Posted by: Kristin | November 19, 2012

Exploring SKY, LIGHT, PEACE and DUSK in Kyoto


I’ve been in Kyoto, Japan for about two weeks now. This place is magical! Little did I know that autumn is one of the most beautiful times of year, with the rich orange-red fall foliage surrounding the city. Kyoto is the heart of authentic Japanese culture. My favorite activity is to get lost in the charming alleyways on my bike. Although everything seems really expensive here, my bike purchase ($80) was the best value for money and most useful purchase in Kyoto. My bike “wings” take me everywhere!

I was also blessed to be introduced to a master calligraphy sensei. I take private lessons from him every week. He doesn’t speak a word of English, but somehow I understand his feedback about space, balance and the direction of my strokes. This photo demonstrates today’s work — the Japanese characters for SKY, LIGHT, PEACE and DUSK. All aspects of life that I seem to experience more fully, here in Kyoto…

Posted by: Kristin | April 17, 2012

That Makes Me Happy (#TMMH)

Wow, it’s been a very long time since I blogged last. In this fast-train of life, particularly this (USA) American life, the barrage of social media outlets and updating seem secondary to JUST GETTING THE WORK DONE! I could reflect on all of the amazing adventures over the past year, including my own amazing experiences and trips to Beirut, Doha, Seoul and Bali, and OneWorld Now! student exchanges to Kenya, China and Qatar (for the first time – thanks QFI!). I’m sure I’ll have more to say, as I become increasingly reflective as we approach OneWorld Now!’s 10th Anniversary (in September 2012); but I’ll save that for later.

In the meantime, what’s inspiring me at the moment is my one week campaign on Happiness (That Makes Me Happy = TMMH). It all started when I was spending time with an 18-year old mentee of mine, who is pretty depressed because of a really rough past two years. I was encouraging him to try an experiment, to choose Happiness (find the unexpected joy in every moment) for the next week (he agreed that a 24-hour experiment would work better for him). The key is set the INTENTION for Happiness, and to not judge the process until the end of the experiment. In the meantime, just pay attention to what opens up. Anyways, a couple hours later, I was walking alone in the Spring sunshine at my favorite park. I was reflecting on this young man and our chat, and I realized that if I was asking him to take on this experiment, I needed to do it myself! At OneWorld Now!, we as a staff always talk about: what we ask of our students, we must model and ask of ourselves. And alas, the Happiness (That Makes Me Happy) Campaign started. And ironically, even though I hadn’t spent much time on Facebook or Twitter (or this blog in a long time), the #TMMH has spread best through those social media channels. (Please consider joining us this week, posting/tweeting all that Makes You Happy and using #TMMH. And find me on twitter@KristinHayden). In the meantime, I’m grateful to the joy and inspiration from that 18-year old young man! Life is a lot brighter with that intention — and spreading that joy (and seeing people’s face light up and energy shift) is what really Makes Me Happy.

Posted by: Kristin | August 14, 2011

A Full Summer at OWN

Well, the summer seems to be coming to a close and Seattle just got it’s first stint of sunshine this month! It’s been a world wind of activities at OneWorld Now!, but lots of exciting stuff to reflect upon!

First of all, we launched the first Arabic language camp for high school students in Oahu, Hawaii this summer. Two weeks of Arabic immersion, with participating youth from Seattle, Los Angeles and throughout the Hawaiian Islands. It was a big success & we’re grateful to our QFI funders for their support to make it possible.

Just as the Hawaii camp finished, we organized a three week Startalk-supported summer camp in Chinese and Arabic for high school students in the Seattle area. We have some great footage from our immersion camps thanks to our new media partner Synergiesinsync!

AND, if that wasn’t enough, we sent our first group of young MIDDLE SCHOOL students to China this summer, as well as a group of OWN high school students to Beijing! Earlier in April, QFI supported us again to send a group of OWN students and staff to Doha, Qatar. And finally, thanks to our partnership with National Center for Global Engagement and Global Kids, we have a group of youth in Kenya this month on an exciting collaborative study exchange!

So things have hardly slowed down this summer, but we feel blessed to work with such inspiring young leaders whose activities and transformation is a bright spot in an otherwise shifting world….

