Thoughts from the ISPS international conference

I am in New York participating at the ISPS international conference held at Coopers Square. As usual the most important during events like this is to catch up with people from all over the world. And of course to attend some presentations and workshops. Hanna, a colleague of mine will present on Saturday the anthology Nine Lives which consists of stories from some of the people who have been part of our shared work for a time in their lives. It gives an idea about the variety and the contradictions which come with being a human. The stories tell about the importance of someone being there, someone who challenges, someone who opens both heart and home for a stranger. It also tells about the importance of trust, dignity, pride, cooperation, belonging, but also how hard it is at times to trust and to belong. And therefore why it is absolutely essential with living and dynamic organizations where people have the right but also a responsibility to participate.

Participation is essential, and there are many ideas and theories about how to create space for participation to grow. Yesterday I met some amazing people who have created a beautiful and strong   organization during more than 30 years. It started with four people who decided to try to make a change – to make the world a bit better. It was the mission they had and it is still the mission for the now very big organization which grew and extend their network day by day. Hanna and I met Lois Holzman and Dan Friedman, some of the founder yesterday afternoon and we were both very touched the way they talked about their work but above all by their mission shown in deeds. They told about developing groups of cops who play together with “young angry men”. Poor kids cooperating with business men to make a connection between their very different life conditions. Theatre projects built on voluntary workers in collaboration with professional actors and dancers. Big social therapy groups including people from different backgrounds, but with a kind of the same desire in life. Voluntary workers who spend hours and hours to make things happen.

Meeting Lois and Dan strengthened my desire and wish to extend the therapeutic room, to make it available for many people, to find ways to engage with both so called ordinary people and professionals of different kinds. To find out together with others the not yet known. To let performance and art inspire as also philosophy and nature To invite people of different kinds to a shared space to develop knowledge important for all of. Our planned Film Festival Driving Us Crazy is such a space, a place where people will meet each other and where dreams may transform to concrete plans. As happened in East Side Institute. As hopefully is the aim with big conferences like the ISPS one. As has a chance to happen when people get together and find their driving force, skills and determination to make a change.

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