Monday, 14 September 2009

International Working Conference kicks-off

The International Working Conference of the ICCO Alliance kicks off today in Soesterberg. For the next five days, staff of ICCO and Alliance organisations, together with representatives of the Regional Councils, the International Advisory Council and Regional Working Offices will discuss, shape and define the new ways the organisation will be working in the coming years.

Before diving into the content, which will be dealt with in the next 4 days, the programme for this 'day zero' of the Conference focuses entirely on the governance structure of the organisation. It is in fact paramount to define the way ICCO will be working in the coming years and outline mandate and roles of the different actors involved.

The room is full with some 50 people from the International Advisory Council, the Regional Councils, and the Regional Working Offices. The people come from different countries and each of them has a different background in terms of relations with ICCO; some didn't know ICCO before being involved with it; others were vaguely familiar with it; some have been involved with ICCO partner's organisations; others knew about it through their association to ecumenical networks. This provides a great richness and diversity to built upon for the coming days of the conference. Talking around small tables of 5/6 people, the participants introduces themselves and get to know each other by sharing their stories, and exchanging their first thoughts about the conference. Some burning questions are already put on the table, and they will be addressed in the coming days.

This will prepare the ground for the the main part of the conference, starting tomorrow and lasting until Friday. Ingrid Richter and Ben Arikpo, two of the facilitators of the event, describe in the video below how the programme of the conference has been set up and what the process flow of the event will look like.

The objective is to "build community" and support participants in getting to know each other and capture the perspectives that are in the room. The facilitators will lead participants through a series of conversations about what's important for the future, which values they want to come alive and what are the priorities to focus on. Most important, as also mentioned by Jack van Ham in his introductory remarks, a lot of co-creation will come out from the conference: there's no pre-defined document that states these values and policies that people need to agree upon; instead, the real outcomes will be defined together by participants as the conference progresses.

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