Join Global Consultant Susan Coleman, Host of the Peacebuilding Podcast- and today’s most innovative, courageous and inspired practitioners as we explore strategies to intervene in complex systems to build consensus and common ground across divides of worldview, culture and difference.
Ep 47: Rabia Roberts - Herstory, Part A
Dear Podcast Friends, I took a hiatus this summer from high-speed internet and went to the “boonies” which was great for making progress on my book, Women, Negotiation & Power (stay tuned), but made podcasting virtually impossible. Indeed, I discovered quickly how much high-speed internet is running our lives – those of us with access to it – in both good and bad ways. It was good to take a break, to slow down, disconnect. I found myself very happy, but also glad to come back and be a part of our digital revolution once again.Being off the grid allowed me some good reflection time. Perhaps because as I age there is less time ahead of me than behind, I find myself looking backwards at the big things that have shaped me and my culture. For instance, it was determined at the moment of my birth that I would be more dependent and less powerful than the men in my family simply because I was a girl. Shaking off that type of conditioning takes some doing – for all of us. And, however inspired the words of our Founding Fathers (U.S.) “all men are created equal”, it’s clear from historians that the founders were really just referring to propertied, white men like themselves, a crack in the foundation that is revealing itself and reverberating in movements like #metoo and #blacklivesmatter. The irony for those founders, products of their time, was that many of them were slave owners who also could not entertain the suggestions from both their wives and the Native Americans who inspired the fledgling U.S. democracy to include women in the process of forming it.So, in keeping with looking backwards and the big things that still reverberate, I'm super excited to bring you my current podcast episode, HerStory. HerStory Part A (and Parts B and C coming soon) will go back to the very beginning of humanity and tell the story of human evolution through the eyes of a woman. Perhaps that past seems ancient or irrelevant to you but, as my guest Rabia Roberts puts it “once you start studying things like neuroscience and how long it takes the brain to develop, you being to understand that pathways get laid down long ago that still have a great influence on us.”These recordings are actually classes that Rabia gave to a group of women in Boulder, Colorado in 2017. They're just super excellent and not to be missed which is why I am including them here. I will release them one each month for the next three months, HerStory, Parts A, B and C. I think you'll find so much useful information, and Rabia is an amazingly intelligent, sophisticated, and light spirit.Rabia was on our show in 2017. As you will see, her description of herself as an activist, who loves to be a scholar is pretty darn accurate. For the past 50 years, she's been deeply engaged in what she describes as the three great movements of our time: social justice, peace, and environmental action. Rabia has lived and worked in places as diverse as Iraq, Syria, Burma, Thailand, Jordan, Iran, Israel, Palestine, Brazil and Afghanistan. Her unique experience yields a rich harvest of insights relevant to the challenges facing us. HerStory was intended to be a series of seven classes or so, but unfortunately after number three, Rabia has had constant medical challenges which has slowed her down. I’m hoping this podcast release might inspire her to continue, even if just in this type of audio format v. a real class. Rabia got into this project because of “the need for global feminine leadership, and the fact that patriarchy won't die”. This was to be her legacy for women and girls. In her words“HerStory is a great empowering story of who we women are, how it has been misunderstood and how women have the unique qualities and skills to bring our country together and our democracy forward. In fact, I believe only a woman will be able to heal and lead us into the future
Ep 46: Susan Coleman and Dean Foster - Culture, Gender and Negotiation
As you know, I believe that empowering women, getting gender right on the planet, is the most impactful peacebuilding initiative we humans can undertake. Thus, one of my main initiatives these days focuses on building women's skill in negotiation. I'm super excited to say that I just completed my first online offering of what I call the mini-workshop series on women, negotiation and power. I had 14 participants, a great group from around the world that gathered weekly on zoom (thank God for zoom) for about a month. As always, I appreciated the diversity in the group. From national origin or current residence, folks were from the UK, South Sudan, Russia, Australia, Colombia, Morocco, Yangon, the United States (East and West Coast) and, notably to me, there was a lot of generational diversity.For women, especially as we step into our leadership across the world, it feels to me critical that we are talking to each other across nation, tribe AND across age. We have a lot to learn from each other.Most excitedly for me, I think participants got the connection between how we negotiate in our individual lives, in our families, in our workplaces, — and what is happening on the world stage. I can feel the power of a cohort of women who understand collaboration in the face of conflict, and how to use it for our own benefit and in our leadership in the world around us. If you or anyone you know is interested in staying tuned to this initiative, you can put your name on my Women, Negotiation and Power blog list here.In this current episode, on negotiation, gender and culture, I talked with my colleague and return guest, Dean