3rd Annual Conference Program and Schedule (2011)

Schedule of Events & Activities for WISR’s 3rd Annual Conference
Thursday, August 25 – Saturday August 27, 2011
“Collaborating for justice and sustainable healing
—transforming ourselves and our world”

This conference is open, for free, to all WISR students, alumni, faculty, Board, prospective students and friends of WISR from  the community.  Donations of $10 to $30 will be greatly appreciated to help defer the costs associated with our providing food, snacks and refreshments during the conference.

Location:  All sessions except for Friday and Saturday evening social events will be held at WISR, 3220 Sacramento Street, Berkeley, CA  94702.  The location for Friday and Saturday evening social events is indicated below.

Thursday, August 25

5:30 to 8:15 pm . . .  Informal Gathering:  Blogging Workshop and Students Share their Works in Progress

We will gather to share a light pot luck dinner, snacks and refreshments.  We will socialize and we will spend an hour or so helping one another with technical details and in sharing ideas on how to use Wisrville for blogging and collaboration (those of who can, bring your laptops!).  This will be followed by students sharing for a few minutes each what they’ve been working on and studying most recently, so that we can discuss with them their work and help them to think about next steps.  This session is especially an opportunity for those students not presenting at the rest of the conference to get some feedback on their current projects.

Please note:  Most of the time in each conference session will involve discussion among all participating.  Presentations by the leaders of each session will be typically between 20 and 30 minutes.

Friday, August 26

9:00 – 9:30 am:  Welcome/Socializing

Sherri Kimbell's presentation at WISR Conference--from left to right: William Poehner, Nasira Abdul-Aleem, Sherri Kimbell, Torry Dickinson, Rainelle Burton


9:30 – 10:45 am:  “Exploring the Continuum of Connection & Disconnection / Healing & Trauma Within the U.S. Military” –Sherri Kimbell, WISR PhD student

Listen to Audio Recording of this Session! . . . length of recording: 1 hour, 24 minutes; note: in order to be able to fast forward, or backwards, most easily, to various portions of this recording, click on the link and then download the file and listen to it with most any program on your computer.

Thousands of U.S. Military veterans and personnel have begun returning to civilian life, often after traumatic tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. Tragically, an epidemic of suicide is accompanying their return. According to most recent U.S. statistics, presently 18 military veterans a day are committing suicide once back on U.S. soil. Clearly, the transition “home” is an incredibly difficult one. Why is this? What can be done to help? Examining human need for connection – of various kinds and qualities – and the pain, wound and even trauma of disconnection is a helpful way to explore the particular needs and challenges Vets face as they return home. Please come and participate in learning, sharing and discussing what we know about the continuum of connection and disconnection/healing and trauma, individually and collectively. By doing so perhaps we can more effectively support members of the U.S. Military come home.

Sherri has previously served as Senior Clinician and Intensive Psychotherapist with Windhorse Community Services in Boulder, Colorado and as Co-Chair of the Contemplative Psychology Department of the Naropa Institute.  In her work with Windhorse Community Services in Boulder, Colorado, she helped individuals recover from psychosis in home environments with the support of therapeutic teams. She also worked as a private practice Contemplative Psychotherapist, with a special interest in people struggling with diversity dynamics in social systems. As a practitioner of Buddhist meditation for over 30 years, Sherri finds Buddhist practices, teachings and views to be invaluable in informing her work and supporting her personal development and compassionate relationship to the world.

Read and Comment on Sherri’s Wisrville blog at:  http://sherrikimbell.wisrville.org

10:45 – 11:00 am:  Break

Osahon Eigbike discusses his dissertation at WISR's August 2011 Conference

11:00 am – 12:15 pm:  “Riding on a Lion:  Looking Beneath the Surface of imperialism, monotheism, colonialism, globalization and corporate control, and systemic racism” –Osahon Eigbike, WISR PhD student

Listen to Audio Recording of this Session! . . . length of recording: 1 hour, 24 minutes; note: in order to be able to fast forward, or backwards, most easily, to various portions of this recording, click on the link and then download the file and listen to it with most any program on your computer.

