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Invitation and eCouncil agenda: 20 - 30 September 2013

Dear all,

As you will have heard, this year WRI's Council will take place as a virtual meeting between Friday 20 September and Monday 30 September. A draft of the full agenda is attached – in it you'll see topics such as the links between extractive industries and armed conflict, an exchange on the place of nonviolence in training and the contemporary challenges that face antimilitarists and pacifists.

Unlike in previous eCouncils, this agenda includes not only forum or email discussions, but also webinars, video contributions, conference calls, forums and an online 'café' space. We want to ensure this eCouncil is as interesting and engaging as possible through this variety of formats, but ultimately the dynamism of the meeting will of course come from us all—the participants.

As in a physical Council meeting, in the eCouncil there will be two kinds of topics: discussion topics (on political questions, on WRI’s programme work, etc.) and formal decision-making topics. All the decision-making topics are placed in the agenda within the same three-day period (27-29 September). We ask all Council members to make a special effort to take part in this part of eCouncil, but will of course welcome your participation in all other discussions as well.

There are several things that you can think about in the run up to the eCouncil.

Participating in the eCouncil

Electronic meetings bring their own advantages and disadvantages. We offer these guidelines to help this eCouncil be as participatory and enjoyable as possible.

  • How to join in:to participate in many of the aspects of the eCouncil, you will need to have an account with the WRI website. If you don't already have one, please create it now by visiting this page: If you already have an account, put have forgotten your password, these is a button called 'Request New Password' on the WRI homepage (under the User Login to the left of the page) where you can request to be sent a new one.
  • Who can take part? eCouncils allow many more people to take part than physical meetings – one of the main things that can make them brilliant as an alternative to physical Council meetings. So please take part, particularly if you have not been able to attend a WRI Council meeting in the past. Councils aren't a space for anonymity, so please make it clear who you are when you are posting a message – this might be through your user name in forum discussions, and through introducing yourself in your initial message.
  • Decision-making: There are three days when the decision-making forum will be open (27-29 September). The Council decides usually by consensus, and to make things less unwieldy, it will be important that in this part of the meeting it is clear who was speaking for a WRI section or as a Council member. Have a look here for the list of current Council members:
  • Try not to over-dominate discussions: Some people posting a great deal can put others off. We want dynamic, inclusive discussions where everyone feels they can take part. Please try to gather what you have to say into up to two or three concise messages per topic per day. Equally, don't feel that just because a few Council members are talking to each other you should not join in – it's even more important in these cases that you do. Moreover, since eCouncils are practically open to more people than usual Council meetings, please also be mindful of the participation of others in your affiliate/section. Whilst it can be a problem that individuals over-dominate discussions with their political views, it can also be an issue if a particular affiliate dominates or curbs the debate through their relative weight in the discussion.
  • Plan and write your messages well. Make an effort to make all your contributions to the discussion as clear, thoughtful and polite as you can. Since you have a limited amount of contributions to to add to any discussion in a single day, you might as well plan them carefully and not comment off the cuff.
  • Overcoming language differences: Our eCouncil will be conducted in English and Spanish. If you can, please write your messages in both languages, or create a short summary of your English message in Spanish (of vice versa). If you can't, please use an auto-translation website such as for the whole of your message or (even better) of a summary. The WRI office will be checking this – if someone has forgotten to post a summary in the other language, then a user called 'Auto-translations' will post an auto-translation. Please don't use this as a reason not to post translations yourself!
  • Technical queries: there will be an ongoing forum for technical queries that will be monitored by the WRI office, as well as a few volunteers who have offered to help those who have technical difficulties out. The forum will be here: Please go here if you have any problems. If you are unable to access this forum, please email
  • Café space: physical meetings allow you to meet new people, and have conversations in the breaks and in the evening. We want to continue this spirit in the eCouncil, so there will be an ongoing 'café space' available for everyone to chat.

Joining conference calls

WRI's Queer Working Group (Wednesday 25th September. 5.00pm UTC) and Women's Working Group (Sunday 22nd September, 2.00pm UTC) will each hold a conference call during the eCouncil.

To participate in these calls, please contact

Joining the webinars

Three webinars will take place over the eCouncil, two on extractive industries and their links to conflict and militarism (in English and Castellano), and one on nonviolent training.

Extractive Industries, State Violence & Nonviolent Struggle for Right to Life & Livelihood = Saturday 21st September (2pm UTC)

Extractivismo y militarismo en America Latina = Saturday 21st September (2pm UTC)

Why be nonviolent? Why call it nonviolence? = Tuesday 24th September (5.00pm)

Specific invitations to these webinars will be sent nearer the time.

Finally, we are looking forward immensely to the International Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, co-hosted by the Ceasefire Campaign – it's less than a year away, from 4 to 8 July 2014. For environmental and economic reasons, virtual, rather than physical meetings as the South Africa conference will be, have their own benefits too, and we hope that this eCouncil is one that we that involves and empowers more people to take part in WRI at the international conference and beyond!

Best wishes,

Hannah and Javier.

eCouncilFinalAgende2013.pdf98.09 KB