Foster of deanfosterglobal.com.Dean has extremely stellar credentials in the field of cross-cultural communication, has worked with most major Fortune 500 companies, pretty much every cultural group on Earth, national governments, the UN etc. He is an author, speaker, and I like this — a “cultural concierge”.Dean and I go way back and cut our teeth together with Ellen Raider and Ellen Raider International who was one of the first to teach intercultural negotiation around the world. Dean went on to quote-unquote “major” in cross-cultural communication with a quote-unquote “minor” in negotiation, and I went on to “major” in negotiation and collaborative processes, with a “minor” in intercultural communication.Negotiation is a very culture-bound concept: Indeed, you can't really think about negotiation without considering culture. And certainly for women in many cultures, cultural norms clamp our mouths shut — we just can't negotiate period. For example, I had a client — a young woman from China that I was with in Seoul — and she was saying, “I love this material.” (We were doing a collaborative negotiation skills course.) “But I can't negotiate at home: I just do what I'm told. And actually, all the money I earn from my job, it goes to my brother.”What do I mean by culture? It's often commonly thought of as artifacts, music, etc. I'll call that “high culture”. What we're talking about here is what goes on below the iceberg, if you will, what's happening in the deep root system of the tree, what I'll call “worldview”. Geert Hofstede, who was a Dutch researcher in the area, and whose thinking I've used over the years, defined culture as the “collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one human group from another.” It’s like a group personality, if you will. Culture is to a group what personality is to an individual.And culture is just the way that different humans on the planet have come up with the challenges and opportunities of living on our particular section of the globe.In this episode, I wanted to explore with Dean a question that I started thinking about as I was writing my book on women and negotiation, which hopefully will be coming so
Ep 45: Kristina Lunz: A Feminist Foreign Policy
If my country, the United States, were to adopt a feminist foreign policy, I believe there would be a major, positive shift on this planet. I tweeted that sentiment after interviewing my current guest, Kristina Lunz. I was a little nervous about doing it. I’m not sure exactly why. Speaking your truth is always a little scary, especially for us women. But I got a lot of likes on Twitter from men and women alike. That was interesting to see.What is a feminist foreign policy? I will let Kristina mostly answer this question because she will do it much better than I. But I will say at the outset that, like this podcast, it supports processes and leadership that build common ground rather than dividing and polarizing people. It emphasizes more of the win-win, less win-lose to resolve differences.Frankly, the egocentric “I want it now and it's your fault that I can't get it”, the “blame game”, is wearing super thin on me. This includes the drumming up of conflict and zero-sum thinking, and attacking people to get your interests met as a style. It’s not just developmentally juvenile, it’s plain dangerous, especially if the person using it has a lot of power. And its end-game is a homogeneous world where one dominant cultural group, often white straight men, are on top, with the rest of us supporting them and dependent on them for handouts and our survival. I know I’m not interested in that, and I know so many others -- men, women, people -- who are not either.This podcast advocates empowering women, not just because it's an end in itself, which it is, but because it's the most powerful way to get to a more peaceful and sustainable planet for all of us. To begin with, you can only have real democracy when you have real democracy starting at home — and better sex too, by the way.I hope you've noticed that what the countries with the best coronavirus responses have in common is that they are run by women. This is not because there aren't many great men leaders out there, but because these women are probably more effortlessly bringing the quality of collaboration to the table which is so sorely needed on the planet right now. My greatest wish for the silver lining of this pandemic is that it deeply underscores our interdependence and need to further develop our collaborative skills. As Kurt Lewin, a grandfather of social psychology said long ago, everyone understands authority, but democracy is a learned behavior.The Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy (CFFP) was co- founded by my current guest, Kristina Lunz. It's an international research and advocacy organization, was established in 2016, and is dedicated to promoting feminist foreign policy across the globe. The problem CFFP addresses is outdated, patriarchal structures, and their vision is to create an intersectional approach to foreign policy globally.Kristina tells me that research shows that…"The most significant factor toward whether a country is peaceful within its own borders or towards other countries is the level of gender equality. So, if that's true, it's pretty easy. It just means that there won't be any peace without feminism."Kristina is an award-winning human rights activist, co-founder and Germany Director of the Center for Feminist Foreign Policy and advisor to the German Federal Foreign Office. She was also recently named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. She graduated with distinction from University College London School of Public Policy, and did a second Masters at the Oxford Department of International Development in diplomacy. Her activism started at Oxford and has continued ever since.I've learned so much from doing this episode and talking to Kristina. Here are a few of the many things that stand out:I spent years traveling to The Hague to provide intercultural negotiation skills programs for ICTY, the UN’s International Crimi
