WPIT - World Peace through Inclusive Transformation
A Summary of Who We Are
November 6, 2010
WPIT – World Peace through Inclusive Transformation
WPIT is a commitment to have people around the globe understand differences and develop skills so that peace is available to all. The sustainability of world peace will emerge when enough communities appreciate diversity as an asset and have the skills to build personal and social value from interacting effectively with differences.
In society, we often look at diversity as a source of problems – things to be fixed like gang conflicts or situations to be managed like sustaining mixed income neighbourhoods. We rarely look at diversity as a source of opportunity for everybody, except in relatively minimal ways like encouraging “ethnic” restaurants, funding mixed heritage cultural experiences or subsidizing an “alterative” movie industry.
If you ask a typical person how they would describe the community they are part of they would likely say it is a group of people who do the same thing – like my bridge club, or believe the same thing – like my church, or are attached geographically to the same place – my town. People haven’t been taught to look at how diversity is essential to community and every kind of interaction.
If we weren’t different from each other we wouldn’t have the need or capacity to interact. It is not just that interaction would be boring or useless. It would not be possible! It is differences that allow for the capacity to communicate. This is just one of the powerful gifts of diversity.
THE WPIT MISSION
Our mission is to have the concept of Giftedness appreciated everywhere. In addition we aim to have all peoples have the capacity to benefit from diversity so as to have social and economic abundance. This in turn will bring peace to communities everywhere – in other words – world peace.
A gift is anything that you are, have or do which creates an opportunity for you to interact with someone else. Under favourable circumstances such interactions can then be built into sustainable relationships and social and economical opportunities.
Any difference is potentially a gift. If someone has black hair and they discover that some people have red hair, it may become for them an opportunity to dye their tresses. Out of many people acting to fulfill this desire an entire hairstyling industry can be built.
The diversities that get labelled as dangerous, awkward, socially incorrect and disabling, are also fundamentally simply differences and therefore potentially gifts.
In the Giftedness approach, the work of Inclusion is simply to create the circumstances under which people will see their differences as opportunities for each other and know how to fulfill these opportunities.
Interestingly and importantly, when people adopt a Gifted perspective they also become more peaceful. This is simply because they have developed the skills to be creative with diversity and they are also conscious of the social and economic benefits that are being made available. There is less impulse to fight and do harm when there is nothing to fear and everything to gain.
When the world has people experience the concept of Giftedness in everyday life the result will be Inclusion and this will foster peacefulness. This connection between Inclusion and peace is at the heart of what we stand for.
Integral to inclusion is the development of creative and unique social and economic opportunities in local communities. It is a fundamental part of our mission to have Inclusion experienced as a multidimensional set of interactions where creativity can be expressed and to foster sustainable social and economic experiments.
The BMX Model of Inclusion
One of WPIT’s key objectives is to research the BMX Model of Inclusion and to have it taught as a practical model for social and economical development.
We propose that three distinct states of Inclusion co-exist. Neither is better than the other, but often there is an emergent pull to move from one state to another. We are calling these states B, M, and X:
State B (Basic): Groups allow the presence of people with diverse characteristics. State B’s principal quality is that the includers share presence with diversity, but no other changes are anticipated or offered. The includers like their community as is, expect no major shifts, and the included are expected to adapt to the ways and means of the includers and to get along as best they can. Typically the included express gratitude for the opportunity and work hard to not cause difficulties.
State M (Mechanical): Includers recognize that the included are struggling to get along, and are willing to make “accommodations”. The included move beyond simply being grateful for the opportunity to coexist and begin to advocate for support. For example, service providers currently tend to segregate individuals with cognitive challenges and the professionalization of supporters tends to turn citizens into helpers and volunteers instead of friends and colleagues.
State X (Crossover): Both includers and the included recognize that another world is possible, one that benefits from the gifts and contributions available in the cultures, characteristics, and experiences of members of both the including and included groups. The perception fades that there are two sides and a distinct boundary.
Operationalizing the BMX Model:
State B (Basic) A teenager with autism and no speech is kept at the back of a regular classroom, with no attention paid to whether he is building friendships.
State M (Mechanical) All teenagers with “disability” labels are given opportunities to be in a homeroom for 1st period. The school has a resource room for tutoring, an “inclusive” lunchroom, and Special Olympics classes to replace regular gym.
State X (Crossover) Ninth grade students are invited to form a support circle with a teen who loves music, and who also has autism and no speech. Twenty-three students respond. They meet regularly and enthusiastically at different points in their day and week for the next four years. The teen who focuses the circle enjoys participating in the school band, gym and many more classes than anyone originally expected. The other teens express their appreciation at having an alternative to being “Nerds”, “Preps” or simply left out. The school administration notes a dramatic decrease in fights and vandalism.
The Peaceful Open Inclusive Spaces Alliance (POISA)
Another WPIT key objective is to see POISA projects grow communities locally and around the globe.
POISA arises from the experience that communities, work places, schools, etc. can become more peaceful when people of diverse backgrounds come together in ways that draw on diversity as a social asset rather than a liability, and where people are free and supported to create and shape their own activities. The future of POISA is to teach people that Inclusion makes peace possible, to foster the sustainable development of real examples of POISA and to have strategic buy-in around the world. People will come to expect their world to be made up of such spaces.
