Why do we want to connect people?

We are known for not avoiding working in conflict zones. We initiated several projects in occupied territories where, for example, we train Israelis and Palestinian youth in telling their stories in order to initiate or improve the dialogue between the two groups. In the Netherlands (and beyond) we also organise annual storytelling workshops for young people in conflict situations and we work on cohesion in different neighbourhoods.

In the above projects, people are in situations where our help is urgently needed. But because we want the change to be lasting, we also use our storytelling workshops as a preventative measure to encourage diversity, so that fewer conflicts take place than before.

We do this by connecting young people and the elderly, by allowing people from different cultures to listen to each other and by using a bottom-up approach to change making.

How does storytelling contribute to connection?

Although stories about the other are certainly used to spread fear, it is a fact that sharing stories with each other leads to connection. ‘The enemy is the one whose story you don’t know,’ said Gene Knudsen Hoffman years ago and she was right. In doing so, she underlines the importance of sharing stories and listening to each other, certainly in a society characterised by diversity and differences (and sometimes even tensions).

We therefore mainly work in groups, with the aim of creating mutual understanding. Wherever we go, we also train participants in our method. So that they continue to use storytelling for connection in their immediate environment.

This introduction to connection is just a small example of how storytelling contributes to connecting people. Check our blog posts about connection for more information about how storytelling can close generation and culture gaps and create change makers.

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