The world is crying out – now more than ever – for greater understanding and trust building among diverse groups grappling with racial, religious, inter-generational, and other pressing challenges.
The Global Co Lab Network’s primary focus is empowering youth – teens and millennials. The Co Lab engages youth voices with older generations around targeted topics of common interest. Any issues are our issues. Any geography is our destination. We are not bounded.
The Co Lab community has been quietly meeting this past year hosting twenty small gatherings – testing out concepts for convening in a different way – a way that better addresses complex challenges, local and global, in approaches geared towards building greater understanding and trust between disparate groups.
How is the Co Lab doing this?
First, by designing small groups where we focus on listening to each other, being open minded and practicing non-judgmental attitudes.
Second, to build trust, we operate out of personal spaces, instead of institutional spaces. We do this most often in living rooms, utilizing the “salon” concept modeled after the enlightenment period where French intellectuals hosted gatherings in their private homes.
Third, we focus on small numbers in our gatherings, limited to 7-12 people. We do this to ensure voices are heard and all feel connected.
Fourth, we are selective in our invitations. We seek Salon participants who are collaboration oriented, open minded and passionate about the salon topic. We ask that people check their egos at the door. Most importantly, we seek and celebrate diversity of input – on all fronts but particularly highlighting youth voices.
Fifth, we build networks. We bring people out of their silos and seek to better connect existing groups. We are passionate about not duplicating efforts. Our goal is to empower the network. We seek to hold up and promote existing successful organizations that have similar values and want to be better integrated.
Finally, we are action oriented. We start with great conversations and food, but we strive for outcomes. We do this by carefully designing, facilitating and following up each Salon. We seek engagers who are serious about creating change, not just talking.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
The Co Lab is an experiment. We make mistakes. But we also create great things. Our first success is Teens Dream, a project formed following six Co Lab Salons that engaged teens and adults. Our goal is to empower others to utilize our small group approach to incubate and seed a multitude of new initiatives!
The Co Lab is not for everyone, but we hope it is for you. We invite you to follow our blogs in the coming weeks, to review our website, and join our network. You can, in your busy life and with your contacts, build out your own engagements in a way that helps our communities – and the world – become more listening oriented, just, tolerant, and loving. Join us by signing up on our mailing list at www.globalcolab.net. Connect with us to host your own salon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Support the Co Lab at http://www.globalcolab.net/#_givealways or Teens Dream at https://www.youcaring.com/teens-dream-celebration-566116 !! Share us with your networks at the links below!
Together, we can change the world!