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Surreal that so much can happen in 24, 30, 36 hours – I’ve lost track with so much happening since  I left Florida.  Is today yesterday or yesterday today? That’s what happens when you travel across the world.

WOSonOS 2016 is a beehive of activity with a joyous team sending final communications to participants, inviting to the last minute for the face-to-face and virtual global gathering. Such purposeful activity at a time when the world needs this and more. Ways of connecting that tap into the leadership and energy of everyone and not just a few at the top of the hierarchical pyramid. Learning and experiencing new ways of working are the inspired mission for all of us.

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Rolling up my sleeves with the SEAMEO team – no place I’d rather be!

With all my heart, I wish EVERYONE could be here. To fill themselves as I am doing with the sights, smells and sounds of this beautiful host country – the Philippines. Strangers smiling with such genuine warmth everywhere. It literally takes my breath away.

No more gracious host than Sharon Joy Chao who lives the name “Joy” with her task and team welcoming with such grace and ease. Sharon Joy4.png

I truly don’t know where to begin, from the middle, the end or now.

Should I mention the Immigration Customs officer who gave me a thumbs up and a giant smile as I expressed my joy being in his country saying that first impressions should go beyond the scary verbal discourse brandished about in the media reporting on our two countries?  Should I describe my flight seat mate, an ER nurse who had hours before been a total stranger and who would not leave my side until I had gathered my luggage to then be connected with Melo the chauffeur who was picking me up?

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Met Naples on the plane from Taiwan. She escorted me into the car that would take me to SEAMEA INNOTECH

Or perhaps I can tell you about the young famous US/Filipino actor and his congenial girlfriend who engaged with me with such interest around Open Space whilst being photographed by gawking admirers.  Surreal doesn’t even begin to tell the tale. It is hard to be calm and quiet amidst all this anticipatory delight knowing that these beautiful spaces which will soon host global participants will be enjoyed by so many.

As Harrison Owen often says, these moments will never come again. What we will be living together in a “whatever happens happens” sort of way, unpredictable yet also so predictable is that they will be precious and magical.

Knowing this, feeling this, I cannot help but continue to extend my hand in invitation to all of you – my dear colleagues in the Open Space community, to ponder and consider that you might join us whether for an hour, a few hours or more. Virtually or maybe somehow you will find yourself here physically or know someone who wants to come along because you felt the pull right here right now.

We are so privileged and lucky to have had this guy with the hat, our great friend Harrison Owen, who along with many others in this global community, had the wisdom to pursue this idea that meetings should be more than sitting in a row, listening to someone in the front present, teach or explain. In a simple coffee break, he imagined a future where everyone could be totally engaged and energized, learning and creating in ways that we are meant to be and do.

These annual world gatherings are a celebration of this work and an opportunity to pay it forward by inviting others to come learn and grow with us.

So now, for those who are coming physically or virtually, let me give you a preview of what’s ahead through these images fresh out of the oven – taken today. As you will see, even the shrubs are welcoming us with a happy smile! And for others who won’t be here, let me just say that being here with me now is open space because I feel your presence and hear your smiles.

Within walking distance of the SEAMEO INNOTECH center, so many places to enjoy a meal, have coffee or a brew, surrounded by students and others working here.

Nature will welcome us for conversations as will the QiQoChat house virtually. If the palm trees and shrubs could talk, can’t imagine what they would say about us?

 

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It’s why we do what we do.  It’s how work should be every day. Open Space will show us the way!

 

These spaces and places will soon be full of vibrant conversations.  Now quiet but not for long. A big circle of chairs and many breakout areas inside and outside.