Piecing together a new story: 30 years of the AIDS quilt

During my years at university — and for some time after — I was a member of a student organisation.  AIESEC specialised in traineeship exchange in those days, offering students a chance to experience organisational life in another country.  When I was offered a role at the US office in New York in 1981, I jumped at it.  Part of my duties included acting as “Reception Officer” for more than …

The Danish view of the importance of being on the same eye level (“At vaere i oejenhoejde”)

If our resources are people instead of gold or diamonds or landmass, how do you work with them?  How do we move beyond hierarchies and really work together?  Toke Paludan Moeller talks about the importance Danes place on  being in eye level.  It is something they speak about and give priority to.  It is a primary societal value.  There are many layers of story within these words.  He talks about …

The Swedish word “fika” — so much more than a coffee break!

It’s the weekend — time to think about how you nurture yourself and your connection with others. Here’s Kajsa Balkfors talking about the way Swedes make taking a break a national institution.  Fika is an extremely important part of the Swedish lifestyle and a time when stories are shared. WARNING: Watching this may provoke an intense longing for cinnamon buns!

The Danish word “Ting” — how the council still impacts Scandinavians

I’m having such a good time collecting a new depth of understanding on words in other languages. Every language has concepts that are not translatable into other languages, concepts that speak to the culture and nature of people and place. They are stories within words.  Here, Svend-Erik Engh, friend and fellow storyteller, talks about the Scandinavian concept of “Ting” and how the council form of decision making lives on in …

The Danish word “hygge” — it’s more than cozy

I love language! In fact, if I were ever in the Matrix and the offered me the red pill of all physical prowess or the blue pill of being able to understand all languages, I DEFINITELY take the blue pill! As I travel around the world, I will continue to collect language that gives us an insight into the stories of different cultures.  Here’s my colleague and friend Jan Hein …

Why isolating the parts can make a better whole

I’ve been working away quietly at the hotel getting ready for my sessions at the Faciliteringsdagarna in Stockholm starting tomorrow. There has been a pre-conference session going on with Michael Wilkinson and I checked in with the participants at lunch. What Kalle said made me think. He told me he’d worked as a musician for 15 years and that taught him how important it was to isolate the small things that make …

The top issue facing us today is…

What would you name as your top societal issues? Here’s my list: How do we live well together? (and who is “we” anyway?) Connection & engagement – what stimulates these? Why don’t we talk about power? (and linked to that, violence, generational challenges, the crisis of self esteem, why don’t we want to share?) ME/WE (how do we balance the practice of these? How do we make the most of …

The city of the future is the one people narrate together

If you’ve ever been to Montreal, you will have experienced the vibrant hum of the city. It is a city that has distinctive neighbourhoods and an international flavour, and it is also a city committed to exploring and vitalising diversity. 2017 marks 375 years for Montreal and the city is helping to mark the celebration by making a public process of community storytelling. Imagine, if you will wooden circular structures …