NEWSLETTER Spring | 2022
LETTER FROM THE CENTER
Dear Global Community,
We continue to exist in extraordinary times of stress as we enter this Spring and next phase of the pandemic, with the Russia – Ukraine war threatening to destroy any hope of peace and recovery from the losses of the last two years. We have no doubt that we have to continue to grow compassionate systems awareness, and we cherish you for all your support and participation in the work. Thank you for your commitment and perseverance in these unsettling times. In this spirit of growth, there are two exciting and promising prospects that we’re giving most of our attention to, which we would like to share more broadly with our community. The first is the formal establishment of a new lab at MIT, The System Awareness Lab, with Peter and Mette as co-founders and co-directors. And the second is the transition to the next stage of the work in California, where we are starting to dive much more deeply into several key sites around the state. This next stage of work we call the “California Compassionate Systems Lab”.
The California Compassionate Systems Lab is a process for engaging master practitioners and other key partners dedicated to this work in California. We are looking at what pressing issues partners in each site want to address, what they want to accomplish, and what some of the big questions are that will form the basis for the research. We are thinking about the capacity building practices we want to be offering for those different communities. We are, in effect, applying the systems change mandala to several sites around the state. At this point, with the help of our partners in California we are engaging in conversation with Humboldt County in northern California, Ventura County, Los Angeles County and The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence. Together, these sites represent a microcosm of sorts of the diversity of education settings in the state. Humboldt in the north-east is rural, with many small school districts, while Los Angeles is one of the largest districts in the state. In fact, the Los Angeles Unified School District is one of the three largest school districts in the United States with almost a million students and the LA County Office of Education is the largest county office of education in the state of California. Ventura County is interesting because it’s in between in size and has a very high percentage of Hispanic students. CCEE (California Collaborative for Educational Excellence) is an agency that collaborates with the Department of Education and provides support to a variety of districts around the state.
The Systems Awareness Lab is in the process of becoming established at MIT. We aspire to see this lab as a home for the “science of systems awareness”, of the rigorous study of what we are learning collectively around the world of the impact of the compassionate systems framework. At the same time, MIT is, of course, a wonderful vehicle for engaging with other scientists, researchers and practitioners who have not been involved in the work, thus far. We dream of a flourishing reflective research community, coming together to support compassionate systems change globally. In many ways, the primary reason for doing research is to create a larger impact, to communicate, to study what’s working and what’s not and to share tools, methods and approaches with ever greater precision and insight. We have wonderful, inspiring and insightful partners and colleagues at MIT who have had significant impact in areas like project based learning, the role of games and virtual and augmented reality in learning. And we are excited to see all the cross-pollination that is bound to occur, once we are able to host these diverse professionals in gatherings and seminars, at the new Lab.
There is much to be done this year, and we look forward to collaborating – directly and indirectly – with you all, as we move forward towards compassionate systems change. May we not lose sight of our purpose despite the heart-wrenching challenges of the current reality, as we continue to grow more generative social fields for all.
Mette and Peter and the Center for Systems Awareness team
In This Month’s Issue:
Holding Space and guiding Contemplative Practice – by Suchitra Sarda
Compassionate Systems work with young people – by the Youth Leadership Team
See update >>
Our first in-person 3-day workshop in two years!
Peter Senge and Mette Boell with leaders of Special Education Local Plan Area – SELPA in San Diego, California on March 21, 2022.