Regional planning... i snuck away for a minute
Well, it wasn't the smoothest, easiest consensus process I've ever witnessed but it was also a hell of a lot better than many I've been a part of, even (or maybe especially) with long-time experienced activists. And of course, it's a stubborn group of smart, driven people with strong ideas and personalities. The trainers and core SFT leaders tried to stay out of the way and let the group do it themselves. Dickyi and Dawa drew out suggestions from the assembled crew about a variety of topics deserving of more discussion, or skills that people wanted to spend a bit more time on. They skillfully facilitated a discussion that resulted in some ideas being consolidated into others and other topics being clarified.
Then the group voted to see what the top priorities were. It was carefully whittled down until we decided to spend an hour focused on the Olympics campaign - the worldwide drive to use the opportunity of the 2008 Beijing Olympics as a way to turn the spotlight on Tibet and push the Chinese government for change - and spend another hour on regional planning. In the end, it actually didn't take that long to bring the group of fifty hard-headed activists to agreement and we got down to business. Nice job y'all.
The Olympics brainstorm and discussion was excellent. Maybe someone else will write about it. Now, folks from SFT chapters and communities are in regional planning sessions talking abuot upcoming initiatives and how to increase our coordination, improve our communication etc. There's some good work getting done... which makes me think I better jump back into it.