John was from WInnipeg and was in the Order in Montreal, Lorne de L’Acadie,and Frankfurt. He has lived in Germany for the last 30 plus years. Over the last 10 years and more he has been working passionately with the Roma in Eastern Europe.
~~ Duncan Holmes
Ah, John Stringham! We worked together in two great European undertakings. Actually, I can now say they were two of the best things I have been involved with. First, John was able to get the German government’s bi-lateral arm, GTZ, to sponsor conferences annually for three years on the role of NGOs in Global Development. John did all the heavy lifting with the government in designing a project proposal and reporting. We would gather together about 50 people from around the world each year (I remember one year we had the Prime Minister of Zambia as well as the World Bank present). John was a giant in getting all these things lined up.
The second big project that I worked on with John grew out of a very successful facilitation job the ICA had done with the Dutch Royal Tropical Institute (KIT)’s 50th year celebration. KIT had been very impressed. The best of our European ICA facilitators came and were scribes for each session. Then each morning the scribes would present what they heard and what it told us about the future. The dialogue following the scribe’s reports then became the highlight of the Conference. In fact, the scribe dialogues became the Conference. KIT asked ICA to take a contract to help design and consult with all their future conferences. John and I were the two people who worked with the Dutch Institute. We would spend a week each quarter in Amsterdam to help plan upcoming conferences. We designed facilitated dialogue within a context of having people of stature give lectures. Again John was brilliant in arguing the fine points of facilitated dialogue and how that could be mixed with expert panels. John’s law background as applied to facilitation was amazing to behold. From there, John went on to collaborate with a group of Dutch Nobel Prize Winners focusing on developing youth dialogues.
If one thing stands out about John for me, it was his ability to go head to head with some of the best thinkers of the world on how to engage people in serious dialogue. How do we turn conferences into real learning experiences?
~~ Dick Alton