Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
To continue the cycle of successful international conferences which we started in 2002 [please see the World Wide Web link to our research center, CEIMSA, for a full description of our conferences -local, regional, and international : http://dimension.ucsd.edu/CEIMSA-IN-EXILE/colloques.html], CEIMSA is in the process of organizing a series of international conferences on the theme of community organizing.
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Right now, we are aiming at one in Grenoble (on Oct. 11-14, 2012); another at the University of Paris in Nanterre (on Nov. 12, 2012); and a third conference at Stendhal University in early May 2013.
These meetings are in prolongation of a larger conference, in which we have promised to participate, on the realization of ‘utopian projects’ in society. The Association Entropie in Grenoble has invited CEIMSA to organize a workshop at their Festival pour repenser la société, which has been scheduled on the Stendhal University campus in Grenoble from October 11 to 14.
On Sunday, Oct. 14, we will lead a roundtable discussion with community organizers speaking about the practical aspects of the question : “The means and ends in community organizing, who decides and are they always justified?”
The second conference we are organizing is planned for 12 November 2012, at The University of Paris-Nanterre. The theme of this international conference will be: "Thinking Globally and Acting Locally: the Art and Science of Community Organizing, from the Intifada and the Indignados to the Arab Spring, the Greek Resistance and Occupy Wall Street in New York City and beyond….”; and, once again, veteran community organizers will be asked to enter into conversation about their experiences. The governing idea of these meetings is to have a roundtable give-and-take between community organizers willing and able to talk in technical detail about their organizing experiences –the aims and motivations before beginning their work; the obstacles and constraints they encountered along the way; and the compromises and alternatives that they had to invent before finding solutions to the problems they encountered.
The third conference, we plan to schedule in Grenoble for early May 2013. We hope to hold a two-day conference on the Stendhal University in which local organizers will join public intellectuals in discussing the theory and practice of community organizing and how to resolve the institutional conflicts that arise from competition and possibly misunderstandings. This conference is tentatively scheduled for May 2-3, 2013.
Again, the purpose of these three public encounters (at Grenoble in October, at Nanterre in November, and back again to Grenoble in May) will be to share personal discussions among very experienced organizers with the general public of perhaps several hundred people, listening to detailed descriptions of communities, how problems were initially perceived, and the manner in which these problems were addressed and sometimes solved with the help of an organizer, which sometimes gave birth to a local legacy of specific political styles and cultural traditions, which could serve as a social matrix for future political actions.
This newsletter is simply a request to ask if CEIMSA readers who are interested in one or more of these three conferences, and/or who know of anyone who is technically very experienced in organizing communities to contact us so we may include them in our program. We are hoping to attract organizers from communities in many different countries, such as: Palestine, Spain, Tunisia, Egypt, Greece, Ireland, England, the USA, Canada, Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina, and France, and perhaps from Russia, China –all participating under the rubric of : “Think Globally and Act Locally.”
These three conferences will be filmed and placed on the World Wide Web for practical consultation by organizers and international scholars. We plan, also, to have interpreters available at these conferences. (For further information, please see the Internet videos of our last conference at Nanterre, May 19, 2011, on "Ethics and US Foreign Policy.”
Thank you, in advance, for any suggestions you might have concerning this request.
I shall look forward to hearing from you.