Conversation Initiative

FOUNDATION

We are a registered foundation whose aims are about changing the way we interact with the world. The Conversation Initiative aim is to help people like you and I break down the walls that keep us apart. The walls that we have built around our hearts and minds.
In this way we believe – broken wall by broken wall – that we can all build a better world together.

OVERVIEW

History leaves scars.

So does culture.

So do most other social forces that act on us from outside. Religion, education, economics, and so on.

These forces leave their scars passed down through generations, along cultural, gender, religious or national lines. We bear scars from the experiences of others: the experiences of our ancestors, the experiences of our peers. While most of these scars are not ours, we still bear them.

And so we build walls to help protect ourselves from being scarred again by those things that were suffered by those others.

But in the end all these walls do is create and maintain separation. In this disconnected state we arm ourselves with weapons of self-righteousness, intimidation, propaganda, mistrust, insecurity and fear that often lead to weapons of war.

We have built such walls around our houses, our neighbourhoods, our countries. But the most powerful and the most dangerous, are the ones we have built around our hearts.

To reinforce and strengthen our walls we then often declare them our ‘moralities’ our ‘practicalities’ and our ‘ideologies’ and then label those on the other side with words like “heathen”, “bigot”, “idiot”, “illiterate”, “barbarian”, “fanatic”, “traitor”, “weakling” and so on.

We all bear these scars and so we all build such walls.

But is it really our nature to live in this way: in fear and separation? Is it really our nature to survive behind these invisible walls? Or is it our nature to seek how we can live in openness, in connection, in love and in compassion?

Are we just here to survive or are we here to thrive?

The Conversation Initiative believes that most of these walls no longer serve us, and don’t really protect us. We believe that in exploring our inner vulnerabilities, we begin to understand where they came from which allows us to bring them down one by one and in so doing we begin to connect with greater openness to ourselves, our traditions and values. With this greater openness we are then more able to reach out to those on the other side. In this process we discover what connects us rather than differentiates us and how we can make each other feel safe so that we can work together rather than against one another.

In this way we can learn to thrive. All of us. Together.

Our mission is to help people engage in a new form of communication, one rooted in a genuine connection to one’s own vulnerable yet heartfelt feelings. From such a space, an openness flows.
Watch the video to learn more.

OUR VISION

We strive for a world free of the deep seated walls we have unconsciously built within us and between us, with the hope that in so doing we can move forward with greater togetherness and in greater peace with one another.

OUR MISSION

Our mission is to help people engage in a new form of communication, one rooted in a genuine connection to one’s own vulnerable yet heartfelt feelings.

From such a space, an openness flows. There is no defensiveness, there is no blame, there is only what is: the genuine feelings that are deep deep inside.This shifts the speaker’s relationship to these feelings, to their truth, to themselves, which ultimately allows them to shift their relationship to the world.

Hearing such openness, also shifts something in the listener too. Because the listener is not blamed, not judged, they don’t need to maintain their defensiveness, so they begin to open more fully to the story being shared. In doing this, in witnessing the vulnerability of the speaker while feeling their defensiveness drop, they find themselves opening to their own feelings and the possibility of exploring their own vulnerabilities. without the worry of how others would judge them.

These shifts in either the speaker or listener or even both create the opportunity to bring down a wall that may have previously divided them. Allowing them to connect in a very different way.

We undertake this mission in two synergistic ways:

Firstly, we create safe shared spaces for conversations to explore our deep vulnerabilities. People may explore their vulnerabilities wherever they like, but our spaces are facilitated and focused making them safe and allowing for the exploration to be deep.

Secondly, conversations that move us or our participants within those spaces are, with permission, shared onto public platforms so that others can begin to hear and feel the true power of this sort of communication and what it does to them. We leverage state of the art technology to do this so that the stories are available widely and delivered in as vulnerable and as engaging and moving a manner as possible.

With the sharing of these stories, we encourage and attract more diverse and other views into our spaces, to share their stories, and so our community of connected diversity grows…..

The infinity sign in our logo represents this: an ever growing cycle from speaker to listener spreading compassion and understanding. It only takes one to change a relationship. It only takes one to change the world. The speaker shifts his connection to his feelings. This opens a space for the listener to shift his relationship to his. Should the listener now communicate to another in this way, he will shift in that listener their connection to theirs. And so it goes.

BACKGROUND

The Conversation Initiative Foundation was formed in 2018 and is in the process of becoming a non-profit organization.
Our aim is to take the conversation to all, no matter their nationality, economic status, religion, race, cultural background, sexual orientation, political affiliation and so on….
To achieve this global footprint we have purposefully founded the foundation in the Netherlands for its relative neutrality.
We seek to be both financially self-sustaining and affordable to all. We realise that not all regions have the same wealth: that in some parts of the world a cost of just €1.00 can exclude up to 80% of the population. So, our financial model is to use the funds earned from our various projects in wealthier regions to fund access to our work in poorer ones.

Our focus is to see how we can best re-connect divided communities so as to safeguard the future, both theirs and ours. This will involve looking at how to bring down the walls of the past that are still having an effect as well as in regions with present-day, escalating conflict, the collecting and sharing of stories of personal vulnerabilities from opposing sides in such a way that it shows humanity from all sides, bringing greater compassion and understanding, and assisting in the dissolving their walls so that they can find their commonalities rather than differences.

