It feels like ages ago since we said our goodbyes when the 2103 IEA conference was over. But it was only a few weeks ago!
When I think about those days we spent in Denver, a smile immediately shows on my face. Why? I can certainly mention the quality of the presentations, the wonderful venue and its surroundings, the friendliness of the hotel staff, and many other things. But what really stayed with me is the deeper sense of community I felt this year, and that many people brought to my attention.
This sense of community has been growing over the years, and there are some reasons for that. I will mention two that are the most visible to the IEA board:
First, the example that many of the main teachers are setting – the fact that David Daniels and Russ Hudson started teaching together has lead to people in general starting to take interest in the work that other teachers are doing, usually with curiosity and respect. Many teachers are attending other teachers’ sessions at global and especially regional conferences
Second, the IEA board has made huge efforts to increase fairness and professionalism in different areas – the main one being the Conference proposals selection process. In the past, many of the presentation slots were filled by invited presenters, which made it quite difficult for new or less-known professionals to get an opportunity to present. We changed the process and now only the IEA’s Founders have a guaranteed slot; everyone else needs to submit a proposal. All proposals were blind-reviewed by two readers (another recent change).
I’m sure there are other reasons, and we have all contributed to getting where we are. It is a joint effort, and I wholeheartedly invite you to continue down this path.
But although we are moving in the right direction, more professionals not only means growth of the community, but also more diversity of thought regarding different uses in and approaches to the model. This can be a wonderful thing, but I think that here is where we could continue to mature, understanding that we can only achieve that maturity by debating ideas, not criticizing people. There still seems to be a tendency to disqualify people when we don’t agree with them or feel a disagreement as an attack.
The funny thing is that we do disagree on many topics amongst ourselves, but we don’t always say so publicly. It’s as if we don’t know how to have an argument about ideas, so now is as good a time as any to learn! We are a community of ideas. Communities are like families – they may not always agree with each other but they are held together by a common bond. The best families, and the best communities, learn how to disagree and still show respect and cooperation for the good of the whole.
One of the things the IEA has done to continue to move in this direction and support the community is to upgrade Nine Points Magazine (www.ninepointsmagazine.org). This vehicle helps us to share and grow the knowledge about the Enneagram and at the same time foster a sense of community.
Nine Points is online, there is no due date to submit, but you can do it anytime, and we can all post comments, or send articles responding to other articles. Since the IEA provides a ‘big tent’ for the entire Enneagram community, we have deliberately kept the editorial policy as broad as possible, to encourage as many viewpoints as possible. And, before you ask, this means that the editor does not necessarily agree with all material published. We believe that this is needed in order to have a healthy exchange of ideas.
Our aim is not that we all end up thinking in the same way about the Enneagram theory, but that the ideas we use are more robust after they have been challenged and we have integrated other people’s point of view.
I invite you to write what you think, read what’s been published, comment on what you agree or disagree with and respond when you feel called to do so.
Let’s do it in a respectful way and have fun in the process!
María José Munita
President, IEA board of directors