Exploring Generative Change – A Connecting for Change study

Greetings from the Dalai Lama Center,

We are pleased to make available to you the results of a study carried out earlier this year by Terry VanQuickenborne, a volunteer with the Connecting for Change program. Terry completed her research at Pepperdine University as part of her Master of Science in Organization Development. She examined factors and conditions related to generative change, and several Connecting for Change participants were interviewed for her study.

The Dalai Lama Center had no formal responsibility for the research but is very appreciative of the learning and insights that can be gleaned from Terry’s study – for Connecting for Change participants, the C4C program and the Center.

With respect to the Connecting for Change program generally,  we continue to work to shape the program and financial model for the program and look forward to sharing news with you in the months ahead.

Kind regards,

The Dalai Lama Center

Connecting for Change 2009 – Participant Thoughts

Participants were asked for reflections on the most memorable moments, the most challenging moments, the gifts they received, the next steps and what changed personally as a result of attending the Dialogue. Here are a few responses.

The most memorable?

  • The dinner dialogue was the most memorable and exciting for me because the conversation was so honest and engaging.  I love when a “think tank” or brainstorming environment occurs in a condition of safety and shared vision, in which ideas morphed from a germ to an offshoot to a new direction to a collective vision… it felt very exciting to watch something beautiful and organic emerge from a pure energy of trust and shared commitment. – Janice Levine, MedWish International
  • I had the immense honor of getting to know Jody Williams in our object sharing session at the very beginning. Through the course of the days together, I was totally floored by her presence and achievements and during the last day when she came back with her fellow female laureates, I had the occasion to give her my object (an angel) as a gift from me which she accepted. – Stephanie Hanford-Hass, Connectivity Consulting

The challenge?

  • My challenge is in following up with individuals after the Vancouver sessions. Life happens to you when you return, but these synergistic encounters are far too rich to ignore. – Kathleen Yosko, Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital

The gifts?

  • Seeing how people of such diversity could come together to create community. – Richard Reoch, Shambhala
  • The increased recognition that we are all part of this global community. There simply are no accidents. – Kathleen Yosko, Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital
  • I think one of the greatest gifts was the concept of the possible. Surrounded by many people who have dreamed big and accomplished great change and improvements in their communities was not only inspiring but motivating and a reminder to me that no dream is too big. – Richard Jaffray, Cactus Restaurants Ltd.
  • Experiencing heart-to-heart communications with varied individuals whom I did not even know before September 26th has shown me that not only is it possible to feel the solidarity but also to actually collaborate in solving difficult problems. – Tatsi Okaya, Ecstasis Consulting LLC

What’s next?

  • There was a comment that had a profound impact on me, ‘one foot forward in mastery, one foot forward in risk’. Another was a comment that we are in ‘transformation rather than reform’. I have been talking with colleagues as to what both of these statements might mean if we were to use them as principles for our current work. No answers yet, and there is good conversation as a result of raising the questions. – Elizabeth O’Neill, Big Brothers Big Sisters Edmonton and Area
  • What story shall I tell to my community?  What actions shall I take to express my humanity and move towards fulfilling my purpose: to spiritualize existing socioeconomic structures so that each of us has more MEANING in living, more HEALING to receive, and more sense of BELONGING? – Tatsi Okaya, Ecstasis Consulting LLC
  • How do I get my community to reconnect with themselves individually? How do I get the individual in my community from I to we? How do I translate what I have learnt in three days into meaning and action that is going to propel us forward? Who are the next leaders who are going to bear the torch for our community? – Robert Kalyesubula, Nakaseke Community Development Initiatives

What’s changed?

  • I am aware of the level of compassion and forgiveness that exists in the world that I never knew before. I am inspired and encouraged to continue on the path. – Anna Catalano, Willis Group Holdings
  • I am very aware of the global connections, the richness of diverse culture with me included, and the joy of deeply caring and sharing. – Eva Maddox, Perkins+Will

What actions will I take?

