Archive for conversation – Page 2

Connecting Heart to Heart

This blog post was written by Tony Pfeiffer – one of the all-volunteer hosting team for the online Community Cafes. Tony lives in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He sent this post before the hurricane hit. We know he is alive and safe, and we are still waiting to connect directly with him. Here are his words: 

World Cafe is not what I thought it is. World Cafe is much more! My first exposure (2014) was in the book “Mapping Inner Space” by Nancy Margulies. There was a graphic of the World Cafe on page 43. My first impression was “Hmmm, what is this about?”. I found the World Cafe site. As I moved around the site I was intrigued. My logic was that seems like it would work. And, I saw it as merely a physical event.

Fall 2016, I took a fresh look at World Cafe. Oh, there is an online Cafe monthly. When I looked at the time commitment of 2.5 hours I thought how can I do that? Then, in December I attended my first ever World Cafe. It felt like a home coming reunion. Each break out session gave me 3 new people to interact with people from all over the world. It felt safe, sacred, and special.

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Next Generation Stepping In

On this International Day of the Girl, we share words from an eighteen-year-old girl – about her experiences of participating in circles and World Cafe and her wish to host conversations that truly matter. What a joy it is to witness our next generation of hosts stepping in!

I’m Dorothee, an eighteen year old girl from Belgium. I graduated from a Waldorf High School in June 2017 and I decided to take a gap-year.

Now I’m currently living in a community in Zimbabwe, Kufunda Learning Village. I arrived mid-August and I will stay until mid-December. I’m here as a volunteer teaching in the small Waldorf-inspired Primary School.

Kufunda Learning Village is a rural community where people live and work together, driven by their passions. There is a permaculture garden, they harvest and process food themselves. Besides that, Kufunda is also a learning center and they host workshops and modules, or go out into other communities to host modules. Art of Hosting is not only the core of their hosting activities, it is also deeply present in the way they live. It is not my first time to get in touch with Art of Hosting, Circles or World Cafés but I’ve never been surrounded by so many hosts nor have I been in a place where it is practised in everyday life. I feel it in the little things.

Just some days after I had arrived, I joined the teachers’ 3-day-workshop. How amazed I was the first day, that we did a check-in at the beginning of the day and check-out at the end. Also the following two days we started and ended every time in a circle, sharing how we felt, what questions came… We really took our time for it and I felt that this was NOT AT ALL a waste of time. It was even the opposite, it seemed to be having a real good influence. There was a (stronger) connection between us – people I had never met before – and I loved the ‘whole’ that was created this way. Not just quickly gathering together, listening to the host and then going back to our own lives. No, instead we took time to arrive, to open and to leave, to close.

A little flame had started inside me, my love and awareness for the power and magic of circles, check-ins and check-outs.

By now, almost two months later, this little flame has become a stronger, bigger one. Every meeting we start with a check-in and end with a check-out. No matter how many we are, no matter how much time we have. And I love it. It is so precious and valuable and I feel that taking time for this could be done for whatever meeting or gathering you have. I have experienced it now in Kufunda Village Circle, the weekly gathering where Kufundees sit together and talk about everything that needs to be talked about. Also every meeting amongst the teachers starts and ends with this taking time to talk, but most importantly to listen to each other. With the children in school we also have a weekly circle. And then there’s the bigger Kufunda meetings, like planning sessions. Not only circle, check- in and check-out, but World Cafés are involved! I like this way of thinking and talking together, creating ideas for the future. You’re in a small group, which gives everybody the chance to share his/her voice. When it’s time to change the groups, you see how other people have been thinking and talking about the same question. And there can be such differences! You share what has been said at your table and there’s time to think and talk again. This way, you hear what has been said in all (most of) the other groups. To close the World Café, there’s a big circle and per table there is one presenting what has risen. This overview per table makes sure that everything that has been said, is now also shared in the big group. I’m convinced that this is a very efficient and creative way to plan things when you’re in a big(ger) group. All voices are heard without taking hours and hours.


The flame of hosting meaningful conversations is growing inside me. And I truly believe that it will become a fire one day, able to light the flames in others too.




World Cafe is “Stepping In” on a new level – increasing our capacity to engage most effectively with the challenging issues of our times. Here’s an overview of what we’re envisioning and some of the priorities we’ve identified to start. Please join us and contribute what you can to support this important work.

This blog post is one response to an open invitation to our global community – to step up & express what the gift of the World Cafe means to YOU. We welcome your posts, as well as your comments and shares.

Conversations among wise Elders

Richard Durning shares about his experiences in hosting “Boomer Cafes”:

“About ten years ago, my wife Lina – an experienced World Cafe practitioner – was about to turn 60.  She, as with many of our circle of family and friends, was frequently in conversation about what this big 6-0 (and beyond) means. These upcoming “golden years” promise to be much different than those of our parents. Our life expectancy is much longer. “How do I spend this bonus time?” “What will our community (ies) look like – certainly not a gated community. And, most of us do not play golf.”
“These conversations beg for a Cafe,” Lina declared.  “We’ll call it a ‘Boomer Cafe’”.

Her invitation was met with a terrific response. We hosted three Boomer Cafe gatherings with over 45 participants. Our questions ranged from post-retirement: “If retirement is not calling you, what are your priorities for your next phase of life?” to our well-being: “How do we take care of ourselves and prepare for inevitable changes in our lives?”and to our future community: “How do we create a community that supports our well-being?”. These questions generated lively exchanges. One participant insisted that she did not want to be “around old people all the time.”

I was fortunate to host a table and witness the elegant simplicity of World Cafe conversations. Within minutes my small groups were in the space of shared inquiry, stories, playfulness and sudden insights. One individual’s comment stood out for me. “Where is ritual?” In the Western world (United States) there is no place for ritual that allows for the celebration, reflection, and acknowledgment of our entering “the third stage.” We can, and should, learn from other cultures that honor their wise elders.

At the end of the third Boomer Cafe, I commented to a fellow host, that I often marvel at the scope of World Cafe – corporations, organizations, governments, and faith communities. Now add another application: Conversations among wise elders.”

Richard Durning

Chicago, IL USA

World Cafe is “Stepping In” on a new level – increasing our capacity to engage most effectively with the challenging issues of our times. Here’s an overview of what we’re envisioning and some of the priorities we’ve identified to start. Please join us and contribute what you can to support this important work.

This blog post is one response to an open invitation to our global community – to step up & express what the gift of the World Cafe means to YOU. We welcome your posts, as well as your comments and shares.