Toward a Culture of Learning: A Strategic Vision
The Academy’s over-arching intent is large-scale culture change: the activation of a culture of learning through which new forms of education, leadership and organizational practice emerge and thrive. Our programs and services create the context for a deep and experiential inquiry into the personal and cultural values and practices underlying learning. In particular, we model and wish to bring into view what we see as fundamental purposes behind education: to lead out (educere, the latin root) and the activation of a lifelong impulse to learn and transform. Whether in our work with individuals, groups or organizations, our goal is to activate the re-imagination of learning and education in form and spirit, incorporating these intents. We are stepping out of the mind that created the current educational system, born out of the industrial revolution, and asking ourselves deeper questions about what we want most for our children and our world, as we go into the future.
In order to achieve culture change, our programs, services and research must be comprehensive and oriented toward a broad range of people who are key in the lives of children, including parents, teachers, policy makers, community leaders, and children themselves. In addition, we work with the growing wave of organizations, social entrepreneurs, and individuals who are active in, or preparing to enter, the work of cultural leadership and social transformation. The Academy’s work draws on a wide, multi-disciplinary spectrum of resources: educational philosophy and practice, the arts, transpersonal studies, contemplative traditions, earth-based wisdom, body-centered practices, psychotherapy, organizational consulting, and the wisdom distilled from personal experience.
The pace of our work may seem to run counter to the demands of our time. Urgent calls for action are vital forces of change and we must attend to them. But we must also recognize that actually to become the change we want to see in the world requires that we transform our selves, unlearning habitual ways of being so as not to recreate our current dilemmas in the future. We must slow down enough to inquire, to contemplate and to experience the subtleties of our true nature. For this reason, the work of the Academy is slow and deliberate. We hasten slowly, thus laying the ground for new expressions of our humanity, informed by compassion and a deep reverence for learning. We want our efforts to result in long-term, sustainable change. While each Academy program has its own distinct set of outcomes, the basic tenet within all the programs is that whatever our vocation or role in life, we are all leaders and it is who we are as human beings that is of greatest importance. In the Academy’s view, who we are as human beings is indicated by the depth of our engagement with and openness to life and ongoing learning, our self-awareness, and our capacity to be as fully awake as imaginable with one another. Therefore, our work is strongly experiential and calls forth a high degree of self-reflection, both individual and collective. This ground of deepening self-awareness provides the stability and freedom from which right action can grow.