Sharing Stories and Insights: The 2014 Springboard Sessions
Springboard Sessions, one of the big highlights of the 2014 GCC, offered the audience four powerful stories from different parts of the world. The audience -- comprised of GCC participants, Dillard University students and faculty, and external guests -- were blown away by the profound insights behind each story.
Vicky Colbert, the founder of the Colombian organization Fundación Escuela Nueva, spoke about her thirty plus years of experience working with children using non-traditional methods drawn from several educational models and scientific studies. Using these methods, Fundación Escuela Nueva manages to transform the conventional method of learning. According to Colbert, everything has changed except for our way of learning, and the organization and model works to challenge and change that. Personalized and cooperative learning is essential to developing 21st century skills, Colbert explained. In working to disseminate these improvements worldwide, she described how she is working to sustain innovations in public education --a huge challenge in most countries.
Dr. Joseph Sebarenzi, the former President of the Rwandan Parliament shared his story about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. While almost his entire family was killed in the genocide, somehow, instead of anger or bitterness, compassion rose to the surface, and he became an advocate of forgiveness. He shared the importance of reconciliation not just as a tool for betterment of the community but also for the betterment of the individual. Forgiveness and reconciliation helps to promote peace in future generations, explained Sebarenzi. While there was nothing he could do for those he had lost, he could do something for his children to ensure future peace. He helped the audience understand that when one extends kindness to others, the action extends kindness to oneself as well.
Emily May, an international leader of the anti-street-harassment campaign, runs Hollaback!, an organization dedicated to empowering women on the street by giving them a platform to share their story through a simple mobile app. She shared her story of how it all began and where they stand today. May spoke about her own realization that she lived in a different New York than her male friends, which inspired her to take action against street harassment. Hollaback! started as a blog to call out those that perpetuate street harassment, and now receives stories on their various sites from girls as young as 7! Using a free iPhone and Android app to document street harassment, people can notify council members representing the district in which the harassment took place.
Tony Porter, is a charismatic activist and the co-founder of A CALL TO MEN. He had a powerful presentation on how gender stereotypes perpetuates violence against women, asking the audience, "What does it mean to be a man?" He encouraged all the men in the audience to step out of the "man box" -- a term he uses to refer to the stereotypes associated with men, like physical strength, restraining all emotions except anger and acting as the protector/provider. According to Porter, steeped in the socialization of what it means to be a man is creating distance from what it means to be a woman. Plus, as Porter explains, there is no gray area -- we are either a part of the problem or a part of the solution.
The talks were highlighted with remarkable performances by the Dillard University Female Octet and the Dillard University Concert Choir. Dillard alumnus and Senior Fellow Raphael Richard emceed the evening.