- Idealist.org Community Action Center
- Proposed agenda for Imagine meetings
- Planning Effective Meetings This downloadable workshop from Idealist on Campus provides a basic overview for how to plan a structured and effective meeting.
- How to Organize Community Meetings This resource from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Community Development outlines suggestions for developing an agenda, forming a committee, increasing attendance, and organizing a follow-up meeting.
- What to Do Before a Meeting A large part of what makes a meeting successful occurs in the preparation phase. The Academic Leadership Support Program through the University of Wisconsin-Madison provides this guide to the most important aspects of the planning phase including clarifying your aims, creating an agenda, and circulating information to your members before the meeting.
- Student Organizing: Planning This excerpt from the Amnesty International Guide to Student Activism, available on the Physicians for Human Rights website outlines the step-by-step process involved in planning a meeting. Although primarily geared towards students, its suggestions can be applied to any group coordinating a meeting.
- Public Conversations Project Dialogue Tool Box The Public Conversations Project offers this resource to help you develop more constructive ways for communicating and relating with group members. This resource focuses more on dialogue surrounding controversial issues, and as a method of resolving conflict.
Why are we meeting?Edit
- First, to connect with others who want to help build this network, and to talk about how we can create more connections between people, ideas, and resources in our neighborhood, village, school, or workplace.
- More specifically: What would make it easier for more people to get involved in your community? What missed opportunities for action and collaboration do you see around you? How can you address some of them now? What are the challenges? How do we reach more people and organizations?
- By discussing these questions with a similar agenda in as many places as possible, and collecting stories, photos, and ideas from each meeting and sharing them on Idealist, we can all benefit from one another's experience and point of view.
- Lastly, but maybe most importantly in this initial phase, these meetings will allow us to see and to feel that we are not alone—that all over the world there are people who share similar values, dreams, and challenges, and who want to work together to build a better world for everyone.
"If all of us had more opportunities to connect and work together, online and face-to-face, in neighborhoods, villages, schools, and workplaces, the world would be a different place."
- Introductions: Who is here?
- Who is in the room and what brought them here? Depending on how many people are there, you can decide how much each person should say.
- It might be good to start from the big picture: We all want to help build a world where all people can live free and dignified lives, where any person who wants to help another can do so, and where no opportunities for action and collaboration are missed or wasted. And we want to get closer to these goals by helping connect people, ideas, and resources in any way we can.
- What's the situation now? Where are we starting from?
- In terms of opportunities for action, connection, and collaboration, where are we now? How easy is it for people in the community (or school or workplace) to connect around shared interests or concerns? What resources are available to help people who want to get involved but don't know where to start? What do people in the room see as the most urgent problems in the community?
- What are some steps we can take right now?
- Based on this initial assessment, what are some immediate steps we can take to make it easier for everyone in the community to connect around common issues and ideas? And at the same time, are there people in the room who share a specific interest and want to start working on a project together?
- Who else should be involved? How do we reach them?
- What are the best ways to reach more people who could be interested in this initiative?
- Some practical goals for the next few weeks
- What steps can we take between now and the next meeting? What can different people do?
- What is the best way to continue this conversation?
- When and where should we meet again?
- What did people think about the meeting?
- If you have some time left, consider letting people say how they felt about the meeting.
- Thank you all for coming!
What do we mean by a better world?Edit
We want to live in a world where all people can live free and dignified lives, where any person who wants to help another can do so, and where no opportunities for action and collaboration are missed or wasted.
- All over the world there are many people who share similar values, dreams, and challenges.
- With all the tools we have now, we can communicate like never before.
- If all of us had more opportunities to connect and work together, online and face-to-face, in neighborhoods, villages, schools, and workplaces, the world would be a different place.
The challenge: so many missed connectionsEdit
There is a good chance that right now, on different floors of an apartment building somewhere in your country, two people are looking out their windows and wishing there were a garden or a playground below instead of a dirty lot. But acting alone can be difficult, and in many neighborhoods, both rich and poor, there is no way for people to know that they are not alone—that down the street, or two floors above or below them, there may be others who would gladly work with them if they only knew where or how to find them.
This sense of unrealized potential is one engine driving this project. The other is a conviction that working together across our differences we can do something about it.
The opportunity: we have so much in commonEdit
There are now many people all over the world who, regardless of language, religion, or politics, agree on the basic rules within which the human game should be played.
- Working with others, in a spirit of generosity and mutual respect, we want to help build a world where all people can live free and dignified lives.
- In pursuing this goal, we do not engage in violent or illegal action, or in any action against a person or group on the basis of race, origin, nationality, religion, language, gender, sexual orientation, or physical or mental ability.
- Most social and environmental problems have many possible solutions, and what works in one place might not work in another.
- Patience, empathy, and laughter often help.
How? Like stores and librariesEdit
Acting, thinking, and sharing are good words, but how can we all work together when each of us might approach things differently? How do we make the most of the skills, resources, and ideas that all of us have to offer, while accepting that we may not always agree on everything? To find this balance, and make as many connections as possible, we can borrow four principles from the worlds of stores and public libraries. These are:
- A broad goal: Libraries help people read more books; stores connect us with products we need (or not).
- As much choice as possible: Hundreds of novels; different kinds of products.
- A few rules: You return your books so that others can read them; you pay before you leave.
- Impartial service: Most librarians and shopkeepers don't force you to read the books they love or to buy the products they like, but they do support everyone's right to read and to choose
How can we make it easier for them to connect, first with each other, and then with any organizations that want to work with them? One way to do this would be to have a Community Point in every neighborhood and village. They could have a permanent physical location (at a local organization, school, community center, or house of worship, or in a coffee shop, store, or library), and use email and the web wherever possible as additional ways to serve their community. Or they could exist mainly online, and use a variety of places in the neighborhood for regular face-to-face meetings.
In any case, once a community point is set up it could gradually provide all of the following services:
- A meeting place, open all day or two hours a week, where you can come to exchange ideas, suggest and plan a project, give or take a class, find the resources you need to help yourself and others, or simply find someone to water your plants while you are on vacation.
- A new way for organizations of every kind to reach your community and work with you according to local needs and priorities.
- The opportunity to share ideas, information, and resources with people facing similar challenges in other communities, whether in the same city or on another continent.
- The intangible but crucial feeling that we are not alone—that in our neighborhood, and all over the world, there are others who understand and support what we are doing.
Applying these principles more widely
- School clubs
- Campus networks
- Workplace initiatives
- Joint promotional campaigns
- Community summits
We have in our hands everything we need to create a global network of people who want to build a better world, but to get there, we need to reach out, connect, and plug in. More specifically, here are some of the steps we can take to make this happen:
- Invite people and organizations all over the world to start building this network by signing up, reaching out to others, and shaping and following this story as it evolves.
- Meet face-to-face, wherever we are, to think and talk about how we can create more connections between people, ideas, and resources in our neighborhood, village, school, or workplace.
- Create local outreach teams of people who want to help make these connections wherever they live, work, or study.
- Go beyond the web by using different methods (flyers, posters, radio programs) to reach people who may not have access to the Internet.
- Try a variety of ideas—from community points to school clubs to community summits—and learn as we go.
- Do all this in as many languages as we can.
What you can do right nowEdit
- Attend or host a start-up meeting in your neighborhood, school, or workplace during the week of February 5-11
- Sign up for email alerts on new opportunities that match your interests and location, or to hear about new start-up meetings as soon as they are posted here.
- Invite other people to take part in this initiative. Think of everyone you know who might be interested, email friends and colleagues, and post a message on any online forum or mailing list where this would be appropriate.
- And most important, keep in touch.