Rumi Forum's blog on Hizmet, Fethullah Gulen, peacebuilding, education and interfaith efforts.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

VIDEO-Seeking Wisdom Beyond Our Comfort Zone How assumptions about "the other" limit growth Eileen Gale Kugler

Each day we make judgments in our business and personal lives about the value of others. We don't make these decisions in a pristine vacuum, but rather based on our own experiences and influences. Our complex individual culture—an interconnected web of factors ranging from our religion, race and ethnicity to where we grew up, our family structure and our gender role—is the prism through which we view the capabilities of others. These assumptions, whether conscious or unconscious, limit our own growth, as well the growth of other people. To break through these biases, we each need to be conscious of them and reflect on the origins of our attitudes about "the other." When we move beyond our own prism and seek wisdom from everyone we come in contact with, no matter their background or status, we grow —and so do our organizations and society at large.

Eileen Gale Kugler is a global speaker and consultant on the unique benefits that diversity brings to schools, communities and worksites —and strategies to strengthen them. She is author of the award-winning Debunking the Middle Class Myth: Why Diverse Schools are Good for All Kids and executive editor of the new Innovative Voices in Education: Engaging Diverse Communities. Eileen's articles and commentaries appear in wide-ranging publications, including USA Today and the Washington Post, Educational Leadership, and Education Week. Eileen's work is informed by her continuing on-the-ground involvement, including an active volunteer life. Her family's volunteer commitment at a South African school, including creating a 23,000-book library, was featured in The Washington Post and Voice of America TV.