By Huda Al-Kebsi and Karim Makhoul
The training consisted of developing understanding around absolute standards, communication and listening skills, teamwork and project management skills. All of these were accompanied with illustrative exercises, emphasising the importance of collaboration and systems-thinking, and each of the participants was helped in systematically developing their own vision for the future.
Times for reflection were scheduled regularly through the programme, including an opportunity to share and discuss thoughts in smaller groups, as part of exploring the relationship between personal change and societal change – the link between the intimate and the global. 'The idea acquired was that change starts with oneself first and then to the others because the system works through the cooperation of every individual,' said Karim Makhoul, 19, a participant from Lebanon.
Huda Al-Kebsi, 27, a participant from Yemen said that after the course, she has begun to look at any difficulty and ask herself, 'How can I help it change or make it happen? We should think of our lives and how to make it better for ourselves and for others. We only live once and we can't live in the past forever," she said.
The last day was an Open Space activity, which was entirely dedicated to the participants sharing their ideas and discussing further. They developed action plans for projects they will carry forward themselves, continuing work with the help and advice of the facilitators via online communication.
There was also an opportunity for more informal time together. A talent evening on the final night, organised by the participants, gave them the space to express what they had learned during the 10 days. Among the items they presented was a poem that reflected the learnings of the course, accompanied by acoustic guitar.
All in all, a family atmosphere reigned during the programme. Bridges were built across different cultures and religions and the participants felt at ease expressing their ideas freely. The dynamic hasn’t ceased to be, thanks to online reflection times the group continues to share together.
The following was produced by participants of an IofC programme, Inside Change – creating foundations for Action, held in Lebanon, 6-15 May 2011. The composition was put together for a variety evening on the final night of the course, accompanied by acoustic guitar and visual media.
We all want world peace
But we are told it’s just a dream
Look down into yourself, listen to your inner voice and feel at ease.
Your voice will say:
Listen to yourself.
Listen to the other.
Know the other.
Help the other change.
Quiet time is how we start our days;
Silence is one of the ways
To open up your soul
And let it all pour out.
Sharing stories and thoughts settles you down.
You are ready to take a step forward
And to lay it on the ground.
How many times have you looked at yourself in the mirror and truly smiled?
How many times have you looked at yourself in the mirror and truly saw what your eyes have to say?
How many times have you looked at yourself in the mirror and given yourself the strength to give someone else something they need?
How many times have you looked at yourself in the mirror and just hugged yourself?
Be honest to yourself so you can honestly smile to others.
Be pure from inside so that others can see the true you.
Let unselfishness be your mirror.
Love yourself so you can lovingly hug the other.
The Golden Rule in all religions:
Treat the other as you want the other to treat you...
And also treat yourself as you want others to treat you...
Do that according to the 4 absolute values.