The Practice of Peace:

Embracing Chaos, Confusion and Conflict
A Learning Expedition in Open Space

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2005 Conference

Peace in a World of Conflict: Moving Beyond What We Know
September 21, 2005 5:00pm – September 24, 2005 12:00 noon
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

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“… Peace of the sort that brings wholeness, harmony, and health to our lives only happens when chaos, confusion, and conflict are included and transcended.” --- Harrison Owen, Author and originator of Open Space

This stimulating and heartening three-day conference invites young people, adults, elders anyone with a life long passion or who is newly-interested in peace and justice issues to take part in open conversation, dialogue, and exploration. Experiences of peace and conflict included in the conference may have roots close to home or far across the globe, they may reside within ourselves or between neighbors and nations.

Inspired by outcomes from the first Practice of Peace Conference held in 2003, initiated by the Open Space Institute ( we invite you to join us to:

• Explore ideas, share insights, and create new projects and networks with participants and invited guests who are “opening space” for peace.
• Self-organize using “Open Space” for maximum learning, creativity, and synergy.
• Embrace the grief and joy integral to the search for peace and justice.
• Surface innovative ideas through co –creative methods.
• Unleash creative thinking, passion and commitment and locate other members in the learning community who share your interests.
• Learn to use methods in one’s own communities and organizations to promote and encourage peace and justice.

We are pleased that Harrison Owen and past participants of the earlier conference will be joining us, bringing their unique international perspective.

Open Space ( or is a self-organizing process that invites participants to initiate and convene sessions on topics that matter most to them and about which they feel impassioned. This exciting and transformative process creates an environment for innovation, problem solving, and community building. Experience “opening of the space” and the engagement and full energy of those present.

Our conference is located in the expansive and ever-changing landscape of New Mexico --- a place as diverse as the vision of this gathering. We will meet at Los Poblanos Inn and Cultural Center – a historic site in the beautiful North Valley of Albuquerque, NM. (,)

The fee of $200 covers conference fee and materials, welcoming reception, dinner, and all lunches. We have a deep commitment to making the “Practice of Peace” conference available to all people --- scholarships are available.

There is limited lodging on site; contact Los Poblanos directly if you want to arrange for accommodations (505-344-9297). Other lodging is readily available nearby in the northwest region of Albuquerque.

We encourage you to register as early as possible. The conference is limited to 100 people and we would like you to be able to join us!.

Sponsored by ProcessWorks, Wellspring Associates, and Global Abundance Alliance
Contacts: Kate Miller, ProcessWorks (505-867-2403)
Suzanne Maxwell, ProcessWorks (505-867-3942)

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Quotes from the depths of Open Space
Practice of Peace Conveners – Albuquerque, New Mexico
September 21-24, 2005

Each time I enter into an Open Space event I remember the possibilities, the wonder, and the magic of life lived to its fullest. The excitement of the union of Open Space and Practice of Peace is people who desire to learn, share, and be peace. I am one of many who stand as part of this congregation. My question is what will it require of me to live the peace I most desire? Each time I remember I live in Open Space, I remember all things are possible and every one of us is part of the possibility
---Kate Miller, ProcessWorks

I love being among these voices that calm my heart, open my mind and bless my spirit.
--- Evey Jones, Artist

I am deeply grateful that ProcessWorks is sponsoring the Practice of Peace in New Mexico. Just as the Open Space process first spoke to me many years ago as a most natural expression and facilitation of human learning, the Practice of Peace offers what I long for most in these times – the opportunity to come together across differences, to communicate deeply, and vision heartfully. I know that I am not alone in this need to hope and dream together with others, that peace is not only possible – peace is within us.
--- Carolyn Kinsman, ProcessWorks

My promise for the world is that people and our planet live in harmony. That is my life’s purpose, the gift that I have been given and the challenge that shapes my path. I am constantly listening for opportunities to create harmony and, when I heard about the Practice of Peace conference convened at Whidbey Island, I immediately recognized the ripple effect of the powerful conversations for peace that influence the harmony for people and for our planet. Thus, my participation on our New Mexico Team is as natural as breathing and as fundamental as eating. The incredible beings that are my partners on our team --- women who have probably been practicing peace for their whole lives – are like the cream in the middle of the donut. What fun!
--- Vickie Peck, Global Abundance Alliance

In this moment leap into open space and practice peace --- wherever you are, whatever you are doing –don’t wait until the conference. Release connecting to these words and run into the arms of longing for peace and well-being for all creation! There are lots of us gathered in that embrace. And if you can, join us in September to share, learn, and serve together in the name of, and for the sake of, peace --- deep peace --- for all of creation.
---- Sharon Colby, Wellspring Associates

I am guided to support this as a radiant networker ready to assist in fanning the life force in this event. I am clear that this event is opening, releasing and amplifying a force field of love and peace practice which affects not only the area in which it is being held, but resonates its radiance planet-wide, and I am tickled to make my contribution!
--- Anne Stadler, Radiant Network

What is peace? More than simply a noun, peace to me is a continual
practice. Practicing peace is something that can occur in the midst of
differences, disagreements, even conflicts and wars. The container
in which peace is found is large enough to hold all these things and
more. And so I take myself to the well of the practice of peace and I
--- Suzanne Maxwell, ProcessWorks

Outcomes from The Practice of Peace 2003

  • Two teenagers from Bayview High School on Whidbey Island catalyzed a youth-adult partnership to help Burundi teens rebuild houses and communities.
  • Tek Thapa has gone back to Nepal to organize Open Space gatherings in every district of Nepal, where he will also initiate a peacemaking coalition.
  • Fremy Cesar will create a Garden of Peace in Petion-Ville Haiti, where he lives.

