lundi 17 juin 2013

Solidarities crossroads in Strasbourg

As I was back in France for a few weeks, I took part in the event “Carrefour des Solidarités” (Solidarities crossroads), organized by the city of Strasbourg. This day was dedicated to debates around a topic that I particularly care about: “how could we better co-operate?”

After the musical welcome of two young flautists and the welcoming word of the mayor, Jacques Lecomte, as a supporter of positive psychology, started the day with a question: “What if cooperation could change the world?”

Two elements are particularly interesting to remember:
  • The brain regions that are activated in moments of pleasure are also activated when we show generosity: kindness is a state that fits human well.
  • Thousands of scientific studies insist on all the advantages of cooperative learning at school, in comparison to a more competitive and individualistic approach. This advantages are: increase of self-esteem, reduction of risky behaviours (addictions for example), acquisition of relational skills, reduction of discriminating and violent behaviours, increase of solidarity and of mutual aid, strengthening of the motivation to learn, increase of reasoning complexities, and – what we maybe would expect less–, improvement of pupils' results.

Two round tables followed this presentation. We had a picnic after this, and different workshops were organised in the park “Parc de l'Etoile.

I took part in one of the round tables and in a workshop, with:

  • Christophe L'Huillier, founder of the association Intemporelle (“Timeless). In Metz, this association invites children, elderly and handicapped people to collaborate in order to create artistic, cultural and sports events, such as musicals.
  • Yves Wansi, co-founder of Vue d'ensemble (“Overall view). This association offers to visually handicapped, partially sighted and sighted people the possibility to spend time together in leisure and learning activities.
  • Guy Didier, leader of our round table. Guy coordinates an Internet portal which gathers portraits of diversity and which has a really nice name: Entre-gens (“Among-people).
  • The young and dynamic team of AMSED (Association Migration Solidarity and Exchanges for Development), which took an important part in the organisation of this day. I will talk about it more in details in a following post, and particularly about Julien, a young man from Strasbourg who co-led the workshop with me.

This participation has been a good opportunity to share my experience and to tell some of my reflections. I particularly insisted on the importance of positive promotion for the process of cooperation in a project. Indeed, at every level, it is necessary to see and to insist on good news, because they give to people the strength to bring things forward. I was already convinced about it before, and my encounter with Emilie in Brussels gave me a tangible proof of the effects of what Tal Ben-Shahar calls “cultivate gratitude”.

Cooperation is motivating and efficient!” The title chosen for this debating moment triggers the idea of a virtuous circle : when the quality of the process is good, on the one hand people appreciate it, on the other hand it gives them more chances to reach the goals they set to themselves. Pleasure and efficiency: two prime movers to maintain the desire and the necessary energy to carry on.

Active participation, age diversity, talents, a lot of possible horizons and the sun: a nice day in the Alsacian and European capital!

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