  • Going forward with my vision which was partially developed at C4C, to use the skills, network and people that we have in business to assist others and ourselves in contributing more with the resources we have. I believe that businesses and individuals can succeed more by contributing more. I am working with my team to develop a strategy of using our knowledge, not just our financial resources, to enhance our ability to make a difference. – Richard Jaffray, Cactus Restaurants Ltd.
  • One area of action is to listen more, to allow the full concepts of others to have a fuller voice and then to think with my colleagues as to what direction or solutions may be needed so that the outcome is a shared process and ‘owned’ by many as oppose to a few of us. IN sharing the ownership we have a larger stakeholder group to shepard the work forward. – Elizabeth O’Neill, Big Brothers Big Sisters Edmonton and Area
  • I will journey down the path on both feet!  I will speak up without fear! – Eva Maddox, Perkins+Will

Connecting for Change 2009 – Program Details

“I truly believe that individuals can make a difference in society. Since periods of change such as the present one come so rarely in human history, it is up to each of us to make the best use of our time to help create a happier world.

– His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Today’s most important challenges cannot be met by working within the confines of traditional sectors. Inspirational, corporate, social and philanthropic innovators will share their experiences transforming themselves, their organizations and communities. His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be a guest at a special session of this invitation-only dialogue intended to inspire crosssector connections and collaborations.

Saturday, September 26th

Connect with fellow attendees to share experiences and begin the dialogue.

On Saturday evening, attendees will adjourn to the homes of local hosts for dinner. The intention of the dinner dialogue is to provide an opportunity to deepen connections and conversations around specific topics. Dinner dialogue topics will be distributed to attendees for selection in advance of the event.

Sunday, September 27th

Attendees will attend the World Peace Through Personal Peace Dialogue in the morning, and the Nobel Laureates Dialogue in the afternoon, amongst social events aimed to continuing the dialogue more informally.

World Peace through Personal Peace
A discussion will be held on overcoming adversity and inner transformation to work towards a peaceful world. Engaged in the dialogue will be Nobel Laureates and others who have influenced peaceful societal change through their endeavors, including His Holiness the Dalai LamaArchbishop Desmond Tutu and Eckhart Tolle.

Dalai Lama Desmond Tutu Eckhart Tolle

Experience an afternoon that will be more than memorable – following Nobel Laureates in Dialogue: Connecting for Peace – participants will host a private audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.Dalai Lama

Nobel Laureates in Dialogue:  Connecting for Peace
Leadership in the peaceful resolution of conflict requires both an understanding of differences and an appreciation of our common humanity.  It combines a sense of responsibility for others with faith in the power of individuals to shape institutions and create positive change. It also requires working with others to share efforts, create new possibilities, and bridge divides. In this inspiring dialogue, five Nobel Peace Laureates – including the Dalai LamaArchbishop Desmond TutuMairead Maguire, Betty Williams, and Jody Williams – will discuss their own motivations, their experiences of connecting for change, and their perspectives on our human responsibilities at the present time.

Dalai Lama Desmund Tutu Mairead Mcguire Betty Williams Jody Williams

Monday, September 28th

Informed by dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Sunday, attendees will work with facilitators to explore inspirational stories of connections and collaborations that have resulted insignificant change, and together identify opportunities and commitments to advancing existing or starting new initiatives that will contribute to change locally and globally.

Tuesday, September 29th

Optional: Attendees are invited to consider attending two optional public dialogues: Women and Peacebuilding and Educating the Heart.  Tickets for these optional events are available (Please check the Dalai Lama Center Website for updates).

Women & Peace-BuildingDalai Lama and Kim Campbell
A conversation with the Dalai Lama and friends – Across the globe, women play a vital but often unrecognized role in working towards peace. To validate that role we will acknowledge women’s leadership in peace-building, consider the strategies and tools that women employ, and the ways in which they empower others through compassionate action.  Through their formal and informal networks they are highly invested in preventing conflict through promoting cultural and international understanding, tolerance, and cooperation. This program will bring together men and women to engage in dialogue and share innovative ways that women are exercising their influence and exerting power that is reshaping the world for future generations.

