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The Commons Cafe
for a 
New World
The January Initiative

.... Principles of the January Cafe Initiative... 


“Cafés for a New World” is sponsored by The Café Collaborative, a group of us who encourage dialog as a key element in evolving a transformed society.  Collaborators include:

The World Café
Commonway Institute
Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS)
New Road Map Foundation
Berkana Institute

However, local cafés are hosted by people like YOU, people who have a desire to create a world that works for all – one conversation at a time.


For the month of January, we are encouraging people all around the nation and the world to engage in conversations about our lives, our challenges and our future in the post September 11th world.

Meaningful conversations take place in a number of formats all around the country and all around the world.  In scores of cities, people will meet to connect, to heal, to learn from each other and to envision our future.  The Cafes for a New World is for people who believe that we can work to create a world that works for all.


For the month of January, we are encouraging the Cafés for the New World to take place between 15-31 January. 


Cafés for a New World are taking place in neighborhood cafés and restaurants, in organizations, in churches, in schools, and in homes across the nation and around the world. 


Since September 11th, Americans have been asking themselves, “What can I do?”  Reaching out to others, in heart-felt communion and communication, is something we all can do.

In the light of September 11th, we as a human community are facing new questions….  new questions without easy answers.   What beliefs and values do we hold most dear in this time of uncertainty and change? What deeper opportunities might this time make possible in our lives?  What can we each do personally to contribute to a life affirming future…. for our society and ourselves?

Throughout human history, the seeds of the future have been sown by small groups talking with others about questions that matter.    Now, more than ever we need to be in active conversation with others. No one can do it alone. We need to call on our collective intelligence to address the questions that are critical to our common future. 


The World Café process has identified five umbrella, overarching principles that guide the café process:

1. Creating hospitable space
2. Framing and discovering questions that matter
3. Connecting diverse people and ideas – the more difference, the better outcome
4. Listening together for patterns and insights
5. Making collective intelligence visible to each other, the group and ourselves.
6. Encourage each person's contribution.
These principles will guide us as we execute our January Initiative.

In addition, we are trying to design the January Cafés to be:

1. Simple
2. Self-organizing and self-managing
3. Easy to monitor
Our goal is to make our collective intelligence visible to ourselves and each other on a larger and larger scale.  Through something as seemingly simple as Commons Cafés, we re-discover that conversation, community, and committed action are part of our natural human heritage. We re-discover that even in the most precarious of times, we can make the choice to create a life-affirming legacy for our children and our grandchildren as part of a world that works for all. 

To facilitate the New World Cafés, the Café Collaborative will provide:

· Café Guidelines and Checklists
· Café Hosts Registration
· Café Questions (people around the nation and the world pondering similar themes, questions and issues)
· Frameworks for dialogs (local, national and international)
· Limited networking
· Logistical considerations
· Compilation of responses
· Compilation of evaluations


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