Integral Without Borders

In May 2012, Rucore and the Tlholego Eco-village hosted a conference of integral practitioners from South Africa, the region and globally. The objective was to look at how we can use integral theory in practice, to provide further insight and tools for the complex situations found in local and international development.

Global context

The world has never been as complex … Extreme religious fundamentalism, environmental degradation, failing education systems, existential alienation, and volatile financial markets. Without a way of linking, leveraging, correlating, and aligning differing disciplines and worldviews, the ability to contribute to the problems we face is largely lost or compromised. We are now part of a global community and we need a framework – global in vision yet anchored in the concerns of our daily lives – capable of holding the variety of valid perspectives that have something to offer our individual efforts and collective solution-building.

The integral framework is currently one of the most successful in understanding and mapping the deeper connections between multiple worldviews, individual perspectives and development methodologies.

South African context

South Africa is an extraordinary country rich in natural resources and cultural diversity. While demand globally for South African commodities continues, South Africa can enjoy positive economic growth and comparative stability. However, this situation falls short of addressing pressing socio/economic obligations and is unsustainable in the long run.

A key factor in engaging positively with these challenges as a development community rests significantly on our skill to communicate and act effectively within cultures of contradictory worldviews often living in close proximity. It is also linked to our capacity for developing and implementing a vision of community sustainability within a context of historic inequality, environmental deterioration and economic constraint.

We explored how integral theory is applied in practice, its value in navigating the messiness of human affairs and the discomfort that change demands of us in an uncertain world.

The venue was Tlholego Ecovillage in the Rustenburg region of South Africa (North West Province), two hours drive west of Johannesburg.

Who attended?

35 delegates, by invitation or application only, who:

•    Work in development and were looking for a more comprehensive methodology to make sense of the complexity of the field
•    Wanted to share experiences and issues with other integral practitioners
•    ‘Got’ the theory and found it difficult to apply/use, or wanted to understand the theory more deeply through practical application


•    Rucore Sustainability Foundation / Tlholego Eco-village
•    Integral International Development Centre [Integral Without Borders] ( IIDC was established in 2005 as a learning centre within the then Integral University. It has since grown into a more global network of practitioners (IWB) working in international and community development.
•    integralMENTORS complements the work being carried out by IIDC through actual practitioners.


For more information about the conference please click here Integral Practitioner in Praxis

IWB Tlholego reflections

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