Building Global Bridges - Bridging Cultures Sensitizing People

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Faridabad, Haryana, India (NewsVoir)

Do we need people who act as living bridges in our conflict ridden world? Do we need people who can sensitise people towards other cultures and build bridges globally between different cultures. Most of us would say, “Yes we do, and we need them very badly”.

Suzy Kassem says it beautifully, “Understanding languages and other cultures builds bridges. It is the fastest way to bring the world closer together and to Truth. Through understanding, people will be able to see their similarities before the differences.” Dr. Amit Nagpal, a keynote speaker and bestselling author strongly believes that we need to appreciate our similarities instead of focusing on our differences. He believes in using stories as bridges.

Bridging Personal Story and Organisation Story

Very often our personal brands and organisation brands do not seem to be in sync and express conflicting messages in personal and organisational stories. Your story is your brand; therefore, to align your personal and organisation brands, you need to interweave the common threads between your personal and organisation stories. Dr. Amit Nagpal highlighted these words during his session entitled, “Aligning your personal story with organisation story” at The Roseate, New Delhi recently for women social entrepreneurs from UAE.

The sessions were jointly organized by School for Social Entrepreneurs India (SSE India), and Badiri Education & Development Academy, UAE. The women entrepreneurs shared their individual and organisation stories, while Dr. Amit helped them align both the stories by finding the common threads and expressing them in sync.

Bridging Cultures

Interacting with entrepreneurs, mentors, students and facilitators from across the world has been a fascinating journey for Dr. Amit. He believes, “The most interesting part of conducting sessions for an international audience is the power and opportunity to build global bridges or bridges between people of different cultures. With so many parts of the world currently going through conflict, it is all the more critical to build cultural bridges between nations.” He loves to add stories and proverbs from different cultures in his presentations and talks and building bridges between cultures is usually one of the components of his sessions.

Dr. Amit has been associated with SSE India since its inception as an expert and Skills Mentor. SSE India is building bridges between social entrepreneurs across the world and has schools in UK, Canada and India. Shalabh Mittal, CEO, School for Social Entrepreneurs India says, “We have enjoyed many enriching experiences with Dr. Nagpal during his sessions with SSE India fellows. He is a master storyteller and has an art of helping people find their own individual story, which is at their core. It becomes an empowering process and leads to an emotional introspection & candid disclosure. These stories are the most compelling reasons for people to choose social entrepreneurship, because they relate their personal story to the social problem they are trying to solve through their enterprise.”

Introducing India to the World

While he loves to introduce international audiences to interesting facts about Indian culture, he also talks about what India can learn from other cultures. Two aspects of Indian culture which he is especially fond of are Namaste and Deepawali. Namaste means the god in me bows down to the god in you. In fact one delegate asked him, “Is there a universal message in Deepawali festival for the world?” He replied, “Deepawali is actually the festival of enlightenment or light in the soul. The lamps of lights are symbols of light in the soul and victory of knowledge over ignorance.”

He gave two interesting presentations to students of Lancaster University, UK visiting India as part of summer exchange program at GD Goenka World Institute viz. “What India can offer to the world?” and “Social Media and Global Social Trends”. He talked about Meditation and Yoga, Ayurveda and so on in the first session and discussed ways of building bridges between Indian and British citizens. In the second session, he talked about global social and cultural shifts such as social media as an empowerment tool for creatives, increased opportunities for collaboration etc.

Dr. Amit was the only speaker from India among 75 speakers from across the world at Story the Future Summit (Online) held in September last year. Some of the points he highlighted in his interview with the summit host Mary Alice Arthur included power of inspiring stories to create win-win situation for both the storyteller and the audience and storytelling tradition in Indian culture. Dr. Amit and Mary discussed differences in verbal and non-verbal communication in low context culture like USA and high context culture like India.

At another session organized by SSE India, Dr. Amit interacted with a group of facilitators from Argentina on best mentoring practices. He talked about four pillars of the mentor-mentee relationship viz. trust, perspective, observation and tough love. He concluded the session with a quote, "Sometimes you will stumble upon a mentee wiser than you. You need to give them respect and appreciation that is their due."

Building Bonds between Cultures

BRICS Forum, Russian Centre for Science and Culture and New Delhi Institute of Management co-organised World Internet Day celebrations. He began by sharing his own story and a special bond with Russia (then USSR) in childhood. He noted, “They say life is not a fairy tale and you don't live happily thereafter. But reading Russian fairy tales in childhood taught me hope, possibility and magic.” In his presentation with the students of City College of New York (visiting NDIM, New Delhi), he discussed how Digital tools have also made it easier for people to connect globally through Facebook, LinkedIn, Snap Chat, and Twitter, which is helping build bridges between cultures. Today we see people connecting and showing support through social media by talking about their experiences through hashtags like, #BlackLivesMatter, #ImWithHer, etc. The delegation consisted of students from 14 countries.

Dr. Amit Nagpal is also a member of Living Bridges Planet founded by Bert-Ola Bergstrand (global action facilitator from Sweden) The organisation philosophy is that people are living bridges for connecting cultures and uses social and digital media to create global exchange of ideas. Dr. Amit adds, “Travelling to different parts of the world broadened my outlook and sensitized me to international cultures. I have worked in different parts of the country from Dehradun to Pondicherry and delivered talks from Ahmedabad to Bangalore and Chandigarh to Chennai.”

“From Marketer to Professor to Storyteller”, the six words tell his life story. He has been on a journey from unconscious storytelling in childhood to conscious storytelling in adulthood. He is based in New Delhi, India and tweets @DrAmitInspires.

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Image 1: GD Goenka, Lancaster University

Image 2: School of Social Entrepreneurs, Argentina PWR