Why does IDEC community need to meet every year?

Keeping the atmosphere of the conference informal and still holding the principles taut can be a balancing act for every IDEC... With a fortnight away, what do we think are the objectives for the event - The most important is that all those interested in Democratic Education, who are even a little bit curious, especially those from the region, need to participate to imbibe the atmosphere, the culture, take it into themselves perhaps and go back and share this with others, be it school, organisation or family.

We also need to value and validate the work being done in many, different ways in this region, tackling issues on the ground and keeping the spirit high.

The other objective could be that we expand the notion of a school or learning. It is not just within the four walls, it is not only academics. it is not just about pedagogy, its not just about children, its not just about participation. It is about having choices, it is about being flexible, its about being affectionate, its about being respectful, its about one's own 'personhood', manifesting itself in its many colours, its about relating to others in one's community, it is about being aware of one's surroundings, it is about living with courage, its about being a rasika, where you enjoy the flavours of everyday life and celebrate these...

To broaden the idea of democracy too, is important as we live and learn from one conference to another. Is it only about having meetings, important though they may be in having a practicing democracy? Could we look at taking the strands of democracy already there and strengthening them? Can we accept people as they are, not look down on or look up at anyone and definitely not by their colour, class, creed; and also not by one's own prejudices, however they got into us? Could we say that though there are no quick-fix solutions, this cannot be the escape route of not being rigorous in one's practices? Could we enquire and reflect together, without jumping to solution modes? Could we be firm about the paths not to be taken and to be taken? We may or may not reach the ocean; however, can we appreciate the many waters that make the ocean?

IDEC has nourished me, has helped me to be true, has given me the strength to appreciate others. Hope all of you, those who can be here and those who can't be here this time, receive and offer...

These may be random calls written past midnight by a night bird...
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