../../ International Conference on "Engaging The OTHER" The Power of Compassion

  • International Conference on "Engaging The OTHER" The Power of Compassion. An International, Multidisciplinary, Multicultural Conference examining concepts of "The OTHER" from a universal, cross-cultural perspective to promote wider public dialogue about images of "Us and Them"
  • Sponsored by Common Bond Institute Co-sponsored by HARMONY Institute for Psychotherapy and Counseling, the International Humanistic Psychology Association, Fetzer Institute, Western Michigan University
  • Supported by a growing international list of over 75 cooperating universities and organizations
  • Registration is Open to the Public

JOIN an extraordinary pool of leading experts from around the world to address the roots of negative stereotyping and prejudice, and how to move past artificial barriers of misunderstanding and distrust to cultivate our capacity for appreciation of diversity, reconciliation, and peace.


Overall Goals of the Conference are to:

  • Raise the level, depth, and breadth of public dialogue and awareness on core issues. The conference examines dimensions and dynamics of "The OTHER" on individual and group levels, and considers how enemy identity is formed, perpetuated, and manipulated - including fear-based belief systems, negative stereotypes, projection, prejudice, and scapegoating.
  • Identify and compile fundamental questions, dilemmas, and implications for further deep inquiry and examination in an expanding public dialogue, and to challenge embedded negative belief systems that promote adversarial perceptions of the "The Other."
  • Tap our shared wisdom and compassion as a community - from the local to the global - in developing practical applications. Participants are encouraged to develop and share practical recommendations and strategies for applying results to the current state of local and world relationships to promote increased understanding, sensitivity, and compassion as a means of countering and neutralizing hostility, particularly inter-group hostility.
  • Formulate findings and products to make available to all - through publications, media, the Internet, training programs, networks, dialogue groups, etc.


Over 70 Presenters gather from around the world with extensive experience in addressing concepts of The Other from different perspectives - psychological, (intra-personal and inter-personal), social, cultural, anthropological, historical, philosophical, and spiritual.

Structure of the conference. A 3 1/2 day program of:

  1. 5 Keynote Speakers
  2. 5 Topical Plenary Panels with leading speakers on theory, philosophy, and historical aspects
  3. 26 Presentations of Lectures, Workshops, and Panels
  4. Daily Conference-wide Facilitated Dialogue Groups to engage the concepts, invite diverse perspectives, and explore practical applications.
  5. Evening Performances and Social-Cultural Events.
  6. In-Process Expressive Arts Interpretation of the conference as it evolves each day.
  7. E-conference Connections to Satellite Locations at universities and institutes in the US and various countries during plenary events to create real-time interaction and an expanded, inclusive global dialogue.
  8. E-dialogues and E-working groups, established on CBI's website to reflect emerging content and themes as vehicles for continuing the dialogue process beyond the conference, leading to subsequent conferences. An archive of event content will also be available to conference participants.
  9. Media / Art Exhibits and Displays, including an expanding exhibit of "Touch Drawings" reflecting the daily conference experience, a media room, and much more.
  10. Rich Networking opportunities
  11. Intentional Cross-cultural Community. Participants experience the conference program and community as a living learning laboratory, to explore conference themes and create a common ground of reference essential to engaging and integrating formal learning.

Some Examples of Areas of Inquiry to Explore Within the Program:

  • The Other - as humankind's oldest and most resilient foe.
  • Our shared identity as The Other.
  • The role of inherent sin and exclusive dogma in requiring the presence and embodiment of innate evil in the world, and vilifying an ever-present Other as it's expression.
  • Dynamics of the energy of fear and exclusive group identity in formulating devaluing, dehumanizing and demonizing stereotypes that allow "good" people to do "bad" things to others by objectifying entire groups to the point of justifying inhumane treatment.
  • Paradoxical dynamics of (mutual) victim identity, and victim becoming perpetrator.
  • The inter-generational inheritance of unresolved trauma as part of cultural ethos (heroes, martyrs, and collateral damage).
  • What happens to a society - short and long term - when the energy of fear, revenge, and victimization become systemic and are manipulated to galvanize a process of demonizing and dehumanizing a perceived Other to justify oppression, inhumane treatment and violence?
  • Are there cultural myths that trigger reactionary rather than rational, proactive behavior? If so, what is the character of those myths?
  • How can we better recognize and consciously transform negative belief systems, both on an individual and cultural level, and, in doing so, transform cultural ethos?
  • What are effects of direct person to person contact on innate fear of the unknown and mysterious, and are there practical methods for experiencing this quality of contact in a global community?


