On Friday and Saturday, 2-3 August 2024, Fielding Graduate University will host a World Café in The Netherlands as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of our university. This event is convened by President Katrina S. Rogers, PhD, and faculty member Fred Steier, PhD. Sergej van Middendorp, PhD (HOD’16) will host the event in the collaborative workspace shared by his community of creatives and entrepreneurs.

We are inviting Fielding students, faculty, alums, and friends who live and work in Europe, or in Europe at the time, or are willing to travel, to join us in this celebration.

Our celebratory World Café will take place on the De Horst estate in National Park Utrechtse Heuvelrug, close to the city of Utrecht, near Amsterdam. This green area is one of the few hilly places in The Netherlands, and the forests planted here in the 17th century provide a beautiful backdrop for our being together.

The World Café, as a dialogic form of meeting, has a long and storied history with us at Fielding. Juanita Brown, one of the founders of The World Café, continued her development of the World Café as the featured part of her dissertation at Fielding. Several of our faculty and alumni have also been involved in co-developing it further, helping to make clear the importance of The World Café as part of our participatory and generative tradition at Fielding.

As part of our celebration, our World Café intends to bring the wisdom of Fielding to the challenges present in our world today, which can be seen as a polycrisis. Appreciating the significance of the questions we ask, we might wonder what we have to offer in terms of knowledge, wisdom and hope in the face of such complex, dynamic, and ambiguous challenges? How do we each relate to diverse and yet interconnected aspects of the polycrisis? What are our personal experiences as they surface in our research and practice? How do we meet this moment, together?

Recognition of the importance of metaphor in design is also part of our tradition at Fielding, and to that end we offer several metaphors to help generate new possibilities. One is that of the community garden that is nourished on the estate using techniques of permaculture in which we try to recover the indigenous wisdom of growing food. Another is improvisation as an approach to meeting the moment with as much awareness as we can while performing action. We will formulate questions that we will talk about in our Café. And, of course, we will make space to enjoy the surroundings and the city of Utrecht.

The World Café two-day itinerary and reading materials are forthcoming. The accommodations and transportation recommendations are forthcoming. We will host a Zoom meeting in July to go over the details.

Contact Sergej van Middendorp with inquiries about the program at svanmiddendorp@email.fielding.edu.

To R.S.V.P. your attendance visit: https://alumni.fielding.edu/e/fielding-50th-anniversary-world-caf-in-the-netherlands/ or contact Development Manager Marlen Bautista at giving@fielding.edu or 805.898.4029

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