Synergia Co-operative Institute is a community service co-operative whose purpose is to promote transition to sustainable political economy based on the principles of co-operation, social justice, economic democracy, ecological responsibility, and service to the common good.
Synergia promotes these aims through a program of research, education & training, policy development, advocacy, and technical assistance. Several questions guide our work:
• How can citizens, communities, organizations, institutions, movements, progressive businesses, co-operate to craft and execute strategies that can propose a real alternative to the status quo?
• How do we diffuse and amplify the impacts of existing models of system change that demonstrate pathways out of our local and global dilemmas?
• How do we engage institutions like local governments, universities, foundations, faith communities, and NGOs as allies for systemic change?
• How can we meet our basic needs in ways that advance fairness and resilience where we live and also regenerate the health of the planet?
• How do we shift the narrative from the mantra of endless growth to one of well-being, sufficiency, solidarity and living within the natural limits of the planet?
Synergia is an international network of senior, lifelong practitioners and community educators committed to sustainability through progressive system change. We are a highly networked co-op that unites academics, activists, practitioners and policymakers in a common effort to identify and implement models of economic, environmental, and social practice that transition societies to a new model of sustainable political economy – one that is democratic, socially just, and based on the principles of co-operation and the common good. Our transition work is unique insofar as it focuses on institutional and systems-level change.
Our contribution to this global call for transition to sustainability is threefold: a) Designing accessible, high-quality educational resources and training programs that can be leveraged by change agents everywhere to create system changing solutions fitted to local contexts. Our online learning platform offers in-depth discussion and the exchange of practical knowledge and transition strategies for action leading to systemic change and the provision of basic needs.
b) Providing training and education programming to change-agents – whether individuals or organizations – through intensive, face-to-face courses that fit solutions and strategic thinking to solving key issues in strategic sectors, in local contexts, and at multiple levels.
c) Providing research, advice and expert technical support to policymakers, governments and NGOs on the development and implementation of transition models for system change.
The Synergia Institute’s program combine rigorous analysis of context, critical theory, and a diversity of proven practices and models that not only generate concrete impacts, but also point the way for accelerating sustainable systems change in strategic ways. We also believe that pedagogy for social change must empower citizens, organizations and institutions to critically reflect on attitudes, values and practices that help or hinder the change we seek. Changing social consciousness is critical. Peer-to-peer learning is thus central to our approach, as is building strategic partnerships across sectors and movements for social change.
Synergia Institute, in partnership with Athabasca University, has piloted three versions of a free distance education & training program offered through a MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) coupled with community-based Action Circles and Study Groups operating at community level.