Cultural Diversity [Meeting Report of 2021-08-24]

Dear friends,
“The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people” (unknown). This theme was the guideline of the meeting. Oliver, our presiding officer of the evening, chatted with and warmly welcomed our guests Isa, Kala, Ulrike, Andreas, Lei Li and Harriet. Some of them had already attended several times.

Sybille, as Toastmaster of the evening, briefly explained the structure of the evening and welcomed Jeff as General evaluator, Craig as Ah Counter, the timer function was split between Oliver and Christiane.

“The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being like you. They are unique manifestations of the human spirit” (Wade Davis). Sybille used quotes on the theme to lead through the evening. The word of the day “dazzling array” = a very impressive large number of wide range of something,  had a strong connection to the theme and was used many times.

Also JP’s table topics questions picked up the theme:

1. What is something from your culture that other people must experience? Craig gave a fabulous insight into the celebration tradition in the US focusing on Christmas time.
2. If you could experience a new culture for the next three months, where would you like to go? Kala would choose to go to Egypt. She vividly explained the differences between Egyptian and Indian culture.
3. If you could time travel what culture of the past would you visit. Isa would be interested to live in the culture of Mayas and Incas. She learned a lot about them when she stayed in Argentina for one year.
4. What place would you visit now and why? Ulrike would go back to Holland. She had experience an awesome light show in Eindhoven and loved the country.
5. You are a tour guide. What would you show to aliens and why? Harriet would focus on the diversity in our country and show beautiful sites like Gothic streets in medieval towns and natural beauties like the Black Sea.
6. Cultural diversity is also found in food. Which is your favorite food from another country? Lei Li described a chocolate cake from Switzerland so detailed and realistic that we could almost taste it and her speech made us all feel hungry.

Before the break Sybille gave a definition of cultural diversity from the UNESCO: Our rich diversity is our collective strength. The advantages are:
– Cultural diversity opens the mind to new ideas
– There is more creativity
– Greater problem-solving
– There is a strengthening of cultures
– It increases innovation and talent in one place
– Different cultures bring great knowledge and more points of view

“Peace is not unity in similarity but unity in diversity, in the comparison and conciliation of difference” (Mikhail Gorbachev, Russian Politician). With this quote the second part of the evening started. Two speakers delivered their prepared speeches.

Eloisa did her second speech in the path presentation mastery. Words have energy and power with the ability to help or heal, but also to hurt. In her speech titled “Power of words” Eloisa talked about the impact of words both in a personal and collective way. Her speech was evaluated by Jeff.

Martin finalized his path dynamic leadership with his speech “Let yourself be”. He focused on some myths that have been around in Toastmasters for a long time. It can be difficult for members to evade them because they linger in our consciousness in the background and can potentially wreak havoc without our apparent knowledge. He shared with us his long term experience he had gained during his Toastmaster membership. His speech was evaluated by Oliver.

The second part of the evening was concluded by a quote by Jackie Chan (Chinese Actor, Philanthropist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador): “We live now in a global village and we are in one single family. It’s our responsibility to bring friendship and love from all different places around the world to live together in peace.”

In the evaluation session the Grammarian Craig gave a smashing educational on how to avoid filler words in his report as Ah counter. Always very helpful and extremely entertaining reports. Thank you Craig.

The General Evaluator Jeff gave valuable feedback to all functions and table topic speakers. His feedback helps all member to improve. Thanks to Jeff.

The results of the award session were: the best Table Topic speaker of the evening was Lei Li, the award for the best evaluation went to Jeff, and both speakers have won since there was a draw.Our next meeting is on the 14th of September, we would love to have you join us!Best wishes to you all, Jeff

( A big “thank you” to Sybille, who again has done an amazing job writing this recap.)

Here is a snapshot of the evening.

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