The co-creators- 37 young change leaders from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and India.
A lovely afternoon at Zorba-The Buddha; filled with a great sense of calmness and curiosity. A beautifully crafted farmhouse - almost everything built with bambooJ, long stretch of lawns, a duck pond, a big hall, gazebos, little hills, big trees all around, beautiful flowers, delicious food and a cat. This is where this crazy group of young people were going to stay for next few days. The group was diverse in every possible way- culturally, linguistically, food wise, musically. The first dinner was awesome and with that began the journey of the ‘Unconference’ to create a magnificent Living Bridge....
As we gathered, the foundation of an Unconference was laid down collectively with the agreements that spoke very clearly of how this congregation of individuals is going to unfold itself. The very ideas of speaking from ‘I’, confidentiality, non-political, non-intellectual and non-competitive discussions set the tone for the next three days. Since I said speaking from ‘I’, now I will start by this only-
“Speaking from ‘I’ made it possible for me to start thinking about things I had never given much thought to. It enabled me to focus on my own thoughts and feelings, to become aware of them, to recognise the contradictions and incongruities inherent in them. Isolated feelings-acknowledge and not really contextualise.”- Ima Kazmi, India
For me it was a transformative experience. Over the course of the Unconference I could see myself becoming aware of my own words and my feelings, my way of articulating my thoughts changed drastically, I found myself becoming conscious of my opinions/views and thus made myself more and more responsible towards my actions. Many a times I tend to take for granted people around me and tend to withdraw/ignore things that don’t seem quite congruent with my scheme of thinking. This time during the Unconference I made it a point to listen to people around me with great patience and allowed myself time to assimilate them. Each session brought in newer insights, freshness and conviction. The layers of complicated thoughts, feelings started becoming clearer and I am happy that I took time to absorb but at the same time really happy to shed/let go a lot of baggage with respect to my ‘real’ self.
Speaking from ‘I’ seemed awkward initially but clarity and honesty it brings with itself is overwhelming. I challenged myself with this question of what difference does it make when ‘I’ is ‘isolated’ from ‘We’? It really doesJ. Initially a lot of participants in the Unconference shared that speaking from ‘I’ is a selfish thing to do, why reduce the power of ‘we’ to ‘I’? Same lot of participants shared at the end that ‘I’ is not really isolated/separated from the collective of people. It has immense power to transform and it really is a starting point for creating a community.
"Speaking from the ‘I’ was very difficult but it allowed me to come across a great barrier in my life-It was transformative, honest and made me understand. The Unconference has been a source of personal learning, answering some pertinent and personal questions”- Muhammad Nasir, Pakistan.
This ‘Unconference’ was an attempt to form deeper relationships, create a great sense of community, eat, play, dream and envisage together and in the process have loads of fun. For me the ‘Unconference’ was able to bring in these elements quite seamlessly. I could sense a deep sense of gratitude, love, energy and calmness among the participants.