ArtilesWhat is TranscommunalityLetters to the Editor

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Inter-organizational networking, face-to-face communication and the interpersonal relationships that follow, as well as shared practical actions such as the ‘open agenda’ events described herein, are all sites of such collaborative synergy. When diverse organizers come together, with their defenses down but their roots firmly grounded, the wave of transcommunal energy that is created is a force beyond the power of any individual rip curl created by any individual, community, or organization. It is a wave of transcommunality that washes over all without uprooting any. It is a wave that flows at different colors, temperatures, and speeds at different times, that merges with other waves then diverges with ease. This wave produces working groups of activists and educators that actively define the work to be done through their flexible alliances, formal and informal processes of collaboration, and mutual growth through such trans-communal interaction. This wave, hence, is not the answer in itself, but propels a vision and invokes a message. The message for the next 20 years must become clear, to activists, educators, and political and economic leaders alike: the global economic system of material, social, and environmental exploitation is no longer able to divide us with tired ideologies, material inequalities, and environmental disparities; we have learned to stand up together to solve fundamentally common dilemmas, each on our own ground, but as a connected global community.

The formal and informal modes of collaboration that sustain such connections and build bridges between diverse communities across the globe, however, must begin with transcommunal bridge building at local levels. The potential for transformation on a global community scale, from a fragmented and socio-economically stratified global population to an empowered and collectively self-determining global community network, depends on the creation of local collaboration networks within each social, environmental, and educational organization or community, each innovating tools and methods of collaboration as described by the limited experience contained herein. Hence, the bridge-builders’ new role within the organization or community, or classroom for that matter, becomes fundamental to the success of the collaboration networks. The bridge builder’s evolved role involves facilitating an ongoing exploration of tactics and strategies for collaboration, developing their unique understanding of Childs’ practical vision, and investing in this vision through the relationships and alliances they form. The Collaboration Network of ESLP described herein is but one example of structured and intentional networking that is at once flexible and effective. If we follow these pathways in the next twenty years they will lead us to inter-continental bridges, with technology making possible the instantaneous contact between peoples in all corners of the globe, and the knowledge, cultural literacy, and respect to communicate constructively by creating the space, both ideological and geographical, for the interaction of multiple diverse peoples in harmony with their environment. The global community that is thus born must sustain the diverse roots that conceived it, through heightened respect and appreciation for the value, beauty, and richness of the diverse understandings of the world we share and the work we must do together. The enduring question to ask of the next 20 years is critical: Who, among you reading this article, will be the bridge builders of the future?

D.C. Cummins (Dan Curtis-Cummins) plans to return to the university setting to study multi-cultural and international education, and apply his experience and future Masters’ studies to further collaborative projects involving global learning networks and cross-cultural communication from students at the primary to secondary grade levels. Through public and private schools, he envisions promoting multicultural literacy and creating ‘global classrooms’ through Internet and face-face contact where available, to initiate global community connections from a young age, and increase understanding and cultural sensitivity for a future of global citizenship, and propensity to become the bridge builders of the next 20 years.

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