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Archive for openness

Ubuntu

We received this email recently from Jennifer Goudemand in South Africa. It was so beautiful I had to share it with you all here:

"Thank you for this work – I stumbled upon this methodology very recently, and am awed by the power, relevance and willingness to share evident in The World Cafe.

In my country, we are undergoing many changes, and, as is the way with all humanity, we resist them largely as vexing and irrelevant to our selfish needs. The ethos of the Café system allows us an opportunity to connect with peoples of all political and religious shapes and sizes, to better understand what we all aspire to, in the proverbial Bigger Picture.

Remarkably, in my personal experience, most of Mankind has similar desires and goals – the safety of our families and loved ones, the education of our children, the right to pursue opportunities unfettered. Sadly, our dogma has created a gulf across which it is sometimes nigh impossible to traverse, but which is reachable via the bridges the Cafés create, pockets of safety in which to explore another’s point of view, unthreatened. And to learn, continually, the value of Oneness. 

I’ve had only warmth and ‘Ubuntu’ from your people: “…what is this thing we call Ubuntu? … Ubuntu means each one of us can only effectively exist as fully functioning human beings when we acknowledge the roles that others play in our lives. Most Nguni languages in Southern Africa will say: “umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu [a person is a person through other persons, or I am because we are]”.

It is about accepting our inherent interconnectedness. This is the one missing piece of our current socio-political, leadership and business puzzle. At a glance, ubuntu seems idealistic. Yet, when understood, it is the foundation for social coherence. It engenders self-respect, whose current lack among individuals across all communities (rich and poor) breeds the levels of violence we experience.” (Dumisani Magadlela)

I look forward in great excitement to making World Cafés the adjunct to my work and life, to meeting the minds of others and understanding their stories, which must be one of the most enriching Learning Curves to which I’ve ever been led.

In great appreciation for your dedication, and the gifts bestowed.

Jennifer"