Newsletter Nr. 26 (December 2015, subsequent to our 26th Annual Conference, our 2015 NY Workshop)
Compiled by Evelin Lindner, in New York City, USA (December, 2015)
(Note: This newsletter is written in American English, since this conference took place in the U.S. In our outside-of-the-U.S. workshops, we often use British English.)
What Is the Aim of Our Work?
Messages from You
(Important note to our conference participants: During our conference, we asked for your permission to include your pictures here. In case you have changed your mind since our workshop took place, please let us know! We want to make sure we have your permission. Thank you! Since we wish to walk the talk of dignity, it is very important for us to do our utmost in respecting everybody's privacy. We could gather written permissions from you during our conferences, yet, since we value the building of mutual trust in relationships, we would like to refrain from contributing to an ever more bureaucratic and legalistic society. We encourage everybody who does not wish to have their pictures or videos on our website to take pro-active responsibility and inform the photographer to refrain from taking pictures of her, and stay out of any video-tape. This will make the post-workshop editing work feasible, as also this is a voluntary work of love that is already overstretched.)
We had a wonderful workshop in New York City! It was titled:
2015 Workshop on Transforming Humiliation and Violent Conflict
(representing the 26th Annual HumanDHS Conference)!
All our events are part of an ongoing effort to build a global dignity community.
Linda and I would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to all of you who co-created our 2015 Workshop on Transforming Humiliation and Violent Conflict representing the 26th Annual HumanDHS Conference! You ALL contributed so that our workshop became a unique and exiting experience!
We would like to thank Morton Deutsch, Peter T. Coleman, Danielle Coon, Founder, Director, and Associate Director of the Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (MD-ICCCR) at Columbia University, and their wonderful team. Morton Deutsch founded this workshop series in 2003 and is our Honorary Convener since then.
MD-ICCCR is part of the Columbia University Conflict Resolution Network (CU-CRN), and since 2009 co-founder of the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity (AC4). We have no words to thank Sandra Afflick, Thaina Mondesir, Suzanne Lipton, Danielle Coon, Charlott Macek, and Drew Pham, all at Teachers College, for so kindly securing the venue for our workshops! Grace Dodge Hall 179 is an incredible gift to our workshop participants!
Andrea Bartoli inspired this workshop series and helped design it in 2003. He was then the Director of the Center for International Conflict Resolution (CICR) at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, and Chairman of the Columbia University Conflict Resolution Network (CU-CRN). Andrea Bartoli is a Member of the HumanDHS Global Advisory Board since its inception. Also his successor, Aldo Civico, kindly supported this workshop, as did his successor Jean-Marie Guéhenno, who became the President of the International Crisis Group in 2014. In 2009, the CU-CRN was superseded by the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity (AC4). From 2015, the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies (SIWPS) at the School of International and Public Affairs offers courses in specialization in conflict resolution (ICR Concentration).
We also wish to give special thanks to Beth Fisher-Yoshida, Academic Director of a Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at The School of Professional Studies (former School of Continuing Education) at Columbia University.
As always, our very special thanks go to Linda M. Hartling for first setting the frame of appreciative inquiry in Donald Klein's spirit and then, throughout the entire workshop, keeping up the spirit of dignity, and weaving a web of connections, keeping us all together!
Our gratitude goes to Tonya Hammer for helping to organize our workshop from Oklahoma, even though she could not be with us in New York City! Tonya Hammer kindly accepted our invitation in 2010 to lead the organizing team of this workshop.
Rick Slaven courageously stepped into her shoes at our worskhop, and was joined by Rita Anita Linger, Bonnie Selterman, and Connie Dawson, who most lovingly took over whenever needed! Rick Slaven also always creates a unique atmosphere of humor, modeling our motto of "taking ourselves lightly, even when we take our work seriously." A profound thank-you goes to you, dear friends! We are overwhelmed by the generous support that you extended and would like to express our deep gratitude!
This was the first worskhop with Dignigardeners! Phil Brown, David Yamada, Michael Britton, Claudia Cohen, and Michael Greene kindly offered to hold, guard, and protect the most important goal of our work, namely, to place relationships first and nurture them so that diversity of opinions and conflict can enrich, rather than tear the fabric of the relationships apart. See our Dignilogue Tips and Dynamic Dignilogue List, as well as our reflections on Appreciative Nurturing.
On Thursday, our dear Gabriela Saab from São Paulo courageously shouldered the task of video-taping, and on Friday, it was her dear friend Mariana Aferraz, who gifted her expertise in that field to us.
