we were trained by "elders" from ojai foundation - jack zimmerman, leon berg, ronit rinat (wich founded MH ngo) , gigi coil and marlow hochkis - both in israel, u.s.a and europe.
History and organizations in the United States and Europe
(text from european council network website - Prepared by The Ojai Foundation Elder Council, edited for the ECN by the Spiral of Five
Sitting in close, intimate circles, gathered around a warm fire, telling stories and sharing what’s on one’s mind or in one’s heart has been a core practice of human culture since the dawn of time.
In 1979 in the Upper Ojai Valley in Southern California, Dr. Joan Halifax, anthropologist and protégé of mythologist Joseph Campbell, was invited to lead a non-profit organization that she renamed The Ojai Foundation (TOF). The TOF vision was to explore living spiritual traditions and to study the interface between science and spirituality. Joan convened an extraordinary and varied faculty of native elders, cutting-edge scientists, spiritual teachers, and cultural activists beneath a 600 year-old Oak tree, appropriately named the "Learning Tree.”. From a synthesis of these teachings and meetings, the "Way of Council” emerged. The Foundation has since evolved into a sanctuary for council, the name that historically has embraced a broad peacemaking intention.
Jack Zimmerman and Gigi Coyle, educators and community visionaries, collaborated with Joan in these early years to champion council as an essential way of governance at TOF, as well as further developing the practice for sharing in a variety of settings—rites of passage ceremonies, relationship intensives, primary, secondary and university education, and organizations. In 1996 Jack and Gigi’s work led to the writing of their book, The Way of Council (2nd Edition 2009). Council was also introduced and the practice developed in collaboration with communities in the Middle East, Europe, Canada, Australia and Africa.
To support this new growth and with many council leaders contributing, the "Center for Council Training” (CCT) was established in 1998, with the specific focus of training trainers to carry the work into schools and out into the cultural mainstream. With increasing demand for programs in a variety of arenas, most significantly for schools, CCT divided into two primary initiatives— the Council in Schools Program and the Center for Council Practice. Since then, new initiatives continue to be developed as TOF/CCT spin-offssuch as the "Center for Council (CC),” under the aegis of Community Partners in Los Angeles, California. CC is currently focused primarily on social and restorative justice programs as well as coordinating regular workshops and trainings in the Way of Council for individuals, communities and organizations.The Ojai Foundation remains a home of council in its history, land, people and program while other initiatives emerge as part of awakening global community.
With deep gratitude and respect for those who came before and for those enduring traditional cultures that today continue sitting together in circles for all of us and for the Earth. We look forward to the practice of speaking and listening from the heart, ever widening circles in myriad forms, continuing to emerge in contemporary culture.