Navigation Menu

Collaborative Networking

Bringing Spirit and Methods to Transformative Ventures

Welcome to the Collaborative Networking Collection!

The programs and projects in this section are descriptive of some of the Institutes’ collaborative, networking efforts. They showcase effective ways people have moved forward together in desired, common directions. Social networking is a way to establish issue-specific alliances and strengthen support for future action plans; it is an essential component of social interchange and the creation of strong new images and defined outcomes.  The Institute teams and representatives bring the Spirit of “Can Do” and the Methods of “Together” to any collection of groups and organizations.

The work of the Ecumenical Institute and the Institute of Cultural Affairs has always been grounded in the assumption that information exchange and dialogue among individuals and groups is essential to establishing effective new directions forward.  Throughout their history, all of their community programs including the International Exposition of Rural Development, the many Human Development Project Consultations, Community Forums and Town Meetings, and the Local Church Projects were demonstrations of inclusive participation from the various participant populations.  Such conversations assure that future plans represent the perspectives of the various stakeholders and individuals gathered and in so doing, foster motivated implementation.

“An often-repeated phrase is “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” points to a truth: social change occurs when creative people connect and act with each other in a concerted effort. While this is not a unique insight, the power of making connections is an important guiding principle behind ICA activities. As an organization interested in catalyzing creative action beyond itself, ICA connects those who share values and interests. ICA transcends narrow perspectives of any particular group by focusing on universal concerns that are common to all. This was reflected by the word “ecumenical” in its original name and remains an important piece of ICA’s work now. Respecting, honoring, and ensuring diversity, be it of an interfaith or cross-cultural nature, are underlying principles of ICA as it goes about connecting people. It is by identifying and connecting the creative community initiatives of ordinary people that new ideas, practices, confidence, and commitment are successfully nurtured and developed. This is the nuts and bolts of movement building.” ICA’s Organizational Wisdom – Terry Bergdall

The 1984 International Exposition of Rural Development (IERD) was the first of a series of eight quadrennial conferences organized by ICA International.  These assemblies drew on the Institute’s experience of annual research assemblies held during the previous decade.

Accelerating grassroots sustainability initiatives throughout Chicago’s 77 community areas.

Gatherin residents to create shared, place-based climate action.

Emerging Ecology Logo (2020)

Community based collaborative projects in diverse settings promoting contemporary world views and demonstrating practical local solutions.

Ecological living in the new world

The Compassionate Civilization Collaborative (C3) and the Movement of Movements (MoM)

Other examples:

  • In 2019, Kaira Lingo Jewel wrote from Sri Lanka about her Deep Time Walk (and app) as a way to honor climate change events.
  • The Universe Story Walk at Stover’s Sojourn offers an on-going way to tell the 14-Billion Year Story of the Universe, the context for all collaboration and cooperation.  A Universe Story Guidebook is available for download.

This collection is being curated by F. Nelson Stover on behalf of the ICA’s Social Research Center.  Contact Nelson by email for questions about the material presented here and to report corrections and to recommend additions.