On Thursday and Friday, dear Hua-Chu Yen from Teachers College came by to take lovely photos, and from Thursday afternoon onward our star-photographer Anna Strout gave us the privilege of her keen eye!
And allow us to thank most warmly the media people, the facilities people, and the security people of Teachers College, who always are there for us very early in the morning, before any participant has arrived! And, dear Joe Levine, thank you so much for sending us Rebecca Donaldson!
Lucienne Nicholson, Stevie Moffic, Awais Anwar, Stephanie Tice (formerly Heuer), Kathy Goodman, and James Shanahan stepped forward to be part of our Careholders! Some gathered at the Careholder meeting prior to the workshop's start. Stevie Moffic was our new "director of psychogeography of the room"! And we can always rely on dear Anne Wyatt-Brown for keeping an eye on the timing of our workshop!
We are immensely grateful to all of them for so generously gifting their time and energy to this workshop!
And what book table we had this year! Thanks to Uli Spalthoff, our not-for-profit Dignity Press has plublished almost 30 books in the past 3 years!
Our warmest thanks go furthermore to our "moderator of moderators," Philip Brown, David Yamada and Connie Dawson moderated the first Dignilogue, and for the second Dignilogue, Michael L. Perlin and Gabriela Saab stepped wonderfully up to the task!
May we end by thanking the contributors to our Public Event on the afternoon of Thursday, December 4, for their wonderful inspiration! First came Fred Ellis with his students, then we had the privilege of having Claudia Cohen and Tony Gaskew with us, who shared deep experiences with us, and Premik Tubbs rounded up the evening with his amazing saxophone! THANK YOU ALL for your amazing gifts!
Finally, Michael Britton moved us all again deeply on Friday morning with his Don Klein Memorial Lecture that he gives in the place of Don's originally planned lecture titled The Humiliation Dynamic: Looking Back... Looking Forward. Don showed us how to live in awe and wonderment. We will always need your wisdom, dear Don!
David Yamada and Linda Hartling were honored with the 2015 HumanDHS (Half!) Lifetime Achievement Award! If you feel called, and have not already done so, it would be great to have also your birthday wishes for dear Linda on her birthday page! She will turn 60 at the end of December.
Please join me in expressing deep gratitude to Linda Hartling. Without her wisdom, love, care, and huge investment of time since 1999, when we met via email, and then, in full intensity, since our first conference in 2003, our network and our conferences would not be there. Please celebrate Linda’s leadership! In November 2008, Linda relinquished her administrative responsibilities at Wellesley College to devote more time in service of HumanDHS and she is our new HumanDHS Director! (Evelin remains the HumanDHS Founding President). A big welcome to you, dearest Linda! Rick and Linda moved across the North American Continent and found a physical home for the Pacific Rim Branch of HumanDHS and the first HumanDHS Dialogue Home in Portland, Oregon. Everyone is invited to visit! And please send Linda all of your relevant books to be included in the HumanDHS library!
Now, we would like to extend a special thanks to those of you who completed the Appreciative Enquiry note cards at the conclusion of the workshop. As Linda explained, this information is important for us as we begin to reflect on what we could do differently next year and in future years. Your willingness to participate in this process is very important for us, as we very much want this workshop to continue to be a collaborative effort. We extend our warm thanks to each of you for being part of this co-creation.
Please be reminded that our events differ from traditional conferences where speakers are invited and funded by organizers and audiences pay a registration or entrance fee to listen to the speakers. Usually, organizers gather speakers who "market" their knowledge to an audience. We wish to transcend the separation between speakers and audiences and nurture our gatherings in the spirit of what we call Dignilogue (dignity + dialogue).
There is no monetary remuneration involved in our events. Participants join the workshop because they wish to share their work, their experiences, and their insights. The main point of our work is the nurturing of a global dignity community. Our events are a labor of love, just as is everything else connected with our network. None of us is being paid, including the organizers, there is no traditional fundraising and no profit involved. We share the minimal overhead in a dignity economy approach by everybody contributing according to ability.
For the past decade, we have continuously worked to dignify the traditional institution "conference." To give one example, we use new words, such as Dignilogue, and leave behind the terminology of "speaker" or "presenting." See the video on our Dignilogue adaptation of the Open Space format, created by Linda Hartling on August 12, 2012, for our 2012 Norway Conference. See also Linda's Dignilogue Tips and Dynamic Dignilogue List, created on October 10, 2015, for this workshop.
