About the Symposium
The Changing the Dream Symposium, presented by Be The Change, is a groundbreaking not-for-profit initiative designed as a response to the urgent call of the Amazon Achuar people to "change the dream" of the modern world.
Through dynamic group interactions, leading edge information, and inspiring multimedia, participants of this one-day event are inspired to reconnect with their deep concern for our world, and are empowered to make a difference.
Designed with the collaboration of some of the finest scientific, indigenous and activist minds in the world, the Symposium explores the current state of our planet from a new perspective, and connects participants with a powerful global movement to reclaim our future.
If you are ready to be disturbed, inspired and moved to action, and to be introduced to a thriving community of committed cohorts, then join us in exploring the most critical concerns of our times, and discover new opportunities to make a real difference in accelerating the emergence of an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on this planet!
"There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo
What happens in the Symposium?
Rather than looking at the global situation from a space of panic and exasperation, the Changing the Dream Symposium chooses a different approach rooted in a statement of what is possible for the future. While the Symposium presents a comprehensive overview of the current problems and challenges we face, including burning issues such as poverty and climate change, it also seeks to:
- gently guide participants past their despair, anger and fear into a place of understanding and empowerment, from where they can actually activate and implement solutions;
- examine the fundamental cultural patterns that brought us to this point of planetary emergency;
- introduce an emerging paradigm based on ancient indigenous wisdom and modern quantum physics that sees life as interconnected and precious;
- connect participants with a growing worldwide movement based on this emerging paradigm that is bringing about sweeping changes at a grassroots level all around the world;
- leave participants with new, like-hearted companions who are as passionate and empowered as they are, and with whom they can work to build powerful solutions to the crisis.
This heartfelt event tackles issues of environmental sustainability and social justice in a comprehensive, profound, and uniquely inspirational way. Participants come to terms with the nature of our times and our place in the world, and leave in a space of hope and commitment.
The Symposium is motivated by a desire to open an inquiry for the participants, engaging with "where we are", "how we got here" and "what we can do about it", without blame, anger, or agendas - allowing the insight and commitment of participants to emerge.
The programme emphasises that individual actions are no longer sufficient to achieve the changes that need to be made: transforming the aspirations our society has for itself will be accomplished by committed individuals working in concert with one another, tens of millions of us, each willing to think and act in a whole new way.
Much of the Symposium is inspired by the worldview of indigenous people, and by how we might merge the best of that wisdom with the best parts of our modern scientific and technological knowledge to create a new vision for the world.
The ultimate purpose of the Symposium is to bring forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on this planet, as the guiding principle of our times.
- Report on the current state of our planet.
- Reveal the assumptions underlying our current global paradigm.
- Discover the emergence of an inspiring new activated world.
- Generate principles and ideas for promoting the emerging global paradigm.
- Propose alternatives and actions individuals and leaders can take.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead
Origins: The Pachamama Alliance
The Pachamama Alliance is a not-for-profit organization based in the U.S. that was born out of a relationship developed between a group of people from the modern world and the leaders of several remote indigenous groups in the Amazon rainforest basin. This relationship was actually initiated by the indigenous elders and shamans themselves who, of their deep concern for the growing threat to their ancient way of life, and their recognition that the roots of this threat lay far beyond their rainforest home, actively sought the partnership of committed individuals living in the modern world.
These tribes chose to engage with the Western world on their own terms, choosing for themselves the ways in which they'd like to change; the results of that partnership are widely considered one of the most successful achievements by a tribal association in South America. It is an alliance rooted in an exchange: they receive empowering skills and resources while providing invaluable wisdom and guidance.
Conception and expansion
The creation of the Symposium came out of the compelling request of those indigenous leaders to "change the dream" of our modern industrial culture, to "awaken from the consumer trance and restore harmony with Mother Earth". The programme was first developed by The Pachamama Alliance in early 2005 under the title Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream.
Since then, more than 450 facilitators have been trained worldwide, offering symposiums in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Indonesia, Holland, and Australia. In the United Kingdom, it has adopted the title Change the Dream under the auspice of Be The Change, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to inspiring ordinary people to take responsibility for our shared global future.
Almost 10,000 people (and counting) have participated in symposiums globally, and over 900 people have participated in Australian symposiums since October 2006. Our global vision for the next five years is to train thousands of Symposium leaders who will touch millions of people with the Symposium's message of connection, possibility, community and committed action.
GaiaVic, a local, project-based, not-for-profit organisation in Victoria dedicated to sustainability, brought this initiative to Australian shores in late 2006. The inaugural Australian Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream Symposium was held in Melbourne on 28 October 2006, and the Sydney launch on 11 November 2006.
At the end of January 2007, 28 people were trained as Symposium facilitators and organisers at the first six-day residential leader development retreat in Australia, signalling the beginning of the initiative's expansion in Australia. These facilitators are presenting symposiums in metropolitan and regional areas in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, and the number of facilitators is growing, with Leadership Development & Accreditation Residentials being held a few times a year.
Since April 2007, the Symposium has been renamed Changing the Dream under the auspice of Be The Change Australia.
"The [Changing the Dream] Symposium is designed to accelerate the Great Turning to a just and sustainable world. It awakens us and reconnects us with our place in the web of life . . . I'm very impressed with the approach and the quality of the programme." - Joanna Macy, renowned environmental Buddhist activist and author