YES, we did it! For outcomes and to get a taste of the experience read and see:
Rio On Watch article by editor in chief and award winning city planner, Theresa Williamson
Outcomes from Climate, Health, Education, and Thriving Cities teams (translated from Portuguese to English) by Journalist Maíra Teixeira da Silva’s Report on The Global Summit Blog
YouTube/theglobalsummitTV has main sessions recorded live at the summit and gratefully coordinated by our friends Jardim Digital. Don’t miss the fresh and poetic YOUR VOICE MATTERS PSA, created by Rio based Paella Filmes using voices from the 2014 Summit on Women, Power, Money & Politics.
Be inspired by more 2016 partners on TheGlobalSummit.org partners page.
…followed by a few Lessons from the lead organizer, Melanie St.James:
Against conventional wisdom, 9 months before the Summit date – prime time to secure supporting partners, featured voices, and a venue – I went offline for two months in Peru, lived in a tent and volunteered for the Paititi Institute‘s cultural and ecological center (a mission aligned EW fiscally sponsored initiative). WHY? Because the procedure of immersing in a new culture and language during the unknown shifts of the Olympics and Brazil’s massive recession – entering totally solo without funding or a secure group of partners, to organize an all-volunteer collaborative event – is a dance with destiny at best. NOTE: In London 2012 where we were far more reasonably prepped, everything still went wrong. While that event still worked, it took a big toll and recovery time, mostly on my internal experience. For Rio, I knew I needed to reset with nature to ride the tide to come — and to attract necessary miracles. Four summits in, I knew that more than planning, I was to need presence. Lesson 1: State management before time management.
Many months later, amongst budgetary shutdowns and citizen occupations of schools and ministry of culture, alongside ecological destruction (which is escaping the world media’s attention in favor of the Olympics) I met weekly with a group of brilliant volunteers and partners. In the midst of intense venue hunting, I was hit with an excruciating toothache which turned out to be my first (and hopefully last) root canal. Guess what? The dentist’s receptionist niece happened to run management and PR for the nearby National Museum of Natural History (which happens to house the largest collection of dinosaur fossils in Latin America). She was so eager to have the summit there, she fought to make it happen, overcoming internal disputes and regardless of our budgets. Lesson 2: Trust and keep walking.
Yet, perseverance is not enough. Attachment to outcomes can blind us from unseen opportunities. Working with all volunteers in a new format collaborative event is a recipe for chaos. Doing things on a US project schedule does not work in Rio culturally by the way…So staying present, connected, and flexible was essential to making it work. Like a Chinese finger trap, pull and you’re stuck.
Rio taught me the critical importance of relationships. Without strong bonds, there would be no follow through on promises. From the amazing english interpreters who jumped in days before the summit (after scouting for months) and stayed late each night, to the extraordinary Capoeira troupe, to the extraordinary facilitators who paid their way to travel and support their teams, and the museum guard who inspired us with history of the venue, the creation and completion of anything comes down to the people, whatever our roles. Lesson 3: Stay in your heart.