Norman Kirk, had a simple theory when it came to happiness: "All Kiwis want is someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work, and something to hope for."
Hope is an ontological need. We cannot live without it. This is not the shallow hope of buying a lotto ticket but genuine hope: the belief that the world / my life can be better and it is accompanied by having some ability to influence achievement of that.
All people have the right to hope.
The nearest concept to hope in Te Ao Maori is Mana. I am not talking about the word used to describe the odd rugby player but mana is an essential value of being human and a generative power for development of individuals and groups. The processes of colonisation have diminished mana. Our processes must enhance mana.
Mana and hope are not the same but share similar characteristics in their role in our lives.
Mana and hope are abstract concepts brought to life by concrete actions. To sustain hope we need to be able to influence the world around us. By acting respectfully, valuing the contribution of others, looking for the positives in a relationship, we enhance mana.
To build the skills to enable us to shape our future we engage in learning The processes of learning also need to be processes that enhance mana.
Learning thrives in an environment of positive relationships-mana enhancing relationships.
Learning thrives when it makes connections to and builds from what we know already.
So CEC is about understanding whanau and community aspirations, and finding the tools to make those aspirations a reality in an environment that enhances the mana of all involved.
We want to strengthen the engagement of communities with education; because it enables choices. Not just the choices offered by education institutions but the choices aspired to by whanau/families and communities.
It is political in that at its core is the desire to empower whanau and communities to exercise more control over what happens to them. To achieve that it will inevitably disrupt some of the current order.
So CEC does not have a blueprint of what we should do. We are engaged in a process. It sets some boundaries - its field of endeavour is learning and how to grow it and those who benefit should be those whanau and communities with the fewest choices.
CEC unashamedly seeks a better world. To give tools that enable people to achieve their aspirations. It does this in a manner that enhances the mana of all involved