Based on his dissertation research, Osahon will be looking at Euro-Christian-imperial control: monotheism, colonialism, globalization and corporate control, and systemic racism.  Osahon says, “I have an analogous image of someone riding on a lion (as if a horse). In the exercise, the rider’s prime focus is himself, his pleasure-ride and his fixed perception of a divinely predestined place of the lion to be ridden – and of himself as its pleasure rider.  Thus, beyond strategically letting the lion exist in such superficial care as grooming to serve the purpose of his pleasure ride, he has no thoughts about the lion’s interests. Continuing his ride in the face of the lion’s tiredness, hunger and anger from the abuse–coupled with his own tiredness and hunger, he finds himself locked in a cognitive dissonance corner. This is to say, though he is aware of the joint fatigue of his lion and himself, and the logical need for both of them to rest–he cannot come down from the lion to allow for that for fear of being devoured. That means that the ride must continue… The ramifications of the why and how the person got on the lion for a pleasure ride will constitute a typical WISR discussion facilitated by me.”

Osahon Chris Eigbike is nearing the completion of his PhD at WISR.  He joined the WISR life-long learning and research community with a doctorate degree in spirituality and culture (specific on holistic counselling/empowerment). His PhD program in higher education and social change at WISR focuses on development at community and national levels. A Nigerian-Canadian, he has done extensive teaching (in social studies) at both secondary and university levels in Nigeria, Southern Africa, and Canada.  He has also worked as a career-employment counselor and consulting-case manager, and also as project manager in the area of capacity-building for poverty alleviation. He has served on the boards of many organizations, including Employment Development Mennonite Church Canada, African Multicultural Centre in Vancouver and many Nigerian development agencies, among others.  He currently does contract teaching and consulting in community development and preventive primary health care in a semi-retired space.

12:15 – 1:15 pm:  Lunch and Socializing

1:15 pm – 3:00 pm: “Anger Management and Beyond” –Jill Arrington, WISR MA student . . . and . . . “Comienzos, A Holistic Approach To Social Issues” –William Poehner, WISR BA student

Listen to Audio Recording of this Session! . . . length of recording: 1 hour, 24 minutes; note: in order to be able to fast forward, or backwards, most easily, to various portions of this recording, click on the link and then download the file and listen to it with most any program on your computer.

Jill will present on the use of the Anderson and Anderson model of anger management.  Jill Arrington-CAMF, CPC, CYPFC, CEO of Anger Management and Beyond and Beyond Your Horizons is a Certified Anger Management Facilitator, Certified Professional and Youth. She is also a parent and family coach. She has helped hundreds of women, men and youth to obtain the skills, resources and inner-strength they need in order to take their life beyond what they could think or image. Her dedication to helping others improve their lives through empowerment coaching and anger management classes is one of the most rewarding things she says she has ever done!

Read and Comment on Jill’s Wisrville Blog at:  http://jillarrington.wisrville.org

William will present on Comienzo, a non-profit organization, that provides rehabilitative services to inmates at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC).  William Poehner is a personal growth facilitator/trainer that has a passion for sharing Nonviolent Communication.  He grew up in a bilingual (Spanish/English) family, living his early childhood in a working class neighborhood in Cali, Colombia. He migrated to New York City as a young child, and then moved to the metropolitan area of Los Angeles, where he became familiar with the struggles of disadvantaged adolescents in compacted neighborhoods.

William and his colleagues help prisoners develop a deeper personal awareness of their own life, while providing skills needed for living peacefully with themselves, their co-inmates and the society to which they will return.  The goal is to develop a population of aware prisoners who are involved in development of a peaceful paradigm for living within prison. The vision is to see this same paradigm transferred upon their release into a more peaceful, humane world for all of us. In this session we will discuss a holistic approach to healing, reconciliation and self empowerment, along with Comienzos strategies in peer education, nonviolence and social change, William would also like to harvest ideas on how to take this approach and apply it to bigger paradigm shifts in our society, criminal justice system and policy level.

