As many of you may remember, Iryna Kazakova from GEN-Ukraine decided to leave the room during the last GA in Nature Community, when Olga from GEN-Russia – who was already online for a while (but just listening) – started to actively participate in the voting process.
At that moment of the meeting there was no possibility to create the safe space it deserved, but we promised in the GA that we will come back to this. Unfortunately, this could not be realized during the GA itself, or during the other days of the gathering.
As council we discussed this and also talked with Iryna how we could create a safe space for her, where she could share from heart to heart, from her perspective, what caused her pain and discomfort in the GA, resulting in her leaving.
We decided to create an online gathering and space for deep listening and sharing, not just for Iryna, but also for other GA and council members. It was an opportunity to understand each other better and to make different perspectives visible and clear, even if we would not share an opinion.
Steffen Emrich facilitated the event, which took place on 14th of September from 14:00-15:00h CET.
Around 10-15 people attended the event, several people from Ukraine, different other GA-members, some staff members and 2 people from the council.
Iryna shared her opinion and how important and valuable for her is the right to vote, and that this right should be given to people from truly democratic countries.
Others and also also Maxim and Svetoyara from GEN-Ukraine shared their concern and grief for the pain and suffering that is happening in Ukraine.
From GEN-Russia there were no participants, the concern was, in what way they were able to express themselves freely, specially online and within their country at the moment.
We didn’t as such come to a conclusion, and this was also not the goal. But it was clear and felt important that we as GEN were able to listen to each other with the heart and make space for Iryna and others to be heard and honoured.
Written by Monique Wijn (GEN Europe Council member)