12/21 – Integral European Conferences: Where The Global Integral Community Meets

December 2019 / Notes from the Field

Bence Gánti

Bence Gánti

What is the IEC?

The Integral European Conferences are the prime venue today for the global integral world to meet. Held every two years on the European continent, IECs are not only a huge social catalyst where international integral collaborations begin, enabling our human capital to grow, they also have a mission based on integral principles. Usually they are 6-13 days long, have 600-700 people from around 50 countries, and offer 200 presentations, 14 keynotes, countless workshops, and embodied transformative workshops, community rituals, cultural engagements, and fun activities.

The next IEC will take place 26-31 May, 2020!

“The Integral European Conference is providing one of the most sophisticated, up-to-date, genuinely Integral (not pretenders), most exciting source of fundamental and leading-edge Integral ideas and practices to be found anywhere in the world.”

Ken Wilber

We need Integral Conferences if we want to have a global integral community!

A real community is defined by people sharing a purpose and meeting from time to time to exchange knowledge and to enjoy each other, i.e. having real human connections. Today, it is often enough to create an online group on Facebook or sign up people to a website, and call it community. Frankly, it is not. It can be limited and shallow compared to what people experience when they spend time together. We need to meet in real life, to see and hear each other, interact and share, spend time without rushing, overcome superficiality, and have experiences together. That makes community and human connections real.

Many people in the global integral community have heard the new buzz on the scene in the last 5 years from the Integral European Conferences. Originally created for the European scene to meet, IECs have outgrown that scope and have become the main venue for the global integral community. When the IEC started in 2014, it immediately had 500 participants and 130 presenters from 37 countries. At that time in the United States, other similarly sized integral conferences were still running, like the What Next Conference (in 2013) by Integral Life, and the Integral Theory Conferences (last one in 2015) by Sean Esbjörn Hargens and colleagues. After 2015 these big gatherings stopped in the USA, and IEC started to serve the need, not only for Europeans, but also for Americans, and the entire global integral community. In general, to have a main conference somewhere in the world to go, to meet, share, and interact with the integral world.

Reimagining what an integral conference can be like

The IEC not only took the meeting space role of what ITCs, ISEs and What Next had in the US, but also re-imagined what an integral conference could be like. At IECs we have made some major innovations. We aimed to balance out the “talk talk talk” or head-heavy nature of these gatherings, and introduced a lot of experiential and embodied processes, transformative workshops, a silent meditation shrine, and new community events like the welcoming boat party ride, ecstatic dance nights, mass constellation rituals, tribal fire dances, local cultural folk music, a mass fire walk ritual, and the integrally designed 4 quadrants and developmentally stage aware cultural sightseeing tour.

Also, the conference got longer, instead of 3 or 4 days like an extended weekend, integral conferences are now 6 days long. With both pre and post programs, it is 13 days that we all spend together. As it is an all-expenses paid journey (airport shuttle, hotel and food is also organized and included in the tickets), it has also become more like a vacation retreat combined with professional exchange and high vibe socializing and fun together. All this, with the global integral friends, in such a high concentration about 500-700 people.

The venue of the conference has become a Central European location, that is in the geographical center of Europe, an equal flight for those coming from the West or from the East, from London and Moscow, from San Francisco or Beijing. It is in Hungary, that has a 1000 years old history and role in Europe being the gate of East and West, and also embodying and integrating that polarity culturally. Hungary, in the EU, has excellent features and is used today among many others extensively by Hollywood Filmmakers, and also the Integral Community. But the real reason that made this country host the IECs is the Hungarian integral community, one of the biggest and best organized in Europe thanks to the Integral Academy in Budapest, which has been training integral counselors for 13 years in a 3-year integral psychology training program led by Bence Gánti. Bence’s 23 years of integral community organizing experience, coupled with psycho-spiritual focus, and the community’s organizing potential (office, legal entity, workforce, connections, volunteers), created a base on which the IEC has been safely built, and upon whcih it has been successfully organized 5 times so far: 3 IECs and 2 IEC Regatherings.

The need for cultural diversity and healing the US bias in the integral community

The IEC also aimed to heal one of the silent pains that many non-us participants experienced in the American conferences: the exclusion (or non-inclusion) of non-American presenters, even if it wasn’t purposeful, but came from a lack of awareness of the subject. On the American conferences, non-US citizens were mostly among the participants, but not among the presenters. Presentation slots were mostly given to the Americans. Mostly, not exclusively, but to such an extent that many players of the global integral world felt being left out of the game, and restricted to the role of silently sitting in the audience, listening to talks and congratulating American friends. The initial integral conferencing era in the US between 2003 and 2015 had this shadow, a shadow that is not one of the integral community itself, but that of the USA. A cultural ethnocentrism, a certain blindness, or disinterest of what is outside the USA.

