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Reflections after Virtual F4F Gathering 2020

Reflections after the Community Virtual Gathering 2020

Foundations for Freedom, 26-27.09.2020

Tuesday, 19. January 2021

A while ago Foundations for Freedom conducted an Online Community Gathering, which took place on the 26-27th of September. Almost 40 participants from 18 countries joined the meeting online. 

During two 3.5 hours sessions, we had a chance to:

  • reconnect with each other;
  • learn about each other’s activities, plans and hopes;
  • brainstorm possible future collaborations and ideas to be implemented together;
  • listened to some really cool Ukrainian music;
  • and so much more:)

By the end of the second day we had brainstormed a few things we could do together:

  1. first of all it is important to organise an AGM, during which the Board can be refreshed and a new wave of activities can start;
  2. secondly, there was a very productive discussion about different Community building activities which can be implemented within the F4F Community and beyond;
  3. there was also a fruitful conversation about different resources which F4F needs for prosperous development (and surprisingly it was not only about money:))

All of these conversations led to the creation of small working groups around them, which you are more than welcome to join! 

And to give you a small peek of what this Community meeting meant to some of the participants, here is some of their feedback:

Ulrike Keller:
For many years I have been interested in my neighbours in the eastern European countries and beyond. So this online meeting gave me the chance to participate in the F4F group gathering and to be closer to the people in the east; to learn and to understand. I realise again and again how different the east is from the west or the west from the east, due to political, historical, cultural etc. differences. What I as a western citizen take for granted is not to be taken for granted in eastern Europe. Here in my country I am not afraid to express myself in public because I don’t feel in any way that there might be someone reporting back to a “body”. The question whether I can trust or not even does not appear. The stability of my government is just there, the freedom of speech is just there as many other things.

My wish is to build a better relationship between east and west through this kind of participation and beyond with the continuation of the personal interactions I have. So this has been a good start and / or continuation for me.

Those online meetings -sure the personal exchange face to face is missing – but it is such a chance to include many more people who would not be able to travel these long distances and to widen the fellowship group. To see and know and feel that the F4F is surrounded by a group of people who care and support just through their presence and the possibility to share more personal thoughts.
Just some words about myself: I myself was born in Germany and I am the chairperson of the IofC association in Germany. Married to a Swiss, I’ve lived for many years in Switzerland. And part of that in the IofC center at Caux. Nine years ago we moved to a small village about 20 minutes by car away from Caux”.

Ira Mushkina:
Yay! Finally, after 1.5 years we’ve met again! The regional F4F Community Gathering took place in September. Thanks to online technologies, participants from all over the world could join the meeting, which proved one more time how international and connected we are, even though we are far away from each other. During the first day we were sharing some news, discussing F4F’s past and were just enjoying each other’s company. The second day was about F4F’s future, people’s stories and an Open Space. There were many ideas, it would be great if some of them actually will be put into action. The new thing was the simultaneous translation for those who needed it. Thank you very much for the whole team of volunteers, who organised this event. See you soon during the AGM.

Alexander Kvartalny:
I decided to join the meeting in order to see everybody, to hear what they were up to, and hear some news. The meeting was positive and interesting. I was happy to see and hear familiar faces. What would I want from the F4F Community in the future? That interesting and useful activities would continue to develop, and I hope the community members will continue supporting each other.

Screenshot from the world cafe session "Ideas/hopes for F4F in the future?", which was conducted as a part of the Virtual Gathering of the F4F community 2020

Special thanks to Alex Azarov, who facilitated the event, as well as to Alexander Kvartalny and Iryna Mushkina for the remote synchronous interpretation, to IofC for contributing with Zoom and many others who contributed to the preparation and conducting the meeting.

What is next? We are planning the Annual Global Meeting of the members of Foundations for Freedom INGO to be taken at the beginning of 2021.