Tag Archives: Cultural Values

Cultural Values & Social Change: The Common Cause Framework

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How do cultural values shape environmental and social movements?
How might deepening our understanding of cultural values and frames help us to co-create the solutions for a more equitable, sustainable and democratic society?
May’s DwD was hosted by Aryne Sheppard, who led an inquiry into the Common Cause framework as an instrument for understanding how we are shaped by our culture and the way in which we respond, both as individuals and collectively, to the most pressing problems that we face.

Environmental campaigns tend to fall into two categories:

1. Public engagement and behaviour change; and,
2. Institutional (corporate or government) engagement.

But there is a deeper level we must consider as we move towards a sustainable future: the realm of values. Cultural values influence our behaviours, attitudes and voting decisions. Culture is a key influence in shaping our view of the world and our sense of responsibilities within it. As social change leaders, it is critical to understand the role values play in individual lives and cultural norms. Working to understand and rebalance cultural values is a powerful tool if our goal is to build a more equitable, sustainable and democratic society.











Aryne discussed how power dynamics in society are seldom the subject of public scrutiny and debate. The dialogue explored how fostering intrinsic values—among them self-acceptance, care for others, and concern for the natural world—has real and lasting benefits.













The Common Cause model, with a values mapping resulting from participants selection of supporting values (green) and negating values (red) with respect to societal betterment, based on our individual perspectives.

For more information explore The Common Cause Framework 

About the Host

As an adult educator and facilitator, Aryne Sheppard has worked in the areas of personal growth & wellness, leadership development and community capacity-building for over 12 years. She has have a track record of creating innovative, experientially-based programs in both the non-profit and public sectors.  She believes that valuing the inner life, as individuals and as a society, is one of the most important things we can do to create deep and lasting change. Aryne earned her professional designation as an educator from OISE / UofT, specializing in Transformative Learning, with a Master’s degree in Adult Education & Counseling Psychology (2004). Aryne currently works with the David Suzuki Foundation in Toronto and her consulting practice is called Living Simply.

Enabling Cross-Cultural Dialogue

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DwD and the Canadian Community for Dialogue and Deliberation (C2D2) hosted Karen Mock and Raja Khouri, co-founders of the Canadian Arab-Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group. The June 2011 session was held in cooperation with the Canadian Community for Dialogue and Deliberation, with joint participation between our groups.


The session engaged the challenges of the Canadian Arab-Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group by an inquiry into their goals, community development, and future. About 20 participants workshopped strategies in small group sessions, with Patricia Kambitsch and Elsa Lam capturing proceedings in visual reflection.

         Photo by Pamela Purves

Issues directly related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were not addressed. The session was organized for the benefit of the Arab-Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group to have impact locally and in their larger mission to draw attention to alternatives for peacemaking.


Karen MockDr. Karen Mock (Ph.D., C. Psych.) is an educational psychologist who has been the Executive Director and CEO of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, and was  National Director of the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada, as well as Executive Director of the League’s Human Rights Education and Training Centre.

Dr. Mock has conducted research and published widely on multiculturalism, anti-racism, human rights and diversity, and has received many awards and honours for her work. Dr. Mock chaired the National Advisory Committee to the Secretary of State and Canadian Secretariat for the UN World Conference Against Racism, and was on the Canadian delegation in Durban South Africa.

She chaired the Hate Crimes Community Working Group for the Attorney General, and served as Senior Policy Advisor on Diversity and Equity to the Minister of Education for the development and delivery of Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy.

Raja KhouriRaja Khouri is an international consultant in organizational development and capacity building, focusing on civil society and human rights work.  He is a commissioner with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, advocacy co-chair of Human Rights Watch Canada, and co-founder of the Canadian Arab-Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group.

Raja formerly served on various government and civil society bodies, such as Ontario’s Hate Crimes Community Working Group, the Minister of Education’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy Roundtable, Pride Toronto Community Advisory Panel, and the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs.  He also served as president of the Canadian Arab Federation in the period following the events of 9/11. Raja has chaired conferences, given and moderated lectures, given numerous media interviews, and published commentaries in journals and major Canadian dailies.

C2D2The Canadian Community for Dialogue and Deliberation(C2D2) is a community of individuals and organizations dedicated to the creation and sustainability of vibrant communities, businesses, governments, not for profits and learning institutions through the good practice of dialogue, deliberation, collaborative action and decision-making processes.