RTF in Medellín

In the middle of April, the Divers travelled to the capital city of the paisa region, Medellín. It’s time for RTF (Regional Training Forum) for CISVers. This is a training forum were many leaders and other committed people in CISV come together to be trained for all our programs, the JB and to be trainers for our future leaders of delegations.

When Ranis was doing Andinos (a blogpost of this will be published soon), I started the week with TTT – Train The Trainers. This was a very intense and exciting program worth participate in sometime. After spending some years with CISV you should know a lot of how everything works… After 3 days of TTT, you realize how little you actually knew about CISV and their educational principles. What we learned was how to create a positive learning environment, group development and group dynamics, collaboration in training teams, giving and receiving feedback, peace education and active global citizenship, CISV educational approach and so on..

During this week, we had 2 common sessions for all participants of RTF. The first one was about music where we played 3 totally different songs and asked the participants for their opinions, as if they were critics of a music magazine. The goal of this activity was to show that diversity also means disagreeing -not only about music tastes but also about issues where it is harder to say “it’s just a question of individual taste”. In our second common session, we gave the participants some paragraphs from our soon-to-be-published-book: The Kaleidoscope. We asked them to discuss how these paragraphs were related to diversity, and also gave them a teaser of our product.

After the first part of RTF/Andinos, we participated in AJBM – Americas Junior Branch Meeting. Our roles were mostly participants, but we also ran 2 activities. The first one was about social media, and how we approach ourself with just profiles, and not being able to talk to each other face-to-face. We made the participants fill out a facebook profile, and then give each other friend requests, likes and comments. The second and last activity we did during RTF was about racism, and we asked the participants to divide into 4 groups and make an act of racism thru time. 2 groups acted racism from a historical perspective and the rest acted how racism is seen today. This made the participants really active. We have never experiences so much encouragement in a group before, so this was definitely a great success!

We are so happy about this RTF in Medellín. We made new friends, new connections, gained a lot of new knowledge and experience to bring into our local communities and chapters.

AJBMRTF AJBM

You can also take a quick look of how the AJBM was by clicking the link:

AJBM 2014

Video made by Vanesa Gallego (Ecuadorian NJR) and posted by CISV Ecuador.

Look Up!

Hello everyone! We hope you are doing well.

It’s been quite sometime since the last time we wrote something and many, many things have been happening to the Divers. Don’t worry too much, we will write about that during this week. For now, there’s something else I would like to talk to you about.

I found a video that has been going viral on facebook and other social networks. Seems a bit ironic though, that this video talks about how we are living an illusion called social media and not living real life; how we are interacting with others through our phones and computers instead of actually taking the time to look into their eyes and get to really know them. Still, even though it is also ironic that I am writing about this and sending you a message through my computer and another social network, I think this are the kind of messages worth opening facebook for. This person, Gary Turk, made the video you will find below and I honestly found refreshing to listen to those words and seeing so many people sharing them.

About almost 2 weeks ago we ran an activity about facebook and social media and how it is changing our social dynamics in terms of the way we are interacting with each other, at the same time that it has implications in the building of our own identity, and this video reminded me of it.

I say “changing social dynamics” because not too long ago people would actually write to one another, whether if it was letters, postcards or simply small notes, but they waited for those impatiently and, once they received them, it was exciting and fascinating to open the envelop and start reading what someone took the time to write for them. Children weren’t absorbed by technology, but would go outside and enjoy nature. Creativity and imagination was all they needed, and they would build houses made out of boxes and sheets. But it has all changed now. We entertain children with technology and, how can we tell them to not get absorbed by it, when we are too?

I still think technology is fantastic and being able to reach people, who live in the other side of the world, within seconds is a revolutionary idea. Still, I think we have let ourselves get too excited about it and so, like Gary said, we might have hundreds of friends on facebook, but when we want to go drink a coffee or go for a walk, how many of those friends are willing to join you?

So, here’s my challenge for all of you -including me. Why don’t we, for a day, leave our phones at home and try to go through a whole day without them. Let’s look at people’s faces, let’s have real conversations with them and let us open our minds in order to discover things we haven’t been able to, like for example how good it feels to walk around the city on a sunny day.

Finally, here is the video… Enjoy the rest of your week!

Credits of the video:

Written, Performed & Directed by Gary Turk.
Featuring Louise Ludlam & Stuart Darnley.
Original score by New Desert Blues.
Sound engineering by Daniel Cobb.
Filmed and edited by Gary Turk.

www.garyturk.com
www.twitter.com/gary_turk
www.newdesertblues.com

The High, The Mighty & The Supreme Leader

Last week we introduced ourselves: The Divers, but the team is never complete without some pressure… And who are the ones putting pressure on us the whole time? The answer to this is summarised in three particular characters. They are known, among us, as: “the High” because he is very incredibly tall (for colombian height that is) and he always sees things from a new perspective; the “Mighty” because he will fix anything at anytime; and the “supreme leader” because he actually is the supreme leader. Basically if either “The High” or “The Mighty” are helping us or are fixing something, this last guy has the final word.