Educating the HeartDalai Lama
Educators are recognizing the positive results of the practice of social emotional education. This type of learning provides students with an opportunity to develop concentration and creativity, deepen understanding and insight, and cultivate awareness. We will provide an opportunity to have a dialogue with researchers and teachers on the current research and results of SEL practice.


Connecting for Change would like to thank the very dedicated Program Design team for their dedication to ensuring C4C is a success:
Nicole-Anne Boyer
Juanita Brown
Charles Holmes
Dawna Markova
Samantha Tan


We regret an unavoidable scheduling conflict with the Yom Kippur high holiday. To the extent possible we have organized the program to accommodate the holiday’s observances.


Please note that this program is subject to change, as well as the list of  Nobel Laureates and other high profile participants.


Why is this an invitaton-only event?

The intention of C4C has been to purposefully create connections between people who would likely never otherwise meet. In order to build meaningful connections, each Connecting for Change event has started with a handful of people, each identifying 2-3 others they respect and would like to invite, and the process has expanded out from there. Our intention is to test and develop a process that could be used by others to help expand and grow opportunities for people to come together to learn with and from each other and commit to life affirming actions.

Dalai Lama in Vancouver – Special Feature in the Vancouver Sun, Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Vancouver – The Dalai Lama will headline a “spiritual dream team” of Nobel Peace Prize laureates and international activists at a peace summit this September in Vancouver.

The Dalai Lama will also be a guest editor of The Vancouver Sun for a special edition themed around “Educating the Heart.”

“It is an honour indeed to have the Dalai Lama guest edit The Vancouver Sun. Humbling, exciting and maybe even a little bit intimidating, although I suspect a kinder editor could not be found.

We believe the theme the Dalai Lama and Sun editors have chosen, Educating the Heart, will resonate with our audience and we have no doubt that the September 26, 2009 newspaper will be a phenomenal one.

This, we hope, will draw even more attention to the wonderful and important events planned for this very special weekend in Vancouver” Sun Editor-in-Chief Patricia Graham

Connecting for Change 2009

Connecting for Change Dialogue 2009 took place in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, from September 26th to 28th.

Guided by world-renowned authors and change leaders Peter Block, Juanita Brown, Dawna Markova, Peter Senge and Margaret Wheatley, Connecting for Change engaged an invited group of business, social sector, and philanthropic leaders to learn with and from each other about how we can create new and advance existing cross-sector collaborations in service of addressing the most pressing issues of our time.

The Dialogue, which was part of the Vancouver Peace Summit: Nobel Laureates in Dialogue, provided a rare opportunity for this group of invited participants to meet privately with a group of distinguished international leaders and award recipients. Connecting for Change participants also attended several of the public Peace Summit events, which included an unprecedented line-up of highly respected luminaries and leaders from the realms of the arts, entertainment, social change, conservation, politics, education, business and other sectors.

To the Participants – What happens next?

Build on the momentum following Connecting for Change 2009 by bringing the dialogue back to your communities.

1. Host a Dinner Dialogue

Invite a group of people who may not otherwise meet together for an evening of community and dialogue. There are three basic ingredients – Come Hungry, Add in a Recipe for Change, Create a Question – and see what emerges. Find out more.

2. Join the Connecting for Change Group on LinkedIn to:

  • Continue the dialogue
  • Build and broaden connections
  • Showcase opportunities for collaboration
  • Ask questions and share insights
  • Make public your commitments and share your journey
  • Keep updated on Connecting for Change happenings

3. Share Stories

We learn, grow and connect through the collective power of storytelling. Share your stories of what has emerged for you as a result of the Dialogue and the connections that have been made. You can share them through the Linkedin group or on the Reflections page by sending us your photos, stories and insights. Participants are sending us their newsletters and articles, these are being posted on the Resources page.