A Small Institute

In 2012, after the experiences of the DREAM movement and a decade of community organizing, we started a small training institute, called Movement Mastery. We wanted to create quality trainings, like some we had attended before, but with the intention of serving working class leaders. We wanted to bring high level trainings that are usually out of reach to our communities. Carlos Saavedra, our founder, proceeded to systemize his experience from “a pile of undigested happenings” to in depth trainings based on his experiences of community organizing within the DREAM movement.

In our first 2 years we produced trainings like the Psychology of Organizing, where we worked in collaboration with Dushaw Hockett from SPACES, and Trainers Academy. We trained hundreds of people all over the world. In our 2014 Europe tour we trained over 500 people in 16 cities across 6 countries in 35 days. These were the early days where we went to places we had never been before and had the privilege to coach key organizations like the PICO Network and Hope not Hate in the UK.

Institutes of Institutes

After conducting trainings for over 2 years and engaging communities in over 10 different countries we met some amazing people that transformed our institute. In a movement conference Carlos Saavedra and Paul Engler met for the first time in 7 years. At this point Paul had developed a revolutionary framework to understand popular movements. It completely changed Carlos’ understanding of movements and confirmed the knowledge he developed from his experiences in the DREAM movement.

Months later in his native country Peru, Carlos met Jorge Ruiz while seeking answers to the roots of societal problems. Jorge, who has masterful command of history understood a simple premise; our institute was limited by what we didn’t know. To act like we could fill all the knowledge gaps for movement leaders was absurd, even naive. We then proceeded to change our whole approach to the institute. We would no longer solely produce our trainings, but instead would continue to look for people and institutes that can meet the broader needs within our fields.

We decided at that moment to do what we do now. We create and support an ecology of training institutes. We create communities of practice and act more like a record label. We look for artists that have the tunes and are looking to build an audience around them. Now we are focusing on developing popular movements with Paul Engler, producing films on the cosmovisions of indigenous communities, and building our movement with Movimiento Cosecha.

“Restablecer un pueblo es primero reconquistar su espiritualidad”

– Pueblo Mapuche

Strategy without Memory

While we were becoming more coherent around the history and strategies of creating change, particularly in the last 2 centuries, deeper questions began to emerge around why we as a species are facing the issues of the present. We began to ask ourselves; What are the roots of our problems?

And at the end of the day how can we transform society if we don’t truly understand its genesis?

After years of searching, at times overwhelmed with the amount of historical and geopolitical research, Carlos met Jorge Ruiz in 2013. Jorge, a brilliant memory keeper could go through hundreds of years of history in a sentence and explain the genesis of our problems. Jorge’s main argument was that we could not find the roots of our problems by only looking in the last 500 years but rather we needed to look deeply in the last 5000-10,000 years.

It took about 3 years and hundreds of conversations to systemize the tools of historical analysis that Jorge was sharing. All the research culminated with the creation of a key training that change the depth and direction of the institute, the Long View. This training, which spans thousands of years of history in six days, was developed in collaboration with Lucien Damaris, Lissy Romanow, James Hayes, Dulce Juarez, and Jorge Gutierrez.

Producing Hits

We have been blessed in the last couple of years to produce training content and experiences that have truly resonated with people. One of our main hits has been the Momentum training, a training dedicated to the science of popular movements. It started with webinars (you can see them all here) which we then developed into a training program and in 2016 we supported its core team to become independent of Ayni and create their own training institute! We are very proud of their work and how they continue to grow. You can learn more about them in their site momentumcommunity.org.

In 2015, we saw a need for deeper trainings on the craft of decentralized organization. As it stands, most trainings available on this subject come from the corporate world at excessive prices. After months of research with the support of key partners – Paul Engler, Movement NetLab and other collaborators, the Ayni Institute was able to create the SWARM training. We have produced webinars on the trainings as well, which you can watch here.

In the last few years the Ayni Institute has also been a key supporter of Cosecha, a movement that embodies the concepts and lessons of the Momentum Training. We are also excited to see that the experience of supporting the development of Cosecha has now lead to the development of IfNotNow.

Lastly, the training that changed the depth and direction of the institute, the Long View. This training spans thousands of years of history in six days, and was made possible only by years of deep passion and collaboration with Lucien Damaris, Lissy Romanow, James Hayes, Dulce Juarez, and Jorge Gutierrez.

Moviemiento Cosecha

February 2017

Next Stages of Ayni

Now in 2017, we are working on the following projects:

  • After the first Long View training the Ayni Institute has committed to support key projects that protect the Memory of the past as Ayni understands that colonialism has been effective at destroying the histories of people of color around the world. Our first project is collaborating with Director Jose Huaman Turpo and Producer Alejandrina Calancha to produce the Mysteries of the Andes. In 2016 we were proud to support them in finalizing their 3rd film Qeswachaka, a truly a remarkable film about the traditions that are disappearing in the highlands of Peru.
  • We are creating the Memory Fund , as a source to support artists, writers, and filmmakers that want to continue to preserve the legacy of our ancestors. We have started by committing funds to PHUTU to produce a 9 film series on the stories of indigenous people of the Andes and Amazon in Latin America – you can check our collaboration here.
  • Paul Engler and Carlos Saavedra are recording their 2nd album. They are coming back to develop Movement Ecology, a second training with a similar scope to the Momentum training, It seeks to address more complex collaboration across social movements, alternative institutions, political parties, and social actors. We have launched webinars on the training thanks to the work of James Hayes, Paul Engler, Sophie Lasoff, and Lissy Romanow. We are planning to launch the first training in June 2017.
  • Paul Engler and Sophie Lasoff have joined the Ayni Team this year to produce some in-depth research around popular movements.
  • We are deeply supporting Movimiento Cosecha and tracking the lessons that this groundbreaking movement is producing; including how to build a decentralized network and how to bring millions of people into a general strike in the 21st century.