Imagine Taiwan: Community Outreach Program


What:
Imagine Taiwan (I.T.) asks the question: “what does a sustainably healthy and joyful Taiwan with diverse possibilities look like?” and invites people to gather in cities of Taiwan: Taipei, Hualian, Taichung, Kaohsiong, Taichung and communities such as Garden City, Wen Shan District and Dali district to talk together and dare to declare the ideals they’d like to see realized and imagine the possibilities of what could be accomplished together.

Duration:
Each Imagine Taiwan event lasts from one afternoon to one day. The program has been in operation since 2006.

How it Built Greater Community Resilience & Self-Reliance:
Imagine Taiwan is about the principles of generative thinking and collective and personal responsibility. In an open space meeting groups of people conclude on goals and initial actionable steps to achieve them. Contextualized in the fabric of present moment realities, enriched by the collective input of inquiring minds refining the particular topic – the value created at an Imagine Taiwan event is found in the full experience of participation where local knowledge is affirmed and grown through a sharing and integration of different perspectives.
Grounded in the principles of Open Space: Whoever comes is the right people: Whatever happens is the only thing that could have, Whenever it starts is the right time, and When it’s over, it’s over, the Imagine Taiwan program organically enrolls participation because it centers around people taking control of their own life by accepting responsibility of one’s two feet to go where personal attraction is strongest. Creating personal ownership over issues one cares about is the first critical step to community resilience and self-reliance.

Who was Involved:
Local Sponsor and participants (all those concerned about a locality and willing to contribute to its future), the CP Yen Foundation facilitators and support staff.

What Were The Outcomes:
The value of the Imagine Taiwan series is found in the continued experience of conversation among actors in society. Our aim is to create a culture of inclusiveness where imagining is daily fodder for both the individual and the collective. We must approach I.T. not as an open space event but as a mode of living where positive and generative dialogue fosters complex processes of change in attitudes, values and modes of interaction

Immediate outcome objective of the program are as follows:

  1. Conversation around topics relevant to a locality’s vision of an “ideal” Taiwan.
  2. Groups of people (any size) continuing this discussion and taking action on the ideas sparked at the I.T. event.
  3. Individuals giving feedback about the personal positive impact generated by the event.
  4. An action plan brought to fruition.
  5. More Imagine Taiwan events held.
  6. Greater understanding of topics important to people and the topic of Taiwan (national, local and personal).
  7. Grow public knowledge, sharing and understanding seen by greater numbers of people taking action or a leadership role around topics where s/he has enthusiasm.
  8. Greater cooperation around common interests.
  9. What Inspires You About This Program:
  10. What’s the importance of bringing people together to talk? Dialogue connects people on the common ground of who we are as people. Holding the space is the magic here. Dialogue serves as a collective learning arena where the individual’s capacity for understanding and acceptance of the other is exercised and expanded. Simply broadening a discussion already becomes the peace-building transformation itself as true listening and respect is practiced in recognition of the innate diversity of life in general and Taiwan in particular.

How Can it Be Replicated in Other Places?:
The Imagine Taiwan program is easily replicable in other environments: the act of imagining together as a community can be done at every step of a project or relationship and serves as a frame of reference for clarifying, personally and amongst peers, the direction of one’s aspirations. The most important aspect of the program to be preserved are the principles, process and integrity of a space for participants to voice their thoughts. The role of the facilitator is to structure these spaces for discussion; Open Space Technology process is a useful tool for achieving this outcome.
The CP Yen Foundation strives to serve as a catalyst for the growing social practice of dialogue. Through the foundation’s tools and resources we contribute to the creation of communities of respect, gratitude, participation, culture, and action.

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