Dialogue Bar

「第19回ダイアログBar ーゲスト:Bob Stilgerさんー




Who is Bob Stilger?

I was born a little more than 60 years ago in a City called Portland, in a State called Washington, on the far western side of the United States.  I grew up with mountains and ocean and desert in a family with very little income and a lot of love. 


My life has been guided by spirit and I didn’t understand this at all until I came to Japan in 1970 to study in the Kokusaibu at Waseda University.  While at the Kokusaibu, I met the grandfather of my heart in Kyoto.  It was through him that I came both to Shinto and to Zen.  Both have helped me to understand who I am and have guided my life.


I spent many years of my life directing a community development corporation.  For 25 years I led a staff of 50 as we helped people living at the economic margins of society in the U.S. have better lives.  We helped them organize so their voice was heard.  We helped them build affordable housing.  We helped them address issues of hunger and childcare and economic development.


When I was in my mid-forties, I realized that what I was doing was not enough.  We were helping people live better, but we were not doing anything that changed the underlying conditions which caused some people to be rich while others were poor.  We were not doing anything which challenged prevailing patterns of overuse of the world’s precious resources.  We were not really changing anything at all.


Much to my surprise, I entered a doctoral studies program in Learning and Change in Human Systems when I was 46.  My life began to change.  I had new tools, insights and stories.  I had new people with whom I could be in conversation.  I began to ask the question:  what else is possible?


Ten years ago that question led me out of the organization I had co-founded in 1974 and into The Berkana Institute ( HYPERLINK "http://www.berkana.org" www.berkana.org).  My doctoral dissertation, which I finished while at Berkana, was into new leadership and new social movements arising in the world.


In the U.S. there were major social movements of the last century:  Civil rights, women’s rights, anti-war, environmental.  These movements tended to be ideological, strategic and tactical.  People took an ideological position, mostly based on thought and analysis.  Based on that position they developed strategies and tactics which were generally mostly in opposition to current practices.


What I became fascinated about was some of the new social movements of this century which I experience as enspirited, appreciative and emergent.  They come from the whole of us – our spirits, hearts, hands and minds  (not just our heads!).  They look for, find and appreciate what’s working and build on it.  They follow the energy of yes and see where it leads.  They don’t spend their time in opposition – they build new alternatives.

My work of the last ten years has been with people who are practicing this Enspirited Leadership in many countries around the world.



My  key questions now are:

How can we support those whose work is to sustain old institutions in health, education, economy, government for as long as they are needed? They do this work in forms that are dying , but which we need now because we don’t yet have other alternatives.

How can we support the work of those who are engaged in brave new pioneering initiatives which are pointing to our future?  Because they are pioneers, much of what they do fails, but they learn and move ahead.

How can we support the work of those who see alternatives working well enough to invite people to try them out?  These people build bridges into our new world.


保健、教育、経済、政府といった古い制度を維持することを職業とする人々を、そうした制度が必要とされている間、私たちはどのように支援することができるでしょうか? 彼らは、そのような仕事を、それが「死んでしまう」ような方法で行なっていますが、私たちはまだその代替案を手にしていないので、そうした制度を必要としています。

2 未来に向かって勇気ある新たなパイオニア的イニシアチブに取り組んでいる人々を、私たちはどのように支援することができるでしょうか? 彼らはパイオニアであるがために、することの多くが失敗してしまいます。ですが彼らは、学び、前へと進んでいます。

3 代替案がうまくいっているので、他の人々にもそれを試すことを薦めている人たちを、私たちはどのように支援することができるでしょうか? そうした人々は、私たちの新しい世界へと橋をかけてくれます。

And I look forward to being with you!


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