THE FOUNDERS

We incorporate innovative technologies and workshops to guide and expose
people to genuine heartfelt communication (expressing and listening) and the power that comes with it. Available in English and soon in German

BRIAN SEGAL

The vision and journey of the Conversation Initiative is also my personal vision and reflects my own personal journey of dissolving my cultural and ancestral walls that kept me more apart, alone and isolated. As a South African, I lived as both a victim and as a perpetrator – victim because of my Jewish past, and perpetrator, as a white male in the “Grand Apartheid” system of racial classification and segregation.

I understand how powerful propaganda can be, and how it sows the seeds of fear, mistrust and hatred, in such a way that it can turn even the most average person, into one who mistrusts

You see, for the first 28 years of my life, I lived under apartheid and was subject to the propaganda and hate speech and manipulations that my privileged background gave me. So for my last two and a half decades I have been trying to learn how to trust my fellow South Africans, who we were once taught to hate.

I have been listening to and telling stories for over 10 years. In 2008 I founded GreatGuide: a successful technology company that became one of the world leaders in geo location/ GPS multilingual commentary systems. For many of our diverse clients who now span over 50 cities globally, I also began writing their local-city commentary based on the stories I was told in each location.

The Conversation Initiative was born from this: the great opportunity of leveraging world-class technology to help all of us share our powerful stories, so as to break down the walls we’ve built between us and so help build a better world for all.

Please feel free to contact me at brian@conversationinitiative.eu

LINDEN SHEARAR

I have seen firsthand how the weight of history and the pressures of culture divide.

I know what it is like to hate others for the most superficial of reasons – literally skin deep. And really for nothing more than because my peers hated people like them because our parents hated people like them because our grandparents hated people like them because our great grandparents were afraid of people like them because our great, great grandparents fought and conquered people like them and took their land and oppressed their communities because our great, great, great, great, great, great … grandparents lived in a world where conquest was the only understood means of survival.

And I have the really great fortune of knowing what it is like to let that hatred go. To realise that while that history is mine, its divisions do not have to be.

I have been lucky to live among different cultures around the world. I have seen so many beautiful things in different traditions and different perspectives. Things that should be cherished, preserved, integrated.

But I have seen other things too. How the aspirations of a culture can imprison people into thinking they aren’t good enough. How its structures can lead to regimentation and alienation. How historical suffering and shame can remain manifest today in things like widespread self-worthlessness, illiteracy, substance abuse and family violence, .

History scars. Culture scars. They really do.

So when Brian first proposed the idea of the Conversation Initiative I could honestly feel that he was onto something powerful.

I have been a teacher at schools and university. I have been an engineer using digital communications. I have been a marketer helping businesses communicate their offerings. And I am a communications consultant: helping people communicate their ideas. I know a few things about communication.

Communication may be the most important thing there is. What is a great idea if it cannot be communicated? How can a society thrive if its members cannot communicate? How can a divide be bridged without reaching out – without communicating?

When Brian asked me if I would join him on his journey, it felt a bit like my life had led me to this point. Is it going to heal the world? Is it going to heal anything? I don’t know. But, for me, it is worth a try.

DEBORAH SCHMID

When Brian first introduced me to his vision and mission of The Conversation Initiative, it really felt like he was speaking from my heart. The project starts precisely with this connection and reminds us how we can show compassion for ourselves and our fellow human beings: through an authentic conversation that comes from ones heart.

Back in 2012 I understood the rich source of wisdom in our body through somatic practices. Since then I work as a body- and movement-therapist to somatically explore boundaries, soften them and, if need be, dissolve them. With great enthusiasm, I am able to witness again and again how the waves of this work can expand into distant places and dimensions. It was an honor when Brian invited me into the team to support the conversation flow with my somatic input! I am very excited to spread this work and make it accessible for everyone.

My background of growing up in Switzerland, living as a woman in these times and now leading my life in Berlin has throughout been accompanied by the questions to understand and find freedom. So I did learn a lot about state control & chaos, female oppression & empowerment, such as healing from historical wounds and ancestral trauma.

Living my life this way, there were vulnerable layers showing up and like many of us, I have built walls to protect myself. Fortunately, I have moved forward and I have learned that only when I connect with myself and the outside in my authenticity, can I experience healing, growth and thus freedom within myself and very important: in the society.

The actions we take, decisions we make and the way that we think, touches the world in various ways. Our world is shaped by how personal relationships with ourselves and others are lived. I see great potential in The Conversation Initiative and I am very happy to embark on this journey together with Brian, Linden and the team.

REGISTERED ADDRESS

Conversation Initiative Stichting / Conversation Initiative Foundation Keizersgracht 241, 1016EA Amsterdam KvK Number: 74026674

Conversation Initiative B.V ( 100% owned by the Conversation Initiative Stichting) Keizersgracht 241, 1016EA Amsterdam KvK Number: 74031058

hello@conversationinitiative.eu

+49 176 68963022

EXPLORE

Listen to heartfelt authentic stories. Share stories of your own. Find out how to integrate authentic communication into your life. Our services are currently available in English and will be available in German soon.

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