Read and Comment on William’s Wisrville Blog at:  http://wpoehner.wisrville.org

3:00 – 3:30 pm:  Break concluded by music or other “right brain” activity

3:30 pm – 4:45 pm:  “HILL (Holistic Integrated Language Learning), a Mountain or a Method:  Changing Second Language Paradigms in China” –Steven Fletcher, WISR PhD student

Listen to Audio Recording of this Session! . . . length of recording: 1 hour, 9 minutes; note: in order to be able to fast forward, or backwards, most easily, to various portions of this recording, click on the link and then download the file and listen to it with most any program on your computer.

Steven Fletcher a WISR PhD. Candidate has been teaching educational methodology, second language acquisition theories and teaching oral English in China for the last year. He has found that students there are very diligent and are excellent at memorization. He has also found that the methods of teaching language are not sufficient to truly acquire a second language. Out of this need, and with the help of a small army of TA’s he has developed a program called HILL or Holistic Integrated Language Learning.

HILL uses a number of commonly accepted theories, assumption and methods. First, HILL understands that in China the fear of “losing face” is the biggest barrier to using a second language at university level.  Second, language is fundamentally used to search for meaning, therefore  (at this level of learning) using a language to search for meaning generates enough interest and enthusiasm to help students forget they are speaking a second language and begin to communicate in a naturalistic way. There are at least 25 other assumptions and theories that we have structured HILL around, but these two are the most important, all embracing and likely responsible for most of HILL’s success.  Also, he integrates his music and the stories from his two anthologies into his teaching.

More information (including some video clips) about the program will be presented and there will be time for questions.

In his studies at WISR, Steven has written about a number of theories and educational methods that he has either developed or expanded. One aspect of his future work at WISR is to understand and document what is the essence of WISR’s philosophy and methods.

5:30 – 9:00 pm:  Informal Dinner and Socializing

We will travel (carpool assistance provided to those who need it) 15 minutes to John Bilorusky’s home (330A Sheridan Ave., Piedmont 94611, 510-601-8164).  There we will have an informal dinner (food provided by WISR and by pot luck for those who can conveniently do it) and lots of time and space to mingle, socialize and relax at the end of the day.  There will be, as an option, in one part of John’s home, a space where those interested can participate in “multicultural sharing” activities for an hour or so.  You are encouraged to bring musical instruments to jam, a song and song sheets to share, a dance to teach, brief stories to tell or experiences to share, photos, etc.  “Curfew” is at 9 pm so we will have energy left for Saturday’s all-day schedule.

Saturday, August 27

9:00 – 9:30 am:  Welcome/Socializing

9:30 am – 12:30 pm:  All School Session on Promoting Collaboration at WISR

Listen to Audio Recording of this Session! (Part 1) . . . length of recording: 1 hour, 16 minutes; note: in order to be able to fast forward, or backwards, most easily, to various portions of this recording, click on the link and then download the file and listen to it with most any program on your computer.

Listen to Audio Recording of this Session! (Part 1, continued) . . . length of recording: 40 minutes; note: in order to be able to fast forward, or backwards, most easily, to various portions of this recording, click on the link and then download the file and listen to it with most any program on your computer.

Listen to Audio Recording of this Session! (Part 2) . . . length of recording: 23 minutes; note: in order to be able to fast forward, or backwards, most easily, to various portions of this recording, click on the link and then download the file and listen to it with most any program on your computer.

This session will provide us with a great opportunity to share and discuss ways in which some of us have engaged in fruitful and rewarding collaborative learning with one another.  We will brainstorm and generate new and varied ways to further promote collaboration at WISR.  In particular, WISR very much needs active student participation in planning, creating and implementing new seminars and additional collaborative learning activities. To stimulate our future efforts, a number of students and faculty will briefly share their experiences to get the discussion and thinking started.

