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  • Diego Florez Ayala
  • Luke Jeong
  • Rama Luksiarto
  • C K Len Cklen
  • Alex Miranda
  • Code Start
  • Dean Bokhari

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  • Nina Wanerman

    Hi Liora,

    This article is very interesting to me as I left New York last year to come to Israel and work in the social innovation sector (after taking a few continuing education classes at SVA). I am now a student at Tel Aviv University in an international MBA program with a focus on sustainability, and we have a very dynamic cultural group and are learning more and more from each other every day. I find that food is a great way to bring people together, and to use as a base for bigger conversations. Everyone has something to bring to the table in more ways than one :) If you see this, please follow me I would love to get in touch and further discuss the subject of communication through design

    -Nina

    • Liora Yukla

      very interesting! and done :) I would love to talk more

  • Camille Van Neer

    This is why overseas volunteering adds so much value. Working *with people from and *in another culture. And when you look at this carefully, it is *you who are from a different culture. Not them. This in itself throws up an interesting dimension. If you choose to look at it this way too.

  • philbmo

    It is interesting to note that many of us who are outside the political arena are knowledgeable of political conflicts and policies that can affect us in social situations. For example, I recently attended a Jazz party where I introduced an Armenian immigrant to an American Jew. I was anxious about it because of my familiarity with Israel's refusal to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. It never came up, but it was very much on my mind. When Adolf Hitler was asked how the world would respond to his "Final Solution" plan — the extermination of the Jewish people in Europe — he replied, without compunction: “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

  • Michael Palandro

    I recently moderated a card game called Barnga. It is a card game, with multiple tables, where each table has slightly different rules, unknown to some, and the players cannot speak but must play together. It is an amazing experience of being thrust into a social group or culture where people are operating under different assumptions and rules but have extremely limited communication. Wow! Confusion, anger, frustration, power, laughter, acceptance, rejection, support. A great chance to experience and analyze the experience of trying to function in a new culture. Here is the link. http://www.acphd.org/media/271383/barnga_instructions.pdf

  • Liora Yukla

    thanks for the feedback everybody :) excuse me for not writing individual responses... It's really cool to hear about similar experiences in different forums. If anyone know the "israel loves iran/iran loves israel" campaign, this also sparked some barrier-crossing conversations that are still happening and keep developing, that are helping reach mutual understandings on the civilian level at least.

    I think it's interesting to think about platforms that would facilitate this, i.e. Good. Political disconnects are a big barrier, the Middle Eastern conversation (or lack thereof) is a good example - but it's also a lot of cultural sensivities, that are really a very local thing. Thus, the need to find a delicate balance and an appropriate way to go about it. I actually have an idea brewing in my head about somehow starting a conversation specifically between Middle East creative and/or systems and/or design thinkers, because I have a hunch that there are alot of unique local aspects we have in common with each other, and are grappling with similar social problem solving issues on the local level which would benefit from a regional group dicussion. However due to the intense overall tension, we have very little opportunity to do so. And of course, direct conversation helps break down walls and tensions, something that is badly needed in areas of conflict like the Middle East.
    This is all still a seed in my mind, but I'll be happy for input to help it grow :)

  • philbmo

    I love this stuff. One way that our afterschool program welcomed immigrant children from 17 countries was to pair a non-immigrant student with an immigrant student to participate in the St Patrick's Day Parade here in Scranton, PA. Each student hand-painted the flag from their country of origin on silk-like cloth, mounted it on a flag pole and proudly waved it as they marched in the Parade. At regular intervals the kids took turns shouting out... We are Afghanistan, We are the USA, We are Kenya etc. Their parents watched with equal pride as the beautiful, furling flags represented their culture in a traditionally American event.

  • Rachel Biel

    Excellent! I moved from Chicago to a small town in Kentucky a few years ago and miss the diversity I enjoyed with my Chicago friends. One core group of friends were Brazilians married to Mexicans who then had siblings and friends married to other ethnic groups: Romanian, Japanese, Anglos, etc. Our parties were a mix of languages and the kids would tear around, oblivious of any cultural differences. The great melting pot!

    I had an ethnic gallery back then with textiles and crafts from around the world. I often thought about how these things represented hot pockets where people were killing each other, yet they were all arranged as a silent testimony to what we have in common. For me, working through textiles and the things that people make has been my way of contributing toward common ground. You are so right in saying that these non-verbal forms can heal and unify, but words can also do that. Exposure and connecting is key. I believe that those who have traveled, immigrated, and exposed themselves to other cultures have struggled to the core with what it means to be human, to have roots, and how adaptation changes the conversation. Each of us needs to look back into our history and keep what is good and throw out what is destructive or useless.

  • Rachel Steinhardt

    Love your comments, thank you for sharing. This is exactly the kind of change that my organization, Welcoming America, is working to create - with a special focus on building bridges between immigrants and longer-term residents to create a more welcoming culture, often by bringing people together to simply get to know one another. You can learn more at http://www.welcomingamerica.org.

    Thanks for your great work!

  • Carolyn Sams

    This is awesome, and eager to hear more about how you're trying to find new ways of interaction.

    I would love to figure out how an online platform like GOOD could be that bridge for you and other people interested in joining the conversations. Are there specific challenges you're facing right now that we can support and open up for discussion? Either emigration or political disconnect?

  • George Hodge

    Liora, this is a thoughtful and really quite touching post. I work in Armenia, were a lot of people obsess about “outmigration”, although none dares to frame it as desertion. You were quite right to lose your cool. Michael Clemens has an alternative take on the migration/“brain drain” debate, which I often throw back at the migration-phobes - http://www.cgdev.org/blog/migration-and-trillion-dollar-bills-sidewalk-michael-clemens-0

    On the questions you raise at the end of your post, I came across a movement a couple of years ago that takes collaboration across boundaries to another level, namely Social Innovation Camp (http://sicamp.org). I was so inspired by what they are trying to achieve that I have hosted three of them here in Armenia, one of which had participants from eight different countries (http://europeandcis.undp.org/blog/2013/07/11/hurilab-human-rights-and-social-tech-a-mashup/).

    Some of Dan McQuillan’s ideas may also be of interest - http://www.internetartizans.co.uk/hopeful_hybrids & https://soundcloud.com/lurglomond/hurilab

    Keep up the great work!

  • Jeff Nelder

    One of the foundations of managing creative endeavors is diversity of perspective. Without diversity, originality suffers. Way to go on a brave decision.

    • Alessandra Rizzotti

      Agreed. I love seeing that Liora is working with people of varying backgrounds. What they do together could help change issues in the countries from which they originated- which is why any negative statement about ex pats makes no sense.