Ep 44: Deborah Heifetz and Martha Eddy: Reclaiming the Female Body for Power in Negotiation
Wow, what strange, nerve-racking and global times we are living in. This pandemic certainly underscores for me how interdependent we all are and how important it is – MORE THAN EVER – that we pull together to create a more livable, humane, pleasurable and sustainable world. There is great power in where we place our attention – and we can focus on the positive world we are trying to create – the diamonds that form under great pressure, the lotus flower than blooms out of the muck. To quote a signature message of this podcast (Pete Drucker) “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Our podcast today focuses on negotiation skills for women, and the body. This topic evokes a lot in me. In fact, the night before I recorded it, I woke up at three in the morning and wrote down these thoughts. • First, that (as my last guest Thomas Hubl suggested), “the feminine” is the body;• That my body didn't belong to me for a lot of my life;• That my sexuality also didn't belong to me until I did a lot of work to reclaim it;• Regarding the phrases “I want” and “I need”, which are so important in negotiation and conflict resolution -- I wasn't supposed to have wants, and I'm not sure about needs either. As a girl in my family, I was supposed to serve, and I was supposed to accommodate;• It was hard for me to have a clear connection to my “yes” and particularly to my “no”. And, if not connected to your “no”, it can be difficult to walk away from a negotiation -- which is fundamental to power;• I didn't feel safe claiming value, a popular negotiation concept, because I was taught so deeply that I was supposed to let a man do that; • Though, throughout the course of my life I have cleared out a lot of unhelpful acculturation, I'm aware of the depth with which these ideas still live in my body.My two guests in this episode, Dr. Deborah Heifetz and Dr. Martha Eddy, are both dancers and embodiment conflict resolution experts. Among other cool things about Deborah, she served as a special advisor to the crisis management team of the Israeli police and acted in Track II Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. She currently lives in northern Italy where, with her husband and other Italian changemakers, they are working to have their geo- region become a prototype for human scale, community-based sustainable development.Martha is an author, researcher and worldwide lecturer on somatics (i.e. the body as experienced from within), peace and violence prevention and the role of the body in negotiation. She lives with her family in New York City.As I recounted my 3a.m. thoughts to the two of them, Martha shook her head in agreement. As someone who is so deeply experienced with the body, she affirmed that my reality is pretty universal to women. She’s not aware of many, if not any cultures that uplift the strength and value of the female, such that the female body, or our experience as females in the body, comes forth as power automatically. It's like “swimming upstream to find our power and reclaim it” she says.For Deborah, the first trauma she experienced was being born female. She had three older brothers, a very patriarchal father and mother, and felt inherently less valuable. She says, “ I was the whipped cream on the cake, but I didn't want to be the whipped cream, I wanted to be the cake. I wanted to be where the action was, where the real politic was.”In talking about the inspiration for her work, Martha talks about the influence of her gender-fluid parents, her father who had sexual relations with men and liked gardening, her mother who liked to shoot out windows with her BB gun, and her very sensitive brother, who was not allowed to be the way he was in the very macho and rough climate of Spanish Harlem in New York City.Deborah says “the body is the central location for so
Ep 43: Thomas Hübl: Healing Collective Trauma
One of the things I love most about doing this podcast is I get to spend time with, and really "tune in" to some amazing people.Thomas Hubl is one of them.Thomas is a contemporary spiritual teacher – sometimes referred to as a modern mystic.His teaching combines somatic awareness, advanced meditation and transformational practices that address both individual and collective trauma.I was introduced to him through my friend and colleague Amy Fox and affiliation with Mobius Executive Leadership. He was working with a group of us organizational consulting types bringing the wisdom traditions to the world of work. I also participated in the online course he created with celebrated negotiation expert William Ury – Mediate and Mediate. Thomas’ presence is incredibly light, smart, and deep and always seems to elicit in me an inner smile. He’s never afraid to tackle the difficult stuff and does it by listening, as he says, with “eyes all over his body”. It’s a whole body listening practice I have adopted from him.In the short time I have known him, I have seen his visibility grow rapidly around the globe.He is a master with:Building communityManaging projection and his own authority in groupsSomaticsEpigenetics and the specifc topic of this podcast, Healing Collective TraumaAs my listeners know, I started this podcast because there is a “process crisis” in the world – we use too much win-lose, debate-based processes to deal with our differences, and the media just loves it. Win-lose processes are certainly better than use-of-force but, because they are win-lose, they can lead to use-of-force quickly -- as we can see from looking around