THE JESUIT FORUM PROCESS

The Jesuit Forum engages people in deeper thinking and sharing on what’s going on in our globalized world, starting with their own experience.

SMALL GROUP FORUM

A Forum general starts with a shared light meal to create a friendly atmosphere. Indeed emphasis is put on people getting to know each other. People then move into a circle (or circles, if there are more than 14 people). The facilitator introduces the process. The topic may be directly related to a session in one of the Forum’s dialogue guides or an issue of Open Space. It might alternatively address the particular needs or focus of the group.

Participants are invited to listen to each other. A talking stick or microphone is used to put emphasis on the speaker. Everyone has a few minutes to speak, but one can pass.

A second round of sharing invites participants to add a comment or reflection on what someone in the group has said. Importance is therefore given to each person’s input. The idea being that topics come alive and are enriched by each person’s experience and the energy generated by the sharing.

Through active listening and dialogue, a small group builds trust. The hope is that this trust-building approach will counteract the growing privatization of peoples’ faith and deepest convictions. Rather, it fosters friendship, energy, enthusiasm and a deeper understanding of the world in which we live.

OUTCOMES

© Yann Arthus Bertrand

Tea picking,
Kericho region, Kenya (0°23’ S, 35°16’ E).

While tea is a hugely popular drink the world over, the tea industry is an example of commodity industries where workers struggle to have access to decent wages and living conditions that would cover some of their basic human rights such as housing, healthcare, access to water and education.

© Yann Arthus Bertrand

Field cultivation,
north of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India (26°22’ N – 73°02’ E).

Food sustainability has to be envisioned from “farm to fork”. Industrial agriculture is contributing to the depletion of natural resources and biodiversity loss at great speed. New agricultural models are needed to preserve the natural capital while feeding the planet’s population.

1

PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION

Participants generally say the process leads to a greater sense of belonging to a wider community of people seeking the common good and therefore less alone in their struggle to find meaning and effective ways of acting.

They also feel affirmed and receive new perspectives on their experience, enriched by the meaning they have uncovered for themselves and shared with others. They also express regaining a sense of agency and creativity.

2

GROUP GROWTH AND GREATER IMPACT

The groups which have journeyed together beyond one or two sessions say that commitment is gradually deepened. Participants express the desire to take on responsibilities or get involved in projects.

The process also builds trust and energy among a group in a way that makes it more effective in its mission. A group practicing the process regularly becomes able to consistently recognise and choose the path leading to a greater positive impact.

3

RENEWED VISION AND COMMITMENT

Participants usually leave a forum discussion enriched by the contribution of others and by what emerged from the group conversation. They may also feel empowered and hopeful about the possibility of bringing about change in the world through their life and with others.

Participants might feel inclined to adopt new attitudes or commitments, including a desire to live similar experiences of sharing and listening with others.

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