I’m so excited to speak on the the plenary panel at NAFSA next week in Vancouver BC, focusing on Social Entrepreneurship in International Education!  All of us who are speaking that day had transformational experiences abroad that inspired us do the work we are doing today!  We hope to encourage everyone to put their dreams into action.   For me, studying abroad in South Africa at age 15 left me with a passion for social justice issues and study abroad.  That experience absolutely was the starting point of my journey towards the creation of OneWorld Now!.  I would like to see study abroad as a part of everyone’s education in high school – I’m certain the world would be a different place, if that were the case.

Posted by: Kristin | March 2, 2011

OWN Featured in Hawaiian News

Last week, our OneWorld Now!-Hawaii program was featured in the Star Advertiser – Hawaii’s main newspaper!  We’re really proud of our students and we especially loved one of our OWN-HI student’s quotes (Codi Kelii, age 17) who said “It’s changed the views of my parents.  They always thought that the Arab world was bad, and thought about terrorism and stuff.  I talk about the class and it’s changing their perception.”

That’s transformation in action.  When one person changes, the whole community can be changed!  Powerful stuff!  These youth keep inspiring our work.

Posted by: Kristin | January 29, 2011

Vision Workshop at OneWorld Now!-HI

Just got back from a sunny week in Hawaii, visiting the new OneWorld Now! Hawaii program.  Our pilot project is at Campbell High School.  We’re the first Arabic language high school program on the Hawaiian Islands!  There was a reporter out this week doing a story on us which I hope to see and post soon!  I led a “VISION” workshop with the youth – encouraging them to visualize (and draw) their ideal visions for their future.  I asked them to consider that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE and to be in that head-space as they illustrated their vision on big paper.  Then they were asked to share it verbally with a partner, speaking of their vision in the past tense (as if it had already occurred and everything already happened just they way they had envisioned it!).

In our debrief, there were tears of joy and the youth shared that it was really empowering (and felt very real) to describe their vision to their partner as if it already occurred!  I LOVE doing this workshop with young people – it’s so exciting for me to see the spark in their eyes (as they experience that sense of possibility) – and it always re-invigorates me to consider my own vision!

Posted by: Kristin | January 1, 2011

Happy New Year All

For my New Year’s resolution, I’m contemplating the question: What does it mean to be my greatest self? 

This will be my year of inquiry around this question.   If I knew I would always be safe & healthy, what would I do & who would be, if I were being my greatest self?

This inspires my thinking and spirit!  It might just be the greatest year yet…

Posted by: Kristin | December 14, 2010

Qatari Youth – Vision for the Future

Traveling to Doha, Qatar this week was an amazing experience for me.  This photo is after a QFI event with myself, QFI Director Maggie Mitchell Salem and the Qatari high school students who traveled to the USA with QFI last summer.  I gave a speech to the youth about leadership, creating their visions and not letting fear and our self-imposed limitations get in the way of making it happen!  The youth were very responsive and positive about the talk.  Of course, the Qataris are all feeling extra optimistic these days after the surprise winning-bid for the 2022 World Cup!  Qatar will be the first Middle Eastern nation to host the World Cup, and this will certainly put Qatar on the world stage!

Today was the final day of the Arab Thought Foundation Conference in Beirut, Lebanon.  The highlight, of course, was the few youth voices from Qatar Foundation International, who presented today.  I was so proud of them – as they discussed how their exchange to the USA and Qatar had totally changed their lives, completely destroyed any stereotypes of each other and created lasting friendships!  Yay study abroad, yay QFI and yay amazing students.  This is really the only way our complicated world will be changed in a positive direction!

Posted by: Kristin | December 8, 2010

At the Arab Thought Conference in Beirut

This week, I’m in Beirut, Lebanon at the Arab Thought Foundation Conference.  The theme is Shaping the Future – Arabs’ Role?  It’s been quite interesting so far.  I especially appreciate these pan-Arab efforts to collaborate on problem-solving efforts for the region.  In this photo I’m with one of the QFI students from Qatar – and one the only youth voices represented at this conference of over 800 leaders from around the Arab world – go figure!

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