On April 7-10, 2014, Convergence Board Members David Lipsky and Rich Korn, and Convergence President Rob Fersh will co-teach a 1-credit course entitled: “Collaborative Decision Making and Public Policy”. The course will be hosted by the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell, where David Lipsky is a faculty member.
The course will be based substantially, but not exclusively, on Convergence’s work. Students will learn how collaborative problem-solving approaches among affected stakeholder groups can complement the work of government processes to address problems at the local, state, regional, and national levels, and how to measure their success.
Board members Louise Phipps Senft and Jessica Dibb along with President Rob Fersh and therapist colleague Kathy Sirota, conducted a workshop at the 2014 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium in Washington, DC. The workshop, entitled “Problem-Solving Beyond the Consulting Room: Therapists as Activists in the Wider World”, explored how therapists can use their trust-building skills to address critical social issues in their communities and in the larger world while promoting collaborative problem solving and building positive alliances.
The Psychotherapy Networker is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to offering practical guidance, creative inspiration, and community support to therapists around the world. Since 1978, the Networker Symposium has hosted a unique annual conference highlighting the latest developments in psychotherapy. With a teaching faculty of 125 of the field’s best and brightest, the Symposium draws more than 3,000 mental health professionals to Washington, DC each year to take part in an array of learning opportunities.
Board member Louise Phipps Senft and her husband Bill Senft hosted a fundraising event for Convergence at their home in Baltimore on January 30, 2014. Rob Fersh and Aakif Ahmad spoke to the group of 30 about the collaborative actions that Convergence’s projects will make possible this year. Attendees got a taste of the Convergence process during small group discussions. Other Convergence leaders in attendance who described their passion for our mission were Jessica Dibb, Gay Legg, and Rita Walters.
Rob Fersh and Aakif Ahmad led a workshop titled “Forging Consensus on Difficult Issues.” Participants included mayors, state senators and delegates, city council leaders, and other elected local officials from around the United States. The NewDeal Leaders Conference brings together pro-growth progressives from around the country and is sponsored by Governor Martin O’Malley and Senator Mark Begich.
Aakif Ahmad attended an evening reception in Washington D.C. with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, and the state delegation. The event offered community members and leaders the opportunity to hear about the newly elected leader’s vision for the future of Pakistan.
Convergence staff intern Anum Fatima, along with Aakif Ahmad, presented on education in Pakistan to officials at the U.S. Department of State. They spoke about the critical impact NGO-based schools systems like The Citizen’s Foundation are having in providing access to quality education in under-resourced communities.
Convergence Project Director Julie Garel arranged for a private tour of the U.S. Capitol for Convergence staff and interns including an exclusive walk through the Chambers of the United States Senate.