So the first additional member of this fantastic team called The Divers is:

Oss på taket

THE HIGH (aka EIRIK):  My name is Eirik Breivik Minde and at 34 years old I have the pleasure of working as the coordinator for this exchange. I was born and raised on the west coast of Norway but have travelled all my life. I developed a strong relationship with Colombia and my pension-plan is to settle down on a farm there.

I am also a professional musician and a dedicated father to a little boy who will soon be two years old. He is the most important thing in my life and he exemplifies my main reason to work with CISV: I genuinely believe that we can create a better world based on mutual respect, understanding and friendship.

I have lots of interests but right now I really look forward to the world cup in Brazil. My son and I are ready to cheer for Colombia in our new football shirts!

The second additional member of this one-of-a-kind team is…

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THE MIGHTY (aka JUANMA): My name is Juan Manuel Oviedo but everyone calls me Juanma. I am a 27-year-old that was lucky enough to join the exchange crew in 2011 when it was first thought of. I have been involved with community work in my country (Colombia), working with different NGO’s to strengthen their work. I am now a lawyer working on the international cooperation arena, with emphasis in Development work done in Colombia. I am a lover of prawns, travel and good life. I cannot be in one single place for more than a month. Languages and cultures are a part of my passion. CISV and me, a secret love, a hidden adventure. One of the most important parts of my life. It has been a life experience to learn about social justice and diversity of thinking, minds, and cultures.

Last but not least, we have the last additional member of the crew, he is…

andreas

THE SUPREME LEADER (aka ANDREAS): My name is Andreas Mjelva and I am the National Secretary of CISV Norway and also the one in charge of the whole cooperation together with the project coordinators. I am 28 years old and live in Oslo, Norway. If you had met me 10 years ago you would have met a spoiled, selfish 18-year old whose only goals would be to be a professional football player and just get rich. However, after a trip to India and Tanzania when I was 18 years old my mindset changed completely. It was a world out there I did not know anything about and my experience changed me completely. Now my goal in life is to contribute to making the world a better place and I think CISV is a great place to start. Why Diversity? Because the world would be so boring without it. Diveristy of ideas, people and culture is one of the basic ingredients of progress.

Los tres jefes

So now you can really say that you know the team. Without the three of them we would not have a lot of pressure all the time, but we wouldn’t have gotten this far either. That’s why, without a doubt, they are a very important part of our team even if you don’t really see them as much as you might see us. Yet, thank you very much Mr. High, Mr. Mighty and Mr. Supreme Leader.

This is us, the divers… The full house!

Three Stones From the Sun!

Hello everyone out there! We understand that you may already know the team but the question is do you know each of us, as individuals?

Well, we wanted to introduce ourselves properly to those who haven’t had the great opportunity to meet this fantastic diverse team called the divers (we really love playing with words)!

Enjoy getting to know us and hopefully we will also have the great opportunity to meet you soon. Still, we’re very glad to have met so many wonderful people in Norway, England, and Colombia! Thank you all for your support!

The first of this “one-of-a-kind” team is…

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ANITA (aka Big Mama): Hi there! I am Anita and I’m 24 years old. I am a psychologist and I love being it. I am Colombian, born in the capital city Bogota, and I’m here because I truly believe that every little thing we do has an impact in someone else. I could say that literature is one of my biggest passions, which is why wherever I go, I always bring books along. Also, there are authentic scenarios where I can feel at home, for example, laying down in the shadow beneath the tree, riding bicycle, having some coffee in a nice and cozy place (especially if there are amazing cakes or ice cream), going to the theatre and watching good films. In general, doing things that I feel can enrich my world, for instance taking a nap in a hammock is always enriching. I wanted to be part of this project working for peace education, knowing that children are both our hope and our future. My desire is to contribute to this content area (diversity) and its understanding; contributing to build bridges for a better tomorrow.

…The second person introducing himself comes from the north… Basically we could say he’s the viking diver…