Over 130 people came together from 24 countries, representing 13 conflict zones, to the beautiful Chinook land of the Whidbey Institute on Whidbey Island, Washington, from November 9 to 12, 2003, to embrace the grief and joy that make up The Practice of Peace. Many stayed for the Spirited Work gathering ( immediately afterward. A week of global communication, on topics ranging from meditation to the wall in Israel and the West Bank, from to drug wars in Colombia to community development in Haiti. Silence began most sessions, which then sprung into many offerings (one day as many as 35), all offered by participants.

If you enter the participant website, you can read notes from many of the sessions, and add your own observations or comments.

Parts of the World Represented at Practice of Peace:

Bosnia & Herz.
First Nations communities
Northern Ireland
US urban and rural communities
Youth and adults
New Zealand
South Africa



Join Harrison Owen, Originator of Open Space Technology, and colleagues working in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Kashmir, Colombia, U.S. urban communities, and Haiti who are opening space for peace.  

November 9, 7:00 PM – November 12, 5:00 PM

(Sunday evening dinner through Wednesday)

The Whidbey Institute, Whidbey Island, Washington
One hour north of Seattle in the center of Puget Sound


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Whether in the workplace or the world, Open Space expands the field of possibilities for peace.   This self-organizing gathering invites you to participate in sharing tools and knowledge for the "practice of peace"  -- within organizations and communities; between segments of society, nations and individuals; and even peace within ourselves.

Genuine Peace will never be attained with the elimination of chaos, confusion and conflict. In fact all three are essential to the continuance of life. Without chaos, there is no open space for future possibilities. Without confusion, old ideas and ways of thinking stick around well beyond their time. And without conflict, ideas and approaches fail to reach their full potential, never having been sharpened in the intense conversation of critical assessment. Peace of the sort that brings wholeness, harmony and health to our lives only happens when chaos, confusion and conflict are included and transcended.

-   Harrison Owen, creator of Open Space Technology

Inspired by Harrison Owen, founder of Open Space Technology (OST), and his recently published book, The Practice of Peace, this conference is both timely and unique:

What is Open Space Technology?

Open Space Technology, created by Harrison Owen, is a self-organizing practice that releases the inherent creativity and leadership in people.  By inviting people to take responsibility for what they care about, Open Space establishes a marketplace of inquiry, where people offer topics they care about, reflect and learn from one another, to accomplish meaningful work.  It is recognized internationally as an innovative approach to creating whole systems change and inspiring the best in human performance. 

Some Stories

“The human and intellectual openness of the Open Space promoted attentiveness and helped the two sides abandon the positions in which they were respectively entrenched, in an effort to connect one with the other and develop an awareness of the individual hardships perpetrated by the conflict.”
-- Peera Chodorov,
Senior Advisor to former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres

Here are some stories about opening space for peace.

Purpose and Outcomes

¨      Understand the essential role of chaos in organizational and community life.

¨      Engage your own role as Peacemaker, including the critical and difficult role of Silent Witness

¨      Enable the creative power of emerging new order by letting go of the old (order).

¨      Perceive the critical opportunities and empathize with the pain in the moments of transformation.

¨      Engage in the practice of peace.  

¨      Understand the function of leadership.

¨      Maximize your own power of leadership at the junction of passion and responsibility.

This workshop is not intended to teach the practice of opening space but to explore the the practice of peace using this process.  If you are interested in learning more about the process, take a look at Open Space Technology: A User's Guide by Harrison Owen.

Who Should Come?

¨      Leaders interested in peace in their organizations, communities and the world

¨      Mediation, conflict resolution, organizational and other specialists interested in practical ways to help organizations, communities, and cross-cultural contacts be successful in complex and turbulent times

¨      Activists and community leaders wishing to involve a wide variety of stakeholders

¨      Youth who are engaged in peace work

¨      Anyone interested in learning more about bringing peace

The Program

Sunday Evening, 7:00 pm – 10:00pm

Dinner, and

A Fishbowl Discussion among colleagues from around the world on the practice of peace

Monday, 9:00 am – 5:00pm

Short Lecture by Harrison Owen: Using Open Space as an entry to the Practice of Peace

Open Space: Enabling Peace for our Organizations and our World

Tuesday, 9:00 am – 5:00pm

Short lecture by Harrison Owen

The Open Space continues

Optional evening sessions

Wednesday, 9:00 am – 5:00pm

Short lecture by Harrison Owen

Open Space: Becoming Peacefull Leaders


Logistics and Other Important Information


The workshop will be held at the beautiful Whidbey Institute.



