Friday, October 21, 2011

YES Institute in México for 1st Latin American Summit on Gender & Communication

by Roxy Sora, YES Institute Board Member
Being a part of the YES Institute team traveling to México has been an inspiration and a blessing. Bishop James Ottley (biography), Interim Bishop of the Diocese of Cuernavaca and a longtime friend and supporter of YES Institue, inspired many with the launch of the 1st Latin America Summit on Gender & Communication. People from all corners of the 11th most populous country were invited to attend, conducted by our YES Institute team in the town of Cuernavaca, roughly 85 kilometers south of México City. Bishop Ottley’s commitment to bring the work of YES Institute to the worldwide Anglican Communion is coming to fruition. His vision to shift communication from fear to conversations of powerful relatedness resounded among the 50 participants during the four days of the Summit.

Dr. Luis Ottley and Martha Fugate, left, addressing the people of Cuernavaca.

This was my first time leading the Gender Continuum course, Part 1 of the YES Institute Gender/Orientation Series™. Once I created the possibility of everyone getting "the main point" of the whole course, my self-doubts I had about leading the course were put aside. It flowed in Spanish, and Martha transitioned in and out seamlessly. They totally "got it" and it was rewarding to me as a new course leader to see I can effectively deliver this course.

The Communication Solutions™ course was powerful... Ivan, who is a priest in the Diocese of Cuernavaca, occurred to me as having a confrontational communication style, and always having "the answer" to everything. Today, in our small group exercise he said, "I've been a priest for 13 years and I noticed that people would come to me for advice, I would tell them what to do, and they wouldn't do it.  I've learned that I need to listen, see what's at the root of what they are saying, and empower them towards finding their own solutions." 

Partipants in the Communication Solutions™ course.

An email from Lilla, one of the participants, arrived in our inbox when we returned:
"Thanks once more to YES Institute. Not only did this broaden my knowledge about gender, sexual orientation and biology, it also made me realize the connection between intolerance against homosexuals and the ever-growing aggressiveness, violence, suicide and outright murder at schools. If I ever wished to make these facts "disappear", I now would like to do something about it. And this is where my real gain from the communication course comes in: the method that makes it possible to calmly address ignorance on this important topic. This method will help me convey ideas in other conflicting realms of life, too. I am looking forward to the first opportunity to put my new "tools" into action. I love you all - stay in touch... Your friend, Lilla."  
Bryan, a junior in high school, came with his mother to Wednesday night's course a very shy looking child. He had this awesome transformation, and he noticed his own transformation as expressed in today's completion circle, with a big smile.  He was now coming out of his shell and spoke in front of the room with his head held high. He declared he wants to volunteer to be a youth speaker in his community and to write his experience for our ReVision news.

Eva Leivas-Andino (far left) and Roxy Sora (far right) from YES Institute. 

Gregorio, a reverend with Congregación San Pablo, remarked about his experience of the course:
"I was amazed at how much I learned about gender and about YES Institute’s effective communication model in such a short time. The analysis of the model of communication and discovering new ways to truly listen and speak from the heart with generosity will serve me in my community and in my clinical work as a drug rehab counselor. The ability to speak more powerfully to people increased my self-confidence and improved my manner of addressing groups. I believe I have overcome a number of stumbling blocks that were impeding effective communication." 
Bishop Ottley has plans for us to return and he would love for more people to join us next time. He is an inspiration. I admire his commitment to his vocation and community. The people's respect for him was evident. I look forward to our continued partnership with our new amigos en México! 

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