Overview

Social transformation can be defined as the process of large scale change for an environment where a shift occurs in the consciousness, in attitudes and values of a community or society (whether local, state, national or global).  Scientific discoveries can cause social transformation as can religious movements (such as the great awakening of New England) or governmental policy (such as the end of apartheid in South Africa). Faith-Based Social Transformation is the process of positively changing an environment for the better using faith-based principles. This includes efforts to positively influence a nation’s culture by working to improve the values-based systems and ethical mindsets in its key strategic fronts, spheres or “mountains” — business, government, education, media, arts & entertainment, religion and family.

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We have invited a number of prominent faith-based leaders to discuss how faith-based social transformation efforts can improve and better our society, communities and institutions. This will be a groundbreaking event that is positioned to be a catalyst towards inspiring renewal of not only the Harvard student body but of the larger Boston and New England region. This conference will be one of the firsts of its kind where leading voices for the faith-based social transformation of culture and nations will bring the relevance of God’s purpose and power to the students at Harvard consistent with the founding purpose of the university.

The motto of Harvard University adopted in 1692 was “Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae” which translated from Latin means “Truth for Christ and the Church.” This phrase can be found embedded on the Harvard Shield and on many buildings around campus including the Widener library, Memorial Church, and various dorms in Harvard Yard. It was originally established by John Harvard to train Christian ministers to preach the gospel but, over the past centuries, has experienced a shift from its original purpose (http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~gsascf/shield.html). After Newsweek published its “Harvard’s Crisis of Faith” article last year, the need to review and address the spiritual state of the Harvard student body has become more evident (http://www.newsweek.com/2010/02/10/harvard-s-crisis-of-faith.html). Many of our other great Ivy League universities (such as Princeton, Yale, Dartmouth, Columbia, Amherst, Brown) were established on a similar Christian foundation.

Throughout history, many of our great social transformers (such as Jonathan Edwards, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela) had their sense of purpose and passion under-girded by their Christian faith.  In fact, the time-tested principles of the Judeo-Christian worldview has profoundly influenced not only the history of this country and its great institutions but also the very foundations of western civilization itself.  Many secular or non-Christian leaders have also successfully employed faith-based principles to better our society or to effect change without necessarily being believers themselves. We thus invite all interested in exploring the subject to attend this conference regardless of their current faith posture. This event is designed to help students learn how to become agents of change as well as to help students realize their unique purpose and maximize their full potential.

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EVENT DESCRIPTION:

Are you open to learning about how faith-based principles can provide the edge you need to transform/improve your community? Are you a budding social entrepreneur looking to transform/improve society? Do you wish to see the Harvard student body renewed in its commitment to spiritual and socially-responsible values? Are you in need of clarity of direction for your future or career? Do you feel a disconnect between the relevance of your faith and your vocation?  If the answer is yes to any of the above, then this conference is for you!

The theme of the conference is SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION BY THE POWER OF GOD.

Come hear prominent faith-based leaders (from the business, non-profit, social entrepreneurship and religion sectors) discuss new ways of thinking about improving society, explore strategies for shaping communities/nations and outline the intellectual framework for modern-day social transformation. This event will also provide a missing link to the social entrepreneurship movement by integrating the role of faith-based transformation theory and practice into the marketplace which is proving to be a valuable source of competitive advantage for many leaders and their organizations as they strategically manage performance in a social, ethical and spiritual context.

There will be a special concluding session (optional) towards the very end of the conference that will focus on a time of practical ministry/consultation, prayer and personal reflection. During the 2010 Harvard Great Debate (hosted by HESLS), a Harvard Divinity School Professor alluded to the idea that the Harvard intellectual should not ignore the role that “experience” plays in the intellectual life as a way to try out the reality of any system of belief. This session will provide you opportunity to “test the reality of God for yourself”, to sharpen understanding of your purpose and life-calling, to address obstacles and questions you have regarding your faith, to clarify or confirm your direction in life, and to overcome personal barriers to your future success.

We expect the conference will have a positive impact on the student body with a revived sense of purpose that will ultimately translate into a renewed commitment to improving our society.

 Through this event we would like to help students:

  1. Explore and discern their life-calling and purpose;
  2. Understand the connection between their faith and vocation;
  3. Breakthrough disillusionment with the seeming irrelevance of religion in everyday life;
  4. Understand how the arenas of business, government, education, arts, entertainment, media, law, science are critical to God’s purposes;
  5. Have an existential encounter that will renew and revive their passion to be agents of change.

The fourfold objective of the conference is:

  1. To facilitate a shift in the spiritual atmosphere over Harvard that will assist in re-establishing the foundations of faith upon which this university was built.
  2. To articulate the social transformation model of activating students into their life purpose and to expose a generation of future leaders to the keys of transforming culture.
  3. To provide an environment for non-believers or uninformed believers to explore faith issues at a more practical or deeper level and facilitate an existential encounter with the reality of God’s power to transform lives.
  4. To serve as a vehicle to a larger impact beyond Harvard, on Boston and the New England region, and to be a counter-cultural voice to regional attitudes of atheism, secular humanism and religious complacency. 

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KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Social Transformation Conference:

  • The theme is “Social Transformation By The Power of God”
  • The conference will span two days and will feature a full-day of programming on Saturday and an evening program on Friday
  • The event will have 5 sessions featuring experts on the topic of faith-based social transformation
  • There will be networking opportunities with other students, with the speakers and other leaders attending the event
  • There will be optional opportunities for personal consultation, advice and ministry

Who is this conference for:

Though the primary focus is on Harvard students, the conference caters to a wide range of attendees. The conference is for everyone interested in Social Transformation, including:

  • Students from across all Harvard Schools
  • Students interested in Social Transformation
  • Social entrepreneurs looking for keys to transforming society, communities and institutions
  • Social Transformation pioneers and activists
  • Faith-based leaders, practitioners, academics, student groups including clergy and laity
  • Anyone interested in faith-based issues as it relates to improving society
  • Anyone interested in seeing a spiritual renewal of Harvard’s campus and student body
  • Anyone interested in discovering their purpose and calling in life
  • Anyone needing direction and clarity for their future path
  • Anyone seeking to understand the connection between their faith and their vocation
  • Anyone seeking to understand how faith-based principles can aid in the betterment of society, organizations, business and institutions
  • Anyone seeking to understand how Harvard’s founding purpose is relevant to the campus today
  • Professionals from other fields with an interest in the topic
  • We welcome all conference attendees to our campus for the event including graduate and undergraduate students from multiple schools as well as outside networks.

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Historically, many of our great social transformers had their sense of purpose and passion undergirded by their Christian faith. Several of our Ivy League universities (such as Harvard, Princeton and Yale) were established on a Christian foundation. more...

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