Global Context: What Remains to be Learned

Jeff Wagner is an expert only at acknowledging the false assumptions we make about the world and the questions we are not asking. He hopes to embrace the spirit of the true teacher: the one who wants you to challenge him, the one who doesn’t want you to believe what he’s saying.

Jeff has spent the last ten years as a cross-cultural and environmental educator splitting his time between Colorado and South and Southeast Asia. Over the past years, he has worked from the high Himalayan villages of Nepal to the chaos of Asia’s burgeoning megalopolises like Delhi, Kathmandu, and Yangon. He has sat with the visionaries of Nepal, Ladakh, Sikkim, Myanmar, and Thailand, those people who could (in the same sentence) dizzy you with their intellect, enrage you with stories of the difficulties their people face, and make you weep from the beauty of their work and their words. He has come away with a complete shift in perspective from the progressive Colorado world he grew up in, and hopes to bring some of that to the people who would work to change the world at this summit.

At this summit, Jeff hopes to present a framework to cut through what we think we know about the way the world works and to begin to ask the most relevant questions. He hopes you’ll leave with more questions than you came with and fewer answers than you thought you knew.

The USA is one of the most isolated and insular countries on Earth; what does it mean to be an activist or visionary here in a changing global context? Which questions are we not thinking to ask, and where are we going completely astray? What is the “American” perspective on the world and where does it limit us? What’s actually happening in the political, spiritual, social, economic, and environmental world and why do Americans seem not to care? If you’re reading this and thinking “that’s not me,” Jeff asks these questions: why aren’t we doing more to learn from the desert culture of Xinjiang and help to end the oppression there? How many countries on Earth have unexploded US ordinance on the ground, and what does that mean for our species as we face an unprecedented environmental and spiritual crisis? What does it mean that the two most populous nations on Earth are abandoning their spiritual roots and pursuing secular materialism? How do our actions influence all these things?

Join Jeff on a journey through history, economics, spiritual tradition, environmental science, and politics to explore the intersection of high Himalayan villages with the rise of the Chinese economic giant, the farmers of India with the chaos of Bangkok and Accra. See the connection between Tibetan Buddhism and the extortion of the “developing” world. Jeff argues that much of what we’re doing as “progressive” action in the states is too close to the surface, ignoring the global trends in sustainable development, economics, and authentic and culturally-rooted spirituality.

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