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The first iACTivist: A Mindful Humanitarian Pathway Retreat

“An inspiring and educational weekend that helped me truly understand the complexities of humanitarian work and the urgent need to disrupt and transform the current system.”  

In November 2019, more than 25 people gathered at a home in Redondo Beach, CA as part of the first-ever, three-day iACTivist: A Mindful Humanitarian Pathway retreat. Although the idea for this training was born years ago, it was more recently supported as part of iACT’s evolution to ignite systems change in humanitarian work and as part of the Pathways for Peace Collaborative. 

iACT has always done things differently. This training formalized iACT’s practiced approach to listen first, create solutions together, and never forget the human being in front of us by focusing on cultivating the intangibles that have made our work different, special, and successful. When we embarked on creating this training, we asked ourselves “What are the qualities of character that we want iACTivists to have?” We can, of course, provide concrete trainings around developing skills or knowledge of a subject area, but it is in the approach of the application of these skills and knowledge that makes iACT different. What we settled on was this: iACTivists are curious, creative, comfortable with uncertainty (not to be confused with unprepared), flexible, and practice relational attunement. This last one surfaced through conversations with Trudy Goodman, founding teacher of InsightLA, iACT advisor, and a mindful humanitarian who has traveled to Chad with us. Relational attunement is the practice of listening, being present and in partnership with the person and community in front of you, and then, from there, beginning to co-create what might come next.