Good day everyone, welcome to EOTO World’s People of Peace session, otherwise know as POP. We have been broadcasting throughout the past few months talking about the culture of peace and how it relates to our themes for 2013 which are of women as peace builders and practicing nonviolence.
If you are joining us for the first time for POP, no worries, there are two ways you can go over the discussions that have happened and also share in the dialogue that I’ll put on the screen for you.
1. Watch past sessions on our Spreecast channel. Subscribe for future alerts on shows:
2. Read, comment and share notes in many languages from the POP Portal:
You are most welcome to share your thoughts at any time, from the chat available on the side of the screen, to making a comment on camera, to your social media; there are many ways you can get involved in this conversation if you’d like. Of course interaction is optional, if you prefer to watch the session and reflect on it, you are welcome to do so and I encourage you to share this talk with others.
Today is the last session for POP for 2013. Our aims today are to
1. Find ways to build safe spaces in our lives
2. Challenge ourselves with ways to expand the dialogue for peace
When I think of a safe space, I think of a variety of things, based on my experiences both in initiating them as well as being a part of them. I’ve also learned some things along the way when I was not a part of safe spaces and the feelings as well as workings of groups that have safe spaces verses those who do not, are like night and day.
Safe spaces are essential to practicing a culture of peace because without people feeling welcome and valued, getting to solutions and even more importantly carrying them out, will not work well at all.
CHARACTERISTICS OF SAFE SPACES
- A space that respects presence
People are friendly, there is no feeling of exclusion. Everyone in the space feels and are in actuality on equal footing.
- A space that values opinions
There is diversity in opinions and each one is considered as well as incorporated into group decisions.
- A space that has people in it that are willing to show solidarity
People in the space are able to ask for help and receive it and people are willing to give without anyone asking, just for the benefit of the whole.
- A space where people can challenge ideas freely without ever accusing character
Comments that people do not like or agree with are handled with thoughtful reflection and people seek to find common ground instead of assuming negative traits about someone’s character or accusing people of bad intentions.
- A space where people are committed to resolve conflict that happens when things are tense
Conflicts are not just left to brew, parties willingly seek each other out to reconcile and where they still disagree, agree to move on in the ways that will still respect each other and the group.
Is there anything else that you can think of when you think of a safe space? I’m sure the list I gave could be expanded in some ways.
I’m curious if when you were listening to the characteristics, did you only consider “safe spaces” to mean places where groups of people gather? If you did, I want to challenge you to also think about how a safe space can literally be you. Can you identify any of the characteristics given within YOURSELF?
It is important that we do not just look for external spaces to be safe but also cultivate safe spaces within our person. A culture of peace does not work just for the environment around you, but it must work simultaneously with the environment within you.