Global Innovations on Technology and Peace Building: Training Retreat


The Peace it Together officers, get together in Kakopetria, to discuss the upcoming Knowledge Hub

When I was invited to take part in the workshop “global innovations on technology and peace building” that was to be facilitated by Michaela Ledesma and my friend Helena Puig Larrauri, my excitement was not just that I would get to see Helena in action again as I had enjoyed working alongside her so much at the Power of One conference in 2012, but also that I would have the opportunity to be a participant rather than a facilitator. A rare treat for me.

From the outset I knew this was destined to be an experience I would enjoy as I had a fabulous catch up with another great friend on the journey up to kakopetria village. As we arrived in the village, snow began to fall and settle, and as we took the short walk from the coach stop to the hotel, we were all lightly dusted in white promise. The raging fire in the corner welcomed us as my techno savvy fellow participants frantically pulled out i-pads, phones, laptops and every other wifi receiving device in order to catch up on what they had missed during the drive up. I thought about it, for a moment at least, and decided against it, sometimes I like a break from the shiny silent square face that can tell me what is happening around me in real time, either in pictures or words. When I checked into my room I had to smile as I saw it as a reflection of the challenge we had set ourselves for the next day. My room had a wonderful dated four poster bed, a classic (in working order) 1950’s radio, complete with analogue dial, yellowish flickering light when turned on, and authentic crackling in the background. The amazingly warm modern under floor heating kept the snow chill at bay as I watched the news on the wall mounted TFT. The traditional bed and radio happily fitting in with the modern tv and heating.

And this is how I saw the workshop that was offered to us. We were given the opportunity to see ourselves, our products and our histories easily combined with the world of crowd sourcing, gapfinders, quizlets, insightshares and city changers to name just some of the floated ideas. The facilitators smiled and cheered us on as we changed location three times till we finally settled in a corner of the hotel restaurant that had intermittent wired access to the internet for one laptop only, so that the totally high tech and internet based workshop could be delivered in the traditional surroundings of quaint dated restaurant, complete with checked tablecloths and Cypriot straw seated chairs. Intriguingly, even as we were offered such a volume of information the absorption was made palatable by the sound-bite size snippets Helena and Michaela offered. There was always just enough information there to get the interest going so you could make the connection between the presented idea and the project in your mind.

As the afternoon sun melted the snow, we worked on the links between the components of the hub, the content of the hub, the potential user base, the interest, the maintenance, the look, the potential challenges and the dreams we could include. Having generated so much data I left satisfied that progress was made. However, I wondered on the journey home how and who would work on the mountain of ideas and information we had collectively pulled together. Some ideas made the hub more tangible in my mind, as I could start to see not only its use as repository but also as a live hub of activity, while some ideas were technically beyond me. In the end I knew, with Mehmet and Ellada in the mix, the hub will continue to be viable and grow.

Sylvie Mantis – Knowledge Innovation Product / Team Facilitator

Watch this space for an upcoming briefing on what the new Knowledge Hub is going to be all about!


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