One Humanity Institute Think Tank Summit

October 25, 2018

September 19 – 24, 2018


I. Introduction

Dr. Nina Meyerhof and Domen Kocevar brought together a group of 20 prominent people from many corners of the world, five of whom were Polish colleagues, to Oswiecim-Auschwitz. They represented different fields and endeavors. The goal was to generate ideas as a Think Tank for the One Humanity Institute - a City of Hope.

The mission of the One Humanity Institute is to help create a future that embraces the universal values of peace, tolerance, dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity for all life. The purpose of the summit was to further formulate and ground this philosophy by focusing on the framework for content and specifics of transforming the buildings that we expect to comprise the One Humanity Institute.

Dr. Alan Briskin, having worked many months with Nina and Domen, facilitated an agenda that was constructive and meaningful. Our group held many perspectives coming from the fields of education, sustainability, government, media, and business. Most important to our success was the participation of our Polish colleagues who helped us learn how to integrate with the local community and to understand the political context.

We convened this network of ambassadors to engage in dialogue and activities that embody the I-We-One dynamic, and develop processes that exemplify the interconnectedness of humanity. We also wanted to address foundational questions and pivotal relationships to support the establishment of One Humanity Institute, and to build tangible structures and processes to move the mission forward.

Lastly, this was a meeting that involved very personal journeys into ourselves in order to find our purpose within the project. For most participants, the story began before arrival to Oswiecim. Everyone had time to think, anticipate and feel the intensity of the potential for this first OHI Think Tank Summit. Many met for the first time, but strong bonds and connections formed quickly​. We are members of an ever growing community that shares the values of One Humanity, and One Humanity Institute – a City of Hope.

II. Meeting Review

We began in a circle, with a ritual connecting us all in openness, sharing and love. It was an excellent way to begin the day, since after lunch we were to visit the Auschwitz Museum, where many of us have lost ancestors or have in another way related to the genocide victims. To facilitate the connecting process, Alan asked us each to contemplate - ​What obstacles and/or meaningful coincidences have occured on your way here - what are signs that directed you here?

The evening was spent in a contemplative mode. Many were tired from the dark energies that reside on the Auschwitz site. The experience brought us closer together and made our mission there even clearer.

The next day began with more connecting by responding to the question: ​What is it in your work life that makes it really important for you to be here?

Nina and Domen summarized the activities that led to the summit, providing a report on the status of the initiative locally and globally. This, along with the prepared and printed materials each participant received, provided necessary background to discuss the following questions:

  1. What is the significance of locating OHI adjacent to the grounds of Auschwitz?
  2. What are the principles and components of an educational framework, within the context of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's), that are distinctive and contribute to the overall mission of OHI?
  3. As we create community with our global colleagues, what is our special relationship with Poland? What does that look like, feel like? What are actions we can take?
  4. Dreaming of a world we believe ought to be, what would such a world look and feel like? What would be the necessary changes? How is OHI a bridge to this vision?

We were grateful that the Mayor of Oswiecim spent almost 2 hours speaking with us. He was very receptive to our ideas, actions and values. He informed us about a few local initiatives that are also addressing some of the issues we identified. We saw his visit as a wonderful step closer to good cooperation with the local community.

Local elections are around the corner in Oswiecim, so the two other mayoral candidates also paid us a visit. One stayed for dinner. We ended the day furthering friendships, dancing and toasting to long and fruitful collaboration.

The focus of the third day was on a question - ​What is coming through about the possibilities of OHI?

We discussed concepts such as I-WE-ONE and how it pertains to OHI. Nina presented her story of this vision.

We worked in 2 groups and brainstormed about what I-WE-ONE means for each of us:

  • How can we move visitors who come to OHI in the direction of I-We-One? Offer examples of techniques and processes. What would inspire people?
  • Who are our genuine partners? Identify an initial network of universities, foundations, and other networks and organizations that would be synergistically aligned with OHI. What criteria would identify them as partners? How would we approach them? What would be the initial agreement that constitutes partnership? Give examples.

This was a challenging task. We were 20 people, from different backgrounds, different experiences. Answering these questions in a group to reach a consensus was impossible. We encountered some different opinions among us, but we remained friends and allies in the project. In such an initiative with so many stakeholders not everyone will see eye to eye on each subject. That is okay. We are inclusive and open to ideas, opinions as well as challenges and critique. There is no progress without them.

Evening was a time to reflect on the heated discussions of the day.

On our last day we discussed in detail the 3 main structural elements of OHI. We created groups, each focusing on one aspect of the initiative—the Museum (renamed VISIONARIUM), Education Center (renamed LEARNING CENTER) and the HUB (renamed WORLD SERVERS HUB).

The Learning Center - ​​We decided that because the term education implies hierarchy (educators on top and students below), and that we all are essentially learners, including educators, what we are really building is a Learning Center at OHI.

The Visionarium (or WEsionarium) - ​​What we had been calling a museum was renamed a Visionarium. One other name proposed was ​WEsionarium (to be considered). Very strong suggestions were voiced about this being an experiential structure.

World Servers Hub - ​​This will be a space for a new group of world servers.

FORM is to be completely sustainable, from recycled materials and off grid! Integration of Visionarium, Hub and Learning Center. We expect to see and feel a natural flow through the three structural elements.

As we began the summit, so Alan closed it with a circle and ritual; this time, with a sincere and warm hug of gratitude between each participant, joining hearts!

Michael conducted personal interviews throughout the 4 days, photographed portraits of each participant, and took group photographs, one of which you can see here.

III. Warsaw Meetings Following our Think Tank Summit

Sally Ranney, Inge Relph, Domen Kocevar, and Nina Meyerhof with the help of Igor Janke and Bartek Pawlak continued the meetings in Warsaw. Igor and Bartek arranged for us to meet with several high level government officials. The response was very positive and the request was to expand our materials. We also met other influential people with whom we are building relationships for OHI visibility and acceptability.

IV. Conclusion

We are happy and grateful for everyone that shared their energy, experience and knowledge with us and helped co-create the next stage of One Humanity Institute - a City of Hope initiative in Oswiecim.
We are asking you to keep supporting us in a way you deem possible.
Love and peace, Nina and Domen.

PDF icon TT_Summit_Report_Short.pdf485.16 KB

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