Subject: Global Citizen Journey's summer picnic: You're invited!
From: Susan Partnow
Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 14:13:37 -0400 (EDT)

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Global Citizen Journey
Issue: 14
August, 2008
Dear Susan,

It's time to celebrate!  Come picnic with us Friday, August 22nd at Seward Park.

All volunteers, delegates, supporters and friends of GCJ are welcome to our end-of-the-summer picnic!  Join us for music, singing, and dance lessons. Share stories with friends new and old, and learn more from our Burundi 2009 "away team" who just returned from Bujumbura, Burundi, with research, pictures, and stories.

Bring your instruments and sports equipment! We'll be right at the water's edge, so be ready to play in and out of the water (we have covered shelter no matter what the weather brings).  We'll be learning traditional dances with Awal Alhassan, from Ghana.

Bring food and drink to share - especially with an international flavor. We'll gather at Shelter #1 (near the play area just south of the Environmental Education Center, near the lake) at Seward Park from 5 to 9 pm on Friday, August 22nd.

Hope to see you there!

Global Citizen Journey
Just in From Burundi!
Project Director returns with news of Kazoza Kumukenyezi.

From Burundi 2009 Project Director Brock Blatter

Wow, what an experience. If you've read any of the blog/journal that I wrote from the trip that I took to Burundi with Bob and Wes in the first part of July, you know that it was a very intense time. Burundi is such a needy place, and the people are so kind, loving, and hard working. Prosper Ndabishuriye, our inspiring Burundi host did such a great job of supporting us while we were there - We were delighted to meet his team: office staff Elizabeth and Mami, field staff Onesfor and Dammas, driver Casmir, and Prosper's son Leduc who was translator, guide, and friend.

We were surrounded by opportunities to help the people of Burundi:  the need is so great.  We challenged ourselves to find a project that was a good fit for GCJ, i.e. community based, empowerment driven, and at a scale our small grassroots organization can manage. We are deeply inspired and excited by what we found.

We're going to sponsor a group of women who have formed themselves into a farming collective (leaders pictured below). The group is called "Kazoza Kumukenyezi" which translates as "The woman'
The leaders of Kazoza Kumukenyezis future". These are strong women, mostly widows, who said, "We want to take care of ourselves, we didn't want to go to the city and beg." They are currently farming on little scraps and corners of land that others are sparing them, but they need land, tools, and seed to support their efforts. There are currently 104 women in the group, and they hope to raise enough to help support not only the nutritional needs of themselves and their families but also to be able to sell a bit in the market. They plan to raise two crops in a year, peanuts and rice. They have a leadership group of amazing women who have put together this vision in a place of very scarce resources.

We're working out the details of how we're going to fund the support of Kazoza Kumukenyezi and expect to get all the agreements worked out in the next week or two.

Join us! We have half of our US delegation of 15 set. We'll be scheduling outreach programs in the month of September to raise awareness of the project, complete the delegation recruiting, and raise additional funds for the project. We are especially hoping to recruit a delegate or two with agricultural expertise to bring to the women's farming collective. We're delighted that Prosper will join us at these events, as he'll be here in the US for a six week visit beginning early in September. Watch the website for upcoming dates.

The details for the 2009 trip are starting to shape up: we'll soon have the itinerary posted. We're proposing that we gather in Bujumbura Sunday, June 28, and leave there Saturday, July 11. We still need to confirm a few things to hold the exact timing and dates (like flight schedules!) but the dates seem pretty promising give or take a day or two. We'll publish the details as we work them out.

GCJ Picnic at Seward Park
Come learn traditional dance with Awal Alhassan

Join us on August 22nd at Seward Park to celebrate by learning traditional Ghanaian dance with Awal Alhassan. 

Awal is an incredible reAwal Alhassanpresentation of traditional Dagomba culture, being born and raised by a drumming and dancing family in Tamale, Ghana.  He has worked throughout Africa both independently and with some of Ghana's most prestigious performance groups such as the Ghana Dance Ensemble, the National Theatre of Ghana, and the Center for National Culture Dance Troupe.  Awal teaches ongoing classes, leads residencies, and performs regularly with several local companies.  He enjoys bringing his exciting culture to both American and international audiences with his own high energy dance group, Sohoyini.  Awal currently lives in Seattle with his wife Aubrey and his brand new bouncing baby boy, Tiyumba, who was born this June.
Seattle Listens:  Global Citizens in Action
Susan Partnow with Andrea Cohen

The Compassionate Listening Project, (GCJ's former fiscal sponsor) engages in many ways of powerful global citizenship.  Read below for a story taking place at our own doorstep, involving GCJ Founder Susan Partnow. The Compassionate Listening Project is offering training sessions from Basic Intensive to Deepening Practice throughout the fall. To register or for more information on upcoming workshops, click here.

On a clear night on the shores of Lake Washington, a group of twenty people - half Chinese and half "Westerners" - came together for the first of many events designed to bring Chinese who are living in Seattle together with Westerners and ultimately with Tibetans to listen to each other. Seattle Listens grew out of Seeds of Compassion, a five-day Seattle event early in April that brought over 150,000 to meet with the Dalai Lama in a series of heart-opening pChina-Tibet protestsrograms that inspired us all.

