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Opening Space for Peace and High Performance 2017

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Opening Space for Peace and High Performance

Rarely, if ever, have the peoples of this planet had greater need for both Peace and High Performance.

International House, New York City
January 13-15, 2017

You are invited to learn, experience and apply the age-old force of self-organization as we individually and collectively engage, explore and deepen our understanding and practice of Open Space Technology around this call to action:

“Opening Space Everywhere and Anywhere -
The Time is Now”

With current world events, climactic catastrophes and the vitriolic language that is assaulting us every day, one could easily conclude that these times are like no other. Yet one could also argue that in the history of the cosmos, the chaos and order of life is happening as it always has. Regardless, one cannot ignore the pull to a better future – a future that invites us to open more and more space for peace and high performance.

Looking into the invitation archives for the annual Open Space gathering that has been hosted for two decades at International House in New York City, we should not be surprised to see that the opening sentence and words above have been at the heart of past year invitations, most often around the overarching theme of “The Practice of Peace”.  No coincidence either that this has been taking place over the Martin Luther King memorial weekend.

Open Space Technology – History and Context

The experiment of Opening Space began over 30 years ago, and has subsequently been run hundreds of thousands of times.  No less than 140 countries and millions of people have been involved with groups ranging from 5 to 4000 people.  Specific uses have included everything from organizational performance to community planning and design of complex projects.  The experiment is called Open Space Technology (OST).

Open Space has shown us that hugely complex and conflicted issues can be dealt with productively in an environment of respect, hope, trust - and even a degree of intimacy and affection amongst prior sworn enemies.  Some people have viewed the results as counterintuitive, unbelievable, even magic.  The results continue, however, the "magic" is not OST. Rather it is the force that underlies it: the power of self-organization.

By understanding, trusting and utilizing the primal force of self-organization we will be able to freely pursue the fulfillment of our individual and collective potential with energy and simplicity. We will collaboratively engage in the natural dance of order and chaos that leads to peace and high performance.

Such is our invitation for our gathering in January 2017 at International House, New York City to explore, learn and deepen your understanding and experience of Open Space Technology. Whether you are new to Open Space or a long-time practitioner, these three days will certainly fuel your hearts, minds and soul for the important work and opportunities that await us all.


The Program will unfold over 3 days, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day. We encourage you to participate in all three days though it is not a requirement.

Day 1 will focus on the fundamentals of OST facilitation. It will be an opportunity to experience the Open Space process and learn the basics including core principles, the planning process, when to use Open Space, action approaches, and role and behavior of the facilitator.  For experienced practitioners, it will be an opportunity to re-immerse yourself in the rituals and life-long practice of this work.

Days 2 & 3: The design for each of the following two days is identical. In the morning, Harrison Owen, the originator of OST, will offer morning reflections on “Creating the conditions for Peace and High Performance” and on the final day “Opening Space in our Lives, our Organizations and our Planet”.  Following this, all participants will have the opportunity to fully engage in dialogue and action oriented initiatives around the theme. We will all be teachers. We will all be learners. We will increase our proficiency.

At the conclusion you will have a compendium of materials (online) including the proceedings of the sessions to remind you of your experience as well as some new connections to support you in your new ventures.

If you are specifically interested in facilitating OST, the first day of the program is essential, as well as reading Harrison Owen’s Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide and viewing a video of a telephone company, OST at US West, (16 minutes): Other recommendations are Harrison Owen’s TedX talk: and his books The Practice of Peace and Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World.


  Corporate Nonprofit/Individual
Three (3) days, January 13-15 $750 US $500
Two (2) days $500 $335
One (1) day only $250 $170

Fees include continental breakfast, lunches, coffee breaks and materials.

Note: Our desire is to include all who wish to participate. If your budget does not fit the stated fees, please contact Karen at 1-212-595-9107 or If you are interested in guest room accommodations at International House, also contact Karen.


Harrison Owen: Harrison is President of H.H.Owen and Co. His academic background and training centered on the nature and function of myth, ritual and culture. In the middle '60s, he left academe to work with a variety of organizations including small West African villages, urban (American and African) community organizations, Peace Corps, Regional Medical Programs, National Institutes of Health, and Veterans Administration. Along the way he discovered that his study of myth, ritual and culture had direct application to these social systems. In 1979 he created H.H.Owen and Company in order to explore the culture of organizations in transformation as a theorist and practicing consultant. Harrison convened the First International Symposium on Organization Transformation, and is the originator of Open Space Technology. He is the author of Spirit: Transformation and Development in Organizations, Leadership Is, Riding the Tiger, Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide, The Millennium Organization, Tales From Open Space, Expanding Our Now: The Story of Open Space Technology, The Spirit of Leadership: Liberating the Leader in Each of Us, The Power of Spirit: How Organizations Transform, The Practice of Peace and Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World.

Karen J. Davis: Karen, a consultant with organizations globally, is committed to enhancing the health, effectiveness, and joy of human systems. She is dedicated to co-creating global communities through working and learning with colleagues throughout the world. For a decade Karen was graduate faculty in Santiago de Chile. She is part of the leadership of the International Organization Development Association and has been on the board of the Organization Development Network. Karen serves on the boards of Open Space Institute of US, as well as on boards of community and cultural organizations. Karen is a co-author in The Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook. She has been involved with Open Space since before its naming. When not traveling or working around the world, she lives in New York City, returning regularly to her native Arizona. Summers, she is on her farm in rural Quebec, Canada. Karen describes herself as a gardener and a world citizen.

Open Space Institute US: OSI-US holds space for Open Space and serves by: providing access to resources on Open Space; connecting individuals and groups to inform, inspire, mentor, and sustain each other in opening and holding space; and being an inclusive learning community. We believe that inspired behavior can be an everyday experience and that humanity is only limited by its perceptions of the possible. OSI was created to grow that sense of possibility and make it a reality by focusing on: learning, research and practice.





January 13th, 2017 9:00 AM   through   January 15th, 2017 5:00 PM
International House
500 Riverside Dr
New York, NY 10027
United States
Event Fee(s)
Event Fee(s)
All 3 Days - Corporate $ 750.00
All 3 Days - Nonprofit/Individual $ 500.00
Any 2 Days - Corporate $ 500.00
Any 2 Days - Nonprofit/Individual $ 335.00
Any 1 Day - Corporate $ 250.00
Any 1 Day - Nonprofit/Individual $ 170.00

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