Our considerations will include, in part:  how two or more students successfully work together on projects for academic credit at WISR; how students, faculty, alumni and others are using blogs on “wisrville” to reach out to our whole community and beyond our community to solicit dialogue with others; how student-created study groups are contributing to learning; asking what kinds of seminars students are most interested in having in the future, in particular, with reference to our core theme of action-research; thinking about how we can we create “community-based action-think tanks” to promote collaboration with and among people from the wider community; and discussing how we might use the proposed creation of a Mediators Beyond Borders chapter to further collaboration at WISR, and with others; and much more!

Use Wisrville’s blogs to promote and join in the collaboration, including these:
• Action-Research  http://actionresearch.wisrville.org and
• Commons  http://commons.wisrville.org , as well as
• the Youth Development group blog  http://youthdev.wisrville.org ,
• Learning for a Change   http://education.wisrville.org , and on
• Music and Social Change   http://musicandsocialchange.wisrville.org

12:30 – 1:45 pm:  Lunch and Socializing

Note:  During the lunch break, those interested in being involved in helping WISR to form a Mediators Beyond Borders (MBB) chapter will meet for about 20 minutes to discuss and plan this.  MBB interprets “beyond borders” broadly. It acts across geographical, political, economic, societal, and cultural boundaries. MBB partners with NGO’s, universities, political and activist groups, community organizations, professional societies, environmental, commercial and other entities worldwide to develop skills for group facilitation, public dialogue, strategic planning, collaborative negotiation, peer mediation, restorative justice, and public policy. Mediators Beyond Borders–Partnering for Peace & Reconciliation is a non-profit, humanitarian organization, bringing together mediators and allied professionals to volunteer and partner with communities worldwide to build their conflict resolution capacity for preventing, resolving and healing from conflict.  MBB works in underserved areas to make local peacebuilding more effective and sustainable, by partnering with local organizations and leaders. It generally serves groups located in areas where there are difficulties as a result of war, major civil conflict, or significant natural disaster. During the application process WISR core faculty member, Larry Loebig, will be the initial WISR Chapter Coordinator.

1:45 – 3:00 pm:  “Seeing Anew: Recreating Society through Intergenerational Learning Centers” –Torry Dickinson, WISR Core Faculty Member and Rainelle Burton, writer, educational diversity trainer and business consultant

Listen to Audio Recording of this Session! . . . length of recording: 1 hour, 15 minutes; note: in order to be able to fast forward, or backwards, most easily, to various portions of this recording, click on the link and then download the file and listen to it with most any program on your computer.

We will reflect on and discuss how deep, sustained, and meaningful educational change can only be approached by engaging in long-term global social change.  To do this, all ideas and assumptions about education and society that are associated with the Industrial Revolution (1830-1970) need to be left behind and replaced by new conceptions of society, which includes re-seeing learning and education as one small part of change. These two explorers leading this session will discuss how they began to work together and the succession of their ideas as they went through the process of trying to “improve” K-12 education in Detroit and other communities where young people and social groups have been disenfranchised. They began to understand that ideas of remediation and the addressing of deficiencies typically endorse industrial organization, which is built on the assumption that people serve technology, and not the other way around. The journey that these two writers have taken together, through their collaboration with Detroit learning centers, WISR, and the Omaha Tribal Historical Research Project, has launched them into the unknown.

That is, it has propelled them into the future. They now see education and learning in a totally new context, one that is unfolding right now. The possible scripts for our common global future have grown out of a common past, which remains only half-understood, partly because we have failed to appreciate the damage that has been and the opportunities that have been missed.
These two writers’ unexpected appreciation of “the 60s” in 21st century movements began to help them imagine how we can co-educate in intergenerational community centers that would enable learners to make the world they’d like to see.

Rainelle Burton, an award winning novelist, is author of “The Root Worker,” a moving fictionalized story about a girl growing up on the lower East Side of Detroit. She currently is working on a number of books, including one with Torry Dickinson.  She is a workshop leader at the annual conferences of the Women’s International Writers’ Guild.  Rainelle is an educational diversity trainer and a business consultant. For 20 years she was a systems analyst and trainer with Blue Cross in Detroit. Rainelle is now developing an educational social change project with WISR.

