All posts by cc2013austria

Creating within the Open Space Technology

Since Thursday evening participants were given the chance to work with a method called Open Space Technology (see session summary of 24/10, 5-6:30pm) The entire Friday was dedicated to work in small groups on individual projects and to the preparations for the respective presentation.

The first group investigated the matter of Halal food in a Maltese butcher’s shop and a restaurant. Equipped with a camera the team set out to interview two of their employees questioning about issues, such as the special slaughter of the animals and the different ways of preparation. In conclusion, they observed an interest in the topic, but also a lack of knowledge that might cause misunderstandings about Halal food.

One member of the second group, which only consisted of two participants in total, had done some research on how the European economic crisis affected the Arab spring beforehand. Based on these findings they worked on a small survey, in which around 50 Maltese people had to choose one statement that was the most adequate in regards to the posed questions. “How do you think the crisis can impact your business?” was one of them, for example. Before displaying the result, however, the team gave a short introduction to the topic and the research. In order to compare the result with the opinions of the people present, they were asked the same questions. This resulted in a vivid discussion about the topic and the survey itself.

The objective of the third team was to deliver the contents that were covered earlier in the program to young people in Tunisia. In addition, these should be further enriched in order to start a youth Empowerment Program called Change Makers, which will be elaborated in cooperation with UPF, Haqi and the Unreal Academy. One of the main aims is that youngsters develop competences, such as Communication, Public Speaking, Problem Analysis, Project Management and Budgeting, Team Building and Leadership. Topics like Democracy, Environment and Ecology will also be covered during the 15 weeks long program. Within that time frame the participants will also be asked to work on individual projects, where mentoring will be provided by the organisers.

The last team named itself the Expression Movement Group (EMG) and ended the evening session with a short performance revolving around the topic “the expression of life”. Different creative elements, namely vocals, acting, poetry, dancing and painting were mingled and eventually resulted in a collaborative canvas painting, which will be exhibited in the art studio of one of the group members. The EMG decided to continue their art work in the near future, performances in different countries like Tunisia, the UK, Austria and Italy are planned.

The variety of topics certainly had one thing in common: all the group members were incredibly engaged in their projects, which will partly be continued and ideally create change in the long run.

By Alma and Roua

The ocean of interests

„Not long ago I read through an African cookbook, when it suddenly struck me that this was the first text that was completely neutral towards Africa.“ With this and other statements 20 year old Katri from Finland elaborates on her interest in intercultural relations, reducing conflict and prejudice in society. How do cultures work and how are prejudices produced in the mind? Why do we behave the way we do and how is cultural knowledge acquired? Social psychology, which Katri studied for a semester in the University of Helsinki, provides her with answers that she aims to deepen with observations in everyday life.

In addition, Katri is a passionate listener of the very many individual stories from all the people she has met along the way, like during this UPF Program when she interviewed Maltese citizens about immigration. Also back home in Helsinki she takes great interest in working with immigrants and refugees, while being well aware that English – despite being the lingua franca of nowadays – has certain limitations. This is one of the reasons why Katri aims to learn as many languages as possible. Ever since she did some voluntary work and travelled in India, she started learning Hindi, while Arabic and Spanish are yet on the list.

Maybe Katri’s curiosity in so many topics and fields started at a very early age when she used to ask her parents, who are both scientists, why and how exactly things happen the way they do? Or maybe her open-minded attitude that every single conversation can have a huge impact in one’s life, as long as one sees the opportunities and dares to take them, always lead her towards new roads and interests. One thing is certain, however: no matter where Katri’s path will take her, she will keep on exploring the ocean of opportunities, an open space that is longing to be further explored.

by Alma

The story how Lauren ended up in Malta

PA230079This is Lauren. And this is the story of how she ended up at the Creating Change conference in Malta.

Lauren graduated in English Literature and Film Studies in London. She enjoyed the creative element of making short films, such as perspective, concept and the creativity lying behind visual arts. Like many art-related studies it was hard to get a decent job afterwards, especially in the rational meritocracy of modern society. After a joyful sunny summer in England Lauren started looking. However she ended up in a job she wasn’t passionate about with terrible working hours. And if that wasn´t enough, she lost this job after four months.

Time went by and money slipped through her fingers. After another four months of unemployment Lauren started at the Job Center doing “work experience”. This was basically an unpaid internship, that might be useful in getting experience, as the title suggests, but ultimately doesn´t pay the bills. But as unpredictable as life can be, Lauren met two guys there who had their own company. They run a media company and work within photography and film. As such, Lauren got an invitation to an event in the houses of parliament that happened to be organized by the UPF. There she met Christa, who is the Co-director at Youth UPF in London.

