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Course: Radical Collaboration — An Introduction to Convergent Facilitation

with Paul Kahawatte and Verene Nicolas

confluence of rivers

This course is an in depth introduction to Convergent Facilitation—a powerful approach to facilitating collaborative decision making. It holds massive potential for those working to bring communities, stakeholders and movements together to address our most challenging problems.

Registrations will close on Feb 27th. Due to a high level of interest we have decided to close registrations a week before the start of the course. This will give us time to process all applications and finalise preparation for the course. Please sign up to our newsletter to receive announcements of future courses if you missed the deadline.

Where and When is it happening?

Where: Online on Zoom

Language: The course will be held in English. Small groups and additional practice sessions can happen in other languages.

Dates and times

If you cannot make all/some of the sessions there are options for participating anyway—more about that in the Register for Course form.




Questions? Reach out to us at mar24-intro-course@convergentfacilitation.org

What is Convergent Facilitation? & Why learn it?

We live in a time of multiple devastating crises and challenges—could we come together to find a way to turn things around?

Convergent Facilitation (CF) is a process for getting to a genuine agreement about how to move forward with any shared practical problem or disagreement. It’s particularly transformative with highly polarised issues, helping people find practical ways forward that address what really matters to everyone involved, in an efficient way. CF has helped people in a range of contexts around the world reach creative solutions to complex challenges, where no-one loses or is left behind. The principles of CF can enhance any kind of group facilitation and collaboration.

If you work with groups, organisations, communities or diverse stakeholders trying to make the world a better place, CF could make a big difference to your ability to:

  • Find what is important to everyone in a group in a way that brings a people together, even when that might seem impossible
  • Support a group to come up with creative ways of fulfilling all the needs people have for a solution, in a meaningful way
  • Check carefully for any concerns and actively engage with disagreement about any proposals or ideas, and respond by improving solutions until everyone can genuinely say yes to them
  • Engage with imbalances of power and group dynamics, facilitating real collaboration
  • Help groups move forwards in clear, effective ways

If you’d like to know more about Convergent Facilitation—how it works in practice, how it’s different to other approaches to collaborative decision making, and how it’s been applied in different contexts around the world, click the button below.




Where might you apply CF? & Who is this course for?

We are keen to offer this training to people who have a clear context to put their learning into practice, and in particular to people who are actively engaged in:

  • Participatory/Deliberative Democracy (e.g. People’s Assemblies, Citizen’s Assemblies, etc.)
  • Community Organising
  • Progressive Social Movements - trying to build a world that’s sustainable and works for all
  • Mediation, Conflict Resolution, Collaborative Facilitation, etc.

This course is designed for people who already have at least some basic training and/or experience with facilitating groups in some way. It might be that you have done this in an informal way in a group, project, organisation or community that you are part of, or your experience might be more formal. This course is not a general introduction to group facilitation, and will be assuming that participants have at least some familiarity with things like active listening and some basic principles of supporting a group - like the difference between content (e.g. what we’re talking about) and process (e.g. how we are talking about it together), an awareness of who is speaking more or less, etc.). We won’t cover all the areas that might be covered in a general introduction to facilitating groups, but we will touch and build on those foundations.

If you want to take part in the course but you’re not sure whether you would meet this requirement, please fill in the registration form and let us know what relevant experience and/or training you do have and we can figure it out from there.

What will the course involve?

This course will run over 4 weeks in March 2024, online. It will involve an exploration of the core principles and practices of Convergent Facilitation through input and demonstrations from Paul and Verene, space to ask questions, and a lot of practice and supportive coaching.

There will also be a second session each week focused on practice. We hope most people who take part in the course will engage in an ongoing practice group afterwards to really integrate and develop their learning.

The course will be run by Paul Kahawatte and Verene Nicolas, who are both leading practitioners of Convergent Facilitation.

Money?

This course is being offered using gift economy principles. This means that rather than you having to pay a price in order to access the course, we are offering it because we want more people to learn Convergent Facilitation no matter what money they have access to. And at the same time, we are asking you to give us what you can and want to, in order to help sustain us in doing this work. To find out more click on Register for Course above.

About Paul and Verene

Paul Kahawatte

Portrait Paul Kahawatte

Paul is a highly experienced mediator, facilitator and trainer, who has worked extensively in supporting people through conflict, collaborative decision making and the development of collaborative systems. Paul is one of the World’s leading practitioners of Convergent Facilitation, as well as mediation based in Nonviolent Communication (NVC). He draws on numerous other approaches in his work, including Restorative Circles, Aikido, Focusing, Relational Neuroscience and many others. He has worked doing mediation and facilitation in community and social movement contexts, as well as work in deliberative democracy, and has run trainings in the UK, Sri Lanka, USA, Bangladesh and several European Countries. Paul is leading this training.

Verene Nicolas

Portrait Verene Nicolas

Verene is an experienced facilitator and certified trainer in Nonviolent Communication. She has delivered training and facilitated group decisions in many grassroots contexts. Her immersion in the Nonviolent Global Liberation (NGL) community where CF is practiced daily gives her a deep grounding in the power of this approach to sustain ‘radical collaboration’ across differences of all sorts.

Verene will support Paul in designing and delivering this introductory course, as well as supporting participants in their learning journey. She and other members of the CF Holding Team within NGL will provide administrative and logistical support for the course.