28th Annual Conference of the International Training Circle in Buenos Aires

28th Annual Conference of the International Training Circle in Buenos Aires

From April 30 to May 4, 2024, the International Training Circle met at the Reserva Naturaleza + Arte in Capilla del Señor, in the province of Buenos Aires (AR).

The meeting was a milestone in the cooperation between the training organizations and the people working in professional education in our field of work: Since the founding of the Training Circle and its first meeting in 1997, the annual meeting has always taken place in Kassel (DE) for 28 years. This location was so strongly associated with the rhythm of the meetings that “Kassel” often even became synonymous with the Training Circle among those involved: Training organizations are members “in Kassel”, “recognized by Kassel”, and “Kassel” has already successfully implemented or accompanied several EU-funded projects (most recently, from 2020 to 2023, the ERASMUS+-Projekt Peer2Peer-CET). This year’s event therefore ran informally under the name “KassAires”.

In KassAires, the focus was on three issues:

  • The aim of the meeting in Buenos Aires was to enable more people from Latin America who are involved in professional education initiatives for inclusive social development to take part. Representatives from training programs and initiatives from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and Puerto Rico were joined by colleagues from Botswana, Germany, India, Lebanon, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Switzerland and the USA. This has significantly strengthened networking in the area of professional education, particularly within the Latin American region.
  • In terms of content, the focus was on the question of a “community of the future” based on empathy, respect for freedom and diversity and a deepened, spiritual search for knowledge. How can we understand and gradually realize these qualities as the basis for an inclusive community and society?
  • Methodologically, the group worked on a first attempt to develop concrete ideas on how inclusive practices can also be anchored in professional education for inclusive social development – as teaching content, through inclusive educational formats in which self-advocates and professionals learn together in order to be able to shape and transform practice collegially, and through inclusive co-teaching formats and the training of people with support needs as instructors and collaborators in the development of training curricula. The question was always: What resources do we already have and what is the next, small, realistic step we can take in this direction in the near future?

The beautiful conference venue – a retreat center in the green countryside, with accommodation for everyone in converted riding stables, good food, a common room with a fireplace for evening conversations and a conference room with large windows that allowed a sweeping view – also resulted in new human contacts and deepened relationships that will certainly carry the collaboration forward for a long time to come.

The conference will be followed by an online post-meeting at the end of May, which will also involve those members of the Training Circle who were not present in Buenos Aires, and the next annual conference from April 23-26, 2025 in the familiar city of Kassel. This lays the foundation for an alternating working rhythm: one year Kassel, one year Kass… – visiting one of the regional networks. This rhythm is also intended to bring new momentum to the collaboration and bring a culturally and geographically inclusive gesture.