MY LECCE EXPERIENCE: la testimonianza della coordinatrice internazionale di “Restorative Cirlces”

14711315_557021274491087_4731088296100563363_oCome già presentato sul nostro sito, DEMOSTENE Centro Studi è partner del progetto Restorative Circles for Citizens in Europe che ci vedrà protagonisti, insieme ai partner di altre quattro nazioni europee, durante il prossimo anno.

Lo scorso ottobre abbiamo avuto l’onore di dare avvio alle attività del progetto organizzando e ospitando il training iniziale dei 27 facilitatori chiamati a guidare i Circles nei prossimi mesi. 

Di seguito riportiamo la testimonianza di Boroka Ganyu, che ha voluto raccontarci in poche righe cosa è stato per lei, coordinatrice internazionale del progetto, incontrarsi tutti insieme a Lecce e, dopo i lunghi mesi di contatti online, poter scambiare due parole dal vivo e lavorare fianco a fianco per cinque intensissimi giorni. 

MY LECCE EXPERIENCE

di Boroka Ganyu

November 1, 2016

We came from five countries, from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds. We soon discovered that we share the passion for our work. We sat in a circle for three days, kept by Kay Pranis, our wise and compassionate trainer from the United States. Kay learned the method from First Nations people (Native Americans in Canada) and passed it on to us. Through her training we experienced the power of the circle process, the power of the talking piece, and also had a chance to reflect on where we stand on the topic of European unity. The space for this work was held by Kay, and created by the opening and closing ceremonies. Our group of 27 individuals was slowly and smoothly woven into a fabric in which each of us could express our personal truth, and at the same time, be a part of a caring community. The labyrinth of the Antonacci Institute and the streets of Lecce, the climate of Southern Italy and the hospitality of our hosts set the stage for the creativity, the freedom and the warmth of the process. We knew that we were tapping into innovation in the very heart of European history.

How does one emerge from this dream? How does one assume leadership and shift gear to guide this group from their vision to the daily tasks of an international project? This was the challenge Krisztina Galgoczi – who conceived the project with me from the beginning – and I were facing.

In our grant application to the EACEA (an organization of the European Committee) we stated that we will facilitate open, honest and respectful dialogue in nine EU cities, between people holding different views on the topic of euroskepticism. At this point in the process it has become clear to members of our team that the circle process is capable of creating such dialogue. In our application we also promised to design a conflict resolution strategy for groups with polarized views – this part of the project was – and is – yet to be outlined.

Over the next two days we continued in a circle, sharing and reflecting, and trusting the process: “if we spend enough time on introductions and relationship-building, the issues will work themselves out”. We worked on our goals in national teams: Germany, Denmark, Italy, Greece and Hungary. Commonalities and differences became apparent. We decided that each of our national teams is required to customize the circle process to the needs of their local communities. Next, we did a role – play exercise – taking advantage of being in the same place together – from which a long list of questions emerged regarding the facilitator’s role. We will address these questions and concerns at our online meetings on a national and an international level.

And then, we were running out of time, the end of our five days was rapidly approaching, and specific tasks needed to be addressed, so we split up into working groups: participant recruitment, screening, invitation letter, third parties and internal communication. Every member of the team assumed their role as if a fairy whisked her wand. When the groups came back after 45 minutes and the representatives presented their work I was amazed by the productivity, the focus and the detail! Trusting the process was worth it.

Oh, and do not assume it was a piece of cake! We had conflicting views and sensitive topics and difficult conversations. But managed to work our way through them. Some of us were experiencing chaos and uncertainty: “which parts of the project are fixed and which can be altered?” But isn’t this the true sense of democracy?

Finally, I would like to express my deep gratitude to each and every person who participated in the training-workshop, and is currently finding his or her role in this project! May we find a way!

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