Meadowlark Project |
About The Meadowlark Institute
The Meadowlark Institute was established in response to a world that is increasingly complex and fragmented, where true solutions and innovations lie not in one leader or one viewpoint, but in the bigger picture of our collective intelligence; where our greatest opportunity for a strong and positive future lies in using dialogic processes and social technologies that allow the collective potential and intelligence of people and groups to come forward. Its work centers on three core activities: increasing the individual and collective leadership capacity in rural regions to do relational, dialogic, and social change work; building a community of practitioners of social and organizational change; and actively sharing the learning about change processes that comes from this work in rural areas. A core belief of the Institute is that the necessary resources to solve our problems and create our futures are already present within us and the challenge is for us to work together to bring our individual and collective knowledge, intelligence, wisdom, creativity and inner courage into play.
The Meadowlark Institute is a resource and incubator for developing our collective capacity to do social, relational and organizational change in rural areas. It supports and mentors rural leaders through training and services to: conduct cross-institutional collaboration; address systemic issues within organizations, communities, or businesses such as racial, cultural, gender, generational, economic or other divides; and address conflicts based on habits, values or beliefs. It provides resources and support for prototyping collective social change initiatives. It provides intergenerational and intercultural transformational leadership learning experiences focused on developing our collective capacities to work together relationally; experiences that start from our inner resources – from the inside-out – from our individual and collective sources of wisdom, awareness and intention and yet remains in balance with our outer resources – from outside-in – from structural, technical solutions. The Institute works with a network of partner organizations and supports a community of practice of leaders from rural communities doing social, relational and organizational change who believe in the value of a balanced approach that begins from the inside-out and who will advance research and understanding of successful, sustainable systemic change. It also contributes to the literature regarding social change to increase our understanding of change processes.
The Meadowlark Institute serves as a testing ground for those seeking to find new, effective and healthy patterns for dialogue, organizing and innovating in order to create new forms that serve us better. It provides a practice ground for all who aspire to bring out the best in others. This work is based on the assumption and experience that human beings have enormous untapped wisdom, creativity and resilience. It supports and practices processes that produce learning, heal relationships, and creates shared commitment to wiser action, and other forms of learning and acting together. It creates conditions for people, organizations and communities to develop faster in this time of accelerating change and learn to work harmoniously and intelligently together, even across organizational and developmental boundaries.
Build the leadership capacity in rural areas to do organizational, community and social change through workshops, leadership development and learning journeys. The workshops focus on deep listening and dialogue tools that help participants operate more powerfully and effectively as part of rapidly changing systems of value creation. Available workshops and leadership development experiences include Art of Hosting, Open Space Technology, World café, Circle, Deep Democracy, Future Search, Theory U and Flowgame.
Support a community of practioners that are working in rural areas on social or organizational change or have leadership skills learned through personal development.
Support the New Roots Movement and its New Roots Leadership Academy (NRLA). New Roots Movement is a youth-led youth movement dedicated to helping young people achieve their identity and voice through education, personal leadership development and participating in youth-led intergenerational dialogues. NRLA is a leadership academy for intergenerational community teams in the Northern Great Plains states (ND, SD, NE, IA, MN). The purpose of the academy is twofold: First, to strengthen the leadership skills of youth and provide them with opportunities and ideas for active community participation and involvement; and second, to work with adults and communities to promote youth inclusiveness by accepting them as a valuable community asset. The Academy is a uniquely youth-led learning opportunity developed around intergenerational, community partnerships. It gives youth the chance to hone their leadership skills, while providing community leaders tips on how to work with youth and how to increase youth participation in their hometown. Through learning journeys, experiential workshops, speakers, and discussions, participants gain knowledge and skills that they will immediately use to design a project for implementation back home. The experience of the Academy won’t end at the close of the workshop; rather it will provide an opening to community partnerships and adults and youth working side by side in their home community.
Support the Learning Journey Network which organizes learning journeys around specific topics or issues that individuals from any place or background could choose to participate in. The Network is available to provide planning, facilitation or leadership to any group seeking to hold a learning journey for their community, organization, business or issue. It develops and delivers training workshop for facilitators so that local people have the capacity to lead learning journeys in their communities, businesses or organizations. Learning journeys are physical journeys from one place to another. They are also mental journeys, challenging participants’ preconceived notions and assumptions about current reality and possibility. A key distinction between a real learning journey and a typical “field trip” or “study tour” is created by bringing personal reflection and dialogue practices into the learning experience. Before any visit during a learning journey, participants take time to clarify their own intention and questions. Participants receive training in how to “suspend judgment” and listen both with an open mind and an open heart. After a visit they hear each other’s perspectives and through dialogue come to a deeper understanding and a more whole picture of what they have experienced together. They become aware of what others saw that they themselves may have been blind to, and discover the value of broadening our understanding of what it means to see.
Contribute to our learning about how to do inside-out personal leadership growth, collective leadership development, collective change or transformation and how dialogic processes impact social innovation including publishing journal articles in national journals such. These articles share learning from an Institute activity or from an Institute partner.
While there are many methods for analyzing and acting on the external factors of situations, there are very few initiatives in rural regions that recognize the importance of bringing the inner human condition into our personal, professional and leadership work to ensure a balanced approach to building healthy communities and organizations and the role of dialogic practices in doing this. The Meadowlark Institute is a long-term resource to rural regions for bringing a balance to leadership work on social and organizational change. It will help people connect to their collective interiors, the emotional, spiritual, and relational aspects of the situation, and to themselves as actors within it. By supporting a shift in thoughts and actions away from thinking of problems as something “out there” to be changed or fixed and to something “in here”, within each of us, and among us, social and organizational change work in the region will move from focusing on solo actions to collective work, from “I” to “we”. So together we can surface and operate from the deep source of our shared collective will. This is the long-term work of the Meadowlark Institute.
For additional information go to www.meadowlarkinstitute.org or www.ngplains.org
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