BridgeBuilder Summit 2014

50 BridgeBuilders gathered to shape the future of BOOKBRIDGE.
You are great! 50 BridgeBuilders gathered to shape the future of BOOKBRIDGE.

“We can´t believe it´s over” – this phrase probably expresses best what we thought after we had said good-bye to the last participant of the BridgeBuilder Summit. The BridgeBuilder Summit 2014, big gathering of all Bookbridge supporters and contributors, is over! We met for four intense and beautiful days in the black forest to shape the future of Bookbridge.

First organized in 2012, the BridgeBuilder Summit is an event hosted by BOOKBRIDGE to work on the ideas underlying our work and challenges we are currently facing in our work. The idea is not only to get precious feedback from people in one or another way engaging for BOOKBRIDGE about our strategy and work but also to bring together the many, many people who support BOOKBRIDGE: book champions who collect English books for us, volunteers who help us with English translations or strategic questions, volunteer coaches and mentors, fellows who work at our learning centers, young managers participating in our capability program. All these people are spread all over the world and support us in various areas oftentimes not knowing each other. The BridgeBuilder Summit brings them all together and gives them an idea of what BOOKBRIDGE actually is.

Participants of the workshop "Challenges in Cambodia"
Participants of the workshop “Challenges in Cambodia”

The event started on Thursday night with the first participants, our fellows Cony and Malin being picked up from Hinterzarten train station (there were many more pick-ups to follow). Some days earlier we had already welcomed Amar Purev (BOOKBRIDGE Country Manager for Mongolia), Sokhan Khut (BOOKBRIDGE Country Manager for Cambodia), Daria Nyamdorj (head of the learning center in Murun, Mongolia) and Sokoeurn Touch (head of the learning center in Takeo, Cambodia) who had come all the long way from Asia to Germany. The first evening was busy with getting the house prepared and the information room set-up. After welcoming Judy from the US and Philipp from Switzerland, we cooked some late-night tea for Kay and Alan from the UK Scouts who arrived safely at around midnight after a long car ride from London.

The information wall for our projects in Cambodia
The information wall for our projects in Cambodia

Shaping the future of BOOKBRIDGE: this goal was to be achieved in a row of workshops that started from Friday morning and ended on Sunday before lunch. Here, we not only discussed practical issues like current challenges our learning centers are facing but also strategic questions like the one for governance or whether the values underlying our work are still valid or need to be redefined:

  • Take the Capability Program to the next level
  • Make noise for our book champions
  • Refine the values underlying our work
  • Discuss idea of a stipend program for students
  • Take our impact measurement to the next level
  • Prepare our new Fellows for their mission
  • Integrate tablet PCs into our learning centers
  • Discuss challenges in Murun Learning Center
  • Solve challenges at Takeo Learning Center
  • Develop guidelines for learning staff members
  • Discuss challenges in Mongolia with Amar
  • Discuss callenges in Cambodia with Sokhan
  • Develop a governance system for BOOKBRIDGE
  • Create our 2015 Calendar
  • Define how we communicate among each other
Participants from England, Switzerland, Germany, France and United States worked on ideas for a cultural exchange
Participants from England, Switzerland, Germany, France and the United States worked on ideas for a cultural exchange

We were amazed about the huge enthusiasm and incredible dedication the participants showed during the workshops. With the support of different professionals from consulting and coaching companies, they developed new approaches and ideas. Like on the summit two years ago, we saw people with different cultural and professional backgrounds working on the same issues finding intelligent solutions for challenging situations BOOKBRIDGE is facing at the moment. It was amazing to see everybody working so closely together and having a lot of fun doing it!

After on Friday night the big part of the participants arrived, the Saturday workshops were attend by over 50 BridgeBuilders from all over the world. The agenda was very tight but thanks to Jella there were also some possibilites to escape the cozy atmosphere of our rustic hut and to go hiking in the black forest.

During the debriefs, the workshop teams presented their ideas and results to the other participants
During the debriefs, the workshop teams presented their ideas and results to the other participants

We are very grateful for the outstanding participation in the summit and the precious output and feedback we received! During the next weeks, we will work on the ideas developed to integrate them in our strategy and work.

If you have taken pictures at the summit and would like to share them, please contact Ruth at ruth at bookbridge . org or use the upload link for Dropbox sent to you after the summit.

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