Convening to Flourish | by Jonathan A. Moody

Convening to Flourish

When was the last time being with a group of other individuals inspired you?  Was it a conference?  At Church?  On the golf course?

PovertyCure values local knowledge. We’d even go so far as to assert that the best way to solve problems is to connect people and ideas in conversations that apply to a local context.

This is why the “freedom of assembly” has intrinsic social value. Societies that don’t enjoy this basic liberty suffer from more than unfulfilled community potential. If people can’t gather and communicate their thoughts on a problem, it’s simply harder to do anything useful about it. Many of us take for granted the ability to convene around what we believe in, whether it’s our faith or our support for principles of freedom and entrepreneurship.

I’m writing this bog post while in Accra, Ghana, where I’m thrilled to convene with leaders in in business, entrepreneurship, academics and the church.  This week I’m at the Africa Liberty Forum – a fantastic conference cohosted by the Atlas Network and IMANI.  Among other things, I’ll get to take part in the Ghanian premier of Poverty, Inc. and co-host dynamic discussions on how the ideas in that tremendous documentary can be applied by development organizations and businesses on the local level. It’s powerful stuff – these are moments that can change the course of communities all over this amazing continent.

The good news is that you don’t need a plane ticket to Africa to be part of the conversation. You can pick up a copy of Poverty Inc. on Amazon.com, the iTunes store, and soon it’ll even be on Netflix!  You can convene your own “think tank” with your own circle of influence – and we’ve got some great tips on how to start right here: www.PovertyInc.org.

Next week I will join nearly 1,000 people from 60+ countries at Acton University – or as we like to call it, AU – in Grand Rapids, MI. Nearly 70 of the world’s foremost scholars in the fields of economics, theology, philosophy, sociology and much more, will be present. Attendees will gain a better understanding of the connection between their faith and economics. Many will leave with both charged hearts and changed minds.

In fact, I’m sure many of you will be there – please find me and say hello! If you’ve never been to AU, you may want to sign up now for next year. It always fills up fast – so it’s never too early to make plans. You can find out how to register here: www.university.acton.org.

It’s true that the digital age offers incredible opportunities to learn from almost anywhere. Still, there’s an invaluable benefit from interacting with others in-person. While Acton University boasts more than 200 different courses, for me the greatest inspiration comes from hanging out with the nearly 1,000 people from across the globe – all of whom want to see more humans in more places, flourish. I’m grateful for the example the Acton Institute sets.  They put their money where their mouth is and gather individuals from around the world to connect, in person, around the truth.

We recognize that the global movement around free and virtuous societies and enterprise solutions to poverty requires individuals to connect, share local knowledge and agree on ways to make an even greater impact. So, this year PovertyCure will to convene a special series of breakout sessions that will include guest speakers Bob Lupton, Magatte Wade, Joel Hammernick, and Chris Horst.  And we’re blessed to scholarship 35 PovertyCure Fellows from 4 different countries 17 American states.

And we want to hear from you!  Please share in the comments below – what gatherings have inspired you?  What problems are you helping to solve in your community?  Will you be at AU? Let us know!

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Jonathan A. Moody is the Managing Director of PovertyCure, an Acton Institute Initiative.  

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