Immediately following the Council training workshop that Center for Council’s Director Jared Seide led for the NGO Dejusticia in August of 2017, Dejusticia staff traveled to southwest Colombia to hold a conference with human rights activists from around the world. Council practices and perspectives were incorporated into the conference, as Dejusticia’s Executive Director César Rodríguez Garavito shared in the email he sent to Center for Council, excerpted below.
We’re still recovering from the exhilarating workshop with 19 human rights activists from around the world last week. One of the first things I wanted to do post-workshop was to thank you kindly on behalf of the Dejusticia team and the community of fellow activists that was established last week, thanks in no small part to your teachings and generosity during the Council training.
As you both suggested, we went ahead and used Council in several of our end-of-the-day sessions, and it turned out to be a transformative experience, both for Dejusticia as a collective and for participants individually. Council provided the personal connection and ties of solidarity that we suspected the workshop could provide but hadn’t found a way to nourish. Several participants said that the Council component was their favorite part of the workshop, and we all were touched by how much we learned from and about each other in those sessions.
For the Dejusticia team, this was a very positive and encouraging first experience with Council facilitation, and we all left immensely encouraged to improve our facilitation skills as we plan for future trainings and events. So, we’ll definitely be picking up on your generous offer to talk with us about the lessons and the challenges that the workshop offered.
For now, as a small way to express our huge thanks, I wanted to share with you the group picture we took in Cali (Southwest Colombia). This was a couple days after our first Council session, and one day before our second one in Bogota. We opened the last day of the workshop with a final Council, also in Bogota. Most of the people in the group are young activists dealing with serious threats to their human rights work in countries ranging from Egypt to India, from Venezuela to Russia, from Kenya to Bosnia. The empty chair on the left is in memory of one of the instructors from Turkey, who could not make it because he was imprisoned last week for expressing criticism of the Erdogan government.
I very much look forward to having a chance to continue to learn from you both.