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Letter from a recovering Team Syntegrity 2017 participant

"In this exercise, we were forced to sit side by side and face to face and discuss diverse issues reasonably, coherently, and cohesively. It was smart and it was intimate."

lead The author and Joe Truss, Team Syntegrity 2017 facilitator.

In Team Syntegrity 2017 which took place in Barcelona this June, participants addressed the opening question – by choosing twelve topics to discuss over a period of three and a half days. Here are some of the results so far. This is a protocol of overlapping sessions, designed to take a comprehensive, fresh look at a complex topic in a space highly organised for self-organisation to occur, by exploring multiple perspectives and integrating ideas together. Our next page will be on The Process in the participants own words, participants like Aya…

Hi Rosemary, 

It so good to hear from you and please accept my radio silence since the trip. I have been following the exchanges but too busy to put word to paper (or screen....)

I have 3 international exhibitions coming up and all have a basis around what was discussed during the forum. 

The time spent in Barcelona was quite eye opening for me. Yes, the topics discussed were interesting and i learnt new things along the way, some i will remember and some i may forget, but what really stuck with me, however, is the true power of such a network of individuals. Of STRANGERS more specifically. 

Before then, i was very skeptical about the power of 'the people' per say. I felt a very strong social disengagement in my day to day which i feel has led to the inevitable failing we see around us. Nevertheless, the experience that we had, showed me how the mere grouping of 30 individuals leading the program themselves and carving out their own issues and points of discussion can actually lead to a movement. 

Nowhere would you ever spend 5 consecutive, intensive days (and nights) with 30 strangers and speak about such personal issues that affect each and every one of us, have to listen, question, challenge, respect, understand and resolve together. 

Aya defending her topic.For the first time, i see such a model being a solution for the trouble across the Middle East which is so divided in itself. Not only between Israeli and Palestinians but also within a place like Lebanon too, which is incredibly divided. 

We harbour a lot of grievances and many people are raised to discriminate without ever having met or LISTENED to the other side. Supposed solutions are created on one side without discussion or transparency. This forum, amidst all the structured and factual elements, introduced a very important HUMAN element which is missing with division. The first thing two opposing groups do is segregate and dehumanise the other side and far too many rely on what the media says about the other. 

In this exercise, we were forced to sit side by side and face to face and discuss diverse issues reasonably, coherently, and cohesively. It was smart and it was intimate. 

I would be keen to be involved or witness a program like this within an exclusively Middle Eastern context because i believe the journey is far far more valuable than the outcome. The way the world is today i think it is irreparable as it is. Yet, the world is developing and new generations are coming and if we can instill this form of constructive dialogue then i think for the first time in a long time, we may just be ok. 

Those are my initial reflections.

Thanks again for involving me. I look forward to hearing from you soon and carrying on the conversation! 

Warmly yours, 

X AYA X

Aya ( right) looks on at the all-male Politics of Feeling discussion under way.

About the author

Aya Haidar is a Lebanese multimedia artist, whose work focuses on the use of found and recycled objects in order to create poetic works exploring loss, migration and memory. Aya graduated with a BA in Fine Arts from the Slade School of Fine Art in London and completed an exchange at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago. Her MSc. in ‘NGOs and Development’ came from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


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