2010 North American Congress: an important milestone

The 2010 North American Economy of Communion congress took place from August 6-8 at Catholic University of America

2010 North American Congress: an important milestone

By Joan Duggan

For the first time, the North American EoC Congress was co-sponsored: the Catholic University of American in Washington, DC, partnered with the EoC association. It was a wonderful collaboration that brought together 60 people from across North America, as well as representatives from the Philippines and the Dominican Republic. Entrepreneurs, academics, teachers, students, young people and observers found a program rich with content for practitioners, for those interested in the management style of the EoC businesses, in methods of advancing the culture of an organization, in dialogue about the EoC and other models of social entrepreneurship.

The atmosphere of the meeting was wonderful, with meaningful dialogue, exchange of ideas, and exploration of how to address the challenges involved with the normal life of a business. Many of the first-time participants who came seeking a new form of entrepreneurship expressed that they discovered a culture of giving and unity that they want to deepen and make their own. There also was a depth to the level of understanding and in the life of EoC, which was apparent in a variety of ways:the experiences of life seemed to illustrate the kingdom of God; there was a richness in the presentations that indicated a growing level of local expertise; the workshops that proposed specific challenges resulted in very active participation by all; and the reflections led by the academics put us in front of the challenges of our times and the prophetic mission of the EoC.

This year’s meeting also addressed the beginning of a deeper reflection on the EoC and American culture. We reflected on the tremendous opportunities that American culture offers with regard to personal initiative and to entrepreneurship, as well as the need, at a cultural level, to overcome the strong emphasis on individualism and on personal heroism at the expense of seeing each person as part of a community and to focus on the common good. We discussed the contribution that the EOC can bring to our society.

One way to determine if a meeting has hit its mark is by the initiatives that come as a result. Some of these include: an entrepreneur who is going back to his clinic having decided to direct its activities along the line of the culture of giving; a young worker who met the spirituality two years ago has decided to take steps toward starting a farm based on the EoC; a professor of economics at one of the most prestigious schools of management plans to present the EoC to her students and learn more about the spirituality; another professor is exploring the possibility for collaboration with Sophia University; a businesswoman decided not to sell her company and to continue to develop it on the basis of the EoC; and professors from various universities have decidedto work together to bring the EoC forward here in the U.S. and on various fronts.

2010 will be a year to remember as a maturing point in the development of the EoC in North America. We look forward to seeing where the adventure leads!

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