Dr, Torry Dickinson is a writer and has recently rejoined WISR’s core faculty on a part-time basis after a break of almost 20 years.  Currently, Torry is a Professor of Women’s Studies at Kansas State where she also teaches women’s studies and nonviolence studies at Kansas State University. She has written a number of books on women’s work and educational social change around the world, including Democracy Works and Transformations. Torry is now collaborating with Rainelle Burton and WISR on an educational social change project.

Read and Comment on Torry Dickinson’s Blog:  http://dickins.wisrville.org

3:00 – 3:30 pm:  Break concluded by music or other “right brain” activity

3:30 – 4:45 pm:  “Leading the Self Liberation Movement – It Begins Now Within You” and the method of “Community Conversations”–WISR PhD student Michael Ratner

Listen to Audio Recording of this Session! . . . length of recording: 1 hour, 15 minutes; note: in order to be able to fast forward, or backwards, most easily, to various portions of this recording, click on the link and then download the file and listen to it with most any program on your computer.

Michael will present his theories of social change and describe how in the process of his research he has found some amazing people who have developed innovative ways to address needs they saw around them in places as distinct as Tasmania; Manhattan; Shanghai, China; Bombay, India; Rio deJaneiro, Brazil; and inner-city Washington, D.C. Ratner’s research has revealed patterns in the ways these remarkable people live consciously and specifically resolve inner and outer conflicts. To demonstrate the commonality among experiences as diverse as a Tasmanian Shaman flute player who does Native American healing work in New York City or the story of a Czech “medicine woman” saving the rain forests with Yogis while living on an island in the Bahamas to a care giver in San Diego starting a home-care system for seniors, he will present useful unifying summaries of four practices that he claims can lead to “Ultra Being” free from conflict that often restricts conscious living and offers six qualities of living that lead to a Self Liberated life.

There will be extensive discussion following and building on Michael’s presentation on his method of using “Community Conversations” . . . Community Conversation brings together members of a group, organization or neighborhood to join in a facilitated or open dialogue. Facilitators may introduce thought-provoking questions and encourages participants to reflecton the issues raised and discuss how they impact our lives and communities. Engaging in a Community Conversation brings people together for the purpose of sharing and listening. For participants, it can be a unique opportunity to meet neighbors and create new friendships. For host organizations, a conversation program can bring new audiences and build a site’s capacity as a public forum. For WISR students, it’s a way to approach social research and activism by encouraging individual insight and critical thinking. Mike Ratner’s research shows that Community Conversations are a terrific gateway to experiencing more enlightened and empowering states because engaging dialogue helps free one’s ability to consider social issues and dramatically improves interpersonal communication – fundamental for the sharing of tacit knowledge.

Michael Ratner runs a small virtual PR agency and lives most of the year in Shanghai, China with his wife Yanju and two young daughters Elsa (4) and Elyn (2). His research at WISR centers on starting a “Self Liberation” movement by awakening consciousness

[Note: we have just learned that Mohammed Ibrahim, WISR PhD student, will not be able to travel here from Nigeria until later in the Fall. At that time, he will give a seminar presentation on his very important dissertation research-action—which is to affect constructive (just and sustainable) changes in Nigerian Oil and Energy Policy, in his role as a key official in the Nigerian government.]

5:30 – 9:00 pm:  Informal Dinner and Socializing

We will travel (carpool assistance provided to those who need it) 15 minutes to John Bilorusky’s home (330A Sheridan Ave., Piedmont 94611, 510-601-8164).  There we will have an informal dinner (food provided by WISR and by pot luck for those who can conveniently do it) and lots of time and space to mingle, socialize and relax at the end of the day.  There will be, as an option, in one part of John’s home, a space where those interested can participate in an informal workshop to learn about the technical details as well as the possibilities for promoting dialogue and social change by blogging on WISR’s  new site “wisrville.org” . . .  Since this is the end of the conference, there will be no “curfew” and interest permitting we will go past 9 pm.

One Response to 3rd Annual Conference Program and Schedule (2011)

  1. Pingback: We’re looking forward to WISR’s 3rd Annual Conference! | WISR's 3rd Annual Conference, August 25-27

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *