After this lunch I just sneaked into one of the sessions of the conference and happened to bump into Mr. Rob van Tulder again. I reported on his conference in Rotterdam in my previous blog. I was happy to note a lot more consideration of the need for different types of partnerships (so called tripartite partnerships - TPPs), getting close to the conceptualization of civil society as a space between three domains that I have continued to debate with Mr. van Tulder. Nevertheless, his triangle still corners civil society and puts knowledge institutions in the centre to solve 'wicket problems'.
Buddha entering the space
What I learned today is that this civil society space may not necessarily limit itself to facilitate negotiation (bringing different interests together in so called multi-stakeholder sessions), but increasingly shared space may be used to pursue shared visions for society. The space is not only there to sort out differences and interests but also to form partnerships. The lecture by van Tulder was preceeded by a Buddhist converted Catholic as he introduced himself Dr. Steve Wadell. He explained his conversion as an evolutionary step in reaching a bigger conscience. So proselitism is back on stage in academic development arena's.
Concepts and action
Mr. Wadell pointed to entrepreneurial action learning as an important ingredient of Global Action Networks, examplified by the Global Compact. Meaningful horizontal connections determine the depth of learning processes, and trust and participation takes over from representation and membership according to Wadell. I was just reminded of my recent joining of the Civil Society Politics group, in fact also a Global Action Network and wonder if I can make use of the principle and characteristics identified. I just hope NGO's and academics get out in the open and start doing it rather then having conceptual debates about it. Is such not exactly what action learning is all about?