Mikkel Profile
MIKKEL (aka Migue): My name is Mikkel Stokke and I am the guy in the Divers team. I was born 23 years ago and I was raised in Tønsberg, the oldest town in Norway. My mom, my dad and my two younger brothers, along with my dog have been my big support through all this years. I have been involved in CISV since 2011 and after that, summer is not summer without CISV. Diving is my passion, I love the ocean with its beauty and all its diversity, and the peace of mind you get under the surface. Since we, Norwegians, are born with skis on our feet, I enjoy skiing every winter and I am usually very active in terms of sports and activities, but sometimes I love to be lazy by laying on the couch, eat popcorn and watch movies.
Since CISV has taught me so much about myself and about peace education, and has given me some of the best friends you could have, I wanted to give something back to the organization. Interaction with people from all over the world is a great opportunity to gain knowledge about other cultures and realize how alike we really are.
…And last but not least, the third member of this “one-of-a-kind” team is…
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ANNA (aka Ranis): I am Anna and I am 23 years old. I’m studying Politics & International Relations. I am a big fan of photography, passionate about music, arts and literature. I guess I am also a big football lover. I like enjoying a nice cup of english tea, chilling at home or just meditating for a while, or even like Anita, I love a good nap on a hammock in the middle of nowhere. I find it both interesting and funny how we all perceive reality in a different way, so it made me wonder about this idea we have that “we are all the same”. But, at what point are we the same and at what point are we different from each other? Could diversity go beyond color, race, nationality, culture or language? I guess in a way it also defines us, gives us identity. Since I had all these questions, I wanted to be a part of a project that attempts to discover or at least will try to look into that word we all use so much but barely have a concrete meaning for: diversity.
FINALLY, we want to share a couple of experiences… For instance in the following pictures you will be able to see what Migue means when he says “Norwegians are born with skis” and Colombians are definitely not… If you take a close look, we were trying to jump in the snow but then again, you can see who is the expert and who are not!
Jumping in snow-7
And of course you can’t miss the funny faces when landing on a very cold layer of snow… Ranis screaming, Anita holding her breathe (as if she was gonna swim) and Mikkel a very professional instructor…
Jumping in snow-8The result being this…Well, since this amazing post has not been embarrassing for us, we want to share the last pictures with all of you!

 

Identity!

 

Undoubtedly, diversity is related to countless things that happen in every day life, in many contexts, places, and each of them affects us as individuals. Therefore, one relevant topic we can take into consideration while approaching diversity is identity but, what do we mean by identity?

Fortunately, this concept has directed us into interesting discussions and allows us to think deep about our own identity, life, and why not, the issues that make our society worry on a daily basis.

Everyone has an identity, but it doesn’t mean that it’s necessary already defined. On the contrary, identity characterizes itself for being dynamic and there are many experiences in our lives that lead us to change, to have other preferences, to use certain colors, and sometimes we feel puzzled with ourselves: we can even act in a certain way which we never expected.

We change through our entire life and it seems to me, this sense of identity starts to be more complex every time: there are people who spend most of their lives trying to find themselves, trying to figure out where they belong, in a way trying to define who they are. Talking, thinking, and understand identity implies to take into consideration multiple facts that makes us who we are and contribute to our own existence.

So what about social media? What’s its contribution when defining our identity? Does social media have an impact in our identity? What do you want to show on your profile picture today? Will it be the same picture tomorrow? How do you expect to be seen by others? What about your personal information? How far are you willing to go when it comes to uncovering yourself to others? What kind of music, books and quotes do you want people to notice on your profile? Do you have any clue why I’m asking this?

How many of us build an image just trying to be accepted by others instead of trying to be accepted first by ourselves? For example on Facebook, are we showing ourselves exactly like we are? Or are we showing the person we would want to be?

This is just a taste of what our book will bring along. We think identity and social media has a strong relation with our concept of diversity, which is why we would like you to start thinking about it while we bring you some more thoughts later!

Having a look at stereotypes:

Since we are working on the theme of diversity, we have been wondering about stereotypes that some people have about certain cultures, religions, countries, and so on. One reiterative aspect we have found so far is that it is really common to either generalize or simplify other people’s life’s according to their birth place, their beliefs, their professions, etc., and we can easily judge others based on that.

Although it may sound rude or unfriendly, some of the stereotypes we have of others have no ground; on the contrary, they are inherited and we adopt them, making them our own. Sadly, we can end up discriminating people without really knowing who they are.

Related to this, I think there are many challenges we must assume and one of them is to evaluate the way we see others and interact with them. It is important to stop and take a careful look at our own selves and then be able to judge our own thoughts. By this I mean, unveil yourself and have a look of the stereotypes you are wearing or carrying with you.

I’m saying this because I have seen that we can hurt others by our own prejudices and it is important to be aware of that. Paradoxical or reciprocally these can also affect us, because human relations move in the field of diversity and that’s what we should do: be open and make use of dialogue, between the familiar and the otherness.

Finally, I think we all should be aware that every human being represents a whole universe. So, if we make an effort trying to understand them, we won´t step back and we will stop seeing others as a threat.

Who are we?

We, the divers, are two Colombians and two Norwegians seeking to look under the surface of what diversity means and its implications to peace education. We are also seeking to improve the organizations relations between the two countries.

This is the third exchange project, funded by Fredskorpset (FK). We will be working on the theme of Diversity; the one on 2012 managed a better understanding of Sustainable Development and the one that ended this summer focused their attention in Human Rights. Hopefully next year a new cooperation project will start working on the CISV’s fourth content area: Conflict-Resolution.

During these eight months, we want to develop useful tools by doing research, workshops, interviews and arranging local activities.

We would like for everyone to participate and get involved in this exchange and in the activities we will be facilitating. At the end of this eight months, we hope to be able to publish a book as a result of our cultural experiences and research.

Group photo fløyen