Gratitude & generosity in cross cultural exchanges-revision2
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  • Even though we may not feel powerful….
  • I can look on (a tree) as a picture: stiff column in a shock of light, or splash of green shot with the delicate blue and silver of the background.I can perceive it as movement: flowing veins on clinging, pressing pith, suck of the roots, breathing of the leaves, ceaseless commerce with earth and air - and the obscure growth itself.I can classify it in a species and study it as a type in its structure and mode of life.I can subdue its actual presence and form so sternly that I recognize it only as an expression of law...I can dissipate it and perpetuate it in number...In all this the tree remains my object, occupies space and time, and has its nature and constitution.It can, however, also come about, if I have both will and grace, that in considering the tree I become bound up in relation to it. The tree is no longer It. I have been seized by the power of exclusiveness.Martin Buber (1958) I and Thou, pages 19-20)
  • How we choose to meet that challenge, and inhabit that opening, will determine whether we view the "others" as objects (resources to be exploited) or subjects (equals to be engaged with).
  • I-IT vs I- Thou, seeking the intention that is based in an i-Thou, or engaging with other subjects to create,intervene,etc…
  • Focalized vs seeing problems as dimensions f a totality – a reality in need of transformationTrue generosity consists precisely in fighting to destroy the causes which nourish false charity. False charity constrains the fearful and subdued, the “rejects of life” to extend their trembling hands. True generosity lies in striving so that these hands — whether of individuals or entire peoples — need be extended less and less in supplication, so that more and more they become human hands which work and, working, transform the world. Freire PoOGadamer’s example is revealing to educators:By Understanding the other, by claiming to know him, one robs his claims of their legitimacy.In particular, the dialectic of charitable or welfare work operates in this way, penetrating allrelationships between men as a reflectige form of the effort to dominate.The claim to understandthe other person in advance functions to keep the other person’s claim at a [safe] distance. Weare familiar with this from the teacher-pupil relationship, an authoritative form of welfare work(TMp,. 360).
  • concern. In being with our partners in conversation, to engage them with us, there is more going on than talk about the overt topic. There is a social bond that entails interest in, and a commitment to the We have to take what others are saying on faith - and there can be some risk in this.respect. While there may be large differences between partners in conversation, the process can go on if there is mutual regard. This involves the idea that everyone is equal in some basic way and entails a commitment to being fair-minded, opposing degradation and rejecting exploitation.appreciation. Linked to respect, this entails valuing the unique qualities that others bring.affection. Conversation involves a feeling with, and for, our partners.hope. While not being purely emotional, hope is central. We engage in conversation in the belief that it holds possibility. Often it is not clear what we will gain or learn, but faith in the inherent value of education carries us forward.There is genuine dialogue - no matter whether spoken or silent - where each of the participants really has in mind the other or others in their present and particular being and turns to them with the intention of establishing a living mutual relation between himself and them. There is technical dialogue, which is prompted solely by the need of objective understanding. And there is monologue disguised as dialogue, in which two or men, meeting in space, speak each with himself in strangely tortuous and circuitous ways and yet imagine they have escaped the torment of being thrown back on their own resources (Buber 1947: 19)
  • International solidarity is "not an act of charity but an act of unity between allies fighting on different terrains toward the same objectives." - SamoraMachel –moazambique president 1975-1986Bearing witness----“The essential elements of witness which do not vary historically include: consistency between words and actions; boldness which urges the witnesses to confront existence as a permanent risk; radicalization (not sectarianism) leading both the witnesses and the ones receiving that witness to increasing action; courage to love (which, far from being accommodation to an unjust world, is rather the transformation of that world in behalf of the increasing liberation of humankind); and faith in the people, since it is to them that witness is made... Freire PoftO(p. 176).
  • The hallmark of a community of truth is in its claim that reality is a web of communal relationships, and we can know reality only by being in community with it. (Parker Palmer 1998: 95)Spanning distance, connectedness….internet as enabler in some contexts

Gratitude & generosity in cross cultural exchanges-revision2 Gratitude & generosity in cross cultural exchanges-revision2 Presentation Transcript

  • Gratitude & Generosity inCross-Cultural Exchanges BEARING WITNESS ACTING IN SOLIDARITY BUILDING COMMUNITY
  • My context
  • My power We (first world, privileged) and I (white male, first world, privileged) carry inherent power. It cannot be set aside – going “native” is a comforting myth. The question is – how do we employ this power?
  • “I can look on a tree…”
  • encounterTravel, whether crosstown or international, isencounter.Each encounter is a callevoking a response.Each response is basedin, and reveals, thetravelers intent.
  • Exploring intentWe areintentional, rarelyaccidental, in our crosscultural encounters.We go somewhere for areason – which may beclear or obscure to us.Understanding ourintentions can bechallengingAnd may span a rangeof intention
  • Mistaken intentions & false generosities To hell with good intentions  “I am here to entreat you to use your money, your status and your education to travel in Latin America. Come to look, come to climb our mountains, to enjoy our flowers. Come to study. But do not come to help.” Ivan Illich, 1968 Service?  Service has a tendency to emphasize a “focalized” view of problems and issues .
  • Student trips2011 and 2012 learningexchanges toNicaragua.Small student groupsengage in experientiallearning – decidedlynot “service learning”.
  • ReceivinggenerosityIn my experience, we –the privileged fromNorth America – aremost often therecipients of truegenerosity.
  • ReturninggratitudeEncountering thisgenerosity, we canreturn only honestgratitude to our hosts.
  • Now what?
  • Dialogue Dialogue is the encounter between men, mediated by the world, in order to name the world.
  • Hope “…dialogue cannot exist without hope. Hope is rooted in mens incompletion, from which they move out in constant search-a search which can be carried out only in communion with others"
  • SolidaritySolidarity deepens andtransformservice, creating a lensthrough which what hasbeen seen andexperienced creates abridge. There is noother world, no place togo to – there is only thestruggle of humansworking together tobuild a world
  • CommunityBuilding a communityof truth which can bearwitness and act insolidarity to sustainhope, support dialogueand transform theworld.
  • In gratitudeDon Teofilo –unknowing mentor formuch of my work onthis subject