True mentorship requires bold transparency – Brandon Steppe at TEDxSanDiego 2017

Brandon Steppe’s heartfelt talk centers on the concept that the truth will indeed set you free. He shares about a time in his life when pain and fear had the potential to devour him, but his wife inspired him to channel those feelings and open up a music studio in his garage where he can work with young and struggling artists, with whom he has things in common.

He recalls the relationship with a 15-year old boy that he mentored, and how the vulnerability between the two of them changed his perception, and ultimately, his reality. Brandon discovered that the key to forming a bond of trust and openness was to be open and share his truth, and by doing so, discovered that therein lies the healing.

David’s Harp Foundation

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Women at the negotiating table – the missing piece in peacebuilding – Manal Omar at TEDxSanDiego 2017

The eloquent Manal Omar discusses the importance of women in participating in peace talks. She argues that a woman’s sexuality is undervalued in that it is a life energy force that we need in order to resolve conflict. She starts off saying that “peace has become a loaded term” – in essence, peace motives are questioned in the same manner as war motives. And, in this age, the rise of extremism, less than 45% of populations trust their governments. She argues, where are the women at peace talks?

In 2012, the book, Sex and World Peace reveals that more women die from violence than war, and that 4 million women disappear every year. But women are often the caretakers of society, and have their fingers on the pulse, so their input is relevant in repairing, planning and providing for peace. When women are at the negotiating table, peace is sustainable over much longer periods of time.

Manal Omar Website

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Humanizing the refugee crisis – Brian Sokol at TEDxSanDiego 2017

In this modern and brilliant discussion of the refugee crisis, Brian Sokol describes the devastating reality of the refugees who have fled from South Sudan to the border of Uganda in search of a better life for themselves and their children. He experiences them with great decency, humanity, and respect, as he came to know them individually on his journey as a photojournalist.

Sokol cautions the audience that statistics alone do not describe this group of people, but instead, lead to pity and shame. He asks, “how often do we use stats to describe people we love?” If we are to understand the reality of the refugee crisis then we need to hear their stories, and see what’s in their hearts. He argues that statistics dehumanize the 2.1 million people who fled to Uganda, and they are good human beings who are desperate for a better and safer life.

Brian Sokol Website

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