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.

3 reactions on “How to Celebrate Diversity

  1. What i find interesting is that it feels like it’s people from around Europe connecting like never before – not only governments.
    Still waiting for the first pan-european digital ngo’s, startups, etc. though.

  2. Here is the effects of diversity to you, or to me, by this incident that happened to me yesterday.
    I came to the Netherlands in 1975. Therefore understand the cultures and diversities then and now. At least I think I do. I am also a globe-trotter in the physical sense the past 30 years. Lived and worked in many parts of the world. I am also globe-trottering in the online space.
    But yesterday at the local market in Zoetermeer confirmed more and more my thoughts about diversities. Perhaps it is less so in Enschede as compare to Zoetermeer since Zoetermeer is less thatn 20 km from the Hague, a city that is so diversed that half of the time you would hear strange language that Dutch spoken on the strees.
    Yesterday afternoon. Saturday and market day. After I parked my car I realized that all the coins in my purse would not buy me a ticket from the machine. I had lots of 5 cent coins but not 10,20,50 as required. No problem. I would just see if someone would be kind to exchange the 5 cents to 10,or 20. Not that easy. Here is another picture of me. I am a Chinese looking woman, with grey-haired and not dressed to kill. As I approached a lady of my age group and asked if she has some money to ‘exchange/wissel’. Without even stopping she told me NO. She would like to have some money too! I was quite buffled with the answers. Then I met the next woman, this time she is older than me I am sure. And the same situation. Without stopping to ask what my question was she told me she cannot help me!
    From the answers of these two ladies, I THINK they thought that I am a begger!! Eventhought I was not dressed to kill, I was decently dressed!
    Within 30 years, people have changed in the Netherlands, especially in bigger cities. People are so indaunted by problems brought by immigrations. Especially illegal immigrations. They no longer want to know. I sensed the great change and I am sadden by the change. One point in time, I would be helped without a doubt by the generous and friendly Dutch. But yesterday ????
    The reason why I illustrate with this incident is first of all it happened to me in the physical world. Where people of any level of knowledge, educations and what have you live side-by-side. In the online world, I tend to see it as an ‘unreal’ world. The cyberworld is not real because it is generally (I use the world generally to save myself from having to argue my case) stuff with people who are well educated, have money, have ICT skills, or least have the money and time and knowledge to blog for example, their world is also selective where pockets of ‘interests’ draw the line of whoses blog you would want to read and discuss such as what I am doing now … That world is so disassociated with the rest of the world, sometime I just want to shout and say … hey guys, while you are talking about Blogtalks, Blogwalks, OpenSpace, KM, KS, PKM … please take a moment to think of the many of us do not live in your world ….
    I am writing this comments in a flash. There are perhaps many rooms that need more thoughts. BUT since I have become one of the online persons, and then live in another ‘real’ world where I am struggling to survive, I am in reality looking at both worlds …

  3. Tegenlicht over vrouwen aan de top

    Gisteren met veel plezier gekeken naar Tegenlicht, waarin het ging over het geringe aantal vrouwen in de top van het Nederlands bedrijfsleven. En over de vraag wat er anders zou zijn wanneer dat wel het geval was. Een mooi programma…

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