Dialogue as a tool for life
Graduating from the team learning based degree programme in Proakatemia is drawing close, only a few more weeks to go. The unique atmosphere and community will surely be missed, although not completely left behind. But I’ve managed find myself a new challenge, where everything learned about dialogue and human interaction will be put to a test: a desert.
I’ll be joining the Outwardbound Oman Connecting Cultures course in January, shortly after graduation, to wander into the vast deserts of Arabia. Me and 8 other young strangers from western countries will be joining 9 young strangers from Arabic countries and head for the deserts of the Sultanate of Oman for this UNESCO and UNAOC endorsed training. 5 days of dialogue and discussions under the scorching sun, 4 nights of sharing dreams about the world around a campfire under the crystal-like starry skies.
A harsh environment that is meant to put you back in touch with nature: no cellphone reception, no cars, no toilets. In a place where there are no doors to hide behind and where humans are no longer the top of the food chain. It will require stretching your boundaries to understand the different worlds each of us join this convoy; origins of peace and welfare, origins of war and hatred. It will require a lot of silence to think about the words we say, the emotions we show, the dreams and fears we share.
The aim of the journey is to educate young leaders in the differences between the Western and Arabic worlds and bridge gaps between the cultures. We were chosen after a lengthy application period and will be giving presentations in our home countries before and after the event. How can we learn from each other and create a better future for all of us? How can we learn from the mistakes of the previous generation and adapt to a world where we have to live together?
The journey to Oman is a scale of personal growth for me. I visited the country on a similar agenda through Scouting in the end of 2015, a few months before I was about to start my studies in Proakatemia. Going back just as I graduate and having the chance to experience if and how my though processes and understanding have evolved in the past 2,5 years is an amazing opportunity I cannot pass. How can I employ the principles of dialogue into my actions and thoughts in some of the most challenging situations I’ve faced in while – I’ll be sure to pack a notebook for scribbling down notes.
You can follow the events of the journey at https://www.facebook.com/ConnectingCulturesOman/
Each night we’ll use a satellite phone to take in questions and share a short outtake of days discussions