Susan and Andrea, both certified facilitators of Compassionate Listening, participated in Seeds - offering workshops, co-hosting "reflection spaces" and helping to plan the Interspiritual Day's activities. At one of the planning meetings we met Spring Cheng, a woman born and raised in China who had come to the U.S. for graduate school and never left. Over the course of her twelve years in the US, Spring has followed a spiritual path to become a healer, influenced by Tibetan Buddhism and Chinese Taoism. Her spiritual quest has drawn her close to the Tibetan communities, both inside China and in Seattle. When the Chinese-Tibetan protests erupted all over the world in March, she felt called to bring Chinese and Tibetans together for dialogue. After hearing about our work in Compassionate Listening and Global Citizen Journey, she asked if we could help bring her dream to fruition. We found her vision compelling and were enthusiastic about the opportunity to contribute and learn more.

The initial group of Westerners who assembled soon realized that the complexity and sensitivity of the situation called for 'slowing down to the speed of wisdom.' We discovered that many members of the Chinese community are experiencing tremendous pain, hurt feelings and even bitterness towards the "Westerners" regarding the controversies sparked by the Tibet event. Spring described the sense of marginalization, demonization and humiliation many Chinese living in the U.S. experience, exacerbated by recent media coverage about tainted toys and food, human rights violations, and negative press about the Olympics. We shared stories of citizen diplomacy and global citizens in action, offering compassionate listening to all sides of the issue, such as GCJ's work in the Niger Delta, where we listened to villagers, Ijaw, Itsekiri, government representatives, Chevron officials, militants, etc. We decided that before we could ask the Chinese community to engage with Tibetans, they would need to be heard by Westerners. We offered an evening of brief training China demonstrationin compassionate listening to most of the Western listeners -and several attended one of our Basic Intensive two-day trainings. We explained the process to all listeners: asking them to actively hold a safe, respectful space; allowing the more trained listeners to offer some reflection; and follow that with a round of deep appreciation. We agreed these first meetings, above all else, would be about trust and relationship building. Spring and her husband Tao invited people to attend, and ten courageous Chinese people accepted.

We began the evening with a simple ice breaker: everyone marked a map of the world to show where they and/or their grandparents were born. Then we each said one thing about this as we introduced ourselves. Next, Spring opened the evening, sharing deeply some of her personal story - powerfully setting the tone for being vulnerable and trusting. Susan & Andrea then facilitated the listening after explaining the process and getting everyone's agreement to simple guidelines. We asked each of the Chinese participants to respond to a few carefully crafted questions - one at a time, using a talking object. Each person shared openly and deeply. We learned about what people deeply cared about and about their anger and frustration at the media's characterization of China and the conflict. We discovered surprising areas of commonality as well as respect for our differences.UW protest

In the words of Monica Wilson, one of the Western listeners, "We had no expectations and offered only our willingness to listen and our open hearts.  And we found that it was enough, and more than enough to elicit responses of piercing honesty.  We each found ourselves looking into the eyes of another person who wanted only to find understanding, there were no strangers to be met here, these were new friends!  Most astonishing of all, we found that we all shared a shatteringly passionate desire to embody the change that must occur now to bring our planet through this time of transformation.  There was an absolute recognition that this was a change that had to happen in the hearts of every person, and not something that we could rely on governments to undertake." Indeed, this was grassroots peacemaking and citizen diplomacy in action. This was the living embodiment of GCJ's purpose: 'Grassroots connections. Bridges of peace." It felt like the exact antidote called for at this moment when the planet seems to be preparing the next big polarization, of China versus the West. I became aware of how poisoned I had become towards China - how I had allowed the media to pull me in to demoni
Tibet protestzing the Chinese.

We could n
ot have imagined the magic of the evening. We shared food, listened and sang together - and felt enlivened by what seemed to be a seminal opportunity to re-connect the disparate pieces of our human family. The next session is being planned to include more dialogue and exchange between the Chinese and Westerners. We are heartened to be taking this journey on the road to Chinese-Tibetan dialogue - and to see the seeds of the work we care so much about bear new fruit. As Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

An excerpt of an article by Tom Atlee of the Co-Intelligence Institute. For the entire article, follow this link.

Evolving into a Bigger Us with Nature
by Tom Atlee
Dear friends,

One of the main trends in evolution is towards more inclusive whole systems -- the evolution of entities which "include and transcend" more primary entities.

One popular map of this hierarchy of inclusion goes as follows:
* Atoms include -- and are "more than" -- subatomic particles.
* Molecules include -- and are "more than" -- atoms.
* Cells include -- and are "more than" -- molecules.
* Complex animals and plants include -- and are "more than" --
* Societies include -- and are "more than" -- us individuals who
make them up.

In the last several hundred years, human societies and systems have developed and spread to global proportions. As we have collectively reached and encountered the limits of Earth and the demands of relationship in order to function, it is becoming increasingly obvious that there is no "Other" and no "Away". We are all interdependent kin, alive together here in this one planetary home.