Payment is due in full to reserve your space.  

Your fee helps defray the costs of bringing our guests from overseas.   We have priced the conference to be accessible to as many people as possible.  Every dollar makes a difference.  Please pay the rate that you can best afford.

Rate for attendees with for-profit support: $750. 
*  Non-profits and individuals without organizational affiliation: $450.
*  Students: $350.

Financial assistance may be available.  Please contact Mary Ella Keblusekat or 360.221.8185 for information.  Or, check out these ideas for funding yourself.

Fees include tuition, meals, and materials.


On the Chinook Land at Whidbey Institute

Overnight accommodations include the Farmhouse, Granny’s and three cabins near the woods. 
($210 for the workshop, arriving November 9 and staying for 3 nights)
Contact Mary Ella Keblusek at 360-293-2853 or to make reservations.


Down the hill and a close walk to Whidbey Institute, Aldermarsh accommodations include the Main House, the North House and two cabins in the surrounding alders. 

($175 for the workshop, arriving November 9 and staying for 3 nights)
Contact Mary Ella Keblusek at 360-293-2853 or to make reservations.

For help with home stays, contact Mary Ella Keblusek at 360-293-2853 or

The Bunkhouse

This unique, artistic retreat house offers delights for the heart and solace for the soul. Handcrafted by artist Jerry Wennstrom, the large group seminar room, lovingly called "The Moon Temple", is complete with life-size mythical murals, a whimsical fountain, a gallery of mysterious masks, and other creations including a "vending machine of the gods" which dispenses ancient Nordic Runes to give direction to the innermost questions of your heart. The retreat space includes a twelve-bunk bedroom, two baths and one shower. Bring your own sleeping bags and towels, but pillows and pillow cases are provided. Extra towels and bedding are availabe if needed. Walking distance to the Whidbey Institute.  ($75 per person for the workshop, arriving November 9 and staying for 3 nights)

Contact Mary Ella Keblusek at 360.221.8185 or to make reservations.

Silver Cloud Inn
We have made arrangements for rooms at the Silver Cloud Inn, on the mainland just a block from the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry.  A warm and hospitable staff offers an expanded continental breakfast, including fresh fruit and waffles every morning. The Silver Cloud Inn offers attractive guestrooms that are well appointed and comfortable.       Room rates: $89-109 per night. 
Phone:  800.311.1461.  718 Front Street, Mukilteo, WA, US 98275

Suggestions of other places to stay

There are many wonderful hotels and bed and breakfasts on Whidbey Island.  This list will help you find a location that meets your needs.      


You will receive a copy of the recently published Practice of Peace by Harrison Owen.


Sunday dinner, Monday and Tuesday breakfast, lunch and dinner and Wednesday breakfast and lunch are included in the cost.  The food prepared is mostly organic, often locally raised.  Vegan or vegetarian available on request.  No wheat, no dairy available at every meal.


Among attendees, we envision youth and others with limited financial means who are drawn to participate. If you'd like to support their attendance,  contribute to our grant fund.  Checks can be sent to:    

Open Space Institute/PoP Fund
15347 SE 49th Place
Bellevue, WA  98006 

To donate by credit card, contact Peggy Holman at or 425-746-6274.


Cancellations may be sent to  Refunds will be made in full for cancellations received before October 25.  No refunds will be granted after November 2.


The Law of Two Feet

Our Promise

We promise you an experience that will open new possibilities — a lively program, a chance to meet others, an exciting picture of the future and some practical ways to make it happen...

come join us…

The Colleagues

(click for bios)

To enrich the gathering, invited OST practitioners are bringing their experiences of living and working in regions of war and conflict:

Tova Averbuch & Avner Haramati, Israel, pioneered OST in Israel in 1999.
Susan Coleman, U.S., an international conflict resolution expert uses large group processes with communities and systems in conflict.
John Johnson & Gladys Clark-Johnson, open space for social justice in U.S. urban communities.
Carol Daniel Kasbari, Israel/Palestine, facilitator for Israeli Palestinian groups in conflict, and practitioner of OST within the Palestinian people.
John Engle, U.S. citizen living in Haiti, brought OST to networks and organizations throughout Haiti.
Harrison Owen, U.S., originated Open Space Technology in 1984.
Pablo Restrepo Saenz, Colombia, uses OST with a negotiation process in violent conflicts.
Arun Wakhlu, India, opens space for peace and prosperity in India, Pakistan, and Kashmir.


On behalf of Spirited Work at the Whidbey Institute and the Open Space Institute (US), we invite you to join us. 

            Peggy Holman
            Therese Fitzpatrick
            Lisa Heft
            Ellison Horne
            Mary Ella Keblusek
            Joy Moulton
            Susan Partnow
            Toni Petrinovich
            Gabriel Shirley
            Anne Stadler
            Jan Strout
            Marti Turner


Thanks to the many people and organizations who have helped to get the word out.  These are just a few:

To Learn More

Contact Mary Ella Keblusek at or 360.221.8185.


Click here to register.



We've established a discussion group for those attending the conference.  It is a space where we can begin to connect even before we begin. 

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