. I keep in contact with the U.S.A peacebuilders who have now renamed themselves 'Lets Talk America.' [Note: this is a project that NCDD is working on in partnership with Conversation Cafe, The World Cafe and Utne Institute.]
The Conversation Cafe Agreement offers the following structure
- Acceptance; suspend jugementas best you can.
- Listen, with respect
- Curiosity; seek to understand rather than persuade.
- Diversity; invite and honour all points of view.
- Sincerity; speak what has personal heart and meaning.
- Brevity; go for honesty and depth but don't go on and on.
I experience each Conversation Cafe gathering as individual and unique. Some choose to allow a theme to develop, others elect a theme by consensus. Subjects have covered the land reform act, human rights, woman against violence, parenting, compassionate communication, affluenza, a religion, family values, the right to refuse military orders, slowfood/slow cities, and the mass production of provocative young childrens clothes. These are the cafes we know about !!! Some groups gather in actual cafes, some within hospital trust committees; others have gathered in factories and some choose to meet in peoples homes. This movement is nothing new, it is based upon ancient wisdom where communities gathered together to listen respectfully to all points of view with an intention to prevent further suffering. I am delighted to be part of this and if you would like to join us or you wish to start one, please contact: