The “conversations” are part of the Councilʼs effort to encourage island residents to examine the impact of the relocation of military personnel and their families to Guam in 2014.
The “humanities based conversations” will focus on the themes of service, leadership, community, identity and power.
The Council selected the “civic reflection” model to convene community conversations with diverse groups of residents in a variety of settings around the island. Civic reflection is an innovative approach that has been successfully implemented by humanities councils across the country to engage citizens in discussions of important issues that affect civic life.
In April of 2009, the Council trained 18 facilitators to use the model to conduct conversations in diverse settings throughout the community. A series of six 90-minute conversations will be held among a small group. Conversations begin with a focused discussion of a selected reading, poem, film or other text.
The trained facilitators guide the participants through a reflection process that encourages critical analysis, asking questions, and self-expression. Through civic reflection, individuals are invited to step into a hospitable space where they may critically think and talk about the values and choices we make while living together as a community.
As part of the project, the Council will host three larger community conversation events and special presentations. The first of these events will take place from March 22 through March 26, 2010, when the Council will bring to Guam poet Craig Santos Perez.
Perez will be involved in a weeklong series of readings and discussions with high school and college students, presentations with the larger public including An Evening with the Author poetry reading and fundraiser on Thursday, March 25 at Meskla Restaurant. A community conversation event will take place on Wednesday, March 24 at the Outrigger Guam Resort.
A native son of Guam, Craig has lived in California since 1995. He received his MFA in Poetry from the University of San Francisco and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He is co-founder of Achiote Press and author of two books of poetry, From Unincorporated Territory Hacha and Saina.
Craig Santos Perez states, “Poetry has always connected me to home, but I never thought it would bring me home after so many years. I am excited to work with the Guam Humanities Council and explore how poetry can bring about civic reflection.”
In April 2010, the Council will host the Guam premiere of The Insular Empire, a documentary film about America at its westernmost limits – the Mariana Islands of the western Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Territory of Guam and the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The film discusses indigenous, civil and human rights issues in connection to the federal-territorial relationship of the “insular areas” and the larger country.
The Insular Empire is a project of Horse Opera Productions, a nonprofit organization led by producer and director Vanessa Warheit. Warheit will be on island for the premiere and will also engage in discussions with local high school and college students, as well as a community conversations event on Wednesday, April 14, 2010.
From May 10 through May 14, 2010, the Council will bring poet Jay Pascua to Guam, who will also participate in a series of readings and discussions with high school and college students, presentations with the larger public, and a community conversation event on Wednesday, May 12, 2010.
Pascuaʼs chant Fakmåta was selected as a Pacific-based reading for the conversation series. These larger events will bring together the many groups who have participated in the projectʼs various conversation series, and will serve as a catalyst for the conversations taking place throughout the community.
Conversation events are limited to registered participants.
The Guam Humanities Council is a non-profit organization that provides foundational support and cultural and educational programs for the people of Guam. The mission of the Guam Humanities Council is to foster community engagement and dialogue, inspire critical thinking, celebrate diversity and enrich the quality of life of island residents through the power of the humanities.
“8000, How Will It Change Our Lives?” Community Conversations on the US Military Buildup on Guam is partially funded through a grant through the We The People Initiative, National Endowment for the Humanities.