A Prototype of Dialoguing in a Multipolar World

Helio Borges
6 min readFeb 25, 2023

The Virtual Launch Session of the Ecosystem Leadership Program in Latin America

Image: u- school for Transformation by Presencing Institute

Read the article in Spanish here.

“We believe that the new global must emerge out of a dialogue from a multipolar world deeply rooted in each region, and that is what we may begin next month.What we are going to co-imagine and co-create together next month in Uruguay will be the first step in that journey. Latin America will be the first region where we will do something like that.” — Otto Scharmer

From Berlin to Montevideo

Visibly moved, Laura Pastorini welcomed those attending the virtual launch session of the Ecosystem Leadership Foundational Program in Latin America. This is a program that the Presencing Institute usually facilitates in Berlin for change agents from all over the world. Now, for the first time, it will also take place in Colonia, Uruguay, in Spanish, Portuguese, and English, from March 25 to 29, 2023.

Twenty people, most of them volunteers, teamed up and co-organized this four-day event that will feature Otto Scharmer. Almost five hundred people from the Latin American region and other parts of the world expressed their intention to attend. After an inclusive, diverse, and equitable selection, 160 change agents from 17 countries will participate.

Sowing seeds of change in Latin America

Whether it’s a one-hour meeting or a four-day deep-dive workshop, all Presencing Institute programs and activities follow the Theory U process: Co-initiating by defining an Intention, Co-sensing the resonance of the Social Field, Presencing by letting go of the past and letting come the emerging future, and Crystallizing what wants to emerge. Becky Buell, a member of the Presencing Institute’s core team with extensive experience in Latin America, spoke about the intention of the program, which focuses on

“connecting deeply with our purpose and potential, both individually and collectively in times of disruption.”

One of the fundamentals of Theory U is that systems change begins with an individual transformation. Therefore, this program intends to sow the seeds of systemic change in a region plagued with endemic problems, most caused by leadership. How?

By supporting leaders and change agents in Latin America to develop applied systems thinking skills and new leadership capacities.

The Presencing Institute seeks to activate the energy of 160 change agents, sharing a one-of-a-kind intensive experience.

“to promote eco-system activation for local and regional impact in Latin America, forging new connections and possibilities for joint action between leaders, change agents, and key stakeholders at multiple levels and contexts.”

A multi-year systemic impact prototype

This will be a multi-year systemic activation prototype. The Foundational Program of March 2023 seeks to activate the ecosystem. In 2024, another one will aim at collective impact, fostering activation and emphasizing transformation. 2025 will be the year of deepening, continuing with the activation and transformation, and obtaining knowledge from previous years’ experiences.

After Becky, Janine, Florencia, and Dayani Centeno-Torres spoke, Laura led us into a profound moment of witnessing, followed by a dynamic of perception of our collective intention.

“We will take the first step in the evolutionary journey”

Then Otto Scharmer spoke. He expressed that by listening to the attendees´ intentions, he was already feeling into the place and was honored and privileged to participate in the program. He also referred to the reflection of one of the participants as he started to speak.

“Stopping and pausing. Going slow before going fast.”

Otto Scharmer

“We all have learned to do that in closed spaces, in closely knitted communities. But what I am particularly excited about is what we will be co-imagining, co-hosting, and co-shaping together next month. We will do that in a place together, in a collective body that is rooted in the same region of the world that we can feel right now. It is rooted in many places, initiatives, and personal journeys. They all come together there. I am grateful to be part of that.

A movement building toward bridging the three divides, toward a world that is more sustainable, more equitable, and more generative and aware, that allows us to bring more of what we really are into this situation… Therefore, I feel that, to some degree, my whole life has been a preparation for maybe what´s to come now. Everything that has happened to me has been, to some degree, part of the preparation for what can only arise from a co-sensing and co-articulation activity. Today, in this profound planetary crisis happening in the world, it can only emerge from a conversation.

Because the crisis is a planetary one, this conversation must also be a planetary one, which must be rooted in all the main cultural regions. That is the collective journey we at the u.school for transformation want to embark on. What we are going to co-imagine and co-create together next month in Uruguay will be the first step in that journey.

We aspire to come together in a larger group to bring more initiative and complexity into a situation. Still, all of that is shared in the regional context from which we all are coming. The form that we develop and lean into together will help us to activate not only the essence of who we are but also to clarify what we are meant to do in this profound planetary crisis.

This profound moment of disruption and change often is a period where something depresses us. Still, at the same time, we also know from other historical experiences, it is exactly in the same particular dark times when something new is being born. For that, what has been happening over the past few years in the Latin American space is one of the prime examples of what is beginning to manifest through our relationships, initiatives, and journeys.

There is nothing more special than having this moment of stillness together in a larger community of fellow travelers who are already connected in some ways, collectively activating the quality of relationships and inspired actions that are already happening in smaller spaces to many degrees. At the Presencing Institute, we believe that the new global must emerge out of a dialogue from a multipolar world deeply rooted in each region, and that is what we together may begin next month.”

Visual Resonance

Laura closed the meeting by highlighting the importance of social arts for Theory U and inviting it to resonate with the generative graphic made by Geisa Paganini from Brazil.

Generative graphic. Geisa Paganini, Brazil

A Great Team! Un equipazo!

When I ask Laura Pastorini about the organizing team, she proudly tells me, “un equipazo! It was coordinated by Caro da Rosa, Becky Buell, Janine Saponara, Florencia Estrade, Viviana Galdames Wilson, and Dayani Centeno-Torres. Elizabeth Perez has been central to organizational issues, communication, logistics, etc. Also, Mariana Miranda and Geisa Paganini from Brazil, and Andrea Fernandez and Ileana Lopez supporting from Argentina. Adriana Canales, the financial genius, supported by Giselle Ruiz and Verónica from the accounting studio and by Janice Spadafore from PI, made the event financially possible. Maria Daniel Bras from PI is also doing her magic on the website and supporting communications.”

After reading this article and looking at the graph made by Geisa, I invite you to reflect with us, answering the following questions: What do I see? What do I feel? What do I perceive?

See you in Colonia, Uruguay, to start this evolutionary journey!

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Helio Borges

Executive & Team Coach & Mentor. Cultural Transformation Change Agent & Consultant. Twitter: @hborgesg. Instagram: @heboga. FB: helio.borges.35. Uriji: @hborges