I myself went through this experience. I had been visiting the states often between 2003 and 2010, and participated in all of these integral conferences. Then I moved to the San Francisco Bay area to live, and lived a bi-local EU-US life between 2010 and 2017, ultimately receiving a US citizenship. During those years living in the US I felt its lower left collective interior much better, and had a deeper understanding of how the US bias works, that people are not consciously exclusive, rather innocently ignorant culturally, paired with a disinterest that is hard to understand for most other nations who are genuinely open and interested in others, not only to sell in business, but just because. Just because of a natural human curiosity, openness, and love.

As an integral psychologist rooted both in Europe and the US, I not only had a visceral experience of this, but also started to become the voice for international inclusion in the integral community, and persuaded the organizers of What Next Integral conference in 2013 to create an international panel. I imagined a main stage welcome for non-US integral people who came, but they weren’t interested in that. So at least we got a small workshop room somewhere at the back of the hotel, where all the non-US people could come together. It was the first time when we members of the global integral community met with the purpose of seeing each other, and shared and engaged in a short, playful international constellation process. The panel was a great success. Few Americans were in there, mostly those who worked with integral also outside the USA.

To give people the experience of being seen and to acknowledge their existence is an important base of IECs, and we believe that a healthy integral world community should have that. And not only that, but also inviting everybody to the mic too, to share the main stage with global players. There is no doubt that the USA has a lead role in the world, and also Integral Theory comes from there, along with other truly great players that many follow from around the world. But it was time to also create a more culturally diverse and fair, more global integral conference.

IEC 2014 had from the beginning 500 participants from 30+ countries. At IEC 2016  we kept that number, and at IEC 2018 we had 620 participants, 180 presentations from 47 countries, and it has become really global. In IEC 2020 we expect 700 people from 50 countries and 200 presenters. And all of these 50 countries will get the mic, the break out rooms, and many the main stage too. We have also organized the IEC Regatherings in 2017 and 2019, a smaller 2-5 day bridging event between the 2 years of the big IECs, so that those who miss each other and want to meet annually can also do that. Naturally many new people also joined the integral community at these entry points. Will you be next?

About the Author

Bence Ganti, MA, co-founder of Integral Europe (since 2012) and also co-founder and  director of the Integral European Conferences (since 2014) and founder of the Integral Academy in Budapest (since 2006), is an integrally oriented clinical psychologist, vipassana meditator, and international teacher of integral psychology. Being a dual citizen of the USA and Hungary, Bence bridges cultures delivering keynote addresses, making presentations, and leading experiential workshops worldwide, including his version of a cutting-edge we-space practice called Integral Flow Experience. Based on this he has created the International Constellation processes at the Integral European Conferences, where hundreds of people constellate together the world and its current issues. In the USA he has thought integral psychology at Meridian University and San Francisco State University in California and at integral events at  Bay Area Integral, Integral Center in Boulder, and the Integral Theory Conferences.

Bence has been teaching integral also in Hungary, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Sweden, Portugal, Bulgaria, Mexico and South Africa. He represented integral consciousness during the World Economic Forum week in Davos, Switzerland in 2019. Ken Wilber asked him to be the European coordinator of Integral Institute. To honor the man who gave the world the integral vision, he teamed up with John Dupuy to create the Ken Wilber Gratitude Fund in Washington, D.C., and is currently serving as a fund trustee to thank Ken Wilber his life work. For more details, please check out the websites associated with Bence’s work linked below.

More about Bence:

http://www.benceganti.com/

www.integraleuropeanconference.com

http://www.integralacademy.eu

www.kenwilberfund.org

https://www.integralflowexperience.com/


See below for more about IEC 2020!!!

KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONS:

KEN WILBER
Fresh Messages From the Father of Integral Theory (Live Stream)
DR. ROBERT KEGAN
Adult Development and Immunity to Change
OTTO SCHARMER
Theory U and Presencing for an Integral World 
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DAN BROWN
Pointing Out the Great Way
(being organized)
VIVIAN DITTMAR
Transrational Thought, Transpersonal Feeling 
MARGRET RASFELD
A Paradigm Change in School Education
BENCE GÁNTI
Organizing Integral for a Collective Transformation (Opening Speech)
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HANZI FREINACHT
Metamodernism: Friend or Foe to Integral?
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ANGAANGAQ ANGAKKORSUAQ
Melting the Ice in the Heart of People – Arctic Elder Speak
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BRIAN ROBERTSON
Holacracy®: Encoding Teal into your Organization’s
TERRY PATTEN
Yin Leadership: Fear, Courage and Cooperation
ROGER WALSH
Cultivating Wisdom 

TYPES OF EXPERIENCES AT IEC

I.KNOWLEDGE

1.ACADEMIC PRESENTATIONS

Integrally informed scientists and researchers present their findings. Peer reviewed with an Academic Committee of international scholars.