She invited her to the “CreatingChange2013” conference in Malta soon after. That is where Lauren is at the moment. She´s still working with the two guys she met at the Job Center in London, and doing lots of freelance media based things.

The bottom line is: All of this would not have happened if Lauren hadn´t lost her first job that was terrible anyway. Sometimes life can play quite cynical games, and in the end things can turn out completely different than one would expect. Things that seem quite negative at first glance can lead to fundamental change in life, if not for anything else, for this push out of the comfort zone, change is worth embracing.

by Tom

Open Space Technology

24/10/2013 17:00 h – 18:30 h

By Martina

The first afternoon session on Thursday was held by Rebecca with the title „Open Space Technology“. It aimed at finally leading us from theoretical inputs to actual actions to be taken within the next days.
Therefore, we were presented the Open Space Technology, a model that purposes the spreading of ideas for initiatives among attendees of any conference.  To get the most out of it for everyone, following principles have to be kept in mind:

  1.        Whoever comes are the right people.
  2.        Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
  3.        When it starts is the right time.
  4.        When it’s over it is over.

This allows focusing on here and now, therefore pushing the project to greater success. In order to enable flexibility and fluctuation among the participants “The rule of 2 feet” was introduced, meaning everyone could switch between initiatives anytime one feels like doing so.

To proceed, ideas were gathered on a board, then shortly presented by the convenors, followed by short questions.
Suggestions ranging from establishing an online platform to track down human rights violations in Libya to inform people on Malta about ḥalāl food, research the connections between the Euro crisis and the Arab Spring, explore Symbols on Malta, write a musical piece promoting world peace, interview immigrants and Maltese about migration issues, establish a youth empowerment program, get creative in expressive arts, work within the concept of the “Theatre of the Oppressed” as well as layout a concept for sustainable conferences were brought up.

To get started, everyone gathered in groups according to the project they would like to join most and brainstorming began. We are now preparing for tomorrow to get a smooth start into the world of activism here on Malta.

By Martina

International marriages creating world peace?

Is there a successful way of enabling peace throughout our globe? The 25 year old Paulo is just one of many participants from the religious movement called the Unification Church. Its aim is to break down barriers through international marriages, uniting different cultures, beliefs and also personalities eventually leading to world peace. But is it as easy as that? Can there be world peace by uniting different nationalities through marriages?

According to Paulo, whose parents are from different countries Italy and Germany he has profited from his dual cultural background breaking down prejudices and growing up in many countries. This has certainly had an impact on his upbringing, making him aware of differences, but seeing them as daily positive contributions to life. Growing up everywhere, but nowhere specifically Paulo describes himself as an European-citizen speaking four languages fluently and understanding five more languages. Having an international background and upbringing he believes in the mission of spreading peace by uniting different cultures through marriage. After his studies in Italy he will move to Japan in order to live with his Japanese fiancé, making HIS contribution to a global peaceful home.

And what is yours?

By Anja

The interconnectedness of our actions

After being born in 1989 in todays South Sudan and living in Egypt as a refugee from Sudan with her family until 2005, Angelina today lives and studies in Finland. The experiences during her childhood and youth clearly made the interconnectedness of actions that take place in different places and times in a globalized world visible to her; she „grew“ into being „globally aware“.

For Angelina things are „globally interconnected, even if the connections are sometimes not being seen in the first place“. Clearly, „what happens on a local level cannot be disconnected from the global level“, bringing an element of „global responsibility“ in the lives of all of us. In that sense, global responsibility means acknowledging our responsibility in a globalizing world. Conversely, global responsibility also means that „everyone can affect change“ and open up spaces for individual, local action in a globalized world.

In seeing the world from an interconnected point of view, an entry point for action can be made on an individual basis. It means that our actions on a local level can certainly contribute to meet global challenges, rendering them into common challenges. Angelina for example uses her experiences in trainings run by the International Civil Service about immigration and global education projects in schools in Finland‘s remote rural areas. She also voluntarily works in a local council on trying to bringing together local residents and immigrants.

Nevertheless, the question remains how our actions are globally interconnected for all of us, not only for persons like Angelina who „were globally raised“. It is important because it makes clear how local actions can affect lives of people in different parts of the world. To cut a long story short, the „how to read the world“ ultimately defines „how we (re-)write the world“.

By Lukas (thanks to Rebecca for proofreading)