Building a Better World Conference Held June 2017

Sponsored by the AUNE’s Institute on Wellness and coordinated through AUNE’s Office of Centers, Institutes, and Projects, eighty-three participants gathered for three days for the first annual Building a Better World conference. The three-day transformative experience provided the opportunity to dialogue, share, and celebrate collective energy related to social justice while learning effective and sustainable ways to nurture and invigorate advocacy practices. The conference, organized by a cross-disciplinary committee at AUNE and facilitated by Tim Desmond, distinguished faculty of the Wellness Institute, was conceptualized to address the growing need for compassionate and sustainable advocacy to address the issues In today’s complex world.

The conference successfully addressed the committee’s mission of bringing people from diverse backgrounds together to offer a space to co-create tools for resolving conflicts, while maintaining hope and well-being in the face of intense political divisions in our country. With presentations such as The Decolonization of Identity by Dottie Morris, Ph.D., Participating In Democracy Through Deliberative Dialogue and Civic Engagement by Molly Kelly, JD, and Advocacy in an Intersectional World by Mason Dunn, JD, in addition to time for reflection and dialogue, the conference encouraged participants to incorporate mindfulness and compassionate practices into their important social and environmental justice efforts.

“Antioch is not only being recognized as a social justice institution, but as an important resource to so many who are struggling with how to maintain compassion and promote understanding with the important advocacy work needed today. The participants at the conference provided hope and connection as we continue to advocate for a better world!” – Cathy Lounsbury, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Core Faculty member, and member of the conference committee

Quotes from sessions:

“Loved the mindfulness practices, the energy and the room for self throughout the conference.”

“Rachel (Oblak) was inspiring, articulate and insightful. I truly learned so much from this session.”

“Tony (Ferraiolo) was an amazing speaker, very passionate and insightful. I was engaged for the duration of the presentations and wanted more! The book is beautiful and there should be more people like Tony in the world. His bravery in telling his story as well as all of his free services is truly amazing.”

MaiLinh Hartz Purple background with wavy lines

Bringing Unique Perspectives to Counseling

When MaiLinh Hartz, a master’s student in the Couple and Family Therapy program, was younger, people often said she had an old soul. “I was very introspective and had time to listen and absorb people’s stories and emotions,” she explains. It’s a common narrative heard among people who work in the mental health field that they were always, in some way, drawn to care. As a student, she is expanding what it means to take care of others—not just as a therapist, but as a peer. 

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