The Cobb Institute works with many different partners to organize events, plan projects, develop courses, and build programs that are focused around four main areas: Educational Development, Community Collaboration, Sustainable Practices, and Spiritual Integration.
The kinds of efforts engaged in by the Institute include the following:
- Support the Institute for the Postmodern Development of China
The IPDC is a local non-profit that serves as a bridge between the US and China, focusing especially on process thought and ecological civilization. The leaders, Meijun Fan and Zhihe Wang, organize conferences locally (like the annual International Forum on Ecological Civilization at Pitzer College), and bring leading thinkers from China to Claremont as visiting scholars. If you would like to meet, and work with, people who are making a real difference in China, this is your chance.
- Support the Common Good International Film Festival
The Common Good International Film Festival has been Claremont’s unique film festival for over 18 years. Because it is a program of the Center for Process Studies, it will be relocating to Willamette University. However, since there is also interest in keeping a local festival active, Director Jeremy Fackenthal is exploring the possibility of holding two annual festivals (one in Oregon, the other in SoCal). If selecting the very best films that reflect on the common good from around the world and presenting them to our local community would interest you, please let us know.
- Support Pando Populus
Pando Populus was created to implement ideas developed at the international conference on ecological civilization, held here in 2015. It works throughout Los Angeles County. Currently its most promising work is on the property of the Maryknoll sisters in Monrovia. It is trying to develop their property into a center of support for Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si. Its work is being watched by many other orders of sisters whose numbers are declining and who no longer need all their property. If you would like to help re-envision this property and work on the new use, please let us know.
- Support Agenda for a Prophetic Faith in its work in Pomona
Agenda for a Prophetic Faith organized a splendid program focusing on what it means that Pomona is now committed to becoming a compassionate city. It will continue working with the ambitious and committed city leaders toward this goal. Neighboring cities need to be helpful and also inspired. We have a rare opportunity to work with city leadership to implement values in which we all believe. Agenda needs volunteers and we hope to assist.
- Support Local Efforts to Implement Laudato Si
Laudato Si was addressed to all humanity and offers us all a vision of the world we want in contrast to the world we have. The local Catholic Church is beginning to respond seriously to the Pope’s call. As this is a call for transforming the whole world, our local efforts also need to be connected to communities of communities as part of a global movement. Perhaps you would like to get involved.
- Support our Work with the Hispanic Community
Nearly half of the students at University of LaVerne and roughly 70% of population of Pomona are of Hispanic descent. To serve our local community adequately entails serving the local Hispanic and Latinx contingent. Ignacio Castuera has been leading the Latin America Project of the Center for Process Studies and will remain with us in Claremont after the school moves. If you would like to work with Ignacio on creative ways to serve our Hispanic and Latinx community, please let him know.
- Assist the Development of Religion-Online
Religion-Online is a large collection on the web of articles and books in the field of religion. Initially it was conceived especially as a service to professors and students in the Third World, and it still plays a role there. When its owner could no longer manage it, he turned it over to us. We have kept it online, but we have not had the resources to keep it up to date. From the beginning this was a project of volunteers. If some are interested in volunteering to work on this, http://www.religion-online.org/ can have a great future.
- Coordinating with the University of LaVerne
We are developing close relations with ULV. Just how we will cooperate is still being worked out, but prospects are very promising. Key to this connection is Richard Rose, Chair of the Philosophy & Religion Department at ULV. If you have connections at ULV, or interests in ways our Institute can work with ULV to serve its students and the local community, please let us know.
- Supporting Local Faith Communities
Process theology offers an alternative vision of God and God’s relation to the world. This vision has been incredibly useful for religious communities (Christian & non-Christian alike). We hope to build upon the connections established by the Process & Faith program of the Center for Process Studies—deepening relations with local faith communities. If any of you would like to help bring the resources of process theology to nearby congregations, please join us.
- Serving the “Spiritual But Not Religious” in Our Community
We are often told that process theology is different from the kind of Christianity that many of the “nones” have reacted against. It may have a chance to help them, to answer their questions, and to support their quest, wherever they pursue. If there are any who would like to engage in this new ministry, please help us.
- Develop Tours of Local “Foretastes” of Ecological Civilization
Ecological civilization is a vision of the future we want and need. But many people are already creating it here and there. Touring examples of this movement may help to confirm commitment and point toward possible additional contributions. Claremont’s close cooperation between the volunteer organization, Sustainable Claremont, and the city has made it a leader and is a great model. Amy’s Farm models the very important factor of urban agriculture. The Wilderness Park shows how recreation and wilderness can be combined. Pitzer College landscaping illustrates the beauty that does not require much water. The botanical gardens bring beauty and botany together. Myra House models wholistic spirituality and lifestyle. CHERP has developed a nonprofit business model that will advance the use of solar panel and energy saving. And so forth. Would you like to help us develop tours to these and other places?
- Transforming Higher Education for Ecological Civilization
After World War II, value free “academic disciplines,” originally developed for purposes of research, became the dominant way in which material is organized also for teaching. We think that more important for students than learning to do research is personal growth and wisdom. We think that more important for the world than teaching everyone how to do value free research is having millions of people studying how to create the ecological civilization without which the human future looks very bleak. We hope we can find ways to involve local institutions of higher education individually and collectively in serious discussion of their responsibility to students and to humanity.
- Encourage Organic Thinking in the Sciences
We believe that more and more science is breaking out of the idea that all nature is like clockwork. It seems that the constituents of the world are more like organisms than mechanisms. If the movement toward organic think could be hastened, the prospects of ecological civilization would be greatly improved. If any of you could help us in this work, please let us know.
- Teaching Process to the Local Community
As a community-based organization designed to promote process-relational thinking for the common good, educating the public about process thought and its applications is of central importance. Sometimes this education will take place formally. For example, Elaine Padilla at ULV will be offering Whitehead related courses. Other opportunities are more informal, including public lectures, weekend retreats, or short courses oriented toward the enrichment of the general public. While Elaine Padilla is willing to provide such offerings, additional experts can also be brought in if desired. If you are interested in keeping process education alive in our community (either as potential student or teacher) please let us know.