Conferences in April and May: The UnMoney Convergence and Building a New World Conference

Last week I attended an excellent conference in Seattle called the UnMoney Convergence.  I’ve been so busy that I don’t know that I can give it justice here, but I wanted to add a note.   I’d estimate that about 50 people attended, although I didn’t count.  It was largely a community currency group, so that was the main focus of the discussions.  The structure was interesting: anyone who wanted to could speak or organize a group.  The two full days of the conference were divided into 7 time slots, and the large hall (in the Seattle Town Hall) was divided into 5 meeting places with letter labels.  That made 28 possibilities for groupings, one or more of which you could sign up to lead (giving name and topic on a large bulletin board).  When it was your appointed time, you went to your corner and waited to see if anyone showed up.  I signed up for two, at the end of each day, and on the first one, guess what — nobody showed up.  At least not at first, but then a person I really wanted to talk to wandered over, and we had a very fruitful discussion.  On the second day, my group was better attended and we had another very good discussion.  Other group leaders attracted substantially better followings and were more formally prepared, with slide presentations and so forth.  What was cool and unusual was that the conference organizers themselves were basically agenda-free, and the people who came with their own agendas (including me, though only for practice, being a duck among swans), often wound up losing interest in their own pet project in favor of some of the others.  One drawback with the approach was that if you played the butterfly, flitting from group to group (one of the options we were encouraged to take, which I did), you were liable to miss important points and didn’t dare ask for a replay, which could have been lengthy.  But overall it was a very congenial and supportive group, and a great opportunity for networking.  I won’t try to discuss the particular talks, partly because I didn’t catch the whole gist of most of them; but if you’re interested in learning more you can go to the session notes at the UnMoney Convergence website, <a href=”http://unmoney.wik.is/Session_Notes”>http://unmoney.wik.is/Session_Notes</a&gt;.

Not having had a chance to write up this interesting experience myself, I’ll post the review of Tom Palumbo and Ann Williams —

The first international conference of the World Prout Assembly, “Building a New World,”

World Prout Assembly: Religion Pt. 1 – AOL Video
Video Search Results – tag: prout – AOL Video

Building A New World
By Tom Palumbo and Ann Williams

As history has illustrated, the opulent green and sleepy mountains of the western part of Virginia have nurtured seeds of change. Again, in late May, the Virginia countryside heard cries of “Revolution!”. Not unlike the Colonie’s war cry against Imperial powers, people are standing up to a global crisis of immense proportions demanding immediate and ongoing solutions.

The event was a 4 day conference over Memorial Day Weekend entitled, “Building a New World”. Held on the Radford University campus, the gathering was the first summit of the World Prout Assembly.

Conference organizer, Garda Ghista, spoke of the need for “a great and immense movement…to sweep our nation; a positive force that through its sheer {energy} will have the capacity to…constitute hope and a new direction…”. The group brought together an eclectic think-tank of innovative people who study societal dynamics and influences on today’s culture.

Notable activists such as Cindy Sheehan ( A “Gold Star Mother for Peace”), Attorney Lynn Stuart, Robert Jensen, David Swanson, Kathy Kelly and many others led panel discussions geared towards a new global renaissance.

Several Hampton Roads residents were in attendance including Tench Phillips, co-owner of The Naro Expanded Cinema in Norfolk (www.narocinema.com). He called the events of the “Building a New World” conference “an unprecedented weekend… of organizers, authors, academics and film-makers coming together in a true grass-roots democratic movement to teach and learn from one another.”

Prominent critics of the war and neocon agenda aligned with Adam Kokesh and his colleagues of Iraq Veterans Against the War (www.ivaw.org), who recently testified in landmark Winter Soldier hearings. Iraqi-American physician Dahia Wasfi (www.liberatethis.com) presented a workshop on “The Sorrows of Race, Gender and Class.” Documentarian Danny Schecter presented “In Debt We Trust.”He and NYT Bestselling Authors Steve Alten (The Shell Game) and William Blum (Rogue Nation) each spoke on the urgency of Media Reform.

The vast array of topical challenges facing our nation and world today ranged from verified voting, economic quagmire, sustainable communities, environmental concerns and unanswered questions from the 9/11 attacks.

Advocates for change from Hampton Roads, included Chris Jaramillo, Joe Fillipowski, Dr. DC Amarasinghe, and members of PETA who participated in a full slate of workshops such as “Right to Healthcare,” “End of Empire,” “Prevent Unwanted Presidencies: Election Fraud,” “Civil Liberties and Constitutional Rights,” and “Taking Back the Media.”

Father Roy Bourgeois, co-founder and director of School of the Americas Watch, shared numerous struggles for non-violent change and victories towards the path to healing a broken world. His listeners were moved by his gently saying, “We know not what we have within us…” and we must recognize and celebrate the power of a “Solitary Witness”.

Pastor Rev. Pamela Anne Bro. of Living Waters Sanctuary, of Virginia Beach, offered an energetic presentation at the conference entitled “Spiritual Practices on the Path to Peace.”

There was an appeal for local activists to urgently challenge folks to wake up, pronto. Read. Research. Hone critical thinking skills. To do this they are peacefully armed with countless resources including websites ie; www.911Truth.org, books, DVD’s and infinite persistence. The unified hope is that the world can be a better and just place for everyone. You will likely recognize them as they engage people in line, at the movies, on the streets, at gas-stations, grocery stores or along the Boardwalk. They are the contemporary Town Criers of Hampton Roads.

The sense from most people participating was that in spite of ongoing global crisis, imminent change is happening. Our survival depends on how flexibly, creatively and effectively we respond to our challenges. The gathering has shaped a pro-active vision of fundamental change be it called a revolution, an awakening, a paradigm shift or a new American Renaissance.

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