While I drove Marc Smith, his son Eli, and Andrea Ben Lassoued back from the G.O.R. conference in Bielefeld to Enschede to meet up with Lilia Efimova, it was Marc that started the thoughts for this blogpost rolling.
At some point, after discussing opinions on the EU, and how living in a border town felt and feels, he concluded "then you are part of the international class".
True I guess. But what does that mean? Over the past 5 years the mycelium of my social network has indeed come to encircle the globe. It means my empathy now flows to a much wider range of people on almost all continents. Their local news becomes my local news too, and from it I build patterns and notions of what is going on in the world. That is a good thing: having a sense of world events build on my empathy for the emotions and experiences of distinct individuals. It brings it all home in a way the main stream media never can hope to achieve.
We do build a class I think, as Marc called it. We spend money, time and effort to meet eachother in different European capitals, we invite people we never met face to face before into our homes to stay. Going to a conference like Reboot or BlogTalk brings multiple days of very intense conversations, and exchange of ideas, while we recognize ourselves in the other. It is a heady mix and it’s addictive.
But is it as diverse as it is international?
I and others say it often: Europe’s true innovative potential lies in it’s diversity.
Not in emulating other parts of the world, best practices make you runner up at most, but in what defines us most: the patchwork of local cultures, languages and traditions that is this continent. That diversity worked against us in numerous wars and feuds across the centuries. Over the past 50 years we are increasingly finding ourselves under the roof of the EU, establishing common ground. It is a remarkable political experiment: a supranational construct that does not lay claim to any specific geographical area. Now that we start to see our common ground better and better, how to learn to build on our wonderful diversity?
What can I do, what can I take as an action list to start celebrating diversity. And what about you?
What on the agenda of an event like Reboot 8, would help us do that?
Your thoughts are appreciated.