Building the New Networks and Leadership ~ introducing the SIZ

Building the New Networks and Leadership ~ introducing the SIZ

“Hi! My name is Odysseas. I’m a young Greek citizen. I am 27 years old.

Me and my friends – I say friends because I can cooperate from my heart with them (from the person that I am I mean) – we made and created the Systemic Innovation Zone. Systemic because we want to have real systemic change, not to create something that in 20 years will collapse; Innovation because we need social innovation technology in order to step forward and make a new beginning; and Zone I would say in a mental way, rather than a specific area.

Here in Greece we train people in Participatory Leadership and also help them create projects in social innovation. Why not transfer our experience and learning to the rest of Europe and to the world? In Greece, actually, the system hopefully will collapse. I say hopefully because I need something new – everyone I think needs something new in Greece and in Europe, and we have to take action by all the people coming together to create the new system that we want to live from, to take decisions about our lives.

The people in Systemic Innovation Zone, I think, have the experience to help people to learn how to use participation. Actually, Greece is a country where the West and the East come together, which means the collective and the individual comes together. We need to bring back the old patterns that Greeks had, which is to help each other. Greece’s economy has collapsed many times but has survived many wars as well, and what helped the Greeks to survive was to help each other – and this is something that needs participation.

 

With SIZ we have the Art of Hosting in Participatory Leadership. I think it is very important. We don’t need experts and technocrats any more. We need leaders that we don’t actually know, and their work will create the space for people to come together and share ideas; we need to collect intentions, in other words.

So, in that way, I think our training in the different roles will be a new beginning here. And also for me, as I will participate. I really want to learn to train people in participatory leadership for two reasons: Mainly because in Greece we need to share this fire, to make the fire spread, and we need people to get used to participation in a real way. And secondly in order to create a sustainable way of living, not only for me and our project, but so that we can train people in other countries and share with them our experiences from Greece and the rest of Europe.

In that way this 3-day course will be very important. We want to help other Greeks to come and participate in the Art of Hosting. For the majority of them it is very difficult, so anyone that can support is inspiring, let’s say, and we will understand that we are not doing our work alone; and even if you are not here, your soul is here anyway.

We are happy to share our experiences in Greece. In this place, really, many things happen. The television doesn’t show that: social innovation with complementary influences; citizens taking care of their city. And we want to bring these new ideas to the surface.”

*thank you to Megan Williams for transcribing, and Dylan Reid for editing*

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Athens Learning Journey – Meeting the Collaborative Solidarity Economy, April 2013

Athens Learning Journey – Meeting the Collaborative Solidarity Economy, April 2013

THE ALTERNATIVE SIDE OF ATHENS

There are numerous self-organizing initiatives going on all over the city as a response to the breaking down of our political, economic and social systems, and we invite you to come and meet, speak and interact with the people and places who are creating new social realities. Some people conceive a glass half of water as half full and others as half empty. Today through an alternative tour in Athens we will see that the glass of water is as full as we want it to be!

Our tour will start at 11.00 am, at Panepistimio Metro Station. During our tour, we will visit places in the Exarcheia area of Athens where there are many initiatives that are being created by citizens for citizens, such as:

– the self-managed Navarino park
– the “Colleagues Publications” Cooperative
– the social kitchen initiative “The other man”
– the immigrant supportive team ASANTE
– the immigrant’s multi-cultural team
– the social clinic of the neighbourhood
– the self-managed cultural initiative “Nosotros”
– the social grocery “Sessoula”
– the exchange initiative “Moth”
– the free self-managed EMBROS theatre
– the “SynAllois” cooperative

After a break for preparing the lunch and co-eating with other people we will have a meeting at Little Tree Bookstore at 5.00 p.m. to have a conversation with some initiatives and teams of the of solidarity and cooperative economy, such as:

1.  VIOME self-managed factory
2.  Self-managed cooperative at Akadimia Platonos
3.  SynAllois
4.  savegreekwater
5.  antigoldgreece

6.  Self-managed park at Ellinikon
7.  Votsalo network
8.  Athens Time Bank
9.  Social clinic of  Ellinikon
10.Social pharmacy at Patissia
11. Immigrant’s support ASANTE
12. University of Solidarity and Cooperative Ecomony
13. Self-managed music conservatory <http://bit.ly/Z3n57T>
<http://univsse.blogspot.gr/>
14. Solidarity4All
15. Iliosporoi
16. Traditional seed exchange Peliti
17. Spithari Ecocommunity- The Marathon Project
18. Free Self-managed theatre EMBROS
19. Neighbours’ Assemblies
20. Social Kitchen “The other man
21. Self-managed space Votanikos Kipos
 Welcome in the bright side of Athens!
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Photos by Vanessa Reid