This new conference series occurs in conjunction with an edited book in progress examining psycho-social concepts of "The OTHER" from a multi-cultural perspective, and raising important questions for fuller exploration. It is also programmatically linked to the 15th Annual International Conference on Conflict Resolution (ICR), held each May in St. Petersburg, Russia. Like the ICR Conference and edited book, the ETO Conference is a cross-cultural collaboration for true global representation.


1) In cooperation with our international network of cooperating organizations, produce published results (articles, research papers, conference reports, interviews, recordings, and potentially an additional volume to the original edited book) and a documentary film geared toward both the global professional and lay public to increase awareness, expand public dialogue, and support the creation of a training curriculum.

2) Establish on-going topical E-Dialogues and E-Working Groups through CBI's website to continue the flow of discussions, exploration, and cooperation generated during the conference and build toward subsequent conferences. Related to this, setting up a Dedicated Links Page that integrates participating organizations into a virtual network for future cooperation beyond the conference.

3) Design and develop an "Engaging The Other" curriculum for a training program intended for application with schools and universities, community organizations, religious groups, government agencies, political groups, and the general public. (see description below).

4) Create and sustain a working network of contacts between all parties to promote on-going future collaboration to build on and proactively advance the work of the conferences.

5) Create a joint conference resolution to publish and post widely, and to present to the United Nations and other relevant international organizations.

6) Building on the success of the first in this series of international conferences, subsequent conferences held annually to continue and broaden the process.


  • Visionaries and front-line thinkers in human consciousness and psycho-social-spiritual dynamics.
  • Representatives of relevant university departments, professional associations, and academic groups around the world (including Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, Education, Religious studies, Philosophy, Peace studies, International studies, Anthropology, History, Political Science, Government, Law, Media and the Arts, etc.).
  • NGO representatives, Community leaders and activists, Spiritual leaders, Peace activists, Cultural/Ethnic Representatives, Human Service providers, Government representatives, Academics, Social Science researchers, etc.
  • Key participants from current or recent regions of turmoil in the world.
  • From within the US, representatives are participating from various typical "Other" groups, such as African-Americans, Arab-Americans, Jewish-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Native-Americans, Asian-Americans, etc. Michigan happens to be in unique proximity to a number of major population centers for these various groups, and the conference draws large representation from them.
  • A diversity of spiritual traditions is represented in the program, including but not limited to Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, and Native American.


Dates: October 26-29, 2006
Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan USA, Radisson Plaza Hotel
Length: 3 1/2 days (Thurs. 26th eve opening to Sun. 29th afternoon closing)
CECs: Continuing Education Credits available


"Engaging The Other" Training Project:An effort growing out of the ETO Conference series for conducting ongoing "Engaging The Other" training programs in various locals - particularly in and near communities in conflict, to nurture capacity for sensitivity, understanding, inclusiveness, and appreciation for diversity. The curriculum will be designed for all age groups and to be culturally sensitive, and made available to schools and universities, NGO's, community organizations, religious organizations, government agencies, political groups, etc. Among individuals targeted to become trainers in communities will be human service professionals, community leaders, and activists.
Public Education: In line with this effort, program concepts will also be promoted to the general public through established and alternative media in various documentary and "pop psychology" formats to "generic" the process for wider public awareness, sensitivity, and understanding.

Common Bond Institute
Steve Olweean, Director, SOlweean@aol.com
12170 S. Pine Ayr Drive • Climax, Michigan •49034 USA
1.269.665.9393 (phone and fax)

См. также

  1. Common Bond Institute. International Conference on "Engaging The OTHER" The Power of Compassion

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