L'Arche International seeks to unite communities in a common vision. The purpose of the Federation's member communities has been unchanged since 1964. Yet, both the Federation and the world are evolving. In 2002, in a process called “Identity and Mission”, L'Arche International invited its members to clarify the Federation's identity and mission in order to meet the challenges of today's world. This process finished, L'Arche International now assists the Federation's members to take ownership of the newly defined elements of L'Arche's identity and mission. Ultimately, the goal is to keep the conversation going, to develop a culture of open debate and inclusive reflection on the organisation.
Communicating the founding story and the core values of L'Arche to hundreds of new individuals each year remains as much a continuing challenge as is the quest for new and alternative ways to pursue L'Arche's mission.
As Jean Vanier continues to point out, the development of the Federation was not planned. The gradual growth of communities around the world and an organisational culture which focuses on concrete, everyday life activities rather than on abstract reflection are some of the reasons of the great dispersion of knowledge and skills around the Federation. At this stage of the Federation's life, it is essential to establish a space that can host books, articles and recordings that are of importance to the mission and the vision of L'Arche. Overcoming the gap from an oral to a written culture constitutes another challenge in this domain. L'Arche has learned many lessons throughout its history. It now has to formulate these so that the wider society may profit from this knowledge.