PEACEFUL Having the capacity to resolve conflict to the benefit of all concerned
OPEN Participants shape their own agendas and activities
INCLUSIVE Diversities among participants are welcome and drawn on as valuable resources
SPACES Locations, contexts, and rules and principles that give participants a safe and facilitative bounded area within which to generate their activities
ALLIANCE Agreements between organizations and individuals to work together to create and preserve a valued experience
On the ground POISA is a complex process of community development consisting of:
the development of a community’s principles of Open Space
supporting the community’s invitation process to become more diverse
capturing the learnings as the community becomes more peaceful
facilitating story telling that deepens the community’s ability to be diverse and peaceful
Judith Snow has done groundbreaking work throughout her life to have people notice and appreciate the contributions of people who are labelled disabled. She has travelled and taught that, rather than being problems to fix or hide, the differences we call disabilities create a context for relationship and community building and for greater social and economic sustainability. Over time she developed a storehouse of examples of peace making through Inclusion drawn from fields such as education, health care, community development and economics.
In the mid ‘90’s, Judith Snow realized that Inclusion of diversities, if they are appreciated as gifts and contributions, creates the context for people to become peaceful.
WPIT was born when Judith Snow, Gabor Podor, Erin Socall and Jason Wiles toured several states for seven months, speaking with and learning from others who were transforming fear of differences into passion to build social and economic sustainability.
At this time WPIT is conceived as an umbrella organization, seeding and guiding other initiatives and projects that look very different from each other, but which have the common -characteristics of being able to teach people and have them build from their differences in ways that foster sustainable relationships, abundance and peacefulness.
WPIT WORLD PEACE TOURS
In 2008, Judith Snow, Gabor Podor, Erin Socall and Jason Wiles began on an exploration throughout the United States and Canada. This 7 month journey took them deep into the heart of a learning and engagement experience. They worked together with many people who were creatively dealing with deep exclusion in their own lives. From the stories and experiences of the people met along the way, the BMX model of inclusion was developed.
This journey gave the evidence that peace really is available through Inclusion. To experience some of the stories for yourself, you can read the blog from the tour at http://peaceforinclusion.blogspot.com/
The World Peace Tour is scheduled to go back on the road in early 2011 officially launching WPIT’s 2011 projects and spreading Inclusion everywhere it goes. Locations on the current timeline range from Ontario, Minnesota, Georgia, New York and Arizona.
The fastest growing sector in the entertainment industry is video games, surpassing both movies and music combined in 2008, and just like movies and music, the themes in games do not always provide the players with the very best social messages. Imagine the power of fostering peace and reinforcing it through game play!
WPIT Games is a project to do just that. By creating a series of fun, Inclusion themed video games we are generating a community of online gamers who come to a website on a daily basis and are reinforced with themes of diversity and Giftedness. We are expecting that this learning will play out in the rest of their lives, giving gamers a background to act in more Inclusive ways.
We are in the process of creating an alliance with several game development companies for this project, both upstart companies and big businesses. In this way we can tap into the large audience that bigger developers can offer while working with new, unshaped game creators.
Our first project is on track to be released online in early 2011, in time to be entered as part of the 2011 Games 4 Change Festival in New York City.
COMMUNITY POT-LUCKS – A POISA PROJECT
As a step in building community at the Robert Cooke Housing Co-operative, we are providing space for the members to meet for the purposes of making visible the gifts of everyone in the co-op community—families and singles, young and old, vulnerable people; in other words—everyone. This will support the elements of a satisfying life for all co-op members.
The concept is that each floor comes together for pot-lucks (a meal where everyone brings something to share) so that the residents on every floor in the high-rise and the townhouses can share a space together for socializing. Along with the space—drinks, food and help in facilitating the evening for both adults and children are provided by the people on the floor.
The first pot-luck gathering took place on October 30th 2010 for everyone on the 8th Floor and it was a great success.
Robert Cooke Housing Co-operative operates under the assumption that in community people turn to one another. Everyone has something to give. Together, we operate out of 5 core principles:
1: Assets: Everyone has something to give;
2: Work: Building home and community is real, important work,
3: Reciprocity: Giving is stronger when it’s more than a one-way street,
4: Community: We’re stronger together, and
5: Respect: We deserve it from others – and we owe it to others.
We are making no claims to change anything. What we are doing is setting up a means for people who live in a neighbourhood to come together to tell their personal story. Anybody can throw a party or arrange a pot-luck.. It is the design of this gathering that sets this project apart and makes it a POISA project. The goal of POISA and this project is to develop a model of gathering that educates the participants to the power of Inclusion.
From the mid 90’s to 2010, one person’s (Judith Snow) realization that peace can be available through Inclusion has developed into an international collective of projects and activities. We have grown from discussion groups and celebrations into the beginnings of sustainable organization.
For this dream to stay alive, we must continue to put down deep roots into cultures everywhere, especially so that young people will see the opportunity and lend their energy and creativity to the work.
Now is the time for WPIT to emerge as “real”. This will happen as many people join the commitment and the efforts. The question that must be answered now is: “Are you – as an individual or a corporation – are you willing to build World Peace through Inclusion?” If so, please join us in whatever way makes sense to you.
Mike Skubic, 647-680-0990, firstname.lastname@example.org