In our out-of-NY conferences we use our adaptation of the Open Space approach, and this is what we have dubbed Dignilogue. This format is very open, it means that a conference is self-organizing. In our NY workshop, we tried this in the beginning (like ten years ago), but it turned out that for our NY participants needed more structure. In 2012, it was the first year that we dared again to leave the workshop to self-organize at least partly. We invited participants to be with us without the ambition to "present" something, so that we all could get a feel for the dignity-family-building work that we wish to nurture first and foremost. So, from 2012 onward, the workshop is more open and requires our participants to bring themselves as they are, be prepared for everything, and use the flow to contribute in the most nurturing way they can. As background reading you might enjoy "Are College Lectures Unfair?" by Anne Murphy Paul, The New York Times, September 12, 2015.
Since 2012, our afternoons were therefore more action-oriented than in earlier workshops. Instead of three Pre-Planned Dignilogues, we have only two, and choose to dedicate the afternoons of both days to Co-Created Dignilogues. These Dignilogues focus on topics of interest proposed by the participants. Rather than planning a “presentation,” we encourage everybody to come as they are and enjoy the mutual learning experience of engaging in — or facilitating — authentic, creative conversations that can lead to new ideas and new opportunities for action. Everybody is invited to send an abstract or a paper they wish to share — or to develop a new paper as it might emerge from the inspiration that the workshop experience brings. Everybody is warmly invited to send it to us also after the workshop so we can publish it on this website.
The grand finale of each afternoon is to invite representatives from each Dignilogue to create a Dignivideo, where they document the highlights of their conversation and insights, and more than that, formulate a "message to the world" as it has cristallized in the dignilogue. These videos are treasured contributions to our World Dignity University Library of Ideas that will be shared with the world and will inspire future generations of our community.
As mentioned above, this year, we created a new role in our workshop, namely the role of Dignigardener (dignity and gardener) for each Co-Created Dignilogue. This person has the responsibility to remind everybody of the "rules" for Dignicommunication (dignity + communication).
We always encourage all participants of our events to nurture mutually dignifying connections with the other participants and gather together afterwards to experiment with new forms of "conferencing" wherever you live in the world. New solutions are necessary and they need to be nurtured in dignified ways, ways which protect them from being destroyed by being framed in old paradigms (such as those of protest that simply ends in new dominators taking over). See our reflections on appreciative nurturing, or Charles Eisenstein's Reflections on the New Story Summit, or Evelin's text Is it Possible to "Change the World"? Some Guidelines to How We Can Build a More Decent and Dignified World Effectively: The Case of Dignifying Abusers.
We could have had many more participants and unfortunately had to say "no" to many of you who wrote to us and wished to participate. We would like to express our regret to all of you who did not have the opportunity to participate. We will try to broaden our activities in the future. Your help is welcome! Please bear with us and give us your support so that we can grow in constructive ways!
Our workshops are upon invitation. You are warmly welcome to contact us if you wish to join us next year in this workshop (December 8 - 9, 2016). Please know that we always invite you to spend the entire two days of our workshop together so that real dignity-family-building can emerge!
Please let us know as early as you can if you wish to join next year, particularly if you feel that you would like to share your experience and work in one of our Pre-Planned Dignilogues. They are often filled up by July. You can always participate in one of the Co-Created Dignilogues, or as a supporter or observer of the Pre-Planned Dignilogues, where you can also actively participate, for example, by using the empty chair in each round table. We usually recommend newcomers to be with us as supporters and observers first, so that they can familiarize themselves with the format, and envision to participate more deeply in future workshops.
Dear participant in our workshop! You contributed to bringing dignity and love into our workshop in unprecedented ways! Due to your presence, it was an unforgettable experience! Your contributions spoke to the need to begin with ourselves if we are serious about bringing more dignity into the world. The motto of unity in diversity provides a path toward dignity, and the diversity of expressions that you brought to the workshop, the diversity of ways in which we touched and moved each other, was stunning!
We thank YOU more than words can express!
Evelin & Linda, on behalf of our entire network.
PS: Dearest All! As you know, we would need your permission to place pictures and videos on our website. Please let us know if you would not wish to be included, thank you very much!
Please read more in newsletter12.
We would like to end this newsletter by thanking you again for all the wonderful mutual support. You contributed so generously, therefore let us give our warmest thanks to ALL OF US! We very much look forward to our upcoming two conferences in 2016!
Please let us know as early as you can if you would like to join us, particularly if you wish to be part of a Dignilogue in December 2016 in our next Workshop on Transforming Humiliation and Violent Conflict in New York City! Thank you!
In the meantime, please be warmly invited to our next HumanDHS conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in September 2016!
Linda & Evelin, December 2015