We Are All. In This. Together.

Martin Luther King, Jr., declared forty years ago:

"We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."

And people around the world now celebrate Interdependence Day <http://> instead of  Independence Day.

Evolutionary pressure is building to include more varieties of people, species, and living systems within our definition of "us".

I recently ran across two very intriguing news items I share with you  below: First, Ecuador's Constitutional Assembly is proposing that natural communities and ecosystems have rights, thus initiating the first national legal system to include rights for both human and natural communities. Second, the Spanish Parliament voted last month to grant limited legal rights to our closest biological relatives, the great apes -- chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans, thus becoming the first nation to give legal rights to other species. Both of these pioneering initiatives go beyond laws governing animal abuse and species extinction, two earlier steps on the path.
Ghana - Undeterred by Torrential Rain, WHH Students begin to grow their own food.
June is the wet season in Axim, and since everyone walks to school, attendance is a challenge. In spite of the sometimes torrential rain, our Western Heritage Home (WHH) scholars are attending the nearest school, Manye Academy, daily. It's a short walk through the jungle, with a small stream to cross. The twenty children, ages 5 to 14,  are residents in WHH's Children's Home. Ghana Together, (the spin-off organization formed by GCJ Ghana delegates) helps fund their support. We are thrilled to report that they are catching up academically, receiving after-school tutoring, and enjoying the many books and learning materials provided by friends and supporters of Ghana Together and GCJ.

WHH has cleared some land and started a "farm" (a large garden) to grow food for the Children's Home.  After school or on Saturdays the children help with the farm and are learning to farm.  Some of their biological elderly grandmothers and great-aunts and other townspeople volunteer their help and farming knowledge.

GCJ Delegate/Ghana Together Board Member Leif Pederson will be returning to Axim in September to begin serious work on the computer lab for WHH.  Stay tuned for updates.
War Dance
reviewed by Burundi Delegate Deborah Smick

Last issue we started what we hope will be a new tradition with our newsletter: sharing books and films among our community. This week, Burundi 2009 delegate Deborah Smick reviews the film War Dance. We're collecting a list of titles for our Global Citizen's Library, and we want your input! If you have a book, film, or something else that you think the GCJ community would benefit from experiencing, please email us with the title and a short description, and we'll post it on our website. If you're feeling creative, send a full review and we'll include you in a future newsletter.

War Dance

"For anyone planning a trip to Africa in the near future, War Dance is a must-see film. This award winning documentary is available at Rain City Video in the new releases section and is available at Netflix, including for instant viewing. A documentary set in Uganda, it follows the lives of several school children living in a government protected refugee camp in Northern Uganda as they prepare for the National Music Competition in Kampala. These children belong to a tribe in Northern Uganda that has been persecuted for over 20 years by the L.R.A. (Lord's Resistance Army), whose leader, ironically, is a member of the same tribe. They are literally refugees in their own country. As they prepare for the music and dance competition you learn of their individual stories that have brought them to this situation (many were child warriors). Although they have seen and experienced horrors we can barely imagine the film portrays how important music and dance is as a vehicle for spiritual uplifting and reconnecting. It is an amazing and wonderful film that I highly recommend!" - reviewed by Burundi 2009 delegate Deborah Smick

In This Issue
Just in from Burundi...
Ghanaian Dance at the Park
Learning to listen to our global neighbors
Tom Atlee on the evolution of society
Movie review: War Dance
Quick Links

burundian flag
Join us in Burundi in Summer 2009.
Find out more.
Upcoming Events
Check out our website for
an updated list of events!

Picnic in the Park!

Join us this August 22nd from 5pm to 9pm for a picnic at Seward Park, Shelter #1.

GCJ delegates, volunteers, alumni and friends are all welcome to a day of Ghanaian dance lessons, music, international potluck, and fun.  Mark it on your calendar!

Do You Have A Story To Share?
We're in the process of collecting delegate stories to add to our website, and to use in order to help future delegates prepare for a Journey.  Are you a former delegate with a story to shore?  Let us know!
Bob, Brock and Wes sent us some photos from Burundi--join us at the picnic to see more now that they're back!

Bob with kids in Burundi

Bob hangs out with the neighborhood children.

Burundi kids

Local children pose for the camera.

New homeowners in Burundi

Carama residents on the site of their future home.

New House in Burundi

Laying the foundations of a home while children gather in front of a finished home.

Citiboke water point - Burundi

Prosper stands in front of Citiboke water point.

Just a trickle - Burundi

Filling containers at a water point.

Rebuilding a house in Burundi

A collapsed house waiting to be rebuilt.


Updated photos from Ghana and Nigeria

Completed WHH building

Ghana - The finished Western Heritage Home Building

Children working with fingerpuppets

Ghana - Children in Axim play with finger puppets.


Giraffe Service Club International

Giraffe Service Club International in front of library

Nigeria - Students of the Giraffe Service Club International work outside the library
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