Asambleas Ciudadanos


the Citizens' Assembly in the Southern Cone



Methodological school for the Iquique Assembly of November 2010

Translations : Español . français . English

We’re going far in order to learn about where we come from and where we want to get to...

Here is a brief report of our recent Methodological School for our Assembly at Iquique in November, to promote its main implications and teachings, as a conceptualization of the methods as collective ways to build something common, for which we need to have everyone’s active support.

With a team of 12 friends from our four countries of the Southern Cone, we had our Methodological School in Santiago de Chile for the Assembly at Iquique on November 5-7.

The space where the School developed its activities was the Working Room of the Citizen’s Office of Migrants, an organization that is part of the Citizens’ Assembly of the Southern Cone Network, located in the city center. We enjoyed the complete hospitality of our friends from the Office and had a good multimedia team to help us with the videos, PPTs, boards, etc.

The joint work, the profound – and, at times, decisive - debates, the meals, the group recreation and interculturality, all allowed for the cohesion of the team within a fraternal ambiance. It was an intense day: this meant working on Saturday and Sunday, September 4 and 5, from 9:30 a.m. till 6:30 p.m. Its main objective was to have a group of friends which could guarantee an optimal record, systematization and feedback of the contents, reflections, ideas and proposals that come from the 300 citizens who will enliven the Assembly at Iquique in November, through all the activities.

The School was part of the process of creation, testing and reflection of the methods that we have been developing since the very beginning of the Assembly process and even before that, if we take into account our friends’ long experiences and reflections on this sphere. The work included the group reflection upon the input sent, the open collective debate, the knowledge of the Assembly process and the draft of the program for the activities in Iquique in November and, most importantly, a full methodological essay including all the stages and possible problems.

Main agreements reached

1.  The role of the methodology team is:

  • a)  To facilitate, as much as possible, a plural expression which will include all participants, with respect to discrepancies, different positions, interests, degrees of formal education, knowledge and so on.
  • b)  To collect and truthfully record those expressions.
  • c)   To systematize, synthetically and usefully, that flow of expressions.
  • d)   To provide timely, comprehensible and useful feedback to those who generated the activities, workshops and plenary sessions.
  • e)    To value and collect the differences (which are not uneven, but rather horizontal) to build something in common: the common-unity; a permanent source of challenge and tension.
  • f)     To sustain the process until the final synthesis of a Charter of the Citizens from the Southern Cone: Which Southern Cone do we want?

(of course, there surely will be plenty of other results and concrete products within the various thematic axes).   

2. The success in achieving these goals depends, on the one hand, on what the methodological team has to do and on their doing it well, for which we created this essential school; and, on the other, on all the responsible instances of the Assembly, as a process prior to Iquique in November, doing what they are supposed to well: the general Coordination, the countries coordinators, the thematic axes coordinators, etc.

3.  We have already begun a process prior to the Assembly in November at Iquique, by promoting this methodological school process, its input and so on. We support it by promoting this report and the future input, debates and team agreements with all the Assembly. And, after the Assembly, we make a commitment to continue with the horizon of a “Network of popular methodologists” which helps the reflection, creation and citizen construction processes.

4.  Our main work materials will be the various ways to find – from difference and diversity – what is collective and common, both in the free time or cultural-recreational activities and each axis’ own activities, in the assembly workshops and plenary sessions. The main dynamics will be group work with equal intervention and conversation time and collective record by the very participants through synthesis flip charts. There will be only one final plenary session, a tradition in the Assembly. The format of the plenary sessions during the first two days will be that of interactive exchanges and showcases between all the workshops.

5.  Added to this, we will have notes from the methodological team and records in various forms: video, audio, photographs and documents of the activities, for which the following measures will be implemented: a) from now on, new friends and fraternal guests will be sought in each country to help with the methodology, thus joining and enlarging the team; b) a tight coordination with our friends from the Popular Communicators’ thematic axis will be established so as to get their records in writing and video as systematization input, for which a comrade fro that axis has become part of the methodological team. We will also suggest to the General Coordination the implementation of the following measures: a) a search for a video camera to record each bus caravan to Iquique; b) the methodological team’s use of a space with Internet, a printer and a photocopy machine at Iquique. c) the authorization of all Assembly participants at Iquique to make photographic, audio, video and written records, on condition that they stay at the Popular Communicators’ team disposal to make them circulate and at the methodological team’s disposal as systematization input; d) the authorization of external press and media by the Coordinators; e) the beginning of a “Booklet of citizens’ initiatives and practices” where topics, initiatives and practices developed by the assembly’s participants may be recorded in detail, as they are important but, due to a question of time and space, cannot be included in the Assembly’s program and its thematic axes.

6. The articulation of the group work and plenary sessions which will be the common collective connecting thread with all the various activities of each thematic axis will be defined, as agreed by the methodological team and each thematic axis coordination, in the next few days. Let us not forget that what is key here is the will to build – from diversity – something in common: before searching, we need to ask for more and more; wisdom lies on surrendering and including, rather than imposing what we deem important; generosity means to give something up rather than demand others to do what I should do.

7. Finally, we need to see the methods as deeply political and ethical, rather than just technical. Being a good listener is key; it is more important than trying to be heard. “We have a mouth and two ears, thus nature knows that we should listen twice as much as we should speak”. Respect towards what other people have to say is fundamental: disqualifications, arrogance and pride have no room here. “Words are sacred”.              

Towards Iquique, a territory of Peace and integration in a Citizens’ Assembly state...







the Southern Cone Assembly ont the web

Visit the webpage of the Assembly : and the different blogs linked to its initiatives : the General Blog of the Argentinan team in Córdoba, the Blog of the revue Pensamiento Propio, the blog de la Regional Integration Chair.

Pictures of the 2009 women's meetings

Have a look at the pictures of the women’s meetings held in September and November 2009


Warning: touch() [function.touch]: Utime failed: Operation not permitted in /var/www/ on line 82