Past-delegates reflect on their experience at the First International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability in Hawaii, February 2005:
"I want to thank the organizers for the conference this past weekend. I want to especially thank you for waiving the registration fee that allowed me to participate. This was a very thoughtful thing on your part and this allowed me to travel to Hawaii from Guam and participate in the most important conference of my life.
I do not say this lightly. This conference was more effective and more meaningful and more transformative for me personally and professionally that any I have ever attended. It was truly an eye-opener. This morning when I walked into my Dean's office I told her that the grant from the college that helped to purchase my airline ticket was the best investment this university could have ever made. It will pay off a thousand fold. This conference will help me rethink everything I am doing in my classes, in my research and in my service here at the University.
Of course she was excited to hear that I have already put plans in place to hold an open lecture inviting the community to reflect with me on some of the lessons and insights learned from the conference and some of what we might be able to start doing here on our little island of Guam. I have already spoken with several colleagues here about starting a group to read and discuss some of the books that were introduced to me at the conference (Manfred's book on Globalism and Helena's book on Ancient Futures just to name two) and to begin to really create the sense of community again in our lives.
Anyway, thanks again for the opportunity and thanks for helping change the direction of my life."
Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Guam
"The conference was awesome, I really appreciate what Common Ground is doing. The energetic efforts to connect individuals around the world with the common goal of believing the Earth can be preserved while supporting, even enhancing the cultural and socio-economic aspects of communities is inspiring.
Being able to share thoughts, values, and generate new ideas for change during the conference was exciting. In addition, it was validating to me to learn there are others with similar frames of mind as mine. In my small world in New Mexico, I often feel I am one of very few whose passion is to learn and educate about sustainability, but at the conference, I was surrounded by folks with the same passion for important things in which I believe! How refreshing!"
Vannetta R. Perry, Ed.D.