Our Story

We invite you to share in an emergent conversation about healing and reconciliation. Our story began with curiosity around a simple observation: Very different disciplines - art, contemplative practice, peacebuilding, social and neurosciences share a common interest in compassion, creativity and spirituality.

We started with the proper academic approach - we read books and articles written about these themes from the five different disciplines (See the annotated bibliography).  Our curiosity grew.  With the help of the Fetzer Institute we sought to actively bring interesting representatives of these disciplines into a conversational retreat.  We did not pursue scholarly presentations but rather the narrative of their lives, practices and views.  How do improbable conversation partners from very diverse professional lenses understand the contours and significance of compassion, creativity and spirituality in reference to challenging topics of healing and reconciliation? 

We listened to poets and musicians, contemplatives and neuroscientists, therapists and peacebuilders.  We cried.  We laughed.  We had insights that pushed out deeper questions.  At the end of the retreat we proposed to capture a few of the stories and experiences by way of a digital storytelling process.  A year later, we share these stories with you, inviting your response and participation.  Our most significant local and global challenges require a capacity to nurture and draw from the wellsprings of compassion, creativity and spirituality that incite the moral imagination.

John Paul Lederach and Scott Appleby

Join this group of poets, neuroscientists, musicians, contemplatives and peacebuilders in a creative exploration of the roots of compassion.