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Jan 19
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Update on the Kalapa Capital Centre

by Shambhala President, Richard Reoch

Before he went on retreat in 2009, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche asked Mr. Steve Baker to become the Project Director for one of our mandala’s most ambitious projects: the establishment of a Kalapa Capital Centre, the capital of Shambhala. This is a complex, multi-million dollar initiative that is intended to be created in partnership with Nova Scotia, as well as to be the central seat for the Sakyong, to house the senior Shambhala Governance staff, and to be an international gathering place for Shambhala’s global community.

For the past two-and-a-half years, Steve has devoted himself totally to this project. From the beginning, the Sakyong instructed Steve to develop support in Halifax. To that end he met with hundreds of sangha members and developed a network of people committed to working on various areas of the project. In the last year, Steve and his team met with many civic, business, and political leaders in Halifax and in Nova Scotia, including Mayor Peter Kelly, Premier Darrell Dexter, the Head of Halifax Economic Development, and the Vice President of the Greater Halifax Partnership. They also met with Member of Parliament Megan Leslie and the Chief of Staff for the Minister of Defense, who also holds the portfolio for Nova Scotia, and many others.

With all these community leaders, the discussion has focused on how Shambhala might find ways to connect further with various community initiatives. The responses have been overwhelmingly positive and excited and we began to realize that the Kalapa Capital Centre is more than a building; it is a purpose-driven project. Because effecting positive social change is a major part of establishing an enlightened society, the team has, therefore, been looking for areas where the core skills and aspirations of Shambhala intersect with various needs in the larger community. Further, it is clear that if we are able to find and fill needs in our local society, that will activate local energy. This is very much needed to accomplish this monumental project and has been the major focus of the work of Steve and his team.

Despite growing support for the project, the funding we have been able to generate has not been sufficient to continue in this way. Given all the major initiatives in Shambhala at this time, we have not been able to direct the needed resources to this project alone. In February of this past year, the Kalapa Council allocated funds additional to those already raised to pay the operations expenses up to May, 2011. After that, Steve continued to put his energy whole-heartedly into taking the project forward, agreeing to serve for a period of months in a voluntary capacity.

During that period, Steve commissioned three people to lead the first of many planned community engagement processes. Marguerite Drescher, Ryan Watson, Sophia Horowitz are all trained through ALIA (Authentic Leadership in Action, formerly the Shambhala Institute) in the leadership disciplines of Open Space, World Café, Appreciative Inquiry, Deep Listening, and the Art of Hosting. The meeting was entitled, “Can the Kalapa Capital Centre be a Societal Response to a Societal Crisis?” It was held May 21, 2011 at the Hub, a community workspace in downtown Halifax. Fifty people attended, three-quarters of whom were under the age of forty (which has come to be considered young for many of us). It lasted four hours and was tremendously exciting, raising burning questions about Shambhala, the Kalapa Capital Centre, how can it be of benefit, and how can it be accomplished.

Many of us feel that this event was the fruition of the previous two years of effort and that the project will only succeed if we harness the energy of people of all generations.

In September, at the time of the Shambhala Lineage Festival, Marguerite, Ryan, and Sophia – joined by Sera Thomposon – made a presentation to members of the Kalapa Council. They presented a schedule to take the project forward, with particular emphasis on community engagement for the Shambhala sangha and for the larger Halifax and Nova Scotia communities. This was extremely well-received and has triggered a strategic planning mission by the Kalapa Council, not only for this project but for all the major capital investment projects in the mandala.

The planning will be undertaken in this New Year of 2012, and its recommendations will be presented to the Sakyong. It will be in the context of that outcome that the next steps will be taken on the Kalapa Capital Centre.

At this point Steve’s role as director has come to an end. The Sakyong has expressed his appreciation for the extremely positive response he has garnered for this project from our community in Halifax. In particular, he has expressed his gratitude for Steve’s dedication to the Kalapa Capital Centre and has formally released him from the commitment he made to the Sakyong at the time of his appointment.

On behalf of the Kalapa Council, as well as personally, I would like to express my own gratitude to Steve for taking on this huge project, revitalizing it and bringing it to the point we have reached now. He is a thoroughly engaging person to work with, and we have spent many hours collaborating on virtually every aspect of how to bring this almost unimaginable vision into being.

I would also like to thank Ms. Melissa Howell who worked closely with Steve as an assistant to this project. She accomplished a huge amount of the on-the-ground work, and it was thanks to her determination and hard work that we were able to reach many of the milestones we have thus far.

The Kalapa Council has targeted the first quarter of 2012 to present to the Sakyong a longer-range operations plan to develop the human and financial resources needed to accomplish the principal projects in the mandala. Once we have been able to discuss this with him, we will then work out the next steps for moving forward with the Kalapa Capital Centre in the context of a global investment plan.

For both Steve and myself, I would like to express our thanks for all the generous support, throughout the international Shambhala community, of the Kalapa Capital Centre.

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2 responses to “ Update on the Kalapa Capital Centre ”
  1. Martin Fritter
    Jan 26, 2012

    I second Mr. Wright’s request for more detail. President Reoch generous prolixity alas leaves most of the specifics out.

    Warmest regards.

  2. Nick Wright
    Jan 26, 2012

    Can we be given the gist of the presentation made by Marguerite Drescher, Ryan Watson, Sophia Horowitz, joined by Sera Thompson? A detailed version of it would be even better (I assume someone took notes).

    Those of us who committed considerable time and/or money to supporting the original effort over the past two years deserve to be informed on the contents of the presentation that caused such momentous changes in the direction and practicalities of the Kalapa Centre project–including the “release” of Mr. Baker and the re-thinking of “all the major capital investment projects in the mandala”.

    Those of us over 40 remain curious, even if virtually superannuated…

    In the Vision of Shambhala,

    Nick Wright

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