Peoples’ Universities Fourth World
These meetings allow citizens from different backgrounds to get together, to express and reflect together to learn better ways to fight poverty. Peoples’ University is a place of dialogue between people living in poverty situations as well as people who are more fortunate and haven’t had those experiences.
As a first step, every participant receives an invitation letter that announces the theme of Peoples’ University Fourth World and proposes two or three reflection questions. Every year, five social themes are selected and worked by the participants.
A few days after that, local groups and partnership organizations get together to answer the questions to construct a collective reflection from the experience of everyone. More than a hundred people participate at this step in a dozen or more groups in Rouyn-Noranda, Joliette, Thetford-Mines, Sherbrooke, Chicoutimi, Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu and Montreal.
Two weeks later, Peoples’ University Fourth World occurs in Montreal with fifty or so participants coming from all the preparation groups to share their work. Some people live in poverty and situation of exclusion; others do not. Everyone is invited to participate in the debate concerning the evening’s theme. Encounters and exchanges between people of different backgrounds and distant places provoke a constructive confrontation of many learning experiences. The dialogue continues with a guest speaker that brings his or her professional learning.
Because it relies primarily on the experience of those who have difficult lives, this meeting of knowledge creates new ideas to better fight the causes of poverty.