Pachamama Symposium Launches in Ecuador, Comes Full Circle

October 01, 2008 | By The Pachamama Alliance

Nearly 15 years after the indigenous people of the southern Amazon rainforest of Ecuador made a serious request to their allies in the global north to change the worldview or ‘dream’ of the modern world, the program designed for that purpose returned home in full force.

On September 13th, 2008 a committed group of 157 professors, politicos, indigenous leaders, activists and everyday citizens gathered in Quito for the first Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream Symposium delivered in Spanish in that country. The Symposium deeply resonated with participants, demonstrating once again that the message is global, rather than simply ‘American’.

The process of putting together this Quito Symposium served to galvanize the Spanish speaking Pachamama community throughout the Americas. In order to hold a Spanish language Symposium, all of the materials, including the extensive newly created video enhanced portions, had to be translated and subtitled. A heroic translation effort led by the committed NY-based Ecuadorian, Rocio Yanez, along with the newly formed Argentine facilitator group, led by Juana Pereyra and Ana Lia Alvarez, quickly turned around the comprehensive facilitators manual. Pachamama Co-founder, Lynne Twist, having spent this year in Quito was an amazing catalyst for this event. She helped secure a production company that accurately subtitled all the video segments and was a key force behind the invitation process. Also, Pachamama’s Ecuadorian operation, Fundacion Pachamama, particularly Director Belen Paez and Natalia Greene, enthusiastically took on this event, impeccably producing every element. The Symposium was facilitated by Juana Pereyra of Argentina, Pachamama Alliance Director, David Tucker, and Pachamama Alliance board member and Symposium designer/writer, Tracy Apple, who, in particular, did an extraordinary job at maintaining the message, integrity and essence of the Symposium beyond culture and language differences.

The interest in ongoing participation was very high. Nearly a third of all participants indicated that they wanted to be trained as a Symposium Facilitator and many people expressed interest in bringing the Symposium to their community and visiting their own country’s rainforest. The contingent of indigenous leaders present strongly approved of the Symposium and would like to bring it to the seven indigenous nations of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

To ensure that the Symposium had an ongoing Ecuadorian leadership core that could carry activities forward, a one day ‘mini’ Facilitator training was planned the day after the Symposium. With no prior notice, 14 committed people showed up to move this work ahead in their own country. Tracy Apple skillfully steeped them in the unique distinctions of the Symposium and created a solid foundation from which to spring from. A core leadership body did emerge indeed, and teams came together around creating a full 3-day Facilitator Training, upcoming Symposiums in Ecuador and creating Ecuadorian Symposium content.

The entire process was full of inspiration and possibility. It was a true home coming, and as a result, the distinct program areas of Pachamama’s work in the North and South are now merging into one.