Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Yesterday as I sat on my deck in a melancholic end-of-summer mood trying to zero in on a theme for this month’s Presidents Message an annoying yet important question crept into my mind and lingered: Why exactly am I ‘really’ involved with IAP2?
Sure an association of people committed to P2 that enables sharing, networking, learning and so on is obviously a good thing.
Of course an association that mobilizes P2 knowledge, does research on P2 themes, and builds awareness of the importance of P2 is sorely needed here and beyond.
Certainly an entity that creates diverse opportunities for members to build their skills is critically important if they are to effectively deal with complex and often nasty issues and challenges facing society. Indeed, the value of skilled professionals who can bring ‘snarling dogs’ together and even get them to collaborate harmoniously should not be underestimated (enter stage-left dog-juggling picture).
But do these reasons actually explain why I am ‘really‘ involved? Only partially. There is something bigger at play for me (and likely for many of you too). Something that has to do with a desire to strengthen participatory democracy, address a worrying and expanding democratic deficit, build ‘real’ open and progressive governments across our country, and create a more just society for all.
These goals cannot be met by any one individual working alone. They can only be met by a collective of people with common values and principles who trust and respect one another and who are willing to work hard together for change. IAP2 offers me such a space – one where I can think big, boldly imagine a more just and equitable future for us all, and take concrete steps to try and actually do something about our shared problems.
I am happy in this community that others have built and which I have somewhat belatedly joined. This is a good, solid, principled and needed entity. Hopefully, by working together, we will be able to articulate to leaders and decision-makers the critical need for high-quality P2 even when the economy is struggling and bottom-lines are heading in the wrong directions. Maybe as a broad and diverse community we will even be able to prevent the possible ‘rolling-back‘ of P2 that often accompanies economic downturns, tight-budgets and austerity agendas.
We need all hands on deck for the various storms ahead. I and my fellow Board and Chapter members will do our parts but we need you and others too. If you are already involved stay involved and tell your friends. If you are not yet involved, find us and tell us where you think you might want or like to plug in. There is certainly room for you in IAP2 Canada.
Hope to see you at the conference in Montreal!!