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Thursday 16th February 2017 @ 11:30 am

Yesterday I was in one of those meetings that gave me hope and life. Such meetings provide sustenance.

The meeting was about an initiative in Trinity to engage refugees and asylum seekers around issues of education. It is a very small ‘private’ idea by a few members of staff. Those members of staff have gathered a few more members of staff, and they have gathered a few more students, and they have created a framework to engage refugees in real ways.

The project will most likely involve eating together and having conversation.

Eating and listening. That’s all.

Those initiators of the project do not know yet where it will lead, they do not know if anything worthwhile for ‘the education sector’ will arise, they do not have the logistics in place yet to let them know exactly what will happen, where or when.

They just know they have to do something.

And so they’re reflecting on a problem, they are gathering others around them, they are creating hospitality, and they plan to listen.

They are experimenting.

For those who like such reflection – I think they are taking part in cultural shift in the manner of Everett Rogers Diffusion of innovation. They are operating within the parameters of J–P Lederach, inviting intrigue and curiosity into unusual groups of people in order to be a cornerstone of transformation. They are experimenting in the adaptive fashion of Bill Heifetz. And they are attempting to break through the painful results of mimetic desire outlined by Rene Gerard.

None of that really matters though … those who write books on such things might get a kick out of the project.

But what these folks are doing is …

… something.

They’re giving it a go. They are experimenting, to create a space for hospitality, welcome, embrace and possibility. 

Here’s the thing that really struck me.

I know several people in the room and I know some of their stories.

Their stories are theirs to tell, not mine. But I can’t help thinking that the stories in the room I knew … stories of working in overseas refugee camps, stories of volunteering in Irish refugee centers, stories of medical brokenness, and stories of dark experiences in deeply contested spaces –all of these stories combined to open people’s eyes and hearts, and face the question, ‘what can I do?’

And they’re doing something.

Good on them.


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