2.GENERAL PRESENTATIONS

Use of integral theory in different areas of life, and developing new theoretical contributions in psychology, healing, business, society. Reflecting also on current societal and political issues of Europe and the world.

3.POSTER PRESENTATIONS

Hanging displays visible all week. See the summaries of who applies Integral Theory in what ways!

II. TRANSFORMATION

 1.EMBODIED WORKSHOPS

After theories, let go of the mind and engage in embodied experiential processes. At times playful, at times deep, and always insightful! Group processes and 2nd tier we-space practices.

2. DEEP EXPERIENTIALS

If you are ready, go deeper! Try deeper experiential workshops to open up, get vulnerable and feel your emotions and higher states. Use IEC for healing, opening and self-transforming!

3. EMBODIED WORKSHOPS

After theories, let go of the mind and engage in embodied experiential processes. At times playful, at times deep, and always insightful! Group processes and 2nd tier we-space practices.

3. ALL COMMUNITY CONSTELLATION

A collective, all-community constellation experience will be one of the deepest transformational events at IEC with around 600 people in the process. The biggest systems constellation experience you may have ever seen, where we will work with national, international and global issues in a professionally led, safe 3-hour process. At its height, it opens up into a maximum presence and flow experience for the global integral community.

4.  ALL COMMUNITY FIREWALK

Practiced as a rite of purification, initiation and spiritual breakthrough across many cultures throughout time, in contemporary society, firewalking is used not only for self-realization but also as an extremely powerful tool of empowerment and community building in large modern companies in the West. Saturday night, around a huge bonfire, with hundreds of people together in this, it will be an unforgettable communal, spiritual, and “tribal” experience in the later hours of the Gulyás Party night! Optional to participate – suggested to at least hold space.

 III. SOCIALIZING

  1. EVENING SOCIALIZERS

From chatting in the lobby to being absorbed in conversations during meal times and the socializer evenings, and continuing all that in the spa and the lake, socializing is one of the sweetest aspects of the IEC experience! Meeting real people from behind webpages and Facebook, this is the time for the grand global meeting to happen. Enjoy connecting, sharing thoughts, opinions, emotions, smiles and hugs. Birth new collaborations and co-create. Party, dance and laugh a lot. IECs are as intellectualy vibrant as emotionally present, playful and energetic! You can be integral: be professional, relax, and recharge at the same event. This community and format contains and holds it all.

 2. SPA

It’s not the small pool you have in hotels normally, you are in Hungary, the country of 100 spas! The hotel comes with its own extra spa complex, with a mutiple indoor and outdoor pool system. Enjoy floating in large heated pools or in funny jacuzzis and being cooked in saunas — either in the solitude of your me-time, or while having important conversations while you socialize.

 3. GALA DINNER

Dressed in casual elegance, join the celebratory finish of the conference with special food and a special program, the gala dinner! The evening to wind it all down and have fun, with a stage for the community to sing, dance and celebrate together!

 IV. FUN

1. BOAT PARTY

The opening socializing party of IEC 2020 will be on Tuesday evening, on a fun and elegant boat trip on Lake Balaton with dinner, champagne and live music!

2. ECSTATIC DANCE

Enjoy dancing with the community in the conscious space of ecstatic dance! The bare feet, no alcohol, no drugs policy enables a field of freedom, inclusivity and self-expression, where your untamable free soul can express itself in this nonverbal communal space of ecstacy. A world music DJ masterfully provides soul-stirring music after a guided movement meditation warms up participants. The tribal party ends with a relaxing sound bath experience.

3. GULYÁS PARTY NIGHT

A pleasant, outdoor picnic style dinner experienced under the stars on the lakeside, tasting the most ancient traditional Hungarian food, the Gulyás Soup (say “Goo-yaash”). Followed by a ceremonial bonfire, live music, drumming and communal dance experience. At the height of this evening, it all shifts into the huge Firewalk ceremony.

V. COURSES

PRE IEC COURSES

Join the the weekend workshops and courses before IEC, and learn from world-class professionals in the integral field! Dr. Robert Kegan, legendary Harvard psychologist, offers Adult Development Stages and Immunity to Change workshops, and more are in the making!

VI. SIGHTSEEING TOUR

 POST IEC MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR

Leave the hotel and look around Hungary and Budapest — explore this ancient Central European culture and scenery! Joining our smartly organized, 4-quadrants-all-stages-in-culture, 3-day sightseeing tour, you’ll be guided by local integralists and professional tour guides to see the best of culture, cuisine and history! We will also visit local spiritual sites and make time to recharge in nature. Keynote speakers are on the bus too!