the globe. They are not relational, they are patriarchal in origin and they dumb down us humans in terms of how incredibly capable we are of managing complexity and building common ground with each other given the right container and good facilitation.I wanted to interview Thomas because of the large group processes he has designed -- for up to 1000 people at a time -- to heal collective trauma.This kind of work truly excites me.As Thomas says “we have all been born into a collectively traumatized field and collective trauma needs collective healing.”While I have never personally experienced one of Thomas large group processes, I can tell how amazing they are because of how many large group process I have led and participated in. He started this work about 15 years ago under the banner of what he calls the Pocket Project and has brought together thousands of Germans and Israelis to acknowledge, face and heal the cultural shadow left by the Holocaust. He has then gone on to do processes in other parts of the world addressing the various “scars” of humanity that exist everywhere.The other day, I was talking to a very close friend who is now about 50, grew up in Germany and lives in the United States. I know her struggles well, her desire to break out and manifest what I call a culture-shifting entrepreneurial enterprise. Without knowing I was working on the post production of this episode with Thomas, she started sharing with me her heightened awareness that the only way she was going to move forward was to unfreeze the past – that there is an “absent”, “nowhere” feel to her and her entire generation of Germans, and how much she suspects now that WWII was a direct result of all the undigested trauma of WW1. I felt the same kind of absence in Beirut when I was there a few decades back, and a similar awareness in myself about how I have had to unfreeze and feel the sexual trauma from my past in order to heal it and stop it from recycling to the next generation.To quote Thomas in this episode... "The past doesn’t just disappear. The past needs to be digested". "Many of the conflicts we see in the world are actually wounds that break open
Ep 42: Riya Yuyada: Crown the Woman
Some of the more interesting assignments I have had in recent years have been with the United Nations peacekeeping missions -- four times in S Sudan and once a few months ago in the Central African Republic. It’s hard not to notice that peacekeeping missions are often set up in countries that are plagued with what some call “the resource curse” – oil that brings with it conflict and often, in spite of its value, huge income disparities and violence.But those of us who have worked with lots of conflict situations, also notice the phenomenon of "the lotus flower blooming out of the muck", or "diamonds being formed under great pressure".In this episode, I am honored to bring you one of those diamonds, Riya Yuyada, a 28 year old bright and sassy woman who has known nothing but war and conflict in her native S. Sudan. Riya Yuyada fled S. Sudan as a baby and grew up in an IDP (internally displaced person) camp in nearby Uganda. In spite of the challenges of growing up in a refugee camp and then later living in the midst of a very “cold peace” in S Sudan with regular outbreaks of civil war, she has grown herself into an impressive young woman and built an organization called Crown the Woman.Crown The Woman (CREW) is a “women founded and led nonprofit, non-governmental, non-political, humanitarian and national grassroots organization that aims at empowering girls and women to ensure they harness their potential and contribute to nation building economically, socially and politically. Established and registered in 2016 by concerned young South Sudanese women who realized the need to promote meaningful gender equality and equity as well as the need to recognize, appreciate, strengthen and empower women. CREW strives for realization and respect of women’s rights, enhancement of women’s security and the prioritization and provision of women’s basic needs. CREW has a special focus on investing in young women and children as the means of securing the future of South Sudan’s women in nation building and development.Two themes that stand out to me from this episode.The first is what I have concluded from doing this podcast for the last few years -- that the most impactful peacebuilding initiative we can undertake on this planet is to empower women – in our family, organizational and planetary systems. In the case of S Sudan and many countries like it that have been plagued by civil war, it means women equipping themselves to be part of the peace process – go Riya!! -- and men welcoming them in to sit alongside them at the negotiating table. For more on this, please go back to Ep 31 and my interview with Dr. Scilla Elworthy, A Business Plan for Peace. Peace agreements last longer by a lot when women are involved in the process.The second theme is interdependence. From the affluent and island continent of the United States from where I write, it’s easy to think of S Sudan as a far off land. But, of course, as the famous environmentalist John Muir said, “when you pick up anything in the universe, you will find that it is connected to everything else". While I’m grateful for the oil that has heated my house and runs my car, I’m also aware of its cost in the form of global conflict and its impact on the lives of people like Riya. It’s felt good to move off of fossil fuels to solar and wind as much as I can. An important step not just create a cleaner world but a more peaceful one.P.S. We are hard at work creating great on-line and live content on Women, Negotiation and Power, join our list here or follow us on Facebook at susancoleman.global for our latest updates.P.P.S. Listen as Susan talks about the motivation behind starting this podcast.