VII. ART

 1. VISUAL ARTS

Incredible visual artists will exhibit their psycho-active paintings in the lobby. A powerful gateway to transform our consciousness by transmitting states of consciousness!

 2. MUSIC

Live music is an inherent part of the conference. Different musicians and even conference participants (!) will play and give concerts or short musical interludes, starting at the opening boat party and continuing on the main stage and gulyás and firewalk night. The gala dinner evening has an open mic stage, where anyone can come up and sing a song, play an instrument, recite a poem or dance.

THEMATIC SECTIONS AT IEC

THEMATIC TRACKS AT IEC

Thematic tracks at IEC 2020

Bring your contributions in the following tracks!

1. SHADOW TRACK

The evolved teal and turquoise stages of personality aimed for by integral cannot be reached without serious inner work, in which we uncover and process our individual and collective shadows to be more real, honest, and liberated. Thus shadow work plays an important role at IECs. In the shadow track, we offer workshops from skilled facilitators and also theoretical sessions to better understand the shadow.

2. POWER AND LEADERSHIP TRACK

How governance, power and leadership is exercised and how organizations are structured and work are central issues in the future of society, politics and companies. We need to adopt new ways from the next stages of evolution. Empowerment, lean, agile and sociocracy came as new solutions with the postmodern wave and even newer post-postmodern, integral approaches were born in the last decade like Teal, Holacracy, Encode, Evolution at Work, Power Shift, and other approaches. In this track founders of these apporcahes and other experts will present.

3. SHAMANISM, NATURE MYSTICISM AND ECOLOGY TRACK

Both our inner spiritual path and our external ecological situation call many of us to a more intimate connection with nature and its visible and invisible forces. It comes as ecology, but it also comes as nature mysticism and shamanic practices. This aspect of spirituality is less represented in the integral world, while Buddhism, Christian mysticism and yoga are more prevalent. With this track, we make space for these intuitive and sensing approaches, and are not shy about exercising this side of our being while also being rooted in reason and science. It’s time to integrate and “marry the sense and soul” as Wilber put it.

4. CIRCLING TRACK

Circling is a new, popular group conversation practice, where the focus is on the radical here and now, in which we apply meditative awareness on what is happening between us and in us. We talk about that and only that. Exercising a deeply honest, non-judgmental integral way of being together, this mindful social presence is much needed for the evolutionary shift we hear about. We need spaces where we can get decentralized and more connected, be spontaneus and emergent. If you enter this door, you’ll get more real and awake, and will be seen and loved more than usual.

4. U LAB TRACK

U.Lab is designed to transform business, society and self, based on Theory U of Otto Scharmer. It is a new consciousness technology to connect leaders in business, government, and civil society around the world with their authentic self and having them lead from the emerging future. It introduces the variable of consciousness into management and the social sciences, and proposes that the quality of the results that we create in any kind of social system is a function of the quality of awareness, attention or consciousness that the participants in the system operate from.

What makes IEC 2020 a unique integral conference?

Workshops and community experience

We focus on the community and the experience, so every day you will also attend experiential and transformational spaces. Experiencial learning gives you a deeper understanding of concepts and creates important new relationships, maybe the most valuable ones for a long time.

A new perspective

Integral is here to stay. Integral theory will probably be the most important perspective in business, psychology, healing, and other areas – this conference is an intellectual and practical investment, the knowledge you gain will enrich your life and your career.

The latest research of integral theory

Put yourself in the forefront of integral! If you’re a professional or a scholar, then this is the place to go to be on the cutting edge.

An affordable European conference

Most tickets include accommodation and meals and you re all covered with a reasonable price for the value. You can also use daily tickets if you come for only one or two days. As a volunteer, you’ll get a price reduction of at least 50% as a presenter you also get a reduction depending on the lenght of your contribution. If you’re a scholar but currently lack the financial means to buy a ticket, then apply for a scholarship ticket and let us help you getting in! See all options in the ticket shop, inlcuding scholarships!

Networking possibilities

If you’re an integral professional or an entrepreneur, this event is an important opportunity for you to network, to get exposure for your work, and to get to know your peers. And it is simply a thrilling buzz and a joy to be with so many people of quality, goodwill and smart evolutionary purpose!

Being part of something (r)evolutionary

You are part of something big here the revolution of consciousness: the next stage of evolution unfolding. People are allies of the evolutionary unfolding, dedicating ther lives and careers for that purpose. Come and explore